Special Education » Individual Education Program (IEP)

Individual Education Program (IEP)

INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PROGRAM (IEP)

The following information is adapted from the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR 13A.05) and 34 CFR §§300.320.

 

IEP Content

The IEP for a student with a disability shall include:

 

a statement of the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, including:

    • how the student’s disability affects the student’s involvement and progress in the general curriculum, or
    • for a preschool student, as appropriate, how the disability affects the student’s participation in appropriate activities;

 

measurable academic and functional annual goals, including benchmarks or short-term instructional objectives related to:

    • meeting the student’s needs that result from the student’s disability to enable the student to be involved in and make progress in the general curriculum, and meeting each of the student’s other educational needs that result from the student’s disability; or
    • for a preschool student, as appropriate, to participate in appropriate activities.

 

the special education and/or related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable, including staffing support, to be provided to the student, or on behalf of the student;

 

program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the student to enable the student to:

    • advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals;
    • be involved in and make progress in the general curriculum;
    • participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities; and
    • be educated and participate with other students with disabilities and students without disabilities;

an explanation of the extent, if any, to which the student will not participate with students without disabilities in the regular class and in the activities;

a statement of any appropriate individual accommodations that are needed to measure the student’s academic achievement and functional performance on statewide or district-wide assessments;

if the IEP team determines that a student may not participate in a particular statewide or district-wide assessment, documentation by the team of:

    • why the assessment, or part of an assessment, is not appropriate for the student;
    • how the student will be assessed; and
    • why a particular alternate assessment is appropriate; and

the projected dates for initiation of services, and modifications, including the anticipated frequency, location, and duration.

 

Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when a student turns 14 years old, and younger if appropriate, and updated annually, the student's IEP shall include:

  • the transition services, including the course of study needed to assist the student reach those goals;
  • appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based on age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and independent living, as appropriate; and
  • a statement of needed transition services including, if appropriate, a statement of a public agency’s and a participating agency’s responsibilities or linkages, or both, before the student leaves the secondary school setting.
  • must inform the parents how the student’s progress will be measured and how often the parents will be informed of the student’s progress.
 

 

IEP Team Members

Somerset County Public Schools shall ensure that the IEP team for a student with a disability includes:

  • the parents of the student;
  • At least one regular education teacher of the student, if the student is or may be participating in the regular education environment;
  • a special education teacher;
  • a representative of Somerset County Public Schools who is:
      • qualified to provide or supervise the provision of specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities, and
      • knowledgeable about the general curriculum and about the availability of resources of Somerset County Public Schools;
  • an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results, 
  • other individuals, at the discretion of the parent or Somerset County Public Schools, who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student, including related service personnel; and
  • the student, if appropriate.

 

If a student does not have a regular teacher or is younger than school age, the regular educator shall be an individual qualified to teach a student of the student’s age.

 

When the purpose of the IEP meeting is to consider transition services, Somerset County Public Schools shall ensure that the IEP team invites:

  • the student; and
  • a representative of any other agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services, with the consent of the:                                                                              
      • student’s parent; or
      • student, if the student has reached the age of majority.

*If the student does not attend the meeting, Somerset County Public Schools shall take other steps to ensure that the student’s preferences and interests are considered.

*If an invited representative of a participating agency does not attend the meeting, Somerset County Public Schools shall take other steps to obtain the involvement of the agency in the planning and provision of transition services.

 

For the initial IEP team meeting of a child who was previously served by the Somerset County Infants and Toddlers Program, the IEP team shall, at the request of the child’s parent, invite the coordinator or other representatives of the Somerset County Infants and Toddlers Program to assist with the smooth transition of services. 

 

 

  Related Services

 

A student with a disability may require any of the following related services in order to benefit from special education.  Related services, as listed under IDEA, include (but are not limited to):

  • audiology services,
  • counseling services,
  • early identification and assessment of disabilities in children,
  • medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes,
  • occupational therapy,
  • orientation and mobility services,
  • parent counseling and training,
  • physical therapy,
  • psychological services,
  • recreation,
  • rehabilitation counseling services,
  • school health services,
  • social work services in schools,
  • speech-language pathology services, and
  • transportation.
 

If a child needs a particular related service in order to benefit from special education, the related service professional should be involved in the development of the child’s IEP.

 

 

IEP Team Attendance

A member of the IEP team is not required to attend an IEP team meeting, in whole or in part if the parent of a student with a disability and Somerset County Public Schools agree that attendance is not necessary.

 

A member of the IEP team may be excused from attending an IEP team meeting, in whole or in part, when the meeting involves a modification to or discussion of the member’s area of the curriculum or related service, if, before the IEP team meeting:

  • the parent and Somerset County Public Schools consent to the excusal of the IEP team member; and
  • the member submits a written summary of input into the development of the IEP to the student’s parent and the IEP team.

 

The agreement of the parent and Somerset County Public Schools shall be in writing.

 

If Somerset County Public Schools invites another individual or other individuals to the meeting who did not appear on the initial notification of meeting form, then parental consent must be obtained for that or those individuals to attend.

