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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Federal law — the reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 —defines the rules and regulations for creating an Individual Education Program (IEP) when a special education evaluation reveals areas of student need. The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees the right of all children with disabilities (ages 3-21) to a free, appropriate education. RCW 28A.155 provides the statutory basis for special education services in Washington, and WAC 392-172A provides the regulatory basis for both IDEA and RCW 28A.155.
The IEP Team
The IEP team works together to create Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) and goals for the student. The Initial IEP is done before an initial placement in special education. The IEP is reviewed every year to measure the student's progress and must be completed by the anniversary date. An IEP amendment can be done anytime a change in the program is needed. IEP Progress Reports are done at the end of each trimester for elementary and middle school students and every semester for high school students.
A three-year reevaluation is completed by the three-year anniversary date of the initial evaluation. Off-cycle evaluations can be proposed by a parent or the school in one or all areas at any time prior to the 3-year evaluation.
An IEP team consists of:
- Student at age 16 when transition services are addressed
- Special education teacher(s)
- General education teacher(s)—if the student participates in a regular education environment
- A representative of the local educational agency
- Individual who can interpret instructional implications of evaluation results
- The team may also include a counselor, therapists, behavior specialist, and the student, when appropriate.
Notice of Special Education Procedural Safeguards (link to additional languages)
Specially Designed Instruction is organized and planned instruction, which adapts to the needs of eligible students. The content and methodology or delivery of instruction address the student's unique needs. SDI is provided by either qualified special education staff or designed and supervised by staff and carried out by general education staff, as determined by the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP). Special education staff monitors and evaluates student progress.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
Program placement decisions are made in accordance with the concept of educating students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. Each student has access to an appropriate learning environment and an opportunity for education with non-disabled students to the maximum extent appropriate within his or her neighborhood school or as close as possible to his or her neighborhood school. When programming decisions are addressed by the IEP team, proper consideration must be given to the least restrictive environment.
Revocation of Consent for Services
If a parent/guardian or adult student revokes consent, in writing, for the continued provision of special education and related services, the district must honor the revocation and provide the parent with prior written notice identifying the date the district will stop providing services. The district may not use due process or mediation procedures to challenge the parent's revocation. Beginning the effective date indicated in the prior written notice, the district may no longer provide special education and related services to the child. The district is not required to amend the child's education records to remove references to the child's receipt of special education and related services. Once the revocation is effective, the student is no longer entitled to receive special education or related services, and the district will not be considered in violation of the requirement to make a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) available to your child.
By providing written consent, the parent/guardian is acknowledging:
- the district will stop providing special education and related services to their child beginning the date identified in the prior written notice given to them by the district;
- the district cannot use dispute resolution options to challenge their right to terminate special education services for their child;
- the district will no longer be required to conduct reevaluations, convene an IEP team meeting, or develop an IEP for their child;
- the district will not be considered in violation of the requirement to make a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) available to their child;
- the district is not required to amend their child's education records to remove references to their child's receipt of special education and related services; and
- their child will be subject to all of the same requirements that apply to general education students, such as academics, statewide and district-wide assessments, extracurricular activities, graduation requirements, discipline, and all other general education requirements.
Extended School Year (ESY) Procedures
WAC 392-172A-03090 states, "The term IEP means a written statement for each student eligible for special education that is developed, reviewed, and revised in a meeting in accordance with WAC 392-172A-03095 through 392-172A-03100, and that must include: (1) g. Extended school year services; if determined necessary by the IEP team for the student to receive FAPE." Each student who receives special education services, including related services, will be considered for an extended school year.
An appropriate IEP is a critical step in establishing FAPE. The IEP should document progress toward IEP goals and objectives. In cases where a lack of progress exists, the IEP must be reviewed to determine the appropriateness of the goals/objectives. The IEP team must document ongoing interventions including changes in materials, methodologies, placement, and service minutes in order to facilitate opportunities for student progress. This documentation should be reviewed when determining ESY.
