Individualized Educational Plan (I.E.P.)
Individualized Educational Plan (I.E.P.)
Yvonne Beaman, Middle School Division Director
An Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) can be a very powerful document for a student who requires special assistance during his/her academic day. It can be a vital component to a successful education for a student with special needs. An IEP is a legally binding document that spells out exactly what special services a child should receive and why these services are necessary.
Students who have been found to be eligible for special education services (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA, 2004) must have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This document outlines the unique learning needs of the student and specifies what accommodations and modifications are necessary to assist that student to successfully complete his/her public education.
The IEP MUST be a working document. The educators involved with the student’s program need to continually assess, revise, and implement the goals and objectives outlined in the IEP. It is critical for parents to be active participants in developing and implementing the IEP.
An IEP is written after a student has been found to be eligible for special education services in accordance with Federal and State guidelines. In order for a student to be assessed for any type of special placement, the parents have to give written permission. At that time, they are given a copy of their Parental Rights. It is critical that parents read and understand their rights. Parents should not hesitate to ask for clarification or explanation of any points covered in the Parental Rights document.
An IEP meeting is scheduled at a mutually agreed on time and parents should be given a written invitation to the IEP meeting. At the minimum, an IEP team should consist of the classroom teacher (general education), a special education teacher, an administrator who is knowledgeable in special education laws and procedures, and the parent. Other team members may include; school psychologist, social worker, additional specialists (speech, hearing, etc.) and anyone else that the parent chooses to invite. The student should be invited especially when they are of the age (16) that transition is discussed.
There are five major components of the IEP. All of these areas should be fully addressed in terms that are understood by all.
- Present Levels of Performance: This component is critical as it addresses where the student is academically and behaviorally. It must contain assessment data that is current. Assessment data should include; formal testing, informal testing, teacher/parent observations and interviews.
- Goals and Objectives: The goals and objectives must be realistic, achievable, objective and measurable. Goals and objectives should be decided on and written BEFORE making any placement decisions.
- Statement of Specific Need: This is where the team determines the most appropriate place for the student to achieve his/her goals in the LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT. The team must decide which of these goals and objectives can best be met in the general education classroom.
- Projected dates for initiation of services and anticipated duration: The IEP is written for one calendar year but if services are suspended over the summer (or intersession), this must be stated.
- Criteria for evaluation: The team must agree on how the specific goals and objectives are going to be assessed. The evaluation schedule will be outlined and a determination will be made as to which of the four components for assessment will be employed.
- Transition: Once a student reaches the age of 16, transition goals and objectives must be a part of the IEP.
Parents have an intuitive sense as to what is appropriate for their child. Parental participation is critical. The purpose of an IEP is to allow parents and educators to help the student learn most effectively, while simultaneously ensuring that the student is in the least restrictive educational environment. What your child needs is not determined by what is available. Parents should never accept statements like, we don’t have the funding, training, or staff for that. The IEP is about YOUR child’s individualized educational program.
An I.E.P. and your child: fox43tv.com