What it is
A written plan for learning, developed for students with special needs, who may or may not be formally identified as exceptional. The IEP outlines special education programming with accommodations and/or modifications of curriculum. The plan may also include alternative programming and transition plans. An IEP is considered a “working document”, as it is revised and changed throughout the year in response to the student’s progress and needs.
Strategies for effective IEP development
• Collaborate with in-school team of teachers and administrators and other education professionals who are involved with the student.
• Establish set meeting times for IEP collaboration with staff – often at the beginning of the year and prior to reporting periods for revisions.
• Collaborate with student and parents/guardians – Set a meeting.
• Use assessment data (teacher-based and professional, if available).
• Develop specific accommodations (with the exception of some students who are solely identified with giftedness and who are on extended programs).
• If needed, develop modifications with an annual goal and specific expectations for each subject area that differs from the curriculum for the student’s grade level.
• Do not include the specific expectations items of the regular grade curriculum on the IEP, if the student will be working at the grade level with accommodations.
• If needed, develop alternative programming, to teach the student skills not represented in the Ontario Curriculum (social skills, self-help and related skills).
• Develop a transition plan for students with transition needs. All students on IEPs who are fourteen years and older, unless solely identified with giftedness, require a transition plan to prepare for post-secondary activities. Transition plans are part of IEPs for students of any age who have Autism Spectrum Disorder, to plan for daily transitions.
• Report on student progress. The Provincial Report Card is utilized most often, as well as the Report Card Addendum to report on alternative programming. Individual school boards may use an additional report card for some students on IEPs.
• Revise IEPs at each reporting period or when goals need to be altered.
• Consider the development of a safety/emergency response/crisis response plan for extreme behaviours.
Strategies for effective implementation of an IEP
• Collaborate with other teachers, including the special education resource teacher.
• Develop a schedule and tracking process to ensure that IEP modified expectations are being addressed each day.
• Assess regularly and re-establish student goals once existing ones are obtained.
• Communicate regularly with parents/guardians and consider a communication system. (For example, agenda book signed daily).
• Aim for the student to understand his/her specific accommodations and/or modifications.
• Coach the student to be a good advocate for him/her self.
• Consider cutting and pasting modifications or alternate programming expectations into a checklist document for the student to utilize each day.
• Consider pasting the student’s specific term expectations and strategies in the front of an applicable notebook for regular review.
• Converse regularly with the student on his/her goals and analyze errors with the student as a form of learning.
• Include a summary of IEP information for occasional teachers so that programming is seamless.