ESY services may be provided to students who meet these specific eligibility criteria:
- Recoupment that takes longer than the length of a break
- If by the date established shortly after the first trimester reporting period, the student has NOT regained skills that he/she was documented as having in June on his/her IEP (from the previous school year), then this student may qualify for ESY.
- If the teacher does not have objective data from June to compare, he/she can use data from before/after winter, mid-winter, or spring break of the current year.
- Failure to make progress despite appropriate modifications.
- The student failed to make reasonable gains over the year.
- Data and IEP revisions MUST be in evidence to demonstrate that the IEP was somehow adjusted and in effect for at least one month in order to facilitate student progress (i.e. change of objectives, method, material, placement, reinforcements and/or time).
- Goals/objectives (in effect for at least one month in order to see changes) should be reviewed and/or changed with an IEP amendment.
- Exceptional Circumstances
- The student has had an acute/regressive/chronic physical/psychiatric health problem which caused excessive absences during the school year and negatively impacted FAPE.
- The student is just beginning to progress on a goal/objective from an IEP that has been implemented for the majority of the current school year and is at a critical learning stage.
NOTE: ESY eligibility must be documented and supported with data.
- Students must meet eligibility requirements in each service area separately to receive ESY services in that area.
- Students do NOT automatically qualify in all areas if they receive service in one area.
- Students do NOT automatically qualify for ESY each year.
The IEP team will make this determination at the IEP meeting or at a later IEP meeting if there is not sufficient data at the first meeting.
Both state and federal law requires the collection and reporting of student progress toward accomplishing Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals and objectives both in-process and end result. Objectives are required Early Childhood Education (ECE) through second grade and for any students participating in the Washington Alternative Assessment System (WAAIM) portfolio. Evaluation and documentation of student progress are intended to serve three purposes:
- To measure a student's performance against established IEP goals and objectives
- To help identify causal factors that account for significant differences between actual and predicted performance
- To provide a database for adjusting the student's IEP if it does not appear the student will meet the annual goal
Each service provider must collect explicit data on student progress on a regular basis. The provider must develop and maintain a data collection system for monitoring and evaluating student performance, and for measuring progress towards goals and objectives. Keeping a grade book is not sufficient as a data system to reflect progress on goals and objectives.
The goals and objectives must be written with the data management system in mind. The frequency with which the data is recorded will depend upon the goal and objectives. Some situations require daily data. For some, measurement at weekly or monthly intervals is appropriate. The data must be recorded at least monthly on each objective. Datasheets used to support the written progress report should be maintained in the teacher (related service provider) files for a period of seven years.
All students will receive a high school diploma with the attainment of a Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) or A Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA). Additional information is available at the OSPI Graduation Requirements website.
The student will graduate with a regular diploma and standard credits. Performance standards in reading writing and math have been met on the 10th-grade state assessment (with or without accommodations for a student with a disability). All other district graduation requirements have been met.
The student will graduate with a regular diploma with special education or replacement credits as established in their IEP and Alternative assessments have been completed in reading, writing, science, and math to determine performance standards.
CAA or CIA is noted on the student's transcript. Neither is noted on the high school diploma.
Specific required courses may be waived through the IEP process, but this must be explicitly addressed in the IEP. A student may not be denied a diploma because of his or her disability. Waiving a class may be done in the "Course of Study" section of the transition plan.
Before age 16 the student must have an anticipated graduation date declared. This date is entered into the student's IEP the year in which the student turns 16. This date will remain the graduation cohort date throughout the remainder of his/her school career. This date may not be changed once it is established.
Special Education services will continue until graduation requirements are met or until the student turns 21 as long as the student continues to demonstrate documented need on triennial evaluations. Students turning 21 after the start of the school year may continue until the end of that school year.
Transfer of Rights at Age of Majority
Beginning at least one year before reaching age 18 (IEP in which the student turns 17) the student must be informed that all rights will transfer to the student at age 18 unless there is a guardianship or other determination that the student cannot make educational decisions.
When the student reaches age 18 (or majority), the district must notify the parents and the student that rights have transferred to the student. This occurs through documentation in the IEP and a conversation at the IEP meeting. The district shall provide any required notices to both the student and the parent.