Individual Education Plan An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is a written plan describing the special education programs or services required by a particular student, based on a thorough assessment of the students strengths and needs. The IEP must identify learning expectations that are modified or alternative to the expectations in the Ontario curriculum documents for the appropriate grade and subject or course, and must include any specific accommodations and special education services/resources assigned to the student. It is a working document and therefore the special education program and services described in the IEP, can be changed as necessary, based on continuous assessment and evaluation. The student’s program may be accommodated within the regular classroom through instructional, assessment and environmental accommodations. This refers to the teaching strategies, supports and/or services that are required in order for the student to access the curriculum and demonstrate learning. In this case provincial curriculum expectations are not altered, however adjustments may be made to the instructional strategies, learning environment and/or assessment methods. An example of an accommodation would be providing more time on assignments, tests or exams for a student to demonstrate his/her learning. Other examples of accommodations might include: presenting projects in alternative formats, photocopied notes, taped reading materials, using technology to assist in learning, or preferential seating to ensure optimal access to instruction. Students may also have their program modified. In this case, changes are made to the grade level expectations for a subject or course to meet the student’s needs. Changes may also be made to the expectations by either significantly increasing or decreasing the number and/or complexity of expectations, so that students may demonstrate their learning. Some students may work on an alternative curriculum. These are expectations that are not derived from the Ontario provincial curriculum documents. An alternative curriculum may include gross/ fine motor skills, self regulation, organizational skills, or social skills and others. The IEP is a collaborative effort including both parent/guardian and school personnel. Open communication and sharing of information, during an ongoing process, helps to ensure that school and home have similar expectations with respect to the student’s special education programs and services. Recognizing and respecting everyone’s contributions, and setting observable, measurable and realistic expectations for student achievement, will lead to the best possible education for the student. With parental consent, consultation and input may also occur from professionals in the community or from specific members of the Ottawa Catholic School Board’s Special Education and Student Services Department Collaborative Team. An IEP will be developed for a student who has not been formally identified as exceptional, but requires a special education program and/or services based on the results of a formal assessment. An IEP is created for all students who have been identified as exceptional by
an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC). The IEP reflects the School Board’s commitment to provide the special education program and services needed to meet the identified strengths and needs of the student, with the resources available. The principal is responsible for ensuring compliance with all of the requirements for the development and implementation of the IEP. The Ottawa Catholic School Board uses an electronic template for the IEP that meets the IEP standards set out by the Ministry of Education. Ministry requirements for the IEP can be found in the following Ministry of Education document: The Individual Education Plan (IEP) A Resource Guide 2004
Process for Resolving Disputes: The Ottawa Catholic School Board encourages ongoing communication with the parent/guardian. Effective communication is the key to building relationships of mutual trust and cooperation. Any dispute regarding programs or services as described in the IEP, is resolved through ongoing discussion and consensus building with input from all stakeholders. The Ottawa Catholic School Board works in partnership with parents/guardians following these guidelines: • • • • • •
Development of the IEP is based on collaboration between the school and the parent/guardian. Intervention guide is followed to monitor student strengths and needs and ongoing progress. School Collaborative Team meets on a regular basis to problem-solve strategies to support student’s learning. Special Education and Student Services members are available to meet to provide guidance in programming and in the development of IEPs. Case conferences and School Collaborative Team meetings involving parents/guardians are convened to provide opportunities for continued dialogue. SEAC representatives or other community partners may play a supporting role.
Additional information on resolving conflicts can be found in the following document: “Shared Solutions” - A Guide to Preventing and Resolving Conflicts Regarding Programs and Services for Students With Special Education Needs 2007 was released by the Ministry of Education to assist parents/guardians and schools in working together to prevent and resolve conflict. The guide contains helpful techniques and strategies based on real situations. This guide is available in all schools and is available on the Ministry of Education Website: Shared Solutions: 2007
Implementation of the IEP Ongoing professional development is held for all special education staff regarding the IEP process. One to three times a year, board-wide networking meetings for special education resource teachers are held. Special education teachers are given direction and practical application on various components of the writing of the IEP. Exemplary IEPs are shared with resource teachers and classroom teachers throughout the year. Members of the Special Education and Student Services Department provide ongoing consultation to school personnel on the content of the IEP and provide assistance in the development as requested. Any changes to the IEP, as required by the Ministry of Education, or as directed by policies or procedures in the Board, are delivered at these ongoing in-service meetings. Special Education and Student Services staff work in collaboration with Learning Technology on the IEP template.
Provincial Standards for IEPs Members of the Special Education and Student Services Department and SEAC have participated in provincial feedback sessions related to the development and implementation of IEPs. Areas of Board strengths and areas requiring continued development were noted and the Board has since provided additional guidance and supporting documentation for teachers during professional development sessions or individually with special education staff at the school. The Board’s areas of focus for the IEP include: • • • • • •
Creating meaningful and measurable expectations Annual Program Goals Alternative expectations-level of achievement Aligning teaching strategies with expectations Reporting Parent/guardian consultations on IEP Linking IEP and report cards