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1. What is an Individual Education Plan?
- An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is a written working document that describes program adaptations and/or modifications and services to be provided for a student.
- A summary of the goals and objectives for a student’s learning during a school year. The first goal of the IEP must reflect the primary Ministry designation assigned to a student.
- A tool to help teachers monitor and communicate student growth over time.
- An ongoing record to ensure continuity in student programming.
2. Who must have an IEP?
Students with special needs must have an IEP. A student with special needs means “A student who has a disability of an intellectual, physical, sensory, emotional or behavioural nature, has a learning disability, or has exceptional gifts or talents.”
- A student with a Ministry designation
- A non-designated student receiving learning assistance/resource support/skills development support for more than 25 hours in a school year
3. What is the purpose of the IEP?
- Formalizes the plans that are made for the student
- States the educational goals for the student
- States the modified learning outcomes, any adaptations, and/or special materials
- Describes the services that are to be provided for the student
- Provides a focus for collaborative planning among the various people who are involved with the student
4. When should an IEP be developed?
A board must ensure that an IEP is developed for a student with a ministry designation as soon as practical after the student is so identified by the board. Generally speaking, the time frame for IEP development is between six to eight weeks after the student has received their ministry designation.
For non-designated students who are identified at the school level as having received 25 hours or more of remedial instruction from someone other than their classroom teacher, an IEP should be in place as soon as practical.
5. When should an IEP be updated?
IEPs should be reviewed and updated at least once a year. The IEP is a working document. It is expected that ongoing reviews and updates will occur as needed.
Updates may include:
- New goals
- Changes in strategies / personnel / resources etc.
- Program suggestions for the following year
6. Who is involved in developing an IEP?
The school administrator is responsible for the implementation of educational programs.
A school-based case manager is assigned to coordinate the development and implementation of the IEP.
The IEP team membership may involve a number of participants, depending on the complexity of the student’s needs. For example, the IEP team could involve:
- The classroom teacher(s)
- A member of the school based resource team
- The parent(s)/guardian(s)
- The student
- For a student with more complex needs, the IEP team might also include:
- The school administrator
- The counsellor
- District personnel
- Staff from community agencies
Parents/guardians must be given the opportunity to be consulted in the development of an IEP for Ministry Designated Students.
This “Involvement” can mean a variety of activities, some of which include:
- Completing a “parent planning form”
- A telephone conversation
- A discussion at parent-teacher interviews during report card periods
- A formal IEP meeting
- Students should also participate if, and when, appropriate
- IEPs should document the names of those involved in its development. It is not required to have signatures on an IEP.
7. What should an IEP contain?
1. Essential (relevant) information about the student
2. Information about current strengths and needs
3. Instructional / behavioural plans
- Areas of adaptation or modification
- One or more appropriate goals (the first goal must reflect the Ministry designation assigned)
- Measurable objectives
- Classroom accommodations/strategies used
- Degree of participation in regular classroom
- Names of personnel who will implement plans
4. Progress / Review
- Ongoing evaluation of program
- Annual review of IEP
- Plans for the next transition point
8. How is the IEP evaluated?
The Individual Education Plan should have clearly defined student goals with specified dates so that changes and progress can be monitored and reviewed frequently and formally at least once a year.
9. Who is eligible to have their High School provincial exams adjudicated?
If the student has had adaptations for school tests and exams in prior years and his or her program includes at least one course that adheres to the provincial learning outcomes, the school principal can ask the Ministry of Education for permission to adapt the exam conditions. The adaptations must be noted in the student’s IEPs for the previous two years and submitted to the board with the adjudication request. Adaptations could include: Braille, large print, taped, sign language, adapting the student’s method of recording, adapting the setting, changing the length of the exam session and allowing supervised breaks.
10. What is the role of parents in developing an IEP?
B.C. legislation states schools must offer to consult with parents during the development of IEPs. Parents bring unique perspectives that should be considered in order for IEPs to be successful.
11. Are parents able to bring an advocate to an IEP meeting? In some cases it is helpful if parents bring an advocate to an IEP meeting. Communication about the inclusion of advocates in such meetings must be made to the principal and the resource team prior to the IEP meeting.
12. When is it appropriate to include students with special needs in the development of an IEP? B.C. legislation states students with special needs should be included in the planning of their Individual Education Plan when appropriate, i.e. when they can communicate their suggestions and observations about programs, services and learning situations that benefit their learning styles.
13. Who gets copies of an IEP?
The original document should be placed in the student’s confidential file. That file must be stored in a private and protected location.
Copies should be available to:
- Teachers and support staff involved in implementing the IEP
- Parents, upon request; for those parents/guardians who have not been involved in the process, an explanation and/or translation may be necessary
14. Should the IEP be signed by the parent and a member of the school-based team?
There is no provincial requirement for signatures and the IEP is not a binding contract but rather a working document.
15. What is adjudication?
Adjudication is the process that determines if a student qualifies for adaptations on their Provincial Exams.