Special Education

IEP (Individualized Education Program)

IEP Process and Information

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written record of the special education services a student will receive for one calendar year. The organization and contents are highly standardized by law to maintain consistency from state to state and district to district. Seattle Public Schools uses online computer software, IEP Online, to compile all IEPs.

While the structure is standardized, the contents are individualized to each student.

IEP implementation and maintenance is a repetitive cycle intended to grow and adapt with each individual student.


IEP Contents and Documents

Information in the IEP is recorded in narrative, table, or multiple-choice checkbox formats in a standardized by the template. The format of an IEP is standardized, but the details are specific to each student.

IEPs in this District are formatted according to an online template. Information is recorded in narrative, table or multiple-choice checkbox formats standardized by the template. The template also provides written guidance, defines the purpose of each section, and highlights procedural safeguards and other information. The template is a subscription service called IEP online. They produce a base template for Washington State subscribed to by many Districts. They also produce templates nationwide, with ongoing input from educators across the country.

Cover Page

The cover page provides basic student information including name, grade and primary disability. It identifies if interpreter services are needed for the parent/guardian. It also lists all the participants involved in the development of the IEP.

Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP)

The Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) is a written summary of the impact a student’s disability has on their involvement and progress in the general education curriculum. There should be a direct relationship between the PLAAFP, the evaluation and other components of the IEP. The PLAAFP may include some, or many, of the following areas:

  • Adverse Impact
  • Medical-Physical
  • General Education
  • Social/Emotional
  • Adaptive
  • Behavior
  • Cognitive
  • Academic (Math, Reading, Writing)
  • Communication
  • Fine Motor
  • Gross Motor
  • Vision and Mobility
  • Vocational
  • Observation
  • Other

Secondary Transition

Transition planning is required in the IEPs of students entering or attending high school. Increasingly it is encouraged for students in middle school, too. It identifies a coordinated set of activities designed to facilitate the transition from school to post-school activities. This section assesses all of these areas:

  • Needs
  • Strengths
  • Preferences
  • Interests
  • Projected Graduation Date
  • Post Secondary Goals/Outcomes
  • Course of Study to Achieve Goals
  • Agency Linkage
  • Other

Measurable Annual Goals

This section includes measurable annual academic and functional goals specific to the students needs. The goals will relate directly to all areas qualified in the evaluation and described in the PLAAFP.

Program Accommodations/Modifications and Support for School Personnel

Accommodations and modifications are adjustments to the delivery, timing, setting or supports that allow a student to make academic progress in the general education curriculum alongside their non-disabled peers. This section consists of two tables, one for accommodation/modification made for the student and one that identifies supports for school personnel. Personnel supports would include specific training or professional development. The tables list each area of accommodation or support with the frequency, location and duration specifically identified.

State or District Assessments of Student Achievement

The IEP team determines what types of assessments the student should participate in and what modifications or accommodations should be made for the individual student. The results are recorded in this section in a table format.

Special Education and Related Services

This section identifies all the services that comprise a student’s individual program. All areas of service are listed in table format separated into three categories: special education, related services, and supplemental aids and services. (Transportation services are defined later in the Participation in Transportation section.) For each service, the table identifies the following information:

  • Is the service concurrent, or occurring at the same time, as general education instruction?
  • Who will deliver the service?
  • Who will monitor the service?
  • How frequently the service occurs?
  • In what location, or setting, the service occurs?
  • The start and end date of the service?

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

The Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is the educational setting that is closest to the general education setting and still allows a student to benefit from special education instruction.

Placement Options for LRE: Placement options are expressed in the IEP in two formats: a table, and a written description. The table is a tool for IEP team discussion and a record of the decisions made. It includes a range of options within a standard school setting with varying ranges of percent of time instruction is in the general education classroom. Additional settings, from non-District day schools to hospital setting are identified. The chart contains a record of: each setting considered, the one selected, and consideration of both the academic benefit for the student and the effect that the student the student will have on the setting.

(Note: within a standard school setting, removal from general education can only be for direct instructional purposes.)

Participation in Transportation

The IEP identifies if the student will have regular or special transportation.

Participation in Physical Education

The IEP identifies if the student will participate in general physical education.

Participation in Extended School Year (ESY)

The IEP identifies if the student will participate in ESY. ESY is summer instruction for students who are unable to maintain attained performance without it. IEP teams will select this option, on an annual basis, when progress data supports a need for it. This decision is made each spring and an additional ESY form will be completed.

Emergency Response Protocol (ERP)

The Emergency Response Protocol is an addendum to the IEP that documents the advanced planning, conditions, and precautions needed in the case that isolation, restraint, or a restraint device may be used. The form must be signed by a Parent/Guardian, documenting their prior consent. The District must also provide Parents/Guardians with their policy on use of restraint and isolation. ERP’s must be incorporated into a student’s IEP and reviewed annually.

These forms may accompany your student’s IEP form:

IEP invitation

The student’s case manager invites Parents/Guardians, and all other team members, to each IEP team meeting. This is a form with fill-in-the-blank fields and check boxes. It states the time and place of the meeting, as well as the subjects to be addressed.

Team Considerations

Team Considerations is a checklist. The contents are redundant with other areas of the IEP, but ensure that active consideration is given to specific areas of a student’s needs including:

  • The student’s strengths
  • Performance on assessments
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing communication needs
  • Assistive technology needs
  • Positive behavioral interventions
  • Language needs, as they relate to limited English proficiency
  • Blind and visually impaired communication needs

Parental Consent Form

Parental Consent is required prior to four events: evaluation, re-evaluation, providing services for the first time, and inviting representatives of other agencies to participate in Individual Education Program (IEP) transition meetings.

Prior Written Notice (PWN)

The District is required to provide the Parent/Guardian with Prior Written Notice (PWN) whenever it proposes or refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, placement or provision of services.

Notification for the Disclosure of Student Information to the Washington State Health Care Authority

This form notifies Parents/Guardians that Seattle Public Schools participates in the Washington State Health Care Authority Program. This program makes federal Medicaid funds available to school districts to help cover the costs of providing necessary, school-based health services. By participating in this program, the school district can seek federal Medicaid reimbursement for the costs of the health services the school district provides to children who are eligible for Medicaid, and who receive those services that are identified in their individualized education programs (IEP).

In order to seek the federal Medicaid funds to assist in reimbursing the district for school-based services, the school district must disclose information from your child’s education records to the HCA to verify Medicaid eligibility, and to seek reimbursement for those services the school district provides.

Medicaid Consent Form

A Parent/Guardian’s consent allows the school district to seek federal Medicaid reimbursement to provide necessary services to your child. If you have already given your consent, or you are giving the District a new consent for services, you may revoke your consent at any time. