What do you do when Progress Reports show a lack of progress?

The court’s decision in Reyes v. BOE for Prince George’s County Public Schools is a mixed bag.  The court ruled in favor of the school on some issues, and in favor of the parent on others.  For today, I want to highlight one aspect of the case that has practical implications.  It’s about Progress Reports and how you respond to them. 

The court held that the district’s failure to call for an IEP Team meeting after progress reports were issued indicating that the student was not on track to achieve the annual goal was a denial of FAPE and not merely a technical or harmless procedural error. I’ve never encountered a court looking at Progress Reports in that way.  The regulations do not require that an ARD meeting be held anytime a six-week report shows a lack of progress. The way the regulation is worded, it looks to me that the annual review is sufficient.

But that’s exactly what the district argued in this case and the court rejected it. Not only that, the court refused to shrug this off as a harmless technical error.

This is not a binding precedent in Texas. It’s a federal court decision from Maryland.  But I think there is a lesson here, that being: take those progress reports seriously.  Three things in particular are worth noting.

First, the progress reports should be accurate and based on the data.  Do not sugarcoat.

Second, the reports should be based on progress toward the measurable annual goal. If we are halfway through the year, are we halfway toward achieving the goal?

Third, if the progress report shows that the student is not on track DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.  An ARD meeting may not be necessary, but notice to the parent and a conversation would be a good idea. Or a staffing of relevant school personnel to see what can be done. Do something. Document it.

It’s Reyes v. BOE for Prince George’s County Public Schools, decided by the federal court for the State of Maryland on March 31, 2022.  It’s published by The Special Educator at 80 IDELR 286. 


Got a question or comment for the Dawg?  Let me hear from you at jwalsh@wabsa.com