Who developes the IEP? - OSEP letter

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Sheila, Nov 3, 2007.

  1. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Apparently a special education teacher was not happy with being charged to develope an IEP plan before an IEP meeting. Good for him/her!


    Dated July 25, 2003

    This is in response to your email correspondence asking questions about the development of individualized education programs (IEPs). You stated in your letter that you are asking these questions because they were presented to you in a meeting with your school administrators and LEA supervisor to “convince me that I was the one responsible for the development of IEPs vs. an IEP Team.” Your questions are restated and answered below. You will see that questions addressing the same or similar issue are grouped and answered together.

    Questions: Should the special education teacher be the sole person to develop an IEP for an IEP review? What is the purpose of the IEP Team?

    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines an IEP as “a written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with section 614(d).” (See §601(11); 20 USC §1401(11); 34 CFR §300.340).
    As outlined in section 614(d)(1)(B) of the Act and 34 CFR § 300.344 of the implementing regulations, the members of the IEP team must include the following:

    • the parents of a child with a disability;
    • at least one regular education teacher of the child (if the child is, or may be participating in the regular education environment);
    • at least one special education teacher, or where appropriate, at least one special education provider of the child;
    • a representative of the public agency who is (a) qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education, (b) knowledgeable about the general curriculum, and (c) knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency;
    • an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of the evaluation results;
    • other individuals with knowledge or special expertise regarding the child (at the discretion of the parent or the agency); and
    • the child with a disability, whenever appropriate.

    Under the Part B regulations, the IEP team is responsible for developing, reviewing, and, if appropriate, revising the IEP. (34 CFR §§300.346 & 300.343(c)). During an IEP team meeting, all participants are able to make joint informed decisions regarding the child’s needs and appropriate goals as well as the services needed to support and achieve the agreed upon goals. During the development of the IEP, the IEP team must consider the strengths of the child and the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child, the results of the initial or most recent evaluation of the child and as appropriate, the results of the child’s performance on any general State or district-wide assessment programs. (34 CFR §300.346(a)(2); §614(d)(3)(B)). During a review or revision of a student’s IEP, the IEP team determines whether the annual goals are being achieved and revises the IEP as appropriate to address (i) any lack of expected progress toward the annual goals and in the general curriculum, if appropriate, (ii) the result of any reevaluation, (iii) information about the child provided to, or by, the parents, (iv) the child’s anticipated needs, and (v) other matters. (34 CFR §300.343(c)). During both a meeting to develop the IEP and during a meeting to review and, if appropriate, revise the IEP, the IEP team is required to consider any special factors that may impact on the child’s special education or related services needs, such as behavioral issues and special communication needs. (34 CFR §300.346(b)).

    Neither the IDEA nor its implementing regulations address who is responsible for putting the IEP team decisions in writing. This decision is made by the public agency. It should be noted that it is not permissible for an agency to have the IEP completed before the IEP meeting begins. Agency staff may come to an IEP meeting prepared with proposed recommendations regarding the IEP content, but the agency must make it clear to the parents at the outset of the meeting that the services proposed by the agency are only recommendations for review and discussion with the parents. (Appendix A to Part 300 of the IDEA—Notice of Interpretation, question 32).

    Question: Should the Special Education teacher be the sole person who is knowledgeable of the strengths and weaknesses of the student, or the sole person to develop the goals and objectives for the student?

    Under the IDEA and the Part B regulations no one person is responsible for or entitled to develop the IEP, which includes developing the goals and objectives for the student. The entire IEP team is charged with making these decisions. (34 CFR §§300.344). As described above, the IDEA requires that the IEP team include persons with knowledge of the student’s strengths and weakness, e.g. the parent, the student’s regular education teacher, if applicable, the special education teacher or special education provider, other individuals with knowledge or special expertise regarding the child (at the discretion of the parent or agency), and the child, if appropriate. So the special education teacher will not be the sole person on the team with knowledge of the student’s needs.

    Questions: Should there be a standing IEP team at the school to develop and annually review IEPs? Should the IEP team come together only for the date of the scheduled IEP review?

    The IDEA and its implementing regulations (34 CFR 300) do not use the term “standing IEP team.” As noted above, the IDEA lists the required members who are responsible to develop, review, and, if appropriate, revise the IEP and some of the members, i.e., the regular or special education teacher and special education provider, will be specific to the student whose IEP is being reviewed.

    Section 614(d)(4) of the IDEA states that the IEP team must review a child’s IEP periodically, but not less than annually. An IEP meeting may be convened, however, any time the need arises. Question 20 of Appendix A to the IDEA, Part B regulations (i.e., 34 CFR 300) states, “In general, if either a parent or a public agency believes that a required component of the student’s IEP should be changed, the public agency must conduct an IEP meeting if it believes that a change in the IEP may be necessary to ensure the provision of [a free appropriate public education].”

    Question: What is the difference between a “child study team” and an “IEP team;” are they the same?

    The IDEA statute and regulations do not use the term “child study team.” Perhaps this is a term used in your school/district policies or State statute and regulations. You may wish to address this question to your school, local educational agency, or State educational agency.

    I hope this information answers your questions. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Wendy Tada at (202) 205-9094.


    /s/ Patricia J. Guard for

    Stephanie S. Lee
    Office of Special Education Programs

    cc: Ms. Belinda West-O'Neal
    Director, Office of Special Education
    Virgin Islands Department of Education
  2. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    A school board doesn't have the right to make placement/IEP decisions; the parent does.


