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In IDEA 2004, Congress added new language that parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys can use to ensure that children with disabilities are taught by highly qualified teachers and receive research-based instruction.

An Individual Education Progam (IEP) must include the following: 


  1. A statement of the child's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, including how the child's disability affects the child's involvement and progress in the general education curriculum (i.e., the same curriculum as for nondisabled children). 

  2. Measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals designed to meet the child's needs that result from the child's disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; and meet each of the child's other educational needs that result from the child's disability. Goals MUST be developed in all areas of need. 

  3. The IEP must include a description of how the child's progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured; and when periodic reports on the progress the child is making toward meeting the annual goals (such as through the use of quarterly or other periodic reports, concurrent with the issuance of report cards) will be provided. 

  4. The IEP must also include a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable, to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided to enable the child to advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals and be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum.

The IEP Team 

District's must ensure that the IEP Team for each child with a disability includes, the parents of the child, at least one regular education teacher of the child if the child is, or maybe, participating in the regular education environment, at least one special education teacher of the child, or where appropriate at least one special education provider of the child. The IEP team must also include a representative of the District who is qualified to provide or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities, is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum; and is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the School District. When reviewing evaluations and assessments the IEP team must include an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results. 

There are exceptions to an IEP Team member's attendance. An IEP member is not required to attend an IEP Team meeting, in whole or in part, if the parent of a child with a disability and the public agency agree, in writing, that the attendance of the member is not necessary because the member's area of the curriculum or related services is not being modified or discussed in the meeting.

TIP: You do not have to agree to excuse an IEP member if the District asks you to excuse said, individual. You have the right to request the IEP member(s) participate in the IEP meeting. This is especially important when you have concerns with your child's program, anytime you are reviewing evaluations and/or progress. 

Parent Participation

It is the responsibility of the District to take steps to ensure that one or both of the parents of a child with a disability are present at each IEP Team meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate. The District must notify the parents of the meeting early enough to ensure that they will have an opportunity to attend, and the District is obligated to schedule the meeting at a mutually agreed on time and place.

Development, Review, and Revision of IEP

When developing your child's IEP, the IEP Team must consider your child's strengths, concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child, results of the initial or most recent evaluation of the child, and the academic, developmental, and functional needs of your child.

The IEP Team must also consider special factors including but not limited to the communication needs of your child, behaviors that impede your child's learning or that of others,  and consider the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports, and other strategies, to address the behavior. The IEP team must also consider whether your child needs assistive technology devices and services. 

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