Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
The Individual Education Plan (IEP) documents how the student will be served in special education. The IEP is designed annually by an IEP team, yet can be adjusted at any point during the school year via the review/revise process. An IEP is designed to explain how the student's disability affects his or her learning, state the student's present level of academic and functional performance, identify annual goals for improving the present level of performance, and describe the services that the student needs in order to achieve the stated goals. Language support and interpretation is available for families whose native language is other than English. See a guide to the contents of an IEP from the Center for Parent Information and Resources.
Students who are suspected to have a disability requiring special education must be evaluated by an IEP Team to determine if they have a disability and if they are eligible to receive special education services. Students are eligible to receive services starting from age 3 through the end of the school year that they turn 21 (See the DPI Guide to Special Education Forms - Notice of Ending of Services Due to Age).
Special Education Referral
This process begins with a referral stating that it is believed the student has a disability and the reasons this assumption is being made. Referrals can be made to determine eligibility for either Special Education or Section 504. (If the student has a disability requiring accommodations that can be met in the general education setting, typically a Section 504 referral is made).
MMSD ensures that students who have a disability and move into MMSD or between schools in MMSD have no interruption in special education services. Parents/guardians moving into MMSD may inform the principal, psych or the student's teacher in their school building about their child's special education needs. A team will be assembled and services will be approximated as closely as possible to the current IEP while it is being reviewed for adoption, or a new one is being developed. If the Evaluation meets WI criteria and the IEP can be carried out as written in our schools, MMSD can adopt the previous district's Evaluation and IEP. If the evaluation does not meet WI criteria, a new evaluation will be conducted, followed by a new IEP.
An LEA can offer parents a new notice of placement without a meeting if the students new school building is the building s/he would otherwise attend if not disabled AND the student's IEP can be implemented as written in the new school building. MMSD must notify the parents of its decision to implement the current IEP in the new school building by providing the parent a copy of the IEP along with the new notice of placement.
Evaluation and Eligibility Criteria
Evaluation is an essential beginning step in the special education process for a child with a disability. Before a child can receive special education and related services for the first time, a full and individual initial evaluation of the child must be conducted to see if the child has a disability and is eligible for special education. Parents must be informed through the Notice of Referral before this evaluation may be conducted. The evaluation process is guided by requirements in our nation’s special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and state eligibility criteria. The Center for Parent Information and Resources is a useful site to help guide parents through the process. The Special Education Rights for Parents and Children - Procedural Safeguards Notice also provides more information on parent's rights throughout the process.
Individualized Education Program (IEP)
Once a student is determined to have a disability & require Special Education (and possibly Related Services), an IEP is developed that documents the student's disability, how it affects progress in the general education environment, the student's present level of performance, annual goals toward improving performance & special education services the student will require. The IEP can be reviewed and revised throughout the duration of the IEP. Parents, we welcome your feedback about the IEP process and/or your experience with special education in MMSD.
In few cases it may be necessary to end the evaluation without coming to an eligibility determination (findings) by completing a Disposition Report:
- Student moves after the start of an evaluation.
- If the team needs additional assessment to determine eligibility, and the student was only available for some testing, the team may need to end the evaluation without making a determination, thus using a Disposition Report (E-DISP).
- Referral is started, but team changes minds and decides to try interventions in general education first.
- Parent requests a referral, then retracts that request
In most cases, the IEP team should come to an eligibility determination:
- If the team has finished most of its testing and the student moves, make an attempt to make a determination.
- IEP team determines additional assessment is needed ~ student becomes unavailable for testing ~ make a determination given what little info you have
- If the IEP team determines additional assessment is needed, but the parent refuses to consent, the team should come to an eligibility determination:
- Initial Evaluation - not eligible and state the reason being the team needed more information via additional assessment, but received no consent.
- Reevaluation - after documenting 3 good faith efforts to get parental consent for additional assessment, the IEP team can decide to proceed with additional assessment or to forego additional assessment and then come to an eligibility determination.
An IEP Team consists of:
- Parents/Guardians - Special Education Rights for Parents and Children Spanish Hmong
- Student (if appropriate)
- Other individuals requested by parent
- *Local Education Agency Representative (LEA)
- *Special Education Teacher (or Speech/Language clinician if child is S/L only)
- *Regular Education Teacher - see exceptions
- Other staff requested by district, including:
- Related services staff
- BRS staff for oral translation during meeting (should be listed on invitation, under "other people invited by parent or school district to attend the meeting")
All required members of the team must be included on the invitation to the meeting. They must then be listed on either the Participant Attendance Agreement, or the Cover Sheet, as appropriate. As long as all required roles are invited, the person fulfilling the role can change, as long as someone is present to represent each role at the meeting. The person who actually attends should be listed on the cover sheet.
For students who are open enrolled, the IEP team membership includes staff from the resident school district and must be invited to all IEP team meetings. The name of the staff person from the resident school district must be included on the invitation under "The following people have been invited by either the parent or school district personnel to attend the meeting:". The resident school district can be found in the IEP system under Student Demographics.
Click here for contact information to each resident district. If you have further questions, please contact Mary Mitchell at email@example.com.
Any Wisconsin resident in 4K to grade 12 may apply to attend a nonresident school district under the open enrollment program. See DPI - Public School Open Enrollment.
IEP meetings are held throughout the evaluation and IEP process for the team to get together to discuss relevant information about the students needs. Every meeting requires that the team create a invitation and cover sheet documenting who was invited, and who participated in the meetings. An agenda can help the meeting process so that all members can participate more meaningfully.
Eligibility Determination Meetings: The IEP team must hold a meeting to determine if the student is eligible for special education. At this meeting, the team discusses characteristics of the disability, if the student meets criteria, and if they need special education services as a result of the disability.
Annual IEP Meetings: The IEP team must meet at least annually to determine the student's continued placement and review the IEP. The annual IEP meeting is designed for the team to review goal progress, update the student's present level of performance, create new annual goals and align services to these goals. The LEA will contact the parents to set up a mutually agreeable time for the IEP meeting and then send an invitation to the meeting. The participants and the purpose for the meeting should be listed on the invitation. IEP team members must all be present unless they are specifically excused from the meeting in writing.
Review and Revise Meetings: The team may also hold meetings throughout the year to revise and update portions of the IEP. Changes to a student's placement (including increased or decreased amount of time in special ed) must be determined in a meeting.
In an effort to improve the outcomes of students with disabilities, parents/families will receive a satisfaction survey following their son/daughter's IEP meeting(s). See the results of the survey.
Acc to WI DPI: Special education forms assist local educational agency (LEA) staff and parents in implementing federal and state special education law by guiding them through referring and evaluating children, developing individualized education programs (IEPs), and determining educational placements. Some forms assist in implementing other requirements, such as conducting a manifestation determination or determining the need for extended school year services. In addition, the forms serve as a LEA’s primary documentation tool for demonstrating compliance with many of the requirements of federal and state special education law. The information is intended to provide general guidance to assist LEA staff and parents in implementing requirements of federal and state special education law.