    Dated November 26, 2001

    Mr. Paul Veazey, Esq.
    Stockwell, Sievert, Viccellio,
    Clements & Shaddock, L.L.P.
    One Lakeside Plaza
    Post Office Box 2900
    Lake Charles, Louisiana 70602-2900

    Dear Mr. Veazey:

    This is a response to your letter transmitted via telefacsimile to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) addressed to Ms. Nancy Jenkins. Although your letter does not clearly state a specific inquiry for OSEP to provide a response, we believe the central question of your letter to be whether a public school board has the unilateral discretion under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to choose the educational placement of a child with a disability as an administrative matter to the exclusion of any input from that child’s parents. Set forth below is our response to this question that provides clarification about the involvement of parents in individualized education program (IEP) process and educational placement decisions of their child with a disability.

    Only the child’s IEP team may determine the content of the child’s IEP, and only the group of individuals specified in §300.552 may determine the educational placement of a child with a disability based on that child’s IEP. Thus, a school board may not unilaterally make decisions about the content of a child’s IEP or the educational placement of the child. The educational placement of each child with a disability must be based on the individual needs of that child that are written in his or her IEP.

    It is important to point out that the parents of a child with a disability must be invited to participate as active members of the IEP team and as members of the group of individuals that determines the educational placement of their child. Specifically, §300.344(a)(1) requires that the parents of the child with a disability are included as members of the IEP team, and §300.552(a)(1) requires that the parents are included as members of the group of persons that determines the child’s educational placement. In some states, the IEP team serves as the group making the placement decision. In other states, another group of people may make this decision. In all cases, the parents have the right to be members of the group that decides the educational placement of their child. Either practice does not violate the IDEA so long as the required members of the IEP team and the group that determines the educational placement meet the requirements of the IDEA as set forth in §§300.344 and 300.552.

    Further, educational placement decisions must be made according to the IDEA’s least restrictive environment requirements. These requirements state that, to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled. See §300.550(b)(1). The IDEA clearly states that special classes, separate schools, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the child’s disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. See §300.550(b)(2).

    With respect to State or local educational agency policies regarding placement decisions, a policy establishing educational placement based on a particular disability category is inconsistent with the IDEA. Each child’s educational placement must be determined on an individual case-by-case basis depending on each child’s unique educational needs and circumstances rather than by the child’s type of disability. The IEP forms the basis for the placement decision that is made by the group that decides the educational placement of the child. See §300.552(b)(2).

    Part B of the IDEA requires that a public agency make available a continuum of alternative placements, or a range of placement options, to meet the needs of children with disabilities. The options on this continuum include instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions. See §300.551. However, the placement of an individual student with a disability in a separate school can occur only if an individual placement determination is made that the student’s IEP cannot be implemented satisfactorily in a less restrictive placement, and that placement of the student in a separate school is needed to implement the student’s IEP.

    It is important to point out that if the public agency, for example, has two or more equally appropriate locations that meet the child’s special education and related services needs, the assignment of a particular school or classroom may be an administrative determination, provided that determination is consistent with the placement team’s decision. The public agency should exercise caution in making such a determination so that the placement of a child with a disability is not based on factors such as the category of disability, configuration of the service delivery system and the availability of staff and instead is based on the factors stated in §300.552.

    We hope that this information is helpful. If you need further assistance, you may contact Cynthia Bryant, the OSEP State contact for Louisiana, at (202) 401-4583.


    /signed Patricia J. Guard/

    Patricia J. Guard
    Acting Director
    Office of Special Education Programs

    cc: Ms. Virginia Beridon
    Louisiana Department of Education
  3. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator


    Dated January 19, 2001

    Dear x:

    Your letter of June 29, 2000 to Mr. Burkhardt has been forwarded to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) for response. In your letter, you express concerns about the need for assistance x and others x.

    Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Part B) is a Federal program administered by OSEP. A copy of the Part B regulations is enclosed for your review. Part B authorizes the Federal government to provide funds to States, and through States, to local school districts to meet the unique educational needs of eligible children with one or more of the specified disabilities

    Part B requires States and local school districts to make a free appropriate public education (FAPE) available to all children who are eligible to receive services under the Part B program. To receive services under Part B, a child must be evaluated to determine whether the child is eligible for services under Part B. The initial evaluation must be a full and individual evaluation, which assesses all areas related to the suspected disability and uses a variety of assessment tools and strategies. If your child qualifies for services under Part B, the school district must offer to conduct a meeting to develop an individualized education program (IEP) for your child.

    When a local school district conducts an IEP meeting, the child's parents are members of the IEP team and must be invited to participate. Parents play a key role, along with school personnel in developing, reviewing and revising, if necessary, a child's IEP; in determining the nature and extent of the child's needs; and in the placement decision. Through the IEP process, a parent can discuss with school officials different approaches that would appropriately meet their child's unique needs

    If the parent and the local school district staff cannot agree on the content of the IEP, the parent can ask for a due process hearing, and an impartial hearing officer can make an independent decision in order to resolve any disagreements. See 34 CFR Sections 300.500-300.517. A mediation process must be available when a due process hearing is requested. A parent also has the option of filing a complaint with the State if they believe that a public agency has violated a requirement of Part B. The complaint procedures applicable to Part B are described in the enclosed regulations at 34 CFR Sections 300.660-300.662.

    Page 2 - x

    Under Part B, a child's education must be in the least restrictive environment in which the child's IEP can be implemented. The least restrictive environment provisions contained in Part B require that all eligible children, regardless of the nature or severity of their disabilities, be educated to the maximum extent appropriate with children who are not disabled; and that special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. An explanation of the extent, if any, to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in the regular class, and other activities, consistent with Part B must be included in a child's IEP.

    If you have any questions about how the requirements of Part B are implemented in the State where you reside, you can contact the State Director of Special Education at the address and telephone number provided in the enclosed State Resource Sheet prepared by the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY).


    Kenneth R. Warlick
    Office of Special Education Programs