Report Title:

Comprehensive Student Support System; Felix



Requires the department of education, through its Comprehensive Student Support System, to adopt best practices, disclose potential conflicts of interest as part of the individualized education program (IEP) process, and monitor services ordered through the IEPs. Establishes a joint legislative taskforce to monitor, assess, and support the DOE's implementation of this Act and meeting the goals of the Comprehensive Student Support System. (SD2)





S.B. NO.



S.D. 2






relating to student support services.



SECTION 1. The Comprehensive Student Support System is the department of education's umbrella for ensuring a continuum of programs and services that support a school's academic, social, emotional, and physical environments so that all public school students learn and attain the Hawaii Contents and Performance Standards. The system operates at all public schools, providing a set of comprehensive programs and services that promote and facilitate healthy development, positive social growth, and academic achievement. Student support includes supplementary instructional programs already in schools such as Gifted/Talented, English for Second Language Learners, Special Education and Title 1, specialized counseling and guidance activities, prevention and intervention programs such as the Comprehensive School Alienation Program and the Primary School Adjustment Project, school initiatives and partnerships, assessment and evaluation activities, staff development activities, and family and community support services. Student support also includes services from community agencies available to schools such as mental health services, individual and family therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, public health nursing, and health aides from the department of health, public financial assistance and case management of abused or neglected children from the department of human services and family court services. Support provided and the delivery process correspond to the severity, complexity, and frequency of each student's needs through a collaboration of department of education, department of health, and community programs.

Most students have adjustment needs that can be addressed informally involving the student, teacher, and/or parent and does not require a written plan, specialized assessment, or formal meeting. This basic support is provided to all students and is the first of five levels of support. The second level involves additional informal support through collaboration with teachers, school-level personnel, Behavior Management Resource Teachers, parents, students, and other agencies. Level three involves programs beyond the regular classroom often requiring programs targeting specific groups. Parents and family members, teachers, and other school and community personnel meet as a Student Support Team, and develop a formal action plan monitored to assure the student's progress. Level four involves students who require specialized assessment or assistance. A Student Support Team is convened and may require a Form 1 and referral for Section 504, chapter 36 related services, community agency support, mental health services, and other compliance issues. At levels four and five the Student Support Team designates a Care Coordinator who monitors and coordinates the implementation of the action plan, the 504 plan, the Individualized Education Program (IEP), the multi-agency plan, delivery of services, and/or evaluation of supports. The Care Coordinator links services and programs, prepares program and evaluation reports, and serves as the point of contact for parents and people involved with the student. Level five students and their families require intensive multi-agency support and may be placed in an off-campus therapeutic and/or educational program. Many level four students and most level five students require referral for section 504, chapter 36 related services, and/or Individuals with Disabilities Education (IDEA), and chapter 56 related services.

Specifically, the IDEA mandates an IEP for students protected by the Act, and requires that an IEP team determine whether a child is eligible for services and when a child should be decertified and no longer eligible for services. The procedures for finding and referring eligible students, eligibility criteria, evaluation and assessment procedures, the creation of an IEP, placement in the least restrictive environment, and reevaluation and rescission of eligibility are specified in chapter 56 of the Hawaii administrative rules, title 8, department of education. Services to children covered under the consent decree in the case of Felix v. Waihee, et. al., civil number 93-00367-DAE, in the United States District Court, are currently coordinated, planned, and delivered under the same structure and rules in chapter 56 of the Hawaii administrative rules.

The legislature finds that many of the concerns expressed by representatives of Felix class members, special education teachers, and school administrators center around the IEP process and the IEP team. Of particular concern is the need for additional communication and training of department of education staff regarding the application of best practices to be used in the development of the IEP. Further, concerns have been expressed regarding the real or perceived conflict of interest when the IEP is based on the recommendation of a mental health professional who then becomes the provider of services to the student, or whose company becomes the provider of services. This problem is further exacerbated by a limited number of mental health professionals in various fields and geographic areas.

The purpose of this Act is to require the department of education, through its Comprehensive Student Support System, to

(1) Adopt best practices, including the communication of specific fundamentals of best practices to all department personnel to assist with the administration of the IEP process;

(2) Require disclosure of potential conflict of interest as part of the IEP process; and

(3) Monitor services ordered through the IEPs to ensure that services being provided are resulting in improved educational achievement.

SECTION 2. (a) The department of education, as part of its Comprehensive Student Support System, shall adopt a best practices model to guide departmental staff in the development of all IEPs. The best practices model shall be based upon the following five factors:

(1) The specific needs of the student as determined by the needs assessment required under chapter 8-53-9 or 8-56-7, Hawaii administrative rules, as appropriate;

(2) Services being recommended that are based upon proven methodologies and that address the specific needs of the student, with the expectation that the services will assist the student with achievement of their educational program;

(3) Proper evaluation and reevaluation of the student using professionals with expertise and experience in the disability as required under chapters 8-53-8 and 8-53-11 or 8-56-33 and 8-56-34, Hawaii administrative rules, as appropriate;

(4) A highly structured and supportive environment as required under chapter 8-53-19 or 8-56-45, Hawaii administrative rules, as appropriate; and

(5) Parental involvement as required under chapter 8-53-16 or 8-56-36, Hawaii administrative rules, as appropriate.

(b) The department shall also adopt as part of the best practices model a procedure requiring the disclosure of any conflict of interest of members of the IEP team and any mental health provider compensated with funds appropriated to the department of education under EDN 150, or the department of health under HTH 460 or HTH 495.

The superintendent of education and the director of health shall report to the legislature twenty days prior to the convening of each regular session:

(1) The list of all persons and providers who have disclosed conflicts of interest;

(2) The nature of the conflict of interest; and

(3) The reason the provider was selected;

provided that confidential student information shall not be disclosed.

SECTION 3. The Hawaii legislature has supported the development of the Comprehensive Student Support system since its inception. The legislature funded the pilot project serving seven identified complexes in 1997, and provided additional funding over the following three years to expand services to include all public schools in the State of Hawaii. The emergency appropriation requested in S.B. 1084, S.D. 1, in response to the finding of civil contempt in the matter of Felix v. Cayetano, and the department of education 2001-2003 biennium budget request will expand the provision of school-based Comprehensive Support Services to include the provision of related mental health services on the campus of each school.

In order for there to be continued legislative involvement and oversight in the implementation of the Comprehensive Student Support System, there is established the Felix v. Cayetano joint legislative taskforce, which shall be composed of members of the legislature. The president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives shall each appoint a co-chair and two members or more to the taskforce, one of whom shall be a member of the minority party. The taskforce shall monitor, assess, and support:

(1) The department's implementation of this Act; and

(2) The department's progress towards meeting the stated goals of the comprehensive student support system.

SECTION 4. If any provision of this Act, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the Act, which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.