What is the IEP Process?


This is a short description of how the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) process works.  Please contact the AbilityPath Family Resource Center with any questions

  • School district schedules an IEP meeting at mutually agreed upon time and place.
  • Parents share strengths and concerns.
  • Reports are presented and discussed.
  • Parent concerns are considered.
  • Eligibility is discussed and goals are presented.
  • Services and placement are offered by district, if appropriate.
  • Provide parent opportunity to visit therapeutic setting, if appropriate.
  • Services begin in a timely manner after third birthday.
  • If child is found ineligible for services, rationale will be discussed at IEP meeting.
  • Community resources may be suggested based upon information gathered through the assessment process.
  • This process begins a long relationship between the school district, staff and parents, all focusing on the needs of the child.

Upon completion of the individual evaluation, decisions will be made regarding eligibility, goals and services if appropriate. If your child is deemed eligible for special education supports and services, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will be developed. The IEP is the framework for the design of the educational program for a child eligible for Special Education. While the IEP is a child-centered document, active parent participation is strongly encouraged and valued by the educational team. The IEP will provide written documentation of the goals and objectives proposed to assist your child in achieving academic success and services, which support the process of working towards meeting the goals.

The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is an important legal document that is the basis of instruction and supports for your child. The IEP summarizes your child’s current skills and abilities, established educational goals and objectives (where appropriate) for the school year, describes programs and services designed to assist your child in making progress towards those goals and indicates how often progress towards the goals will be reported to you, the parent.

The IEP is developed with input from parents and must indicate what services will be provided to your child and the frequency, duration and location of these services.

The school district will contact you to schedule an IEP meeting at a mutually agreed upon time and place. At this meeting, you will be asked to share your concerns for your child educationally, as well as the strengths of your child. You will find a Parent Input Form on the San Mateo County Office of Education website link belowwhich we encourage you to use to gather your thoughts about the information you wish to share with the other members of the IEP team. Should you wish to bring someone to support you at this IEP, you may do so. You can expect that there will be several educational professionals present at this meeting. Present should be any member of the multidisciplinary team who assessed your child, an administrator who can commit resources to support your child’s proposed program, a translator should you need one, the classroom teacher (if the proposed program includes such a placement).

At this meeting reports on the results of the evaluations will be presented and discussed. You should feel free to stop and ask questions whenever something is discussed that is unclear to you. You will hear the phrase, “present levels of performance” at the meeting. This refers to the information that has been gathered from a variety of sources such as assessments, observations, and work samples. If you share outside assessments with the team, it must be understood that the recommendations and findings of outside assessors must be considered by the educational team, but not necessarily adopted by the IEP team.

After the results of the assessments have been reviewed, eligibility will be discussed. If your child is found eligible for Special Education services, proposed goals will be presented. These goals typically will be designed to support your child’s educational plan along with related services. There may also be a discussion of appropriate accommodations for your child’s program, should this be appropriate. The team will discuss the amount of time per week that your child will receive these proposed services. If the recommendation of the school team is that your child’s placement be a therapeutic setting, you will have the opportunity to visit prior to your child beginning the placement. You do not need to sign an agreement to a specific therapeutic placement if you have not yet been given an opportunity to see the recommended placement. You can expect that these services will begin as near as possible to your child’s third birthday. At the conclusion of this initial IEP meeting, you will be asked to sign your agreement to the goals and objectives, placement (if appropriate) in a special education classroom and specific supports and services for your child. If you want to review the document, you should sign that you attended the meeting. Until you sign your agreement to services and supports, no services will be available to your child. If you disagree with parts of your recommended services, supports or placement, it is wise to put these concerns in writing (e-mail is sufficient) and request another meeting to discuss these concerns.

If your child is found ineligible for Special Education, a rationale for this decision will be discussed with you. This will be based upon a review of all assessments conducted for your child and eligibility criteria, which is based upon educational code. Your IEP team may suggest community resources which you may want to access.

If your child is found eligible for Special Education, you can expect a review of the goals, services and supports at least once a year and progress toward your child’s goals and objectives to be reported to you at least as often as children in the school district receive a report card. You may, of course, request a review more frequently than once a year. Every three years, your child will be reassessed to determine their continued eligibility for Special Education.