New School Year Should Mean New IEP
As the new school year begins, our children will be entering a new grade and possibly a new school. Everything will be new: curriculum, settings, teacher, possibly new staff at the school, and most importantly, new friends/peers for your children. But what about the IEP that was written last school year? Does that need to be “new” as well? Yes.
Your child’s IEP should have been updated during the last school year. Those changes were based on last year. Parents will want to monitor the progress on the progress reports that come home (these reports are sent home to inform parents of the progress your child is making toward each goal). The reports are usually updated every 9 weeks; some districts update them every 4.5 weeks. The frequency of these progress reports for the IEP goals is written into the IEP .
Since the IEP was written last school year, the first semester will be a bit of a trial. There are many new things that your child is encountering in the new class so they all must be taken into consideration. But through it all, progress should be seen. If progress is not being reported in the progress report, call an IEP meeting. The goals may need to be tweaked. If there is regression, the goal may need to be discarded and a new goal written. New goals would be based on the updated present levels from the teacher in the new grade for the new school year.
According to the federal law, Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004, the IEP must be reviewed at least annually. Parents can request an IEP meeting at any time during the school year. Reevaluations must be conducted at least every 3 years unless the IEP Team agrees not to conduct one. You will want to review the IEP and the progress notes so that you can attend the meeting as ready as the teachers/ school. You may also want to do your “data collection,” meaning make copies of your child’s work, video tape your child doing their homework, etc. This will show how your child is doing at home, either with the work (cannot do the work) or has “behavior problems” while doing the work (tantrums, off task, etc). Bring all of this to the meeting as your child’s behavior may not be the same at home as in school. You will want to discuss this with the school at the meeting and request comprehensive evaluations.
What if your child has not been identified?
From IDEA 2004, either a parent of a child, or a State educational agency, other State agency, or local educational agency may initiate a request for an initial evaluation to determine if the child is a child with a disability. Such initial evaluation shall consist of procedures to determine whether a child is a child with a disability within 60 days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation, or, if the State establishes a timeframe within which the evaluation must be conducted, within such timeframe; and to determine the educational needs of such child.
The IEP is written for a year so parents will want to review the IEP for the beginning and ending dates of the IEP as well as the revaluation (triennial) dates. Usually the schools monitor those dates, but they might slip through the cracks. Parents, be diligent in monitoring dates. The school should schedule a meeting by the expiration date of the IEP.
Since you are your child’s advocate until they can successfully advocate for themselves, you must be diligent. I will agree, it is hard, but you will be appreciative during that IEP meeting. And remember, you ARE your child’s voice and must advocate for them!
Doreen Franklin is a field interview for NORC and a Special Education Advocate. Doreen & her husband adopted two daughters; both are special needs. Doreen homeschooled her older daughter, who has ADHD, and tutored other children with special needs.
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- Three Tips for Highlighting and Color-Coding Your Child’s Draft Iep
- How Can Parents Prepare for an Iep Meeting? (Part 1)
- The Politics of Special Education: The Information You Need Right Now
- Whether it’s Your First IEP or You’re a Pro: 10 things to Cover at the Meeting
- Start the New School Year on the Right Foot!
- 10 Tips for the New School Year
- Expectations: How Far Have We Come and What to Expect for the New School Year
This post originally appeared on our September/October 2016 Magazine