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Post-Endrew Q&A

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Legal
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January 4, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1, 137 S. Ct. 988 in March 2017 raised the bar on the standard educators must set for student progress for children on individualized education programs (IEPs). Previously, the scope of free appropriate public education (FAPE) requirements had been interpreted to be met if a student’s educational program was designed to demonstrate “merely more than de minimis” educational benefit. The Court in Endrew F. overturned that standard and held that “[t]o meet its substantive obligation under the IDEA, a school must offer an IEP that is reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.”

This decision is likely to bring about some confusion as to its implementation as things unfold. To that end, the U.S. Department of Education in early-December issued an Endrew F. question and answer publication. This will hopefully offer some guidance to you and your educational professionals as you begin to apply the new standard to students with special needs in your specific districts.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

 

About the Author

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Terri Thomas

Director of Legal Services

Terri Thomas serves as Director of Legal Services for OPSRC.  Ms. Thomas is an attorney practicing exclusively in the area of Oklahoma school law, with a primary focus on rural and smaller school districts. Prior to OPSRC, she served as legal counsel for the Organization of Rural Oklahoma Schools (OROS) from 1999 to 2015 and represents many school districts throughout all parts of the state.

It’s no accident that Terri wound up practicing school law.  She grew up in the school business. Terri’s father, the late Howard Thomas, was a school superintendent for 25 years in several Oklahoma school districts, including Pauls Valley—Terri’s hometown—and Ardmore. After graduating from Pauls Valley High School, Terri received her bachelor’s degree in Finance from Southern Methodist University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

She and her husband, Norman Thompson, and their 8-year old daughter, Mary, reside in Oklahoma City.