FAQ regarding IEP s. Does a Special Ed teacher (Service Coordinator) have to be present at IEP meeting? Yes. At least 1 must be present.

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1 FAQ regarding IEP s What is an IEP? IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. It s a legal document which is a written agreement between the parent and the school. Think of it as a map of the student s education services. The IEP defines the specially designed instruction (special education) and related services that will be provided. Who receives an IEP? If a student has been served through the GEIT process and/or 504 process and the team still thinks the student may be eligible for special education then the student is referred for an evaluation and if found eligible for special education and is also in need of special education services then an IEP is written to develop goals and services (map of the student s education services). Who are the members of an IEP team? The student(required to be invited at age 16), parents/guardians of student, General Ed teacher, Special Ed teacher (service coordinator), someone qualified to explain assessments and evaluations such as a psychologist or speech pathologist, school or district administrative representative such as the Principal or Intervention Specialist (IS) or their designee, and anyone else that may provide valuable input or expertise such as a grandparent, babysitter, friend, private therapist and so forth. Do parents/guardians influence the IEP? Yes! They are equal partners in the IEP process and are critical members of the decision-making team. Parents should be actively involved with developing, reviewing, and revising the IEP. Parental input and attendance is one of your rights! Does a General Education teacher have to be present at an IEP meeting? Yes. At least 1 must be present and it has to be someone who works with your child. Does a Special Ed teacher (Service Coordinator) have to be present at IEP meeting? Yes. At least 1 must be present. Can the student attend IEP meetings? Yes! When appropriate, a student is encouraged to be an active participant in developing his/her own IEP and is required to be invited to IEP meetings by the age 16. How often is the IEP reviewed? A review must take place a minimum of once a year, or more often if revisions are needed. Parents/guardians/team can request a formal IEP meeting as they see the need. A full evaluation takes place at least every 3 years (Triennial Review).

2 Can changes be made on the IEP without permission? No! No changes can be made unless parents/guardians have participated in the decision-making process and have received Prior Written Notice of the team s decision. All changes must be supported by current data. Will I get a rough draft of the annual IEP before it is finalized? Parents/guardians should be collaborating with the IEP team in advance by phone, s, informal conferences etc. and should receive a rough draft approximately 1-2 weeks before the IEP meeting. The annual IEP meeting should not be for working out emotional conflicts or creating the IEP. Instead, the annual IEP meeting should be a time to make a few tweaks and then finalize the plan. Always ask for a copy of final IEP and keep at home in a file. When parents/guardians sign the IEP form does this make it official? By signing the IEP, parents/guardians are only indicating that they were present and participated in the IEP meeting. If concerns about the IEP have not been fully addressed or agreed upon, parents/guardians need to request that this is documented in the meeting notes with a plan for follow-up resolution. What are some effective communication tips? Throughout the year, keep track of your student s strengths and challenges. Be proactive! Create a list of goals that you would like your student to achieve. Consider your student s learning style and what motivates him/her. Do not let one s emotions take over but stay calm and focus on the needs of the student! Document concerns in writing, send an , or telephone the teacher. Schedule an informal meeting in person to brain-storm ideas and be an integral part of the team. Try to be realistic and think outside of the box. Ask, What can I do to help you? When things are going well, tell your team members! What are key components of an IEP? Descriptions of student s abilities (academic strengths/challenges & emotional-social strengths/challenges), present level of performance (PLEP), goals, related services, description of how student s progress will be measured and by whom, and how this data will be reported back to parents/guardians at regular intervals (as often as any other student, description of how much time student will spend in general classroom (Inclusive Practices or Least Restrictive Environment) and/or special education classroom (Learning Center), Accommodations, Modifications, Behavioral Plan (if needed), Health Plan (if needed), Transition Plan (after high school), Extended School Year (ESY), special transportation, Assistive Technology. What should an IEP goal contain? Goals must be specific, and MEASURABLE. Goals should be meaningful to all people working with the child and also to the child, tied to the general education curriculum and should be done in a natural part of the day to have it make sense to the child. If progress is not being made, IEP team may need to review and revise goals.

