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special education IEPs

Ensure that Regular Education Teachers Have Access to Student IEPs

Developing an IEP that is reasonably calculated to enable a student to make progress appropriate in light of the student’s circumstances is only one part of providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE).  The school district must also ensure that the IEP is implemented.

Oftentimes, the IEP will provide the student with certain accommodations and/or modifications in the classroom (e.g., preferential seating, reminders to stay on-task, written instructions, extra time to complete a test or assignment, movement breaks, etc.).  It is imperative that regular education teachers and related service providers are aware of the accommodations and/or modifications that a student’s IEP requires them to provide. It is ultimately the responsibility of the school district to ensure that the appropriate staff members have access to the IEP and are aware of the specific accommodations and/or modifications that must be provided to the student.

This is spelled out in the IDEA.  The IDEA regulations require school districts to ensure that:

  1. The child’s IEP is accessible to each regular education teacher, special education teacher, related services provider, and any other service provider who is responsible for its implementation; and
  2. Each teacher and provider described above is informed of: (a) his/her specific responsibilities related to implementing the child’s IEP; and (b) the specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided for the child in accordance with the IEP.

In light of the above, we recommend the following:

  1. A student’s case manager should meet with a student’s regular education teachers to review the portions of the IEP that the teacher is responsible for implementing.  Many school districts find it helpful to use an “IEP at a Glance” document for this purpose.
  2. Any behavior intervention plan (BIP) should also be provided to and reviewed with the teachers and related service providers working with the student.
  3. The case manager should periodically check in with the student’s teachers and related service providers to discuss the student’s performance and progress.  The IEP Team should reconvene to discuss any lack of expected progress and revise the IEP as appropriate.
  4. Arrangements should be put in place in advance to ensure implementation by substitute teachers as appropriate.
  5. Special arrangements which ensure student confidentiality should be used as necessary for situations involving related service providers who are outside the classroom environment (e.g., bus drivers, lunch or recess supervisors, etc.)
  6. School staff, including regular education staff, should be trained in special education legal requirements and best practices.

If you have any questions about this Legal Update or would like assistance in auditing your IDEA and Section 504 policies or training school staff in special education legal requirements and best practices, please contact Alana Leffler at aleffler@buelowvetter.com or 262-364-0267, Gary Ruesch at gruesch@buelowvetter.com or 262-364-0263, or your Buelow Vetter attorney.

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