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EXITING SPECIAL EDUCATION

Reasons Students are Exited

In various situations, an IEP team may need to exit an eligible individual from special education services. Per IDEA and state regulations, there are four circumstances which can end eligibility for an eligible individual:

  • Graduation with a regular diploma
  • Reaching the maximum age for eligibility (21 years old)
  • The decision of an IEP team that an individual is no longer eligible
  • A parent or age-of-majority student revocation of consent for special education and related service

Additionally, there are other circumstances when an eligible individual is not receiving special education services and the AEA and/or LEA needs to remove the student from an active special education roster. These circumstances include when a student:

  • Is not attending school (dropout)
  • Has moved out of state
  • Cannot be located
  • Has passed away

When it is determined appropriate to exit a student from special education services, the district and/or AEA shall complete the exit process in a timely manner.

Graduation by District Diploma

When a student has met their local school district’s graduation requirements, which at a minimum, must include four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and three years of science (“4-3-3-3”), the completion of district PE expectations, AND any other requirements established by the IEP team (if permitted by district policy), the student must be exited for special education services.

Note: Eligible individuals graduating prior to in the class of 2022 may graduate per other means such as IEP goal completions as determined by the student’s IEP team.

Is a meeting required? No.

  • Although a meeting is not required, the LEA may want to consider offering the student/family the opportunity to have a meeting.

Is a reevaluation required? No.

Steps to exit a student per Graduation by Diploma:

  1. Confirm the student has met district graduation requirements (check student’s transcript and confer with district staff) and any other requirements established by the IEP team (if permitted by district policy).
  2. Update progress monitoring information for each IEP goal.
  3. Summarize the student’s academic achievement and functional performance, including recommendations on how to assist the student in meeting his/her postsecondary goals, using the Postsecondary Summary IDEA form OR Support for Accommodations Request IDEA form.
  4. Provide prior written notice to the student/parents stating the student will be exited from special education services per graduation.
  5. Inform the student/family of their procedural safeguards regarding accessing student records and the destruction of records.
  6. Provide the student/family a copy of the final IEP.
  7. Indicate the student was exited in the Web IEP system.

Upon exit per graduation, the student is no longer considered eligible for special education services.

Reaching Maximum Age (21 Years Old)

When a student has reached the maximum age for eligibility (21 years old), the student must be exited from special education services. In Iowa, a student who reaches 21 years of age during the school year will be eligible to finish the school year. 

Note: In rare circumstances, an LEA and/or AEA may continue special education and related services to an eligible individual beyond the school year in which the individual turns 21 if the person had an accident or prolonged illness that resulted in delays in the initiation or interruption in that individual’s education program. The AEA Director of Special Education must request approval from the Iowa Department of Education, which may be granted for up to the individual’s 24 birthday.

Is a meeting required? No.

  • Although a meeting is not required, the LEA may want to consider offering the student/parents the opportunity to have a meeting.

Is a reevaluation required? No.

Steps to exit a student per Reaching Maximum Age:

  1. Confirm the student 21 years old and/or completed the school year in which the student reaches 21 years old.
  2. Update progress monitoring information for each IEP goal.
  3. Summarize the student’s academic achievement and functional performance, including recommendations on how to assist the student in meeting his/her postsecondary goals, using the Postsecondary Summary IDEA form OR Support for Accommodations Request IDEA form.
  4. Provide prior written notice to the student/family stating the student will be exited from special education services per reaching the maximum age of 21 years old.
  5. Inform the student/family of their procedural safeguards regarding accessing student records and the destruction of records.
  6. Provide the student/family a copy of the final IEP.
  7. Indicate the student was exited in the Web IEP system.

Upon exit per reaching the maximum age, the student is no longer considered eligible for special education services.

Graduation by Certificate

When a student is unable to meet the academic requirements for a diploma, the district may issue a Certificate of Achievement or Completion of Attendance. The IEP team should inform the student/family such an award does not end the student’s right to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Therefore, the student could continue to receive special education services rather than be exited.

Is a meeting required? No.
Is a reevaluation required? No.

Steps to exit when a student is graduating by certificate:

  1. Confirm the student will be receiving a Certificate of Achievement (or Completion of Attendance) and no longer plans to access FAPE.
  2. Update progress monitoring information for each IEP goal.
  3. Consider summarizing the student’s academic achievement and functional performance, including recommendations on how to assist the student in meeting his/her postsecondary goals, using the Postsecondary Summary IDEA form OR Support for Accommodations Request IDEA form.
  4. Provide prior written notice to the student/family stating the student will be exited from special education services and is still eligible to receive FAPE until graduation with a regular diploma or age 21.
  5. Indicate the student was exited in the Web IEP system.

Student is No Longer Eligible

When an IEP team has determined the student no longer requires specially designed instruction in order to access and make progress in the general education curriculum, the student must be exited from special education services.

Is a meeting required? Yes.
Is a reevaluation required? Yes.

Steps to exit a student who is no longer eligible:

  1. Complete the reevaluation process, document, and review the results with the IEP team.
  2. Update progress monitoring information for each IEP goal.
  3. Provide prior written notice to the student/family stating the student will be exited from special education services as the student is no longer eligible per the Iowa Eligibility Standards.
  4. Inform the student/family of their procedural safeguards regarding accessing student records and the destruction of records.
  5. Provide the student/family a copy of the final IEP.
  6. Indicate the student was exited in the Web IEP system.

