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Foundations of the State of Iowa's Individualized Education Program (IEP)

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Required by Law

Public law 108-446, known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), is federal legislation that was passed to ensure children with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that meets their unique needs.

The IDEA requires that an IEP be written for each student with a disability receiving special education and related services.

IEP

The term individualized education program or IEP is defined as a written statement for each child with a disability that describes the student’s special educational program.

Each IEP is a legal document that spells out, among other things, the special education services, activities and supports each student will receive.

The LEA or AEA must ensure that there is an IEP team for each child with a disability. This team is responsible for developing the IEP for the child.

281--Iowa Administrative Code 41.22

IEP Team

Iowa's Mission

The Mission of the Iowa State Board of Education and Department of Education is as follows:

Champion excellence in education through superior leadership and services. We are committed to high levels of learning, achievement and performance for all students, so they will become successful members of their community and the workforce.

State Board Goals
  • All children enter school ready to learn.
  • All K-12 students will achieve at high levels, prepared for success beyond high school.
  • Iowans will pursue higher education that results in an improved quality of life supported by better economic opportunities through high skill employment.
Link Between State Board The IEP, as required by IDEA, is a critical component to achieve the State Board of Education’s Mission and Goals for all students.
Mission and Goals and the IEP

The IEP must be developed with careful consideration of each child’s capabilities, strengths, needs and interests including involvement and progress in the Iowa Core Curriculum.

The IEP must direct the student toward high expectations and toward becoming a successful member of his or her community and the workforce.

The IEP must function as a tool that directs and guides the development of meaningful educational experiences. It must assist the student in achieving his or her goals plus meet the mission and goals of Iowa’s State Board of Education and Department of Education.

Foundations of Iowa’s IEP

The State of Iowa’s IEP is based on the following five foundations:

  • The IEP is a process and a product which documents that the student is receiving FAPE consistent with all federal and state requirements.
  • To the maximum extent appropriate, students requiring special education services, activities and supports are education with students who do not require special education.
  • IEP development is a collaborative process.
  • 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 Curriculum.
  • The IEP process involves on-going progress monitoring and decision making.
Foundation One

The IEP documents that the student is receiving FAPE consistent with all federal and state requirements.

The IEP is a working document that:

  • Serves as a concise summary of a student’s strengths, needs, goals, and special education services, activities and supports.
  • Documents what is necessary to assure FAPE for a student requiring special education services, activities and support;
  • States the special education services, activities and supports necessary for the student to progress and succeed in the Iowa Core Curriculum; and
  • Meets the legal requirements of IDEA and the Iowa Rules.
Indicators of Foundation One

The IEP document is written in language understandable to all team members.

Special education services, activities and supports are implemented as outlined on the IEP.

Each student’s IEP is reviewed and revised, if necessary, at least annually.

Foundation Two

To the maximum extent appropriate, students requiring special education services, activities and supports are educated with students who do not require special education.

Schools are responsible for providing an appropriate educational setting for each student. For students who require special education, the determination of the appropriate educational setting is based on the individual needs of the student and must address the legal requirements described as "least restrictive environment."

Least Restrictive Environment

Planning educational services for each student with disabilities begins with the strong presumption that the general education environment is the appropriate place to educate all students.

The general education environment is where all students participate in academic, nonacademic and extracurricular activities.

For children ages 3 through 5 a general education environment is a setting where at least 50% of the children are of similar age without disabilities. Early childhood settings may include Head Start, childcare, or kindergarten, etc. For preschool children, these are settings where appropriate activities occur for children of similar age without disabilities.

Indicators of Foundation Two

Each child’s IEP team determines the appropriate educational setting for the child. The team also considers the:

  • unique needs of the child;
  • goals established for the child; and
  • special education services, activities and supports required to achieve the goals.

Schools provide special education services, activities and supports that allow children with disabilities to be educated with their nondisabled peers whenever appropriate.

Schools provide a continuum of services.

The preferred location for special education services is the school which a child would attend if he or she did not have a disability.

Children with disabilities are educated with their nondisabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate.

Children with disabilities are neither unnecessarily nor inappropriately separated from their nondisabled peers for educational experiences without justification.

Foundation Three

IEP development is a collaborative process.

Collaboration among IEP team members is essential to ensure each student’s educational experience is a success.

The opinions of all IEP team members are valued and encouraged. Equality and respect are extended to all IEP team members.

Indicators of Foundation Three

The IEP meeting is scheduled at a mutually agreeable time and place and IEP team members are notified early enough to ensure that they have the opportunity to attend.

The IEP meeting notice includes the name and title of all persons who have been invited to attend the IEP meeting and the purpose of the meeting.

Parents and students know and understand their rights.

The student is encouraged to participate as a self-advocate as the earliest age possible.

Community service agency representatives are invited and encouraged to participate in the development of the IEP, as appropriate.

Foundation Four

The IEP team develops a student’s IEP based on the student’s strengths, needs and interests including involvement and progress in the Iowa Core Curriculum.

Students have greater success when:

  • they have access to the general curriculum;
  • they are provided the assistance necessary to progress in the Iowa Core Curriculum; and
  • educators hold high expectations for them.

The IEP team is responsible for ensuring access to the Iowa Core to the maximum extent appropriate. To accomplish this, the IEP team must identify the special education services, activities and supports which are needed to ensure the student’s involvement and progress in the Iowa Core.

Indicators of Foundation Four

The student’s performance in relationship to the Iowa Core Curriculum is documented in the present levels of academic achievement and functional performance.

District grade level content standards and benchmarks are used to assess a student’s progress, when appropriate. For preschool children the Iowa Early Learning Standards 2012 may be used.

Development of goals is guided by the age or grade level expectations of the Iowa Core Curriculum, whenever appropriate.

The IEP specifies the special education services, activities and supports needed to ensure involvement and progress in the Iowa Core Curriculum.

General education teachers along with other individuals who are knowledgeable about the Iowa Core Curriculum actively participate on IEP teams.

Foundation Five

The IEP process involves on-going progress monitoring and decision making.

The IEP represents a plan for specially designed instruction and services for the student. This instruction is the most effective when based on continuous progress monitoring.

Progress monitoring is needed to provide objective information and to make instructional decisions.

Decisions should be made:

  • based on frequently and regularly collected data,
  • based on the analysis of student performance over time, and
  • in response to the results of the educational interventions that are being implemented.

Data collected for progress monitoring should serve as a decision making tool for all members of the IEP team.

Indicators of Foundation Five

Goals are meaningful, measurable, can be monitored, and are used to make decisions.

Parents and students, if appropriate, understand the progress monitoring information.

There is evidence of a measurement strategy, an ongoing method of data collection, and data analysis to drive the decision making process.

All members of the IEP team receive information about the student’s progress on his or her annual IEP goals.

A child’s progress on his or her IEP goals is reported as often as the progress of students without disabilities.

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on July 10, 2014 at 9:12am.