CESA 7  Special Education letterhead

Memorandum

March 10, 1998

TO: EEN Staff, EEN Coordinators, District Administrators
FR: Nissan B. Bar-Lev, Director of Special Education
RE: The New IEP Requirements Under IDEA 1997


This memo is divided into two major parts. Part I describes the IEP components of IDEA 1997. Part II presents the legal language of these components in IDEA 1997.

A meeting with all Calumet county EEN coordinators is scheduled for Friday, March 20th, 1998. Staff meetings at local school districts will follow.

PART I: DESCRIPTIONS OF IEP COMPONENTS

Every student with a disability who receives services under the IDEA must have an Individualized Education Program, or IEP. This is a vital document because it contains key information about the student and the special education and related services he or she needs and will receive. Each student's IEP is developed annually by a team of people, including the student's parents and school professionals.

This team uses information about the student, such as recent evaluation data, observations, and input from the parents and school personnel. The team writes the IEP, which is then used to guide the special education and related services that the child receives."

The following items reflect some of the changes in the IEP and placement processes:

  1. The majority of children identified as eligible for special education and related services are capable of participating in the general education curriculum to varying degrees with some adaptations and modifications. This provision is intended to ensure that children's special education and related services are in addition to and are affected by the general education curriculum, not separate from it. Elements of the IEP Emphasizing General Ed Involvement:

    1. "Present levels of educational performance" must state how the child's disability affects involvement and progress in general curriculum.
    2. "Annual goals, including benchmarks/objectives," are related to helping child be involved and progress in general curriculum.
    3. "Special education and related services" and "supplementary aids and services" for the child, and "program modifications or supports for school personnel," that will be provided for the child:
      1. to advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals,
      2. to be involved and progress in general curriculum, and participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities, and
      3. to be educated and participate with disabled and nondisabled children.
    4. "Explanation of non-participation" with nondisabled children in regular class and activities must be included in IEP.
  2. The "expanded role of the regular education teacher." The regular education teacher is now specifically listed as a member of the IEP Team. The regular education teacher is now part of the IEP Team! Areas where he or she might contribute:
    1. helping develop, review, and, as appropriate, revise the IEP
    2. determining appropriate positive behavioral interventions and strategies for the student
    3. determining supplementary aids and services, and program modifications for the student
    4. determining support that school personnel need in order to help the "child progress in the general curriculum"
  3. "Special factors to be considered." While the IEP is developed in much the same manner as before, the IEP Team must now consider "special factors" such as
    1. Positive behavior strategies and interventions for students with behavior that impedes their learning or that of others
    2. Student's language needs, for students with limited English proficiency
    3. Instruction in Braille and the use of Braille, unless IEP Team determines it is not needed, for students who are blind or visually impaired
    4. The child's communication needs
    5. The student's need for assistive technology devices and services
    6. In the case of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, the IEP must consider the child's:
      1. language and communication needs
      2. opportunities for direct communications with peers and professionals in the child's language and communication mode
      3. academic level
      4. full range of needs, including opportunities for direct instruction in child's language and communication mode.
  4. "Transition planning at 14." For the past few years the IEPs of youth with disabilities, beginning at age 16, must include a statement of needed transition services (including, when appropriate, a statement of interagency responsibilities or any needed linkages) that they will need in order to prepare for life after high school. With IDEA 97, that requirement is maintained, with an addition: Beginning at age 14, and updated annually, the IEP must include a statement of the transition service needs of the child, under the applicable components of the child's IEP that focus on the child's courses of study, such as participation in advanced-placement courses or a vocational education program.
  5. "Reporting on student progress" are now required as part of the IEP. The team must address:
    1. How will child's parents be regularly informed (by such means as report cards) of:
    2. their child's progress toward annual goals?
    3. the extent to which that progress is sufficient to enable the child to achieve the goals by the end of the year?
  6. "Parent participation in placement decisions." This is a new provision within the law. IDEA requires that each LEA or State educational agency ensure that the parents of each child with a disability are members of any group that makes decisions on the educational placement of their child.

PART II: IDEA LEGAL LANGUAGE MANDATING THE ABOVE IEP COMPONENTS

The Contents of the IEP:
Section 614(d)(1)(A) "

(d) Individualized Education Programs.--

"(1) Definitions.--As used in this title:
"(A) Individualized Education Program.--The term 'individualized education program' or 'IEP' means a written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with this section and that includes--

"(i) a statement of the child's present levels of educational performance, including --

"(I) how the child's disability affects the child's involvement and progress in the general curriculum; or

"(II) for preschool children, as appropriate, how the disability affects the child's participation in appropriate activities;

"(ii) a statement of measurable annual goals, including benchmarks or short-term objectives, related to--

"(I) meeting the child's needs that result from the child's disability to enable the child to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum; and

"(II) meeting each of the child's other educational needs that result from the child's disability;

"(iii) a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child--

"(I) to advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals;

"(II) to be involved and progress in the general curriculum in accordance with clause (i) and to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities; and