 

Parent Participation

Somerset County Public Schools shall take steps to ensure that one or both of the parents of the student with a disability are present or are afforded an opportunity to attend and participate in meetings of the IEP team.

 

The parent of a student with a disability shall be provided with written notice in advance of the meeting. Reasonable notice shall be at least ten (10) days in advance of the meeting unless an expedited meeting is being conducted to:

  • address disciplinary issues;
  • determine the placement of the student with a disability not currently receiving educational services; or
  • meet other urgent needs of the student to ensure the provision of FAPE.

 

Appropriate school personnel shall provide the parent of a student with a disability an accessible copy of: 

  • each assessment report, data chart, draft Individualized Education Program (IEP), or other documents the IEP team or other multidisciplinary team plans to discuss at that meeting, at least five (5) business days before the scheduled meeting; and
  • the completed IEP not later than five (5) business days after a scheduled IEP or another multidisciplinary team meeting.
 

Efforts to obtain the participation of the parent include:

  • scheduling the IEP meeting at a mutually agreed on time and place; and
  • indicating, as part of the written notice:
    • the purpose, time, date, and location of the meeting;
    • who will be in attendance;
    • that parents may invite other individuals to attend and participate as a member of an IEP team; and
    • that the determination of the knowledge or special expertise of an individual is made by the party who invited the individual.

For a student with a disability who is 14 years old, or younger if appropriate, the written notice shall indicate that:

  • a purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of postsecondary goals and transition services for the student; and
  • Somerset County Public Schools will invite the student.

For a student with a disability who is 16 years old, or younger if appropriate, the written notice shall include the aforementioned information as well as identify any other agencies that may be invited to send a representative.

 

If neither parent can attend, Somerset County Public Schools shall use other methods to ensure parent participation, including individual, video conference, or teleconference calls.

 

A meeting may be conducted without a parent in attendance if Somerset County Public Schools:

  • is unable to convince the parent to attend and the parent agrees to hold the meeting in their absence; and
  • has a record of its attempts to arrange a mutually agreed on time and place, such as:
      • detailed records of telephone calls made or attempted and the results of those attempts,
      • copies of correspondence sent to the parent and any responses received, or
      • detailed records of visits made to the parent’s home or place of employment and the results of those visits.

Somerset County Public Schools shall take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the parent understands the proceedings at a meeting, including arranging for an interpreter for a parent with deafness or whose native language is other than English.

 

IEP Development

Somerset County Public Schools shall ensure that an IEP team meets to develop an IEP for a student with a disability within 30 days of the evaluation.

If a child, transitioning from the Somerset County Infants & Toddlers program, is determined to be a student with a disability or developmental delay, Somerset County Public Schools shall;

  • ensure that an IEP team meets in a timely manner to determine a child’s eligibility for special education and/or related services before the child’s third birthday; 
  • invite the coordinator or other representatives of Somerset County Infants and Toddlers Program to assist with a smooth transition of services; and
  • ensure that the student’s IEP is in effect on the student’s third birthday if a child’s family chooses to receive preschool special education services. 

The IEP team shall consider the student’s individual family service plan when developing the child's IEP.

In developing an IEP, the IEP team shall consider and document:

  • strengths of the student;
  • concerns of the parent for enhancing the education of the student;
  • results of the initial or most recent evaluation;
  • communication needs of the student;
  • whether the student requires assistive technology devices and services;
  • the results of the student’s performance on statewide, district-wide, or alternative assessment programs, as appropriate; and
  • the academic, developmental, and functional needs of the student.

If a student’s behavior impedes the student’s learning or the learning of others, the IEP team shall consider strategies, including positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports, to address that behavior, as appropriate.

 

If a student is limited English proficiency, the IEP team shall consider the language needs of the student as these needs relate to the student’s IEP.

 

If a student is blind or visually impaired, the IEP team may provide instruction in:

  • braille and the use of braille, including textbooks in braille; and
  • orientation and mobility, 

 

If the IEP team determines that instruction in orientation and mobility is not appropriate for the student, the IEP team shall order an orientation and mobility assessment, consistent with guidelines established by the Maryland State Department of Education, that:

  • includes input from the student’s parent or guardian;
  • includes input from the student’s classroom teacher; and
  • takes into consideration the student’s age, current and future needs, ability to function in familiar and unfamiliar areas, and ability to function under various lighting conditions.

 

If a student is deaf or hard of hearing, the IEP team shall consider the student’s:

  • language and communication needs;
  • opportunities for direct communication with peers and professional personnel in the student’s language and mode of communication; and
  • academic level and full range of needs, including opportunities for direct instruction in the student’s language and mode of communication.

If the IEP team determines that a student with a disability needs a particular device or service, including intervention, accommodations, or other program modifications, to receive FAPE, the student’s IEP shall include a statement to that effect.

 

As a member of the IEP team, a regular education teacher of the student shall, to the extent appropriate, participate in the development of the student’s IEP. Participation includes assisting in the determination of:

  • appropriate positive behavioral interventions and strategies for the student; and
  • supplementary aids and services, program modifications, and supports for school personnel.

 

The IEP team shall consider a student’s need for transportation as a related service to assist a student to benefit from special education.

