Employee Policies and Procedures 2020-2021
STATEMENT OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
It is the expectation of the Bemidji Regional Interdistrict Council or BRIC, Independent School District 998, that all employees will maintain and practice the highest standards of professional behavior, responsibility, respect and integrity with students, staff, parents and community at all times.
GENERAL POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Local District Policies
Staff members will follow the policies and procedures, including COVID 19 Plans, of the local district that they are assigned to unless specified otherwise. Staff are responsible for reviewing the local policies for the districts they are assigned to on an annual basis as well as all BRIC policies and procedures.
COVID 19 Plan
Staff members assigned to individual districts will follow the COVID 19 Plan of the district in which they work. Staff members assigned to the BRIC office will follow the BRIC COVID 19 Plan and the COVID 19 plan of any district entered to perform the functions of their job.
Work hours for teaching staff members are the same as those for local district staff unless specified otherwise. Staff may need to adjust hours occasionally for events such as IEP Team meetings and/or in-service training. Work hours for BRIC special education paraprofessionals are set based on local district program needs and as approved by the paraprofessional’s supervising teacher and BRIC Supervisor.
Mileage is reimbursed for pre-approved travel for business for specific staff for such purposes at the current (prevailing) IRS rate. Mileage determinations are made on an established portal to portal basis. Staff who accrue such mileage, must submit mileage on the appropriate BRIC Request for Reimbursement to your BRIC Supervisor prior to the 10th of the month. Additional expenses may be reimbursed when pre-approved overnight travel occurs and must be accompanied by appropriate receipts.
BRIC staff are under the supervision of local district building administrators and BRIC administrators. BRIC paraprofessionals are supervised by their supervising teacher and by District and BRIC administrators. BRIC administration and local administrative staff collaborate together in the supervision of BRIC staff assigned to local districts. BRIC staff are expected to keep their assigned BRIC Supervisor informed of student/staff issues on a regular basis and work through issues with the appropriate supervisory personnel.
The BRIC Teacher Specialist Master Agreement calls for 182 days of service per school year. Certified staff are each provided an individualized calendar on an annual basis that is prepared by their BRIC Supervisor. In all other instances, BRIC staff are to follow their assigned local district school calendars. All adjustments to individual calendars are to be pre-approved by your BRIC Supervisor.
All purchases completed through BRIC must be pre-approved by your BRIC Supervisor using the BRIC Requisition form. Purchases are limited to BRIC programming that may cross district lines or specialty items that may from time to time be unavailable or inaccessible through local district program purchasing and are allowable special education expenditures.
When local Districts have late starts, early outs or are closed due to emergencies such as a snowstorm, BRIC staff are to follow whatever local District staff are directed to do in such situations. Example: District two hours late = BRIC staff report two hours late. Please notify the BRIC office when local district emergency closings occur.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
BRIC staff assigned to programs where bodily fluids/materials contact may occur, are encouraged to obtain Hepatitis B vaccine. BRIC will pay for this vaccine where reimbursement is otherwise not available and where it is justified based on the BRIC employee’s assignment. Check with your BRIC Supervisor.
Consistency is important in the delivery of special education and related services to our students with disabilities. Regular attendance is important to providing this consistency throughout the school year. All BRIC employees are encouraged to maintain a lifestyle that best ensures the prevention of problems that may lead to chronic illness and possible high rates of absenteeism from work. It is important that employees strive to be at work when they are expected to be.
School-based extracurricular activity assignments such as coaching are discouraged due to the extent of responsibilities special education staff generally have within their respective assignments. All BRIC staff assuming such activities must notify their BRIC Supervisor in advance of doing so and are encouraged to discuss the management of such additional duties in addition to the extensive responsibilities as a special education instructor and IEP Manager with their BRIC Supervisor.
IEP/IFSP/Due Process Procedures and Forms
All BRIC and member district case managers must follow all applicable state and federal IEP/IFSP/due process rules and regulations in the provision of special education and related services. As such, it is the case manager’s responsibility to meet due process timelines, address eligibility criteria components, develop technically adequate evaluation reports and IEPs/IFSPs and insure that required team members are provided adequate notice regarding evaluations and to attend team meetings. In addition, case managers are required to keep special education records up to date for the students they are assigned. To assist case managers in completing these due process responsibilities, BRIC utilizes the web-based software program SPED Forms.
In order to provide necessary access to special education records to both BRIC specialists and staff as well as adhere to record maintenance laws, special education teachers in BRIC districts are required to maintain two due process files. The first is the hard copy cumulative file housed in the school district. The second is the SPED Forms electronic file utilized by case managers and BRIC for accessing and reviewing student information and for compliance and monitoring purposes. Both files should include the same documents (see exceptions below) and it is important that both files are kept up-to-date with required information.