Parent Revocation of Consent

Parents and age of majority students can unilaterally withdraw their consent to special education and related services at any time. The parent’s/age of majority student’s revocation of consent must be in writing.

As long as a parent, or age of majority student, has the legal authority to make educational decisions, the public agency must accept either parent’s, or age of majority student’s, revocation of consent.

Upon revocation of consent, the public agency should inform student/parent:

  • The student will no longer have IDEA discipline protections.
  • The student will no longer be considered an eligible individual and the district is not deemed to have knowledge the student is a student with a disability.
  • The student will no longer be provided with the general education accommodations specified in the IEP.
  • The student/parent may not demand a Section 504 Plan, but the student/parents could work with the district to request.
  • The student’s participation in non-school programs (e.g. SSI, ACT/SAT testing accommodations, etc.) may be impacted.

NOTE: When a parent chooses to enroll their student in Competent Private Instruction (homeschooling) without dual enrollment or Independent Private Instruction, the student is treated as if the parent has revoked consent for special education in writing. For additional information on Competent Private Instruction, click here.

Is a meeting required? No.

Is a reevaluation required? No.

Steps to exit a student per parent revocation of consent:

  1. Update progress monitoring information for each IEP goal.
  2. Provide prior written notice to the student/parent stating the student will be exited from special education services per parent revocation of consent.
  3. Inform the student/parents of their procedural safeguards regarding accessing student records and the destruction of records.
  4. Provide the student/parents a copy of the final IEP.
  5. Indicate the student was exited in the Web IEP system.

Dropout

When a student is no longer attending school and the school district has determined the student to be considered a ‘dropout’, the student must be exited from special education services.

Is a meeting required? No.

  • Although a meeting is not required, the LEA may want to consider offering the student/family the opportunity to have a meeting.

Is a reevaluation required? No.

Steps to exit when a student is considered a dropout:

  1. Confirm the student is no longer attending and that the school district officials have determined the student has met the criteria of a dropout.
  2. Update progress monitoring information for each IEP goal.
  3. Provide prior written notice to the student/family stating the student will be exited from special education services due to dropping out of school.
  4. Inform the student/family of their procedural safeguards regarding accessing student records and the destruction of records.
  5. Provide the student/family a copy of the final IEP.
  6. Indicate the student was exited in the Web IEP system.

Moved Out of State

When a student moves out of state, the student must be exited from special education in Iowa.

Is a meeting required? No.

  • Although a meeting is not required, the LEA may want to consider offering the student/family the opportunity to have a meeting if the LEA is informed of the plan to move out of state.

Is a reevaluation required? No.

Steps to exit when the student has moved out of Iowa:

  1. Confirm the student has moved out of state with school district officials.
  2. Update progress monitoring information for each IEP goal.
  3. If possible, provide prior written notice to the student/family stating the student will be exited from special education services due to the student/parent moving out of state.
  4. If possible, inform the student/family of their procedural safeguards regarding accessing student records and the destruction of records.
  5. Indicate the student was exited in the Web IEP system.

Unknown Location of a Student

When a student is no longer attending school and the public agency is unable to determine the location of the student, the student must be exited from special education services.

Is a meeting required? No.

Is a reevaluation required? No.

Steps to exit when the location of a student is unknown:

  1. Confirm the student is no longer attending and that there is no information available regarding the student’s location with district official(s).
  2. Update progress monitoring information for each IEP goal.
  3. If possible, provide prior written notice to the student/family stating the student will be exited from special education services.
  4. If possible, inform the student/family of their procedural safeguards regarding accessing student records and the destruction of records.
  5. Indicate the student was exited in the Web IEP system.

Deceased

When a student passes away, the student must be exited from special education services.

Is a meeting required? No.

Is a reevaluation required? No.

Steps to exit when a student passes away:

  1. Confirm the student has passed away. (A copy of the obituary may be placed in the student’s record.)
  2. Update progress monitoring information for each IEP goal.
  3. Provide family a copy of the final IEP, including notice of exit.
  4. Inform the family of their procedural safeguards regarding accessing student records and the destruction of records.
  5. Indicate the student was exited in the Web IEP system.

Eligible Individuals Who Are Not Attending Special Education

If an eligible individual is attending school but is not attending their special education services, the IEP team should work with the student and parents/family to ensure the student receives the services outlined in their IEP.

The IEP team should:

  • Document all efforts to ensure the student attends his/her special education service
  • Consider reviewing the appropriateness of the student’s services and program 
  • If determined appropriate, revise the student’s IEP or consider exiting the student from special education

Reinstating Special Education Services

If a student who has been exited but retains eligibility (e.g., dropout returning to school, student moving back into Iowa who had services out of state) returns to school or to services, the special education services may be reinstated as previously documented in the IEP.

The IEP team shall determine if the student has a current IEP (i.e., the review date is not past due).

    • If yes, the IEP team should consider current data or circumstances to determine if an IEP review or amendment is needed and provide prior written notice to the student/parent stating special education services are being resumed.
    • If no, the IEP team must hold an IEP meeting to review and revise the IEP and provide prior written notice to the student/parent stating special education services are being resumed.

If the student returns to special education services after a lengthy period, the IEP team should consider potential reevaluation needs. If additional assessments are necessary for the reevaluation process, parent or age-of-majority student consent must be obtained.

Exit Resources

For additional information on exiting special education, visit our Resources page.