A. Transitions of Birth-to-Three Students to Preschool
The district will participate in transition planning conferences, arranged by the designated Part C lead agency, for each student who may be eligible for preschool services. Transition plans will be designed to promote uninterrupted provision of appropriate services to the child.
- Special education preschool team is responsible for coordinating with the Regional Family Resource coordinator for timely execution of transition planning conferences, that are arranged at least 90 days before the student’s third birthday;
- Participants will review the child’s program options for the period from the child’s third birthday through the remainder of the school year; and
- If a student is determined eligible for special education services, an IEP will be developed and implemented by the student’s third birthday. If the third birthday is not during the school year and when appropriate, the IEP may set a start date of the beginning of the school year.
B. IEP Development
The IEP is the written statement reflecting the implementation of instructional programs and other services for special education students based on the evaluation and student needs.
An IEP must be in effect before initiation of special education services. The IEP must be developed within 30 calendar days after the student’s initial determination of eligibility for special services. IEPs must be updated annually, or revised more frequently if needed to adjust the program and services.
Parent consent is required before the initial provision of special education services. If a parent refuses to consent to the provision of special education services, the district may not use mediation or due process to override a parent’s refusal. When a parent refuses to provide consent the special education director or designee will notify that parent that the district does not have a FAPE obligation to the student. The notification will be documented in the student’s file.
The district will maintain a copy of the current IEP which is accessible to all staff members responsible for providing education, other services or implementation of the IEP. All staff members will be informed of their responsibilities for its implementation. This includes not only teachers and other service providers, but also bus drivers, playground and lunchroom supervisors, nursing staff and others who may be responsible for the proper implementation. The building principal is responsible for ensuring that staff members are knowledgeable about their responsibilities.
IEPs will be implemented without undue delay following IEP meetings, regardless of the payment source for special education and or related services.
Parents are members of the IEP team and will have the opportunity to fully participate. The district will make sure that the parents understand the proceedings, including arranging for an interpreter for parents who are deaf or whose native language is other than English. The district will also ensure that meeting locations are accessible. The special education department is responsible for coordinating interpreters and making arrangements for the meeting location.
The IEP team includes:
- The parents of the student;
- Not less than one general education teacher (or preschool teacher) of the student if the student is, or will be, participating in the general education environment;
- Not less than one special education teacher, or if appropriate, not less than one special education provider of the student;
- A representative of the district, who is qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education and related services, is knowledgeable about general education curriculum, and is knowledgeable about the availability of district resources
- An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of the evaluation results;
- Any other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise about the student. These individuals may be invited by both the district and the parents, at the discretion of the person making the invitation;
- The student, when appropriate, or when required;
- Students must be invited when the purpose of the meeting includes discussion of transition needs or services;
- If another agency is or may be responsible for payment or provision of transition services, an agency representative will be invited, with the parent’s consent. If the agency representative can not attend the meeting, district personnel will keep the representative informed of the meeting and obtain agency information that will assist in the service provision; and
- Parents will be notified of the participation of the Part C service coordinator or other designated representatives of the Part C system as specified by the state lead educational agency for Part C at the initial IEP meeting for a child previously served under Part C of IDEA.
The parents and district must agree in writing before any of the above team members are excused from all or part of a meeting. If a team member’s area of the IEP is being discussed or modified, then the parent and district must consent to their excusal; and that specific team member must provide advance written input for their part of the IEP prior to the meeting. Permission from excusals may be given by the principal, special education director or their designee.
Existing team members may fill more than one of these roles if they meet the criteria for the role.
Sometimes parents do not attend IEP meetings. There will also be times the parents do not agree with the IEP as proposed, and despite attempts to reach agreement on IEP content, the team does not reach agreement. If a parent attends the IEP meeting and agreement is not reached on the IEP, the team will determine whether another IEP meeting should be scheduled as soon as mutually possible, or whether there is enough information to complete the IEP. When the decision is made that the IEP will be implemented the district must send prior written notice of the decisions reached to the parent, including the date the IEP will be implemented.
