“Every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives.”
Today we celebrate the one-year anniversary of a major US Supreme Court decision, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. The ruling provides strong support for our efforts as special educators to enable children with disabilities to reach their highest potential. In summary, the court rejected the idea that Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) provide “merely more than de minimis” (i.e. more than trivial) and instead ruled that it “must offer an IEP (Individualized Education Program that is reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.”
Cotting’s Chief Academic Officer, Krista Macari, is pleased to see the highest court recognize the wide scope of FAPE. “FAPE is not limited to public schools. This Supreme Court ruling is important for Cotting because it supports a student’s out-of-district placement if that is the best fit as determined by the student’s team. For some students, FAPE means a more restrictive environment.”
Seeing a piece of Cotting’s mission and philosophy echoed on such a public stage reaffirms our approach, adds Special Education Director Leah Thibodeau. “Our IEP process is a thoughtful one. Our goals and objectives are based on a level of staff expertise that involves students in the life and breath of the community.” For Cotting, this ruling reinforces our belief in a higher standard for students with special needs.
Cotting legal counsel Hank Clark further highlights the impact of the ruling for Cotting:
“This is exactly the type of process utilized by Cotting School in creating IEP’s for its students: e.g. specially designed to meet the unique needs of the student. Cotting has over its long history never settled for a ‘de minimis standard’, and the U.S. Supreme Court is now formally affirming a higher standard required by IDEA of offering an IEP (and subsequent program) reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances. This standard reflects the essence of Cotting’s approach with its students.”