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Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)

The term individualized education plan (IEP) is defined as a written statement for each child with a disability that describes the student's special educational program as outlined in 281--Iowa Administrative Code 41.22. The purpose of the IEP is to provide a plan designed to meet the educational needs of an eligible individual and to commit the resources necessary to meet those needs. Each IEP is a legal document that spells out, among other things, the special education services, activities and supports each student will receive. A school or area education agency (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.

The IEP is based on the following guiding principles:

  • The IEP is a process and product that documents that the student is a receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE) consistent with all federal and state requirements.
  • To the maximum extent appropriate, students are educated and participate with other students with disabilities and non-disabled children in the general education environment.
  • IEP development is a collaborative process.
  • The IEP team develops a program that is designed so that the student can progress toward meeting annual IEP goals, be involved in and progress in the general curriculum, participate in non-academic and extracurricular activities and be educated with non-disabled peers.
  • The IEP process involves on-going progress monitoring, and decision-making is based on the student's needs to improve the student's results.

IEP Process

  • Initial IEP - The IEP is developed at a meeting following the completion of a full and individual evaluation, and the determination of eligibility for special education services.
  • IEP Review - IEP reviews are conducted periodically, but must be conducted at least annually. Changes will be made to reflect growth in present levels of academic achievement and function performance over the past year.
  • IEP Re-evaluation - Re-evaluations of eligible individuals are required at a minimum, every three years, or sooner if needed.

Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP)

The goal of the individualized family service plan (IFSP) process is to empower families with the resources, skills and processes to meet the needs of an eligible child and his or her family in order to enhance the child's growth and development. The IFSP is written in collaboration with the family and may be modified based on the changing needs of the child and the family in accordance with division VII and division VIII of these rules. Parents and families shall be continually involved in all aspects of the identification, evaluation and assessment; IFSP planning, implementation, evaluation, review and revision processes; and transition planning.

For a child who has been evaluated for the first time and determined to be eligible, a meeting to develop the initial IFSP must be conducted within the 45-day time period indicated in rule 281- 120.30(34CFR303). Meeting arrangements shall be made with, and written notice provided to, the family and other participants in advance of the meeting date to ensure that the parties will be able to attend.

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