June 28, 2018, Jackson (MS) Clarion Ledger: Mississippi school's special education services fall short, family says https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2018/06/28/tupelo-schools-faces-deadline-special-education-compliance/738711002/ Natalie Gunnells said she filed the complaint after reaching an impasse with the district concerning her child’s individual education program, or IEP, which acts as a legal contract between the school system and the child receiving services. Schools and families work together to develop the program by outlining a set of measurable goals for the student qualifying for special education services. Last December, monitors came back with two sanctions against the district. The state also ordered the district to provide the family with compensatory services to make up for the two-year period that their son had been denied an appropriate education. In response, Natalie Gunnells says the district offered four hours of applied behavioral analysis therapy, the leading treatment for individuals with autism. … Oversight officials also gave the district a timeline to review the plans of other students with special needs in the district and update the children’s parents on their progress. On June 22, 2018, MDE informed outgoing superintendent Gearl Loden the district had failed to provide evidence that it had communicated with the students’ families. In the letter, MDE warned that the district could be reported to the office of accreditation if it failed to submit the required documentation by July 6. … Genevieve McAlpin, who oversees special education for Tupelo schools, said the district will meet the deadline. July 6, McAlpin explained, is one in a series of deadlines the district has to take corrective actions. … “We were granted an extension; we are in compliance with MDE,” she told the Clarion Ledger by phone. “That’s all I’m going to say.” In 2016, the district came under scrutiny from oversight officials for failing to provide appropriate education services for a student diagnosed with autism.