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TYPES OF IEPs

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Understanding Individual Education Programs

IEP teams must develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each eligible student with a disability at least annually. An IEP outlines a students’ unique needs, their annual goals, and the special education services and supports determined necessary by the IEP team to ensure a free, appropriate public education (FAPE).

Iowa IEPs are based on the five foundations:

  1. The IEP is both a process and a product that documents that the student is receiving a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) consistent with all federal and state requirements.
  2. To the maximum extent appropriate, students requiring special education services, activities, and supports are educated with students who do not require special education.
  3. IEP development is a collaborative process.
  4. The IEP team develops a student’s IEP with high expectations based on the student’s capabilities, strengths, needs, and interests including involvement and progress in the Iowa Core Standards.
  5. The IEP process involves on-going progress monitoring and decision making.

In developing a child’s IEP, the IEP team must consider the:

  • Strengths of the child,
  • Concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child,
  • Results of the initial or most recent evaluation of the child, and
  • Academic, developmental, and functional needs of the child.

The IEP development process is complete when all discussion, decision making, and commitment of resources that are required of the IEP team is finished through the meeting process or through the amendment without a meeting process.  If discussion, decision making, and commitment of resources are not completed, the IEP team must reconvene.

When the IEP development process is completed, the LEA and/or AEA must:

  1. Provide all agreed-upon services and supports to the eligible individual: immediately following the meeting, immediately upon parent receipt of documentation of an amendment without a meeting, on a date specified in the IEP, or on the date specified in a Prior Written Notice.
  2. Inform all relevant parties of their responsibilities.

Note:  Parents should receive a copy of the “draft” IEP at the conclusion of an IEP meeting or when an amendment is completed. If is it not possible to provide the “draft” IEP immediately following the meeting or completion of the amendment, the parents should be informed when they will receive a copy of the draft which must be within a reasonable timeframe (within five (5) school days of an IEP meeting or completion of an amendment).

Initial IEPs

Following the completion of a full and individual initial evaluation AND the determination of eligibility for special education, an IEP team must develop the initial IEP using the evaluation results and other existing information. Special education services and related services should be made available to the student as soon as possible.

An initial IEP may be developed in conjunction with the Eligibility Determination meeting or as a separate meeting within 30 days of the date of eligibility determination.

For children who are transitioning from Early ACCESS services (Part C) to IEP services (Part B), the eligibility determination and initial IEP must be developed and implemented prior to the child’s third birthday.

 

Prior to an Initial IEP Meeting

  1. Contact all IEP team members to schedule the Initial IEP meeting.
  2. Invite the appropriate IEP team members using a Meeting Notice. If any required team members are unable to attend, they must be excused prior to the IEP.
  3. Prepare for the IEP meeting:
    1. Review information in the Education Evaluation Report (EER) as well as an overview of the general education curriculum and expected standards, classroom management strategies, recent district-wide assessment results, classroom assessment results, observation and interview data, etc.
    2. Develop a “draft” IEP.

 

During an Initial IEP Meeting

  1. Introduce IEP team members and review the roles and responsibilities of team members.
  2. Provide parents with a copy of the Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents and review their rights with them.
  3. If the IEP team utilized a “draft” copy of the IEP during the meeting, provide parents with a copy.
  4. Review the information gathered in preparation for the meeting, specifically the information gathered prior to and during the evaluation.
  5. Develop and write the IEP:
    1. Establish the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance
    2. Develop annual goals
    3. Determine and describe the services, supports, and activities
    4. Determine the least restrictive environment
    5. Establish progress monitoring and reporting
  6. Inform and seek to obtain written parent for Consent for Initial Services.

After an Initial IEP Meeting

 

Finalize documentation of the decisions of the evaluation/IEP team in the EER and IEP.

  1. Provide parents with Prior Written Notice of a Proposed or Refused Action for any changes in the student’s educational program if the district or AEA proposes to change the identification or placement, or change in the provision of a free appropriate public education.
  2. Provide the parents with a final copy of the EER and IEP within a reasonable amount of time (within 30 calendar days of the meeting).
  3. Implement IEP as written.
  4. Monitor progress and provide progress updates to parents.

Initial IEPs Prior to Age Three

The earliest age an IEP may be implemented for an eligible individual is 2 years, 9 months.  However, in the case of a rare and unusual circumstance that an IEP was being considered for a child younger than 2 years 9 months, the IFSP team would need to contact the AEA Director of Special Education to seek prior approval.

When an IEP will be implemented prior to a child’s third birthday, if the child and family had been receiving early intervention services, they remain eligible for early intervention services until the child’s third birthday to support a smooth and effective transition to special education services.

At the Initial IEP meeting for a child who will receive special education services before their third birthday, additional information must be shared with the family. 