When the parents do not attend the IEP meeting, despite the district’s efforts to ensure participation, or if the team does not reach agreement, it is the district’s obligation to offer an appropriate educational program:
- Have IEP members present sign the IEP (or document participation if any member is unwilling to sign);
- Send a copy to the parent, and provide the parent prior written notice that the district intends to implement the IEP; and
- Forward the documentation of actual or attempted contacts to the special education department for processing when parents do not attend the meeting;
When making changes to an IEP after the annual IEP meeting for a school year, the parent and the district may agree not to convene an IEP meeting for the purpose of making changes. The parent and the district must complete a written document indicating the changes and inform IEP team members and appropriate individuals of the changes. If the parent requests that the district revise the IEP to include the amendments, the IEP case managerwill revise the IEP.
C. IEP Preparation and Content:
IEP teams will consider the recommendations in the most recent evaluation to develop the IEP. In developing the IEP, the team should consider:
- The strengths of the student including the academic, developmental and functional needs of the student and the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child;
- Whether a behavior plan, including positive supports and possible aversive interventions should be considered;
- Whether the student with limited English proficiency has language needs;
- Whether Braille instruction is appropriate for a student who is blind or visually impaired;
- Whether a student has other language and communication needs; and
- Whether assistive technology devices or services are needed.
IEP content includes:
- The student’s present levels of academic and functional performance with a description of how the disability(ies) affect the student’s involvement and progress in the general curriculum or preschool activities;
- Measurable academic and functional annual goals for the student (including benchmarks or short term objectives if the student is participating in alternate assessments) that will meet the student’s needs resulting from the disability(ies) to enable involvement and progress in the general curriculum or in preschool activities, and will meet the student’s other educational needs;
- A statement of special education services, any necessary related services, and supplementary aids and services based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable to be provided to the student and program modifications or supports for personnel so that the student may advance towards annual goals, progress in the general curriculum and be educated and participate with other special education students and non-disabled students and participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities;
- A statement of the extent, if any, that the student will not participate with non-disabled students in general classroom, extra-curricular and non-academic activities;
- A statement of any individual appropriate accommodations in the administration of state or district-wide assessments of student achievement that are needed to measure academic achievement and functional performance of the child on state assessments. If the team determines that the student will not participate in a particular assessment, the IEP will address why the student cannot participate in the regular assessment(s) and why the particular alternative assessment is appropriate for the child;
- The date for the beginning of services and the anticipated frequency, location and duration of services and modifications;
- A statement of how the student’s progress towards goals will be measured, how the student’s parents will be regularly informed of their child’s progress towards the annual goals and whether the progress is sufficient to enable the student to achieve the goal by the end of the year. Measurement of the student’s progress will be based on data. Information to the parents can be provided through the use of progress reports or report cards or other agreed means, but the information must be provided at least as often as information is provided to students without disabilities;
- The projected beginning date for the special education and related services;
- With an IEP that is in effect when the child turns 16, or sooner if the IEP team determines it is appropriate, a statement of needed transition services and any interagency responsibilities or needed linkages. Transition services description must include appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based on age appropriate transition and assessments related to training, education, employment, independent living skills where appropriate; and transition services (including course of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those goals;
- Aversive interventions, if required, must be provided by trained staff and only considered after the determination has been made that positive interventions alone are not effective. Any questions about the need for or use of aversive interventions should be referred to the special education director. When aversive interventions are considered the IEP team will include a certificated employee who understands the appropriate use of interventions and concurs with the need and will include a person who works directly with the student. The district will establish a process for evaluating the effects of the use of aversive interventions, at least every three months during the school year;
- A statement regarding transfer of rights at the age of majority. The IEP case manager will provide prior written notice to the student one year prior to student turning 18 years of age; and
- Extended school year (ESY) services. The consideration for ESY services is a team decision, based on information provided in the evaluation report and based on the individual needs of a student. ESY services are not limited by categories of disability, or limited by type amount or duration of the services. If the need for ESY services is not addressed in the IEP and ESY services may be appropriate for the student, the IEP team will meet by April 15th to address the need for ESY. Factors for the team to consider when determining the need for ESY may include, but are not limited to:
- Evidence of regression or recoupment time based on documented evidence; or
- A documented determination based on the professional judgment of the IEP team including consideration of the nature and severity of the student’s disability, the rate of progress and emerging skills.