 

 

Least Restrictive Environment and Placement

The implementation of a student’s IEP includes deciding the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) which is determined based on the student’s needs as addressed in the IEP.  Somerset County Public Schools has the responsibility for providing required services within the least restrictive environment for the student apart from scheduling concerns or administrative convenience.

 

LRE placement decisions are made by the appropriate IEP team based on the requirements outlined in the IEP.  Placement decisions may occur in conjunction with IEP development by determining the appropriate hours of services and location of delivery of each service to implement each goal and its objectives as they are developed.  Placement decisions will not be made prior to the development of goals/objectives in the IEP.  In no case may the IEP be developed to implement a desired placement nor can the placement be made based on a diagnosis of disability.

 

Somerset County Public Schools shall ensure that:

  • to the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities, including students in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with students who are not disabled; and
  • special classes, separate schooling, or other removals of students with disabilities from the regular educational environment occur only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

 

Somerset County Public Schools shall ensure that

  • the educational placement decision of a student with a disability is:
      • made by the IEP team;
      • made in conformity with the LRE provision of IDEA;
      • determined at least annually;
      • based on the student’s IEP; and
      • as close as possible to the student’s home;
  • unless the IEP of a student requires some other arrangement, the student is educated in the school or typical early childhood setting that the student would attend if not disabled;
  • in selecting the LRE, consideration is given to any potential harmful effect on the student or on the quality of services that the student needs;
  • a student with a disability is not removed from education in an age-appropriate regular classroom or typical early childhood setting solely because of needed modifications in the general curriculum; and
  • if the IEP team determines a student with a disability cannot be educated in the school or typical early childhood setting the student would attend if not disabled, the IEP shall document the specialized transportation needs of the student, including consideration of the effect transportation may have on the student in relation to the:
      • student’s age and disability;
      • specialized equipment needs of the student;
      • personnel needed to assist the student during transportation;
      • amount of time involved in transporting the student; and
      • distance the student will be transported.

 

Somerset County Public Schools provides a preschool program for students without disabilities and ensures that the requirements for a continuum of alternative placements are met.

 

 

Parent’s Permission

Before a school can provide a child with special education and related services for the first time, the child’s parents, legal guardian, or parent surrogate must give their written permission.

 

Somerset County Public Schools shall provide a copy of the IEP to the parent at no cost.

 

IEP in Effect

Somerset County Public Schools shall ensure that an IEP is in effect before special education and/or related services are provided to a student with a disability within Somerset County, including students with disabilities who are:

  • placed in or referred to a nonpublic school by Somerset County Public Schools; or
  • incarcerated in an adult correctional facility and in need of special education and/or related services from Somerset County Public Schools.

 

Somerset County Public Schools shall have an IEP in effect for a student with a disability at the beginning of a school year.

 

Somerset County Public Schools shall implement an IEP as soon as possible after the meeting where the IEP is developed or revised.

Exceptions to this are:

  • when the meeting occurs during the summer or a vacation period; or
  • when there are circumstances that require a short delay, such as working out transportation arrangements.

 

Each service provider responsible for the implementation of the IEP for a student with a disability shall:

  • have access to the IEP; and
  • be informed of the service provider’s specific responsibilities, accommodations, modifications, and supports that shall be provided for the student in accordance with the student’s IEP.
 

IEP Review

Somerset County Public Schools shall ensure that the IEP team meets periodically, but not less than annually, to review and revise the IEP, as appropriate, to:

  • determine whether the annual goals for the student are being achieved;
  • address any lack of expected progress in the annual goals or in the general curriculum;
  • review data and information from assessment procedures conducted;
  • address any information about the student provided to or by the parent;
  • address the student’s anticipated needs; and
  • discuss other matters, as identified on the notice of the IEP team meeting.

 

A parent of a student with a disability or Somerset County Public Schools may request a meeting at any time to review and, as appropriate, revise the student’s IEP.

 

After the annual IEP meeting for a school year, the parent of a student with a disability and Somerset County Public Schools may agree to develop a written document amending or modifying a student’s IEP without convening an IEP team meeting.

 

Changes to a student’s IEP may be made by:

  • the student’s IEP team; or
  • amending the student’s IEP without redrafting the entire IEP.

If a student’s IEP is amended, Somerset County Public Schools shall ensure the IEP that incorporates the amendments is:

  • accessible to the student’s service providers; and
  • provided, on request, to the student’s parent.
 

What if the Parents Don’t Agree with the IEP?

There are times when parents may not agree with the school’s recommendations about their child’s education.  Conflict, misunderstandings, and poor communications sometimes do occur.  In the child’s best interest, it is very important that these situations be resolved in a positive and productive manner.  The first step in resolving concerns and conflicts is to address them with the staff member who is most directly involved.  In most cases, this will be the child’s general education teacher or special education teacher (case manager).  A parent may want to request a conference and follow up with a note identifying specific concerns.  Of course, the school principal may be contacted at any time regarding concerns.

 

When disputes arise that cannot be resolved between parents and school-based personnel, the parents are encouraged to contact the Family Support Liaison for the Somerset County Public Schools at 410-651-1616.