Individualized Education Program (IEP)

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Documenting Your Student’s Educational Needs and Services

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written statement for a student eligible for special education that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with state and federal laws. The IEP guides your student's learning while in special education. It describes the amount of time that your student will spend receiving special education, any related services your student will receive, and the academic/behavioral goals and expectations for the year.

Your student's IEP team will meet at least once a year to talk about your student’s progress and make any needed changes to the program. The required members of your student’s IEP team includes:

  • The student's parent(s) or guardian(s);
  • At least one of the student's general education teachers (if s/he is participating or could possibly participate in general education);
  • At least one special education teacher;
  • A representative of the school district who is (1) qualified to provide, or supervises the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities, and (2) is knowledgeable about the general curriculum and the availability of resources within the district;
  • An individual who can interpret evaluation results and the related instructional implications;
  • Other individuals, at the discretion of the parent or the district, who have knowledge or special expertise regarding your student, including related services personnel, if appropriate; and
  • Your student, if appropriate.

Overall, the IEP team is responsible for identifying and evaluating your student, developing, reviewing, and/or revising your student's IEP, and determining the placement or setting where your student will receive her/his special education services in accordance with the IEP.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the school district hold a meeting without me? Don’t I have to be notified of a meeting?

The school district must take steps to make sure that you are afforded the opportunity to attend each IEP meeting. Taking steps means (1) notifying you of the meeting early enough to ensure that you will have the opportunity to attend; and (2) scheduling the meeting at a mutually agreed upon time and place. If you cannot attend an IEP team meeting in-person, the school district must use other methods to ensure your participation, including video or telephone conference calls. A meeting may be conducted in your absence if the school district is unable to convince you to attend.

Can I call an IEP Team meeting?

Yes. After each annual meeting, you may contact the school district about scheduling additional IEP meetings. If the school district denies your request for a meeting, they must provide you with Prior Written Notice explaining their refusal.

Does every IEP Team member need to attend every IEP Team meeting?

Yes, unless both you and the school district agree in writing that the attendance of the member is not necessary because the member’s area of instruction or provision of related services is not being changed or discussed at the meeting.

What is required to be in an IEP?

There is no standard IEP format for the state of Washington; however the following list contains the required elements for every IEP:

  • A statement of your student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance;
  • Measurable annual goals;
  • A description of how the school district will measure your student’s progress towards meeting her/his annual goals, including when and how often the school district will provide periodic reports on the progress of your student;
  • A statement of the special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services to be provided to or on behalf of your student;
  • A statement of the program modifications or supports to be provided to school personnel related to your student’s needs;
  • An explanation as to the extent to which the student will not participate with nondisabled students in the general education classroom and extracurricular and nonacademic activities, if necessary.
  • A statement of any approved individual accommodations your student needs to measure her/his academic achievement and functional performance on state and district-wide assessment tests;
  • If the IEP team determines your student must take an alternate assessment instead of a particular general state or district-wide assessment of student achievement, a statement explaining why your student cannot participate in the general assessment and the particular alternate assessment that has been selected is appropriate for your student;
  • Extended school year (ESY) services for the student, if necessary;
  • The projected date for the beginning of the services and modifications described within the IEP, as well as the anticipated frequency, location, and duration of those services and modifications.
  • A post-secondary transition plan beginning no later than the first IEP to be in effect when the student reaches age 16 (or younger if determined appropriate); and
  • Beginning no later than one year before your student reaches the age of 18, a statement that s/he has been informed of their rights under the IDEA, that will transfer to them when they reach age 18.

Additional information about IEPs