Individualized Education Program (IEP)

IEP Information

State and Federal laws and regulations require that all students eligible for special education services have available to them a free and appropriate public education which includes special education and related services to meet their unique needs and is provided in conjunction with an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

The IEP is a written plan describing the provision of special education and related services for a student with a disability. The IEP is considered a management tool because it is developed by parents/guardians and school personnel to ensure that each entitled student is provided special education and related services that are appropriate to his/her special needs as identified by the IEP team.

Eligibility Determination must be made by the IEP team. Based upon an analysis of information from a variety of sources, which may include data collected through the Response to Intervention process, aptitude and achievement tests, parent input, teacher recommendations, physical conditions, social or cultural background, and adaptive behavior, the IEP team would determine if:

  1. the student has a disability(s); (Eligibility Guidelines may be found here)
  2. the disability(s) adversely affects the student’s educational performance; and
  3. the disability(s) requires special education and related services to address education needs.

Each IEP must include:

  1. Statements of the student’s present levels of educational performance.
  2. Annual goal statements and short-term objectives. This would include transition goal statements and short term objectives which identify transition services needed by students 14 years of age and older for transition from special education programs to employment, post-secondary education, and community living alternatives.
  3. The identification of the specific special education and related services required.
  4. Statements which identify the educational settings in which all educational related services will be provided and the amount of time that will be required. An explanation for the placement decision is also to be included in the IEP.
  5. Projected dates for initiation of services and anticipated duration of the needed services.
  6. Appropriate criteria, evaluation procedures, and schedules for determining the students progress towards meeting the identified goals and objectives. This needs to be reported on a quarterly basis as well as reviewed annually.

Any of the following situations would require an IEP Meeting:

  1. the completion of an initial evaluation of a student suspected of having a disability;
  2. the completion of an eligibility review;
  3. a review of the results of an independent or outside evaluation;
  4. a recommended termination of special education for one or more disabilities;
  5. determination if a student’s behavior was a manifestation of her/his disability;
  6. development of an initial IEP for a student;
  7. a review or revision of a current IEP;
  8. consideration of transition services for a student;
  9. development of a Behavioral Intervention Plan;
  10. termination of the special education placement of a student; and
  11. graduation from high school.

In addition….

Upon completion of the IEP meeting, the district must provide a copy of the IEP that documents the determination of eligibility to the parent(s). A copy of that IEP shall be kept on file by the local district.

Federal and state regulations require that the IEP must be developed within 30 days following the completion of the eligibility determination by the IEP team. However, since many of the team members must also participate in the development of the student’s IEP, it is recommended that the IEP meeting be held immediately following the determination of the student’s eligibility for special education and/or related services if time allows.

If the IEP meeting is held on a different date than the eligibility determination meeting, it is important to be aware that parents, guardians, or a surrogate parent MUST be given the opportunity to be active participants in all major decisions affecting the education of their child, especially in the development of the child’s IEP. Although it is permissible for the local education agency (LEA) staff to come prepared with assessment findings, statements of present levels of educational performance, recommendations for annual goals and objectives, and programming considerations, the LEA must clearly state to parents, guardians, or surrogate parents at the beginning of the meeting that the proposed recommendations are for review and discussion.