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Utah Virtual Academy (UTVA) offers robust special education services to support students and meet their needs, empowering them to thrive in school and beyond. With high-quality, personalized learning and the help of teachers and support staff, students with special needs can achieve their academic goals, find their confidence, and pave a path to success.
Utah Virtual Academy follows the Web Content Accessibility Standards 2.0 Level AA. UTVA does not discriminate based on race, color or country of origin. If you require more website accessibility than is available per the standards, please contact the following person:
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Non-Discrimination Notice and Title IX
UTVA Non-Discrimination Policy
Utah Virtual Academy is committed to providing an environment that is free from all forms of sex discrimination, which includes gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence, as regulated by Title VII and Title IX, and to ensuring the accessibility of appropriate grievance procedures for addressing all complaints regarding all forms of sex discrimination and sexual harassment. UTVA reserves the authority to independently deal with sex discrimination and sexual harassment whenever becoming aware of their existence, regardless of whether a complaint has been lodged in accordance with the grievance procedure set forth below.
INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE
Definition of Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (for Students):
- Sex discrimination occurs when a person, because of his or her sex, is denied participation in or the benefits of any education program or activity that receives federal financial assistance.
- Sexual harassment is conduct that: 1) is sexual in nature; 2) is unwelcome; and 3) denies or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from a school’s educational program or activity. Sexual harassment can be verbal, nonverbal, or physical.
Definition of Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (for Employees):
- Sex discrimination occurs when a person who is qualified for a position at issue is subjected to an adverse employment action because of his or her sex.
- Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: 1) submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of employment; 2) submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting the individual; or 3) the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the employee’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
Any individual, who believes he/she/they may have experienced any form of sex discrimination or sexual harassment, or who believes that he/she/they has observed such actions taking place, may receive information and assistance regarding the School’s policies and reporting procedures from any of the following:
Any student, parent/guardian, current or prospective employee, or other individuals within the school community who believes he/she/they has experienced and/or observed sex discrimination or sexual harassment (“grievant”) should promptly report the matter to the school’s Title IX Coordinator, a school counselor, principal or another school administrator. A Title IX grievant is requested to complete a complaint form. Complaints of alleged sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, brought forth by students, parents/guardians, current or prospective employees, and other members of the school community will be promptly investigated in an impartial and as confidential a manner as reasonably possible, so that corrective action can be taken if necessary.
The grievance procedures will be as follows:
- It is the express policy of UTVA to encourage the prompt reporting of claims of sex discrimination and/or sexual harassment. Timely reporting of complaints facilitates the investigation and resolution of such complaints. A form for such purpose can be found on our website and will also be provided to the grievant. As it pertains to students, in appropriate circumstances, due to the age of the student making the complaint, a parent/guardian or school administrator may be permitted to fill out the form on the student’s behalf.
UTVA Title IX Complaint Form
- At the time the complaint is filed, the grievant shall be given a copy of these grievance procedures. It is the responsibility of the Title IX Coordinator or designee to explain these procedures and answer any questions anyone has. In addition, if the grievant is a minor student, the Title IX Coordinator should consider whether a child abuse report should be completed in accordance with the school’s policy on the Reports of Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect of Children.
- The Title IX Coordinator or designee shall investigate the complaint as promptly as practicable but in no case more than ten (10) working days from the date the complaint was received. The Title IX Coordinator or designee shall have the complete cooperation of all persons during the investigation.
- The Title IX Coordinator or designee shall meet with all individuals reasonably believed to have relevant information, including the grievant and the individual(s) against whom the complaint was lodged, and any witnesses to the conduct. The investigation shall be carried on discreetly, maintaining confidentiality insofar as reasonably possible while conducting an effective investigation.
- If after an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator or designee determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that sex discrimination or sexual harassment has occurred, the school shall take appropriate corrective action in an effort to ensure that the conduct ceases and will not recur. The Title IX Coordinator or designee shall also provide and or arrange for confidential counseling or training where appropriate. In addition, the Title IX Coordinator or designee shall seek an informal agreement between the parties that is consistent with UTVA’s Title IX principles and goals.
- If no agreement satisfactory to the parties can be reached within twenty (20) working days from receipt of the complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or designee shall make a report to the HHS Office for Civil Rights at (800) 368-1019, TDD toll-free: (800) 537-7697, or by emailing OCRMail@hhs.gov
- The HHS office for civil rights shall review the case and make its recommendations to the Title IX Coordinator within fifteen (15) working days after receiving the grievance.
- The Title IX Coordinator shall make provisions to maintain all records of complaints and their disposition.
- Retaliation against an individual for filing a complaint or cooperating in an investigation is strictly prohibited, and the school will take the actions necessary to prevent such retaliation.
DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION
The appropriate staff shall notify applicants for admission and employment, students, parents/guardians of elementary and secondary school students, employees, and sources of referral of applicants for admission and employment, that it does not discriminate on the basis of sex in the educational programs or activities which it operates, and that it is required by Title IX and its administrative regulations not to discriminate in such a manner. The notification shall be made in the form and manner required by law or regulation.
Request for Parent/Guardian Interpreter Services or Disability Accommodations
Professional interpreter services may be requested at any time for parents/guardians of students with disabilities by contacting your special education teacher. UTVA does not discriminate based on race, color or national origin.
Additionally, if any parent/guardian has a disability or other limitation that would impact their ability to participate fully in their child's educational planning process, Utah Virtual Academy would be happy to discuss accommodations that may be available in order to maximize the parent/guardian's participation. Individuals seeking to discuss accommodations for this reason may contact Jenn Izatt (K5), Joette Hayden (MS) or Melanie Denton (HS) at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual Public Notice of Special Services & Programs
In accordance with federal and state regulations, Utah Virtual Academy will provide an annual public notice to families informing them of UTVA's child find responsibilities, procedures involved in the identification of educational disabilities and determination of students' service and support needs.
Families are encouraged to review the following information that describes these regulations. Information regarding UTVA's internal practices to comply with these will be available in the UTVA Special Programs Manuals and Handbooks.
Identification of American with Disabilities (ADA) Compliance Act Coordinator/Special Programs Manager
Identification of Homeless Coordinator (MKV):
Assistance Act (per Title IX, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act) defines homeless as follows: The term "homeless children and youths"—
- (A) means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (within the meaning of section 103(a)(1)); and
- (B) includes
(i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals;*
(ii) children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings (within the meaning of section 103(a)(2)(C));
(iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
(iv) migratory children (as such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).
Utah Virtual Academy will support students experiencing homelessness by helping to connect families to community resources such as food pantries, homeless shelters, and health care. UTVA will also ensure that all students experiencing homelessness have the tools necessary to participate in school with their same age peers, including, but not limited to, internet access, loaner computers, and accommodations within the classroom.
Identification of English Language Learners (ELL) Coordinator
The English Language Development Department provides curriculum and instructional support to teachers in the ELD classroom in grades K–12. We assist teachers in building students' solid foundation in English to move them from one English proficiency level to the next.
Identification of Section 504 Coordinator
Any student or family of a student with a medical condition or disability that is impacting their ability to participate in school should reach out to our 504/Health Plan Coordinator for further assistance.
Utah Virtual Academy Special Programs Department is committed to making all programs and activities accessible. "Accessible" is more than physical access and may include a formal 504 Plan identifying reasonable accommodations to ensure identified students have the opportunity to benefit from their education.
Utah Virtual Academy (UTVA), in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA") and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), does not discriminate on the basis of disability in the administration of its education-related programs and activities and employment, and has an institutional commitment to provide equal educational opportunities for disabled students who are otherwise qualified.
Identification of Foster Care Coordinator
Utah Virtual Academy provides resources for foster families, families in crisis, and families who need community assistance.
Utah Virtual Academy strives to identify, locate, and evaluate all enrolled children who may have disabilities. Disability, as stated in IDEA, includes such conditions as hearing, visual, speech, or language impairment, specific learning disability, emotional disturbance, cognitive disability, other health or physical impairment, autism, and traumatic brain injury. The process of identifying, locating, and evaluating these children is referred to as Child Find.
As a public school, we will respond vigorously to federal and state mandates requiring the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education regardless of a child's disability or the severity of the disability. In order to comply with the Child Find requirements, UTVA will implement procedures to help ensure that all UTVA students with disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disability, who are in need of special education and related services—are identified, located, and evaluated—including students with disabilities who are homeless or students who are wards of the state.
Parent/Guardian permission and involvement is a vital piece in the process. Once a student has been identified as having a "suspected disability" or identified as having a disability, UTVA will ask the student or the student's Parent/Guardian for information about the child such as:
- How has the suspected disability or identified disability hindered the student's learning?
- What has been done, educationally, to intervene and correct the student's emerging learning deficits?
- What educational or medical information relative to the suspected disability or identified disability is available to be shared with the school?
This information may also be obtained from the student's present or former teachers, therapists, doctors, or from other agencies that have information about the student.
All information collected will be held in strict confidence and released to others only with parental permission or as allowed by law. In keeping with this confidence, UTVA will keep a record of all persons who review confidential information. In accordance with state regulations, parents have the right to review their child's records.
As part of the Child Find process, some services may include a complete evaluation, an individualized education program designed specifically for the child, and a referral to other agencies providing special services.
In accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requirement that all educational agencies provide parents of students with disabilities notice containing a full explanation of the procedural safeguards available under the IDEA and U.S. Department of Education regulations, please click here to review the Procedural Safeguards Notice.