  1. At the initial IEP meeting, the IFSP and IEP team must: 
    1. If the child and family were receiving early intervention services, determine and document in the IEP the early intervention services that will be provided up to the child’s third birthday.
    2. Determination of the need for ESY services. If applicable, the ESY services are documented on the IEP.
    3. Complete the Early Childhood Outcome Summary.
    4. Determine and document in the IEP the special education instructional, support, or related services needed and the date when special education services will begin.
    5. If the child and family were receiving early intervention services, discuss and inform the parents that an amendment will be necessary upon the child’s third birthday to remove the Early ACCESS services. 
  2. Following the initial IEP meeting, the early intervention services by Early ACCESS and the special education instructional, support, or related services, are implemented as documented on the IEP.
  3. When the child turns three, the IEP will be amended to reflect the following:
    1. Current special education instructional, support or related services, and
    2. Termination of early intervention services provided through Early ACCESS and documentation of exit for Early ACCESS

NOTE: Transition planning for children who turn three during the summer months may require more advanced planning to ensure all the necessary IEP team members are involved and present. 

 

 

Review/Annual IEPs

IEP reviews are conducted at least annually. The IEP team must review the eligible individual’s IEP to determine if the annual goals are being achieved and to revise the IEP as appropriate.

When revising an IEP, the team must address the following:

  • Progress toward annual goals and in the general education curriculum;
  • Results of any reevaluation;
  • Information about the child provided to or by the parents;
  • The child’s anticipated needs for the coming year; and
  • Any other relevant information to the development of the IEP.

Prior to a Review IEP Meeting

  1. Contact all IEP team members to schedule the IEP meeting.
  2. Invite the appropriate IEP team members using a Meeting Notice. If any required team members are unable to attend, they must be excused prior to the IEP.
  3. Prepare for the IEP meeting:
    1. Information that would be helpful to review in advance and to have available at an IEP meeting: an overview of general education curriculum and expected standards, classroom management strategies, recent district-wide assessment results, classroom assessment results, recent evaluations, progress monitoring data, observation and interview data, etc.
    2. Develop a “draft” IEP.

 

During a Review IEP Meeting

  1. Introduce IEP team members and review the roles and responsibilities of team members.
  2. Provide parents with a copy of the Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents and review their rights.
  3. If the IEP team utilizes a “draft” of the IEP during the meeting, provide all IEP team members, including parents, with a copy.
  4. Review the information gathered in preparation for the meeting, specifically the student’s growth and progress since the previous IEP.
  5. Develop and write the IEP:
    1. Establish the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance
    2. Develop annual goals
    3. Determine and describe the services, supports, and activities
    4. Determine the least restrictive environment
    5. Establish progress monitoring and reporting
  6. Finalize the decisions of the IEP team.
  7. Inform parents that they will be receiving Prior Written Notice of a Proposed or Refused Action (PWN) and a final copy of the IEP reflecting the decisions of the team after the meeting (determine a reasonable timeframe for this).

After a Review IEP Meeting

  1. Finalize documentation of the decisions of the IEP team in the IEP.
  2. Provide parents with Prior Written Notice of a Proposed or Refused Action (PWN) documenting for any changes in the student’s educational program if the district or AEA proposes to change the identification or placement, or change in the provision of a free appropriate public education AND a final copy of the IEP (a copy within 30 calendar days of the meeting).
  3. Implement IEP as written.
  4. Monitor progress and provide progress updates to parents in the manner determined by the IEP team.

Interim IEPs

When an IEP team determines that it is necessary to temporarily provide special education, supports, and related services to an eligible individual, an interim IEP may be developed. An interim IEP shall not be in place for more than 30 school days.

Interim IEPs may be used in the following situations:

  • As part of the evaluation process;
  • Before an IEP is finalized;
  • To aid in determining the appropriate services for the individual; or
  • When an eligible individual has moved from one LEA to another and a copy of the current IEP is not available, the LEA, AEA, or the parent believes that the current IEP is not appropriate, or additional information is needed before a final decision can be made regarding the specific special education and related services that are needed.

Although it would be a very uncommon occurrence, an interim IEP may be replaced by another interim if the purpose (completing an evaluation, gathering additional information, obtaining records from a previous school or service provider, etc.) of original interim has not been accomplished within 30 school days.

 

Prior to an Interim IEP Meeting

  1. Contact all IEP team members to schedule the IEP meeting.
  2. Invite the appropriate IEP team members using a Meeting Notice. If any required team members are unable to attend, they must be excused prior to the IEP.
  3. Prepare for the IEP meeting:
    1. Information that would be helpful to review in advance and to have available at an IEP meeting: an overview of general education curriculum and expected standards, classroom management strategies, recent district-wide assessment results, classroom assessment results, recent evaluations, progress monitoring data, observation and interview data, etc.
    2. Develop a “draft” IEP.

 

During an Interim IEP Meeting

  1. Introduce IEP team members and review the roles and responsibilities of team members.
  2. Provide parents with a copy of the Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents and review their rights with them.
  3. Review any existing information available.
  4. If the IEP team utilized a “draft” copy of the IEP during the meeting, provide parents with a copy.
  5. Develop and write an interim IEP:
    1. Establish the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance
    2. Develop annual goals
    3. Determine and describe the services, supports, and activities
    4. Determine the least restrictive environment
    5. Establish progress monitoring and reporting
  6. If the IEP team determines evaluation information is needed AND additional information is needed, parents should be asked to provide written consent for the reevaluation.

