Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
Like the two meetings you've had before this one, there will be a number of school district staff member sitting around the table. Legally required team members include the parent, intervention specialist, district representative, and regular education teacher. Typically, districts should have a draft copy of the IEP to you within a reasonable amount of time prior to the meeting so you can review it ahead of time.
In Ohio, the IEP consists of 16 sections:
Future Planning - this section should identify the student's strengths, skills, interests, and plans for future education or life after school
Special Instructional Factors - this section considers factors that should be addressed in the IEP if they exist. These factors include: behavior that affects own learning or others' learning, English proficiency, blindness/visual impairment, communication needs (including deafness/hearing impairment), need for assistive technology, and need for specially designed physical education.
Profile - this section should provide a picture of who your child is. It should include background information, a snapshot of what the child's day is like, a review of past/current IEP goals and data, interests, strengths, needs, parent input and educational concerns, relevant medical/safety/discipline information, results of state and district assessments, and results of psychological evaluations.
Extended School Year Services - these are services provided outside of the school year. Usually these are reserved for students who will lose a very significant amount of what they've learned during the summer months; however, with COVID-19, more students have been requiring these services.
Post-Secondary Transition - for students in middle school to high school, this section will identify what their plans are to explore options for what to do with themselves after graduation.
Measurable Annual Goals - this is the core content of the IEP - it includes specific broad goals with a subset of objectives to address a student's individual deficits.
Description of Specially Designed Services - probably the most important part of the document - this outlines who will be providing instruction to address each IEP goal, where that instruction will take place, and the amount of time delegated to treating that specific goal for that specific student.
Transportation as a Related Service - this is consideration for students who require special transportation and cannot ride a typical school bus. Often, accommodations are checked off here to make sure the bus driver is aware of any behavioral/medical concerns of the child. It is unusual for students to require special transportation unless they have a medical condition that would require it.
Nonacademic and Extracurricular Activities - this section indicates whether a student will have the ability to participate in extracurriculars with their typical peers. This is almost always a "yes." If not, the reasoning for that should be elaborated upon in this section.
General Factors - it doesn't make sense for this to go here - it should be the last thing to review before signatures. This section requires the team to agree that the child's strengths, parents' concerns, results of evaluations, performance on state and district assessments, academic/developmental/functional needs, and 3rd grade reading scores have been considered.
Least Restrictive Environment - this section indicates how much time a student spends outside the general education setting during their school day and why.
Statewide and Districtwide Testing - this section indicates whether different subjects of district and/or state testing will be taken with accommodations, and what the accommodations will be.
Exemptions - this section identifies whether the student is excused from passing the 3rd grade reading guarantee, graduation tests, or any other assessments. Students are typically expected to sit for and attempt each test at least once before exemption can be considered.
Meeting Participants - this is the page everyone signs who participated in the meeting. Signing this page does NOT mean you agree to everything in the IEP, only that you were present at the meeting.
Signatures - this page is where the parent is expected to sign to grant permission to implement the IEP as written.
Children with Visual Impairments - only required for blind/visually impaired students, usually not discussed.
Following the IEP meeting, you should receive a prior written notice (PR01) from the district indicating that the IEP will be implemented. IEPs are required to be reviewed at least once per school year. You may call an IEP team meeting at any time to discuss any concerns or changes you'd like to consider for the IEP.