Consent to Evaluate
Utah Virtual Academy cannot proceed with an evaluation, or with the initial provision of special education and related services, without the written consent of a student's parents/legal guardians. For additional information related to consent, please refer to the Procedural Safeguards Notice or by accessing the link via the Child Find section of the UTVA website. Once written parental/guardian consent is obtained, UTVA will proceed with the evaluation process. If the parent disagrees with the evaluation results, the parent can request an independent education evaluation at public expense.
Special Education (IEP) or Service Agreements (504 Plans)
Once the evaluation process is completed, a team of qualified school personnel, parents/guardians, and other relevant service providers hold an evaluation determination meeting to come to agreement on whether the student meets eligibility for one of the disability categories under IDEA for information related to eligibility criteria associated with the disability categories defined under IDEA. If the student is eligible and requires specially designed instruction, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will be coordinated; during which the IEP team will review and finalize the proposed details of an appropriate educational program to meet the student's documented needs.
For students confirmed to present with special education needs, once the IEP team agrees on the IEP and the student's educational placement, an Initial Consent form will be provided to the parent/guardian for signature. This must be signed by the parent/legal guardian. UTVA can only proceed with implementing the student's IEP (or 504 Plan) upon receipt of the signed PWN.
Some students are found to present with one or more disability, but do not meet the eligibility criteria outlined under IDEA (special education); however, their disability may still require UTVA to develop a 504 Service Agreement (504 Plan) to outline the special provisions a student may require for adaptations and/or accommodations in school-based instruction, facilities, and/or activities.
Students may be eligible to certain accommodations or services if they have a mental or physical disability that substantially limits or prohibits participation in or access to an aspect of the school program and otherwise qualify under the applicable laws. UTVA will ensure that qualified students with disabilities have equal opportunity to participate in the school program and activities to the maximum extent appropriate for each individual student. In compliance with applicable state and federal laws, SCHOOL will provide students with disabilities the necessary educational services and supports they require to access and benefit from their educational program. This is to be done without discrimination or out of pocket cost to the student or family for the essential supplementary aids, services or accommodations determined to provide equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school program and extracurricular activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the student's abilities and to the extent required by the laws. Click here for more information related to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Active of 1973.
Parents/Guardians have the right to revoke consent for services after initial placement. Please note, a revocation of consent removes the student from ALL special services and supports outlined on the IEP or 504 Plan.
Privacy & Confidentiality
To maintain privacy of students' special education records, both within its central office and across school systems and databases, UTVA follows protocols consistent with the federal regulations associated with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Click https://www.schools.utah.gov/studentdataprivacy for additional information about the privacy and security guidelines for your child's educational records.
Notice of these rights is available, upon request, on audiotape, in Braille, and in languages other than English. Should you need further assistance or information regarding any of these accommodations, please contact Shelly Strahan, Special Programs Manger, email@example.com or any member of your child's Utah Virtual Academy team for guidance.
Special Education Grievances or Disputes
Utah Virtual Academy recognizes that despite best intentions of all parties, disagreements or miscommunications may arise between the school-based team and UTVA families or students.
Should this situation occur, the UTVA special education case manager will initiate an IEP team discussion where the specific details contributing to any educational concern are fully discussed and addressed as the entire team determines would consider most appropriate for the student. Collaboration is a primary focus for this type of meeting, and the UTVA Special Education Team seeks to establish and maintain the confidence of its families to always serve its students in order to maximize their educational success.
Dispute Resolution Options
- IEP Facilitation – IEP facilitation is a voluntary process that can be utilized when all parties to an IEP meeting agree that the presence of a neutral third party would help facilitate communication and the successful drafting of the student's IEP. This process is not necessary for most IEP meetings. Rather, it is most often utilized when there is a sense from any of the participants that the issues at the IEP meeting are creating an impasse or acrimonious climate.
- Mediation – A voluntary process in which both parties seek to resolve the issues involved in the concern with an unbiased, third party mediator procured through the Utah State Board of Education. The mediator who will write up the details of the agreement that the parties come to through the mediation conference, the agreement is signed by both parties, and thus what the document states is mandated to be implemented; This process is overall less time-consuming, less stressful, and less expensive to complete than a due process hearing (see below)
Formal Due Process
Families are NOT obligated to pursue the above alternatives to due process should they feel their concerns can only be resolved through a formal due process hearing. If a formal complaint against Utah Virtual Academy is submitted to the Utah State Department of Education at http://schools.utah.gov.
Carson Smith Scholarship:
If you are the parent of a child with an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) enrolled in a public school, the school is required by Utah Code Section 53A-1a-704 (10) to inform you of the availability of a scholarship to attend a private school through the Carson Smith Scholarship Program. Information on the Carson Smith Scholarship is available on the Carson Smith Scholarships Utah State Board of Education website.