After an Interim IEP Meeting

  1. Finalize documentation of the decisions of the IEP team in the IEP.
  2. Provide parents with Prior Written Notice of a Proposed or Refused Action for any changes in the student’s educational program if the district or AEA proposes to change the identification or placement, or change in the provision of a free, appropriate public education.
  3. Provide parents with a copy of the IEP within a reasonable amount of time (within 30 calendar days of the meeting).
  4. Implement IEP as written.
  5. Monitor progress and provide progress updates to parents in the manner determined by the IEP team.

At the end of the conclusion of an Interim IEP (no more than 30 school days)

The IEP team must meet to review the evaluation data collected, as well as any additional information obtained records from a previous school or service provider, etc. If the team data indicated the student is eligible for special education services, the IEP team must develop an IEP for the student.

Amendments

An existing IEP may be amended to make changes to a child’s program, provided the team has collected and reviewed adequate data to justify the proposed change(s).

Amending IEPs:

  • An IEP team may amend an existing IEP with or without a meeting if the parent(s) and the LEA or AEA agree.
    • If a meeting is not held, it is necessary to ensure that all key members of the IEP team meaningfully participate in the amendment process.
  • Amending an IEP does not change the anniversary (duration to)date of an IEP.
  • There are no specific restrictions on the use of amendments to make changes in a student’s educational program or the kind of changes to an IEP that can be made without a meeting.
  • An existing IEP may be amended as often as necessary between required annual reviews.
  • The extent of the changes and the proximity to the IEP’s anniversary date should be considered in making the decision.

 

Steps for Amending an IEP

 

  1. Determines the potential need to amend the existing IEP and that an amendment is an appropriate process.
  2. Contact the parents to discuss the area(s) of potential change to the IEP and establish, through mutual agreement, whether or not a meeting will be held. If a meeting is not held, the IEP team must document who has agreed to amend the IEP without a meeting and how the contact with the parents was made.
  3. Consider and discuss the sections of the IEP which need to be changed. An AEA or LEA may only agree to changes in the IEP concerning the resources the AEA or LEA has the authority to commit. (i.e., an LEA cannot commit the services of personnel it does not employ such as an Occupational Therapist employed by the AEA).
  4. Document the agreed-upon changes on the IEP.
  5. Finalize documentation of the decisions of the IEP team in the IEP.
  6. Provide parents with Prior Written Notice of a Proposed or Refused Action for any changes in the student’s educational program if the district or AEA proposes to change the identification or placement, or change in the provision of a free appropriate public education.
  7. Provide the parents with a final copy of the Amended IEP within a reasonable amount of time (within 30 calendar days of the meeting).
  8. Implement IEP as written.
  9. Monitor progress and provide progress updates to parents.

Trial Placements

An IEP team may consider implementing a trial placement (often referred to as “45-day trial out”) when considering decreasing or discontinuing a specific special education services or all special education eligibility. A trial placement may be initiated when an IEP team is reviewing an IEP or completing the reevaluation process.

An IEP team must use multiple data sources such as district-wide assessments, IEP goal attainment, and progress monitoring data, other available assessment data sources, and information from teachers and parents to help make the decision to implement a trial placement.

The key question for the IEP team to address in making the decision that a student would be successful with discontinued special education services is: “Can the individual’s unique needs be met successfully in the general education curriculum and in general education environments with the instruction and supports made available to all students?”

Starting a Trial Placement

  1. Inform the parents about the intent of the trial placement.
    1. When the eligibility is being questioned, a reevaluation is required at the conclusion of the trial period (no more than 45 school days). Therefore, the IEP team should obtain notice/consent for reevaluation from the parents.
  2. Document the plan for the trial placement within the IEP, including:
    1. When will the trial placement begin?
    2. Who will be involved?
    3. What supports are needed?
    4. How will supports be faded?
    5. What will be monitored?
    6. Who will monitor?
    7. How often will monitoring occur?
    8. What is the length of time for the trial placement? (The trial period may not exceed 45 school days)

 

During a Trial Placement

  1. Implement the trial placement as documented in the IEP.
  2. Collect data and monitor the student’s progress on a regular basis using data derived from monitoring the IEP goals, ongoing data on student performance data collected for all students, input from general education teachers, special education teachers, parents and the student (if appropriate) regarding the effects of the trial.

NOTE: If the data indicate that the student is not being successful, then the IEP team should act immediately to review the implementation of the plan and make adjustments before continuing the trial placement. Based on the review, the IEP team may decide to meet and resume special education services to the student prior to the projected end of the trial placement. 

After a Trial Placement

  1. Reconvene the IEP team to consider  “Is the student ready to discontinue the specific service or all special education services?”
  2. If the team is considering discontinuing all special education services, a reevaluation is necessary. The team will use the reevaluation information to determine the overall effectiveness of the trial and the students’ continuing eligibility for special education.
  3. Document the decision and provide parents with a Prior Written Notice of Proposed or Refused Action.
  4.  

NOTE:  Additional information on the “Move-in” IEP process can be found in the IEP Documentation Guide.

Resources for Developing IEPs

Find more information about the types of IEPs offered and processes in Resources.