Students' ages three through twenty-one years of age may be determined eligible for twelve Special Education Categories. Every student placed in Special Education must first be determined eligible for services by the Individual Education Program (IEP) team. The IEP team may consist of the parent(s), a regular education teacher, a person knowledgeable of the evaluation results, a special education teacher, local education Agency (LEA) representative, the student (when appropriate), and any other individuals invited at the discretion of the parent or school system. If eligible, an IEP must be developed within 30 days of the initial eligibility meeting.
The eligibility team will determine whether or not the student is eligible for special education services. The eligibility meeting provides an opportunity for all parties involved in the education of the student to meet to review the data and provide input to determine if the student meets eligibility requirements as indicated in the state special education rules. Refer to determination of eligibility section for eligibility criteria guidelines. The parent is included on the team and is provided a copy of the evaluation report as well as a copy of the eligibility report/decision. If there is no report from an evaluation specialist, such as the psychologist or speech language pathologist, then the eligibility report serves as the evaluation report as long as it is comprehensive enough to document the results of the evaluation. The eligibility report is the documentation that verifies if the student is or is not eligible for special education services. If the student is found to meet eligibility requirements, then the IEP must be developed within 30 days of the initial eligibility meeting. Once the IEP is developed, the parent must sign consent for placement for special education services prior to implementation of the IEP. If the student does not meet eligibility for special education, regular education options should be discussed and the student will be referred to the Tiers of Intervention for follow up and placement. Refer to pre-referral/RTI section.
Notice of Eligibility/IEP Meeting
The parents must be notified of the proposed date, time, and location of an Eligibility/IEP meeting to give them sufficient time to make arrangements to attend or contact the school to reschedule the meeting. The program specialist, ISC, or case manager will set up the eligibility meeting, and the school will send home formal notice of the meeting. The school system must give the parents every opportunity for a convenient, mutually agreed upon meeting time as well as the option to reschedule so that the parents may attend. Refer to Notice of IEP meeting section for further information.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) Developed
An IEP is required for each student that is eligible for special education and is reviewed at least annually. For initial referrals, the IEP must be developed within 30 days of the initial eligibility meeting is the student is found to be eligible for special education services. The IEP is developed to meet the special needs of the student as identified by the assessments, observations, and other data collected during the referral process. The IEP is developed after the student is determined eligible for services. Refer to the IEP procedures section for futher information regarding IEP development.
Parental Consent for Placement
If a student is determined eligible for special education and an IEP developed, the parent must sign parental consent for placement before services/IEP can be implemented. Parental Consent for Placement is only required to be signed for initial placement in special education. After the initial IEP is developed, the parent MUST sign the Parental Consent for Placement form indicating whether or not they agree to placement to receive special education and related services. If the parent is present at the initial IEP meeting, the team should obtain the parent's signature at the end of the meeting. If the parent is not present, the ISC or case manager will send the parent a copy of the eligibility report, the IEP, psychological report, parental rights, and parent consent for placement form by mail for review and signature. If the parent does not attend, the date for initiation of services must be at least 10 days from the date of the IEP meeting in order to allow proper notice and an opportunity for the parent to respond and return the parent consent for placement form. If the parent agrees to consent for placement, the IEP will be implemented on the start date. If the parent does not agree for services, the IEP will not be implemented. Refer to Parent Rights section for more information regarding parent rights.