3 What is the difference between Accommodations & Modifications? Accommodations do NOT change curriculum. They only change the way a student is taught or allowed to respond. Modifications DO CHANGE the type and/or amount of curriculum taught and are used when a student is expected to learn less or learn different content. What are Related Services? Audiology, Speech-Language, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Vision, Orientation and Mobility, Hearing, Interpreter, Nursing, Psychological, Counseling, Transportation What is Assistive Technology? Devices, equipment, materials used to increase, maintain, improve functional capabilities (speaker box, pencil grip, word processor etc.) What is the difference between Occupational Therapy & Physical Therapy? Occupational therapy focuses on fine motor skills such as writing, eating, dressing, toileting. Physical therapy focuses on gross motor skills such as sitting, standing, walking, and balancing. What is a Service Coordinator? A Service Coordinator is the special education teacher licensed/certified to use various techniques to teach students with disabilities who learn or respond differently. He/she helps general educators adapt curriculum materials and teaching techniques to meet the needs of students with disabilities and may also co- teach with general educators. They are responsible for making sure the student receives specially designed instruction. What is an Intervention Specialist (IS)? An Intervention Specialist is a person on a campus that assists staff in helping students with disabilities access the general curriculum. They provide guidance, support and monitoring for administration, building facilitators and other personnel in determining the appropriate supports and services for students while overseeing compliance and training as it pertains to the special education staff of the school they are serving. What is a Building Facilitator? The Building Facilitator is the district liaison representing Student Support Services DVUSD policy and procedures and individual student and campus needs. What is Transition? The Youth Transition Program (YTP) helps students prepare for post-academic goal/career areas (when they leave the school system). YTP teams with students, families, communities and vocational rehabilitation to facilitate a plan to bridge high school students to future career opportunities.

4 How can I communicate concerns or disagreements regarding the IEP? If concerns about the IEP have not been fully addressed or agreed upon, parents/guardians need to request that this is documented in the annual IEP meeting notes with a plan for follow-up resolution. For other general concerns, always use the proper Communication Tree. Begin with the student s General Ed Teacher and/or the Special Ed Teacher (Service Coordinator). If no progress made, contact the Intervention Specialist (IS), then the Principal/Assistant Principal, then the Campus Building Facilitator. It is encouraged that one keep his/her emotions in check and focus on the student. Please document concerns, who you have spoken to, and what attempts have been made to remedy the situation. Always put in writing any requests and responses. This keeps it from being he said, she said and everything is documented. As a last resort, you may contact the district office to address formal disputes through a Grievance Procedure. Please make sure you have followed the communication tree and it will determine what the dispute is as the district office may refer you back to the campus as the IEP team is the only group that can change any service, etc. Although, we strive to work with you as a TEAM in order to avoid getting to this point! What is a 504 Plan? A 504 Plan is a written plan created for students with disabilities who require accommodations to be successful in the classroom. A 504 plan is not IEP. A 504 plan is designed to insure that a student with a 504 disability is able to receive a free and appropriate public education under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of Can a student have both an IEP and 504 Plan? No. The IEP is more in- depth and already covers things that would be on a 504 Plan such as the accommodations that would be in a 504 plan. These are two separate processes and two different teams so you will want to make sure you ask for the right team. 504 has an accommodation plan where special education has an IEP. How long will DVUSD hold onto IEP and pertinent school records once student graduates or leaves district? DVUSD keeps student records for 5 years once the student exits the district. At 5 years DVUSD puts an ad in the newspaper stating they will be destroying records by a certain date and if you need any of these records you can request a copy of the record. How can I give DVUSD input about our family s IEP experience? Make sure to fill out the Parent Satisfaction Survey given out at end of IEP meeting. Ask for one! This helps the district plan for the future through professional development or a change in process due to the input given by parents. Is there written material (a guide) about IEP s? Yes. Contact district s Parent Liaison for the pamphlet, What is an IEP? You may also download the pamphlet at under Student Support Services.

5 Are there workshops to help train about IEP s? Yes! Go to Student Support Services of and check calendar for upcoming workshops & presentations. Subscribe to the Inclusive Sparks Newsletter for more exciting news. It s free! Visit for additional workshops. Does DVUSD have anyone available to support and teach me about effective preparation for an IEP meeting? Yes! DVUSD has IEP Partners to assist you! If this is your first IEP meeting, or if you are struggling to make your student s needs known, please ask for an IEP Partner. Volunteer parents (who have students of their own with special needs) are carefully trained and will meet in person with you to help organize and communicate your thoughts with the IEP team. Next, they will attend the IEP meeting with you and provide personal follow-up afterwards. IEP Partners are NOT advocates and do not settle disputes. Instead, they offer effective communication tips so that you may become self-sufficient at future IEP meetings. Contact the district s Parent Liaison for a referral. 8/12

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