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Section 1

ak dept education

special ed handbook


The individualized education program (IEP) is the heart of IDEA 2004. It is a written statement that is developed, reviewed, and revised in an IEP meeting and serves as a communication vehicle between a parent and the District.

An effective process that engages parents and school personnel in a meaningful discussion of the child's educational needs must be used in developing the IEP. The completed IEP should be the product of collaboration between parents and educators who, through full and equal participation, identify the unique needs of a child with a disability and plan the services to meet those needs.

The IEP is not a performance contract or a guarantee by the District and the teacher that a child will progress at a specified rate. However, the District must ensure that all services set forth in the child's IEP are provided, and it is also obligated to make good faith efforts to assist the child in achieving his or her IEP goals and objectives. Instructions for completing an IEP and the IEP forms can be found in Appendix D.

Parent Participation

IDEA 2004 requires that parents have an opportunity to participate in meetings with respect to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement, and the provision of FAPE to their child. Parents must be part of the team that determines their child's eligibility and the team that makes decisions on the educational placement of their child. Parental concerns and the information they provide must be considered in developing and reviewing the IEP. Parents must also be kept informed about the educational progress of their child, particularly as it relates to their progress in the general education curriculum.

Development of the IEP

Development of the IEP begins with the evaluation and identification of a child with a disability who is eligible for special education services. Upon reviewing the results of the most recent evaluation data, information is summarized to describe the child's present level of academic achievement and functional performance and how the child's disability affects involvement and progress in the general education curriculum or age-appropriate activities. Appropriate services and accommodations are then considered in order to plan a program that will meet the child's needs. Measurable goals, short-range objectives, or benchmarks for all students are written to assess the child's progress, and the appropriateness of the services to be provided over the next year. Finally, placement decisions are based on the IEP and by the IEP Team.

An IEP contains goals and objectives (or benchmarks) to monitor and measure the effectiveness of the services. The IEP must be developed within 30 days after the IEP Team makes a determination of eligibility. However, the total time between parental consent to evaluate and implementation of the IEP must not exceed 45 school days. The IEP must be implemented as soon as possible after it has been developed. An IEP must be in effect at the beginning of each school year and before special education and related services are provided to the child.

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