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Initial IEPs



Once a student is identified as a child with a disability who needs special education services in order to access the Iowa Core Curriculum he/she is determined an eligible individual.

Eligible individuals must have a current IEP in order to receive special education services. A meeting must be held to develop an Initial IEP.

The IEP Team


The LEA or AEA must ensure that the IEP team for each child with a disability includes the following:

  • The parents of the child;
  • At least one general education teacher of the child if the child is, or may be, participating in the general education environment;
  • At least one special education teacher of the child or, where appropriate, at least one special education provider of the child;
  • An LEA representative who:
    • Is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities;
    • Is knowledgeable about the Iowa Core Curriculum; and
    • Is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency.
  • An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results
  • 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
  • Whenever appropriate, the child with a disability.

NOTE: A person may serve in more than one role.  For example, the special education teacher may also be the LEA representative, or the person who can interpret evaluation results.

The IEP Team

IEP Team Member Attendance

A member of the IEP team is not required to attend the IEP team meeting.  The parent of a child with a disability and the LEA/AEA must agree, in writing, that the attendance of the member is not necessary because their area of the curriculum or related service is not being modified or discussed in the meeting.

A member of the IEP team may be excused from attending an IEP meeting during which a modification of the member’s area of the curriculum or related services will be discussed if:

  1. The parent, in writing, and the LEA/AEA consent to the excusal; and
  2. The member submits, in writing, to the parent and the IEP team, input into the development of the IEP prior to the meeting. 

Agreement to Excuse Attendance at IEP Meeting

Documenting Meeting Notice 

The LEA or AEA must document attempts to set a mutually agreed upon time and place for an IEP meeting with parents. These records, which must be part of the child’s cumulative file, might include:

  • Detailed records of telephone calls made or attempted and the results of those calls;
  • Copies of correspondence (including meeting notices) sent to the parents and any responses received; and
  • Detailed records of visits made to the parent’s home or place of employment and the results of those visits.

It is recommended that two attempts be made to have an IEP meeting with parents attending. It is important that if a parent does not attend either of the first two scheduled meetings those meetings should be cancelled.

If the parents do not attend either of the first two scheduled meeting a third meeting notice should be sent and the IEP meeting held even if the parents do not attend.

Make sure that the attempts to notify parents of each IEP meeting are documented in the child’s cumulative file.

Methods of Meeting Participation

If neither parent is able to attend the IEP meeting in person, they may participate through:

  • ICN (Iowa Communication Network),
  • Video conferencing (Polycom),
  • Web Cam, or
  • Conference call.

Preparing for the Initial IEP Meeting

To Prepare for the Meeting

Before the Initial IEP meeting the person leading the meeting must:

  • Take steps to ensure one or both parents of the child with a disability are present at each meeting or offered the opportunity to participate
  • Discuss with the parent the benefit of having the student attend the IEP meeting and then make the decision regarding his or her participation
  • Decide which general education teacher(s) should attend
  • Establish a mutually agreeable date, time and location
  • Send meeting notice to parents and all IEP team members
  • Gather information from other general education teachers
Draft IEPs

The Web IEP application allows for the development of a draft IEP prior to the meeting date. When the IEP is printed out prior to the date of the meeting, the word "DRAFT" is superimposed on each page.

When using a draft IEP, parents must be assured that this is not the final IEP and their input, as well as that of other team members, will be considered.

Other Considerations

Also, consider the following:

  • Sending relevant information to all team members so they can prepare for the meeting
  • Sending a copy of the draft IEP to the parents, if appropriate
  • Encouraging student-led meetings when appropriate.

During the Initial IEP Meeting

During the Meeting

Since this will be the first IEP meeting for most parents it would be good practice to review what happens at an IEP meeting with the parents before the meeting starts.

Follow the IEP process to develop the IEP.

Disagreements On occasion, members of the IEP team do not agree. Consensus is an agreement in which each side makes compromises. It may be difficult to build consensus, but it is well worth the effort. Building consensus is also a procedure in which others provide information that team members may not have.


Steps to build consensus:

  • Identify the most important issue of disagreement.
  • Listen to others.
  • Determine which areas you can compromise on.
  • Brainstorm possible solutions.
  • Consider each possible solution. List and consider the pros and cons of each.
  • Discuss the pros and cons and select the solution which minimizes the cons and maximizes the pros.
  • Get input from all team members. Discuss the problem and possible solutions until you find the solution which can be supported by all.

If the IEP Team cannot reach consensus the district or AEA must assure that:

  • Prior Written Notice has been sent to parent(s) to notify them of the action that the district or AEA is refusing or proposing to implement.
  • Parents are aware of Procedural Safeguards.

Documentation on the IEP

Recording Team Decisions As the team goes through the IEP process, the Draft IEP must be changed to reflect the decisions of the IEP team.

Implementation and Follow-up

Prior to Provision of Services

Prior of any provision of the services outlined in the child’s IEP, the parent(s) must sign the Consent for Initial Special Education and/or Related Services form to assure that:

  • The parent(s) understands that after a full and individual evaluation of their child’s educational needs that the child has been determined to be a child with a disability in need of special education and/or related services; and
  • The results of the full and individual evaluation have been explained to the parent.
  • The services for their child have been reviewed in detail and described on his/her IEP.
  • The parent(s) understands the service(s).

Consent for Initial Special Education and/or Related Services

After the Annual Review

Following the IEP meeting:

  • All service providers must be given access to the IEP, and those who were not in attendance must be made aware of their responsibilities for implementing the IEP.   
  • Begin or continue services as described on page F.  
  • Implement the procedures for progress monitoring.  
  • If there is disagreement on the IEP team, the district must provide Prior Written Notice of a Proposed or Refused Action. Prior Written Notice

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on May 24, 2018 at 6:31pm.