What is an IEP?
What Every General Education Teacher Should Know About An IEP:
- IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan
- The IEP is a legally binding document that every member of the IEP team (including the classroom teacher) must follow
- The IEP is one of the six major principles of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) https://sites.ed.gov/idea/
- Students who have been evaluated and identified as a student with special needs have an IEP
- The IEP is written and developed by a team including the student’s parent(s)
- A general education teacher is required to attend the student’s IEP meeting and is considered part of the IEP team
- The IEP must be reviewed at least every year. This yearly meeting is called the “annual review” meeting
- Every 3 years students are re-evaluated to determine if they still quality for special education services
- Any member of the IEP team can request an IEP meeting at any point of the school year and the IEP can be amended
- IEPs include measurable goals and objectives for students to work on during the school year
- The IEP will outline services and supports the school will provide to help students reach their goals and objectives
- Students ages 3-21 years of age can qualify for an IEP and receive special education services
- If you are a general education teacher and have questions about a student’s IEP, reach out to their “case manager” who is usually the special education teacher/resource teacher at the school. Sometimes if a student has a speech language disability the speech pathologist is the case manager.
- The IEP and everything within the document is considered confidential and should not be shared with people outside of the student’s IEP team
What to look for:
Find the accommodations page to see what supports are currently in place for the student. Look to see what services they receive and what the service delivery model is. Also take a look at the deliberations or notes page. This page should give you a complete rundown of the IEP meeting. Sometimes action items are included in the notes for team members to follow-up on.
Look for the student’s IEP goals. This page will show the educational, behavioral or functional goals.
Look for the related services page. Ensure that you understand what services the student receives in his plan…An example is occupational therapy.
Have you had a chance to see all of your students’ IEP’s yet? As a student teacher, it is important for you to become familiar with the IEP and supports that are in place for your students.