"(III) to be educated and participate with other children with disabilities and nondisabled children in the activities described in this paragraph;

"(iv) an explanation of the extent, if any, to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in the regular class and in the activities described in clause (iii);

"(v)(I) a statement of any individual modifications in the administration of State or district-wide assessments of student achievement that are needed in order for the child to participate in such assessment; and

"(II) if the IEP Team determines that the child will not participate in a particular State or district-wide assessment of student achievement (or part of such an assessment), a statement of--

"(aa) why that assessment is not appropriate for the child; and

"(bb) how the child will be assessed;

"(vi) the projected date for the beginning of the services and modification described in clause (iii), and the anticipated frequency, location, and duration of those services and modifications;

"(vii)(I) beginning at age 14, and updated annually, a statement of the transition service needs of the child under the applicable components of the child's IEP that focuses on the child's courses of study (such as participation in advanced-placement courses or a vocational education program);

"(II) beginning at age 16 (or younger, if determined appropriate by the IEP Team), a statement of needed transition services for the child, including, when appropriate, a statement of the interagency responsibilities or any needed linkages; and

"(III) beginning at least one year before the child reaches the age of majority under State law, a statement that the child has been informed of his or her rights under this title, if any, that will transfer to the child on reaching the age of majority under section 615(m); and

"(viii) a statement of--

"(I) how the child's progress toward the annual goals described in clause (ii) will be measured; and

"(II) how the child's parents will be regularly informed (by such means as periodic report cards), at least as often as parents are informed of their nondisabled children's progress, of--

"(aa) their child's progress toward the annual goals described in clause (ii); and

"(bb) the extent to which that progress is sufficient to enable the child to achieve the goals by the end of the year."

Section 614(d)(1)(A

________________________________

Members of the IEP Team:
Section 614(d)(1)(B)

"(B) Individualized Education Program Team.--The term 'individualized education program team' or 'IEP Team' means a group of individuals composed of --

"(i) the parents of a child with a disability;

"(ii) at least one regular education teacher of such child (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment);

"(iii) at least one special education teacher, or where appropriate, at least one special education provider of such child;

"(iv) a representative of the local educational agency who--

"(I) is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities;

"(II) is knowledgeable about the general curriculum; and

"(III) is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the local educational agency;

"(v) an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results, who may be a member of the team described in clauses (ii) through (vi);

"(vi) at the discretion of the parent or the agency, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate; and

"(vii) whenever appropriate, the child with a disability."

Section 614(d)(1)(B)

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Developing the IEP:
Section 614(d)(3)

"(3) Development of IEP.--

"(A) In general.--In developing each child's IEP, the IEP Team, subject to subparagraph (C), shall consider--

"(i) the strengths of the child and the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child; and

"(ii) the results of the initial evaluation or most recent evaluation of the child.

"(B) Consideration of Special Factors.--The IEP Team shall--

"(i) in the case of a child whose behavior impedes his or her learning or that of others, consider, when appropriate, strategies, including positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports to address that behavior;

"(ii) in the case of a child with limited English proficiency, consider the language needs of the child as such needs relate to the child's IEP;

"(iii) in the case of a child who is blind or visually impaired, provide for instruction in Braille and the use of Braille unless the IEP Team determines, after an evaluation of the child's reading and writing skills, needs, and appropriate reading and writing media (including an evaluation of the child's future needs for instruction in Braille or the use of Braille), that instruction in Braille or the use of Braille is not appropriate for the child;

"(iv) consider the communication needs of the child, and in the case of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, consider the child's language and communication needs, opportunities for direct communications with peers and professional personnel in the child's language and communication mode, academic level, and full range of needs, including opportunities for direct instruction in the child's language and communication mode; and

"(v) consider whether the child requires assistive technology devices and services.

"(C) Requirement with respect to regular education teacher.--The regular education teacher of the child, as a member of the IEP Team, shall, to the extent appropriate, participate in the development of the IEP of the child, including the determination of appropriate positive behavioral interventions and strategies and the determination of supplementary aids and services, program modifications, and support for school personnel consistent with paragraph (1)(A)(iii)."

Section 614(d)(3)

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Reviewing and Revising the IEP:
Section 614(d)4)

"(4) Review and Revision of IEP.--

"(A) In general.--The local educational agency shall ensure that, subject to subparagraph (B), the IEP Team--

"(i) reviews the child's IEP periodically, but not less than annually to determine whether the annual goals for the child are being achieved; and

"(ii) revises the IEP as appropriate to address--

"(I) any lack of expected progress toward the annual goals and in the general curriculum, where appropriate;

"(II) the results of any reevaluation conducted under this section;

"(III) information about the child provided to, or by, the parents, as described in subsection (c)(1)(B);

"(IV) the child's anticipated needs; or

"(V) other matters.

"(B) Requirement with respect to regular education teacher.--The regular education teacher of the child, as a member of the IEP Team, shall, to the extent appropriate, participate in the review and revision of the IEP of the child."

Section 614(d)(4)

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