Special Education: Notes Regarding Certain IEP Elements

Vision Statement – IEP 1:
A vision statement is required for all students. The character of the statement will change based on the age of the student.

The intent of the vision statement is to look forward to future goals, usually 1-5 years in the future. The Team steps back from the here and now to take a broader, long-range perspective as it looks to where this student is headed in the future. Knowing where the student is headed makes it easier for the Team to eventually determine what progress needs to be made this year.

As the student becomes older and more involved in transition planning, the vision statement becomes the hopes and dreams of the student and not the parent and Team. Also, the statement for older students must conform to federal regulation and be based on the student’s preference and interests and include desired outcomes in adult living and post-secondary and work environments.

Present levels of Educational Performance:
A. General Curriculum – IEP 2:
Teams must consider for each student how the student’s disability (ies) affects performance in general education curriculum area(s). However, the discussion of the Team need only center on those areas of the curriculum where the student’s performance is adversely affected by the student’s disability (ies). Clear descriptions of how the disability (ies) impact progress will better assist Teams in determining the most appropriate and individualized accommodations and specially designed instruction.

The Team will also use the assessment information and their discussion of the student’s levels of educational performance (PLEP) to focus the direction of the IEP goals and services. The PLEPs must be based on current, relevant information about the student obtained from a variety of sources.

B. Other Educational Needs – IEP 3: * All IEPs must have a box checked on PLEP B under :Age-Specific Considerations” according to the correct age/category: ages 14+ or ages 16 to 22

All IEPs must have a statement describing the Transitional Planning needs for the student under “ How does the disability affect progress in the indicated area(s) of other educational needs.”

As STUDENT required consideration for transition skills, specific instruction related to the challenges resulting for their disability were to be addressed. They will require specialized instruction with ( English Language Arts, Academic Engagement, and one-on-one counseling) in order to make effective progress and fulfill their course of study.

Teams must ensure that they review the considerations listed on IEP 3. These lists are not exhaustive in nature. Therefore, Teams should describe other identified area(s) of educational needs that affect progress, but may not be listed.

Current Performance Levels/Measurable Annual Goals – IEP 4:
Most IEPs should contain no more than an average of three to four goals. Goals should relate directly to those areas where the student’s disability affects performance and should reflect a focus on those areas that make the biggest difference in the student’s performance. Goals should not identify multiple curricular standards in a single curriculum area nor qualify as a detailed weekly or monthly lesson plan.

Current performance levels and goals should relate directly to the previously written Present Levels of Educational Performance.

Teams must connect current performance to measurable annual goals.
The IEP should be written with a direct connection between the current performance levels and the measurable annual goals. The current performance levels state what the student can currently do and identify key stumbling blocks. The goals state what the student will accomplish by the end of the IEP period. The current performance levels become the starting points for determining the goals and the goals become the end points for student accomplishment for the IEP period.

Service Delivery – IEP 5
Indirect services represent services that are provided to someone other than the student. Consultation or training for school staff and/or parents should be listed in Section A. Direct services to student should be listed in Section B if the service(s) will occur in the general education environment and in Section C if the service(s) will occur in any other type of setting. Although Teams are identifying service needs that they believe should take place outside of the general education classroom, Teams are not, at this point, determining the student’s final placement. The final type of placement is determined after the entire IEP is developed. There is an exception to this general rule: if the Team has, in the course of its discussions, determined that this student will need a longer school day or school year, then the service delivery information may reflect services beyond the standard school day and, in some circumstances may reflect a need for residential services. In all cases, if extended educational services are required, the goals and objectives developed for the student should reflect the comprehensive nature of the student’s program.

Start dates and end dates should be included for all services.

Non-participation, Length of School Day/Year, Transportation – IEP 6

Teams must justify non-participation in general education program. To reinforce IDEA’s strong preference for involvement in the general education environment, the law requires a clear statement justifying why removal is considered critical to the student’s program and the basis for the Team’s conclusion that education of the student in a less restrictive environment, with the use of supplementary aids and services, could not be achieved satisfactorily. Given reasons should focus on the benefit the student will receive from being outside of the general education environment. An eligible child should not be removed from the general education classroom solely because of needed modification of the curriculum. The justification should refer to any special education and related services recommended to occur in other settings during the service delivery discussion and not to potential placements.

Examples of language that can be used for the Participation Justification section of the IEP:

Student’s removal from the general education curriculum is critical in order for XXXXX to receive one-on-one counseling services from the social worker to develop strategies to improve behavior related to coping skills and self-advocacy in order to support classroom/school community demands and to learn how to compensate for their disabilities.
Student’s removal from the general education curriculum is critical in order for XXXXX to receive one-on-one speech and language services from the speech and language therapist in order to develop strategies to improve vocabulary and comprehension in order to support classroom demands and to learn how to compensate for their disabilities.

Teams must describe when a student’s school day or year is modified. Most students with disabilities will attend school on the same daily and yearly schedule as their non-disabled peers. However, in rare circumstances, a Team will recommend a schedule modification. The Team may decide the student requires a shortened school day, shortened school year, longer school day, longer school year or residential services. In each case, the IEP must describe the modification and the reasons for such modification. An extended day or year program may be identified if the student has demonstrated or is likely to demonstrate a loss of acquired skill and/or substantial difficulty in relearning skills if an extended program is not provided.

Transportation is a related service. Transportation is considered a related service under the Federal statute and needs to be provided to ensure that students receive educational benefit from their IEP services. A recommendation for a student to receive transportation, as with other IEP decisions, relates back to the effect of the student’s disability (ies) on transportation. Team members must ascertain whether the disability (ies) prevents the student from getting to the local school in the same manner as the student’s non-disabled peers would get to the local school. On the IEP under Transportation Services, only check “yes” if the student requires modifications or specialized equipment.

State or District-Wide-Assessment – IEP 7:
Teams continue to be responsible for deciding how all students will participate in state and district-wide assessments. However, if no assessments are planned during a particular IEP period, the Team should note that no testing will occur and leave the remainder of the page blank. All students participate in MCAS testing with accommodations outlined in the IEP. MCAS accommodations must be consistent with accommodations students regularly receive in their curriculum.