The following information is required to be maintained in chronological order in each student’s special education file. Items with an asterisk are not required to be part of the SPED Forms electronic file. Any document that has handwritten information or signatures should be electronically scanned and uploaded to the student’s SPED Forms history. Required items include:
SST/SAT/Intervention or Problem Solving Team and Referral Documentation*
Due Process Paperwork, including:
- Evaluation Plans -Prior Written Notices
- Parental Consent Forms -Test Protocols*
- Assessment Information* - Evaluation Reports
- Release of Information - Individualized Education Plans
- Transfer of Rights - Summary of Performance
- Manifestation Determination - Meeting Attendance and Minutes
Parent Contact Logs
Documentation Forms (graduation, transfer)
All required documentation should be located in both the cumulative hard copy file and in the History section of SPED Forms. Case managers can place documents thereby saving and finalizing information produced within SPED Forms –or- by scanning and uploading information to the History tab.
All BRIC staff will maintain and practice strict adherence to Data Privacy rules regarding individual students and their families. Confidentiality is a matter of respect and dignity for the rights of those we serve in special education.
Electronic Device and Network Use
BRIC recognizes the value of computers and other electronic resources to improve student learning and enhance the administration and operation of its schools, and member districts. BRIC expects the responsible use of computers, cell phones, computer networks, including the internet, and other electronic resources in support of the mission and goals of BRIC and it’s member districts. BRIC reserves the right to randomly and periodically check the usage of BRIC issued electronic devices.
All BRIC staff are representing the Bemidji Regional Interdistrict Council and their district of assignment at all times and need to be mindful of social media content. Staff are strongly discouraged from using personal devices to communicate educational information (ie. cell phones, Facebook, iPads, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, etc…) or responding to communications received through social media.
All BRIC staff are mandated reporters of suspected child neglect or physical or sexual abuse. Staff must immediately report any knowledge of or reasonable reason to believe a child is being neglected or physically or sexually abused or has been neglected or physically or sexually abused within the preceding three years. BRIC staff will follow district procedures for reporting of suspected child neglect or physical or sexual abuse and notify the BRIC Special Education Supervisor within 24 hours of the report. Mandated Reporting Policy 414 is located on the BRIC website.
Request for Consultation Services
BRIC and local District staff IEP Teams must contact a BRIC Supervisor prior to making referrals for related services specialists, including:
Autism Spectrum Disorders Specialists
Vision and Orientation/Mobility Specialist
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Specialist
Developmental Adaptive Physical Education Specialist
Physical Impairment Specialist
Children’s Therapeutic Services and Supports (CTSS) Mental Health Specialists
Other Educational or Medical Specialists or Consultants.
To request a consultation or evaluation from a related services specialist, please complete the appropriate BRIC Form and forward it to your BRIC Supervisor. CTSS consultation requests must be made using the CTSS Referral Form. All other consultation requests must be made using the BRIC Request for Consultation Form. The most updated version of each form is available on the BRIC Website.
CLASSROOM AND INSTRUCTIONAL MANAGEMENT
Assigned students must be supervised at all times during the school day.
BRIC classroom instructors are expected to identify and implement classroom management procedures based on the individual needs of the students they are assigned and based on research-based best practice such as Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies (PBIS).
Parent/Guardian written permission must be obtained for all out of area field trips. Prior approval also must be obtained from your BRIC Supervisor.
Parent/Guardian approval must be obtained for any and all significant changes in an individual student’s IEP/IFSP. Consult your BRIC Supervisor with questions regarding what is or is not a significant change in service in an IEP/IFSP.
Parents/Guardians need to be informed of instruction in health (sex) education for learners with special needs when such instruction is in addition to or significantly different than such health instruction within the regular education curriculum.
Parents/Guardians need to be informed and in some cases, written permission obtained when professionals other than those normally assigned to a student, i.e. Mental Health Workers, work directly with a special needs learner on a regular basis.
All BRIC Staff are expected to complete CPI crisis intervention training. In addition, some BRIC staff may be required to complete CPR and First Aid training.
BRIC certified staff are expected to remain current regarding best practices in the field of education, including: successful classroom management, curriculum and instructional practices for learners with special needs, and all special education due process procedures. BRIC certified staff are also expected to maintain a current and valid teaching license with the Minnesota Board of Teaching.
BRIC expects the use of data-driven decision-making for all learners based on systematic data collection procedures, data measurement of progress and setting of goals and objectives based on such data.
All BRIC staff are expected to know local district policies and procedures for curriculum and instruction as well as crisis management and building evacuation procedures.
LEAVES AND ABSENCES
All Leave Requests
Staff must complete and submit to their BRIC Supervisor a BRIC Request for Leave form each time an absence from work occurs. All leave must be approved by the BRIC Executive Director. Staff must inform local district administration of all leave in advance of such known (scheduled) leave as per the local district policies and procedures.
When a staff member is ill, he or she must contact the locally assigned district building as per district policy and procedures in order for the local district to obtain an appropriate substitute. Staff must contact the BRIC office no later than 8:00 a.m. the day of the absence.
When a staff person is in need of consecutive sick days, the staff member will inform the local district again each day per district policy and procedures so a substitute may be retained. Staff must again notify the BRIC office by 8:00 a.m. on each consecutive day of sick leave.
BRIC Teacher Specialists must send a completed BRIC Request for Leave form to the BRIC Supervisor within five (5) school days after returning to work. BRIC Paraprofessionals must send a completed BRIC Request for Leave form within five (5) school days after returning to work and no later than the end of the pay period during which the absence occurred, whichever comes first.
BRIC reserves the right to request a Physician’s note for absence due to illness when such leave exceeds three or more consecutive days or becomes excessive.
Personal leave requests are to be submitted to the BRIC Supervisor on a BRIC Request for Leave form at least three days prior to the date(s) of the personal leave. In an emergency, please contact your supervisor.
Staff must inform local supervisory and administrative personnel of all approved leaves in advance.
Requests for professional leave must be submitted in advance on a BRIC Request for Leave form and submitted to your BRIC Supervisor for approval.
Professional leave requests must detail expenses to the extent they are known and a copy of the workshop flyer or brochure must be attached to the request form.
Reimbursement for food, lodging, mileage, and registration expenses for pre-approved professional leave must be documented on the appropriate BRIC Request for Reimbursement form and accompanied by receipts for such expenses as well as an agenda or other proof of attendance. Reimbursement forms are to be submitted to your BRIC Supervisor.
Staff attending common conferences/in-service training events are encouraged to carpool or secure local district transportation vehicles.
Staff must inform local district supervisory and administrative personnel of all approved leaves in advance.
Canceling a Leave
It is the responsibility of the BRIC Employee requesting leave to maintain a copy of the submitted BRIC Request for Leave form in the event there are questions regarding the leave or the leave needs to be canceled.
To cancel a leave request, the staff person must write the word ‘CANCEL’ across the top of their retained copy of the original leave form and re-submit the form to the appropriate BRIC supervisor. The staff person must also notify their local district of any approved changes or cancellations of leave.
Paraprofessionals are assigned either as a general program para or assigned specifically to an individual pupil as may be indicated in the student’s IEP/IFSP. BRIC administration reserves the right of assignment of paraprofessionals by position and based on student needs.
BRIC paraprofessionals are expected to meet the federal mandated employment and MDE requirements. These requirements include a passing score on the Parapro Test, or a 2-year degree or equivalent (60 credits of postsecondary education or completion of competency requirements outlined in the BRIC paraprofessional portfolio). Evidence of completion of one of these requirement options must be on file in the BRIC personnel office.
In addition to the above requirement, BRIC paraprofessionals are required to maintain a training log documenting their training related to special education. Paraprofessionals will be notified of required trainings on an annual basis. The training log must be submitted annually to the supervising teacher for submission to the BRIC Supervisor with the paraprofessional’s performance appraisal for inclusion in the official employment file.
BRIC paraprofessionals are supervised by their supervising teacher and by BRIC and local district administrators.
Local District Policies
BRIC Paraprofessionals will follow the policies and procedures of the local district to which they are assigned unless otherwise specified. Paraprofessionals are responsible for reviewing the local policies for the districts they are assigned to on an annual basis and are also responsible for reviewing the most updated BRIC policies and procedures, including information within their BRIC Paraprofessional Manual.
BRIC Supervising Teachers are expected to complete a performance appraisal on an annual basis for each BRIC paraprofessional assigned to them. These are to be completed and submitted to the BRIC Supervisor by April 1st of each year.
BRIC Paraprofessionals are responsible for accurately completing their weekly time sheets which are to be turned into the BRIC office on or prior to the 15th and 30th of each month. BRIC Supervising Teachers are to review and approve the paraprofessional time sheets for those paraprofessionals assigned to them. A BRIC leave sheet should be attached to the timesheet for any leave that was not pre-approved and that occurred during the pay period represented by the timesheet.
Adjustments in Para Hours
Any and all adjustments in BRIC paraprofessional hours must receive written prior approval from a BRIC Supervisor and must be reflected on the subsequent paraprofessional timesheet when submitted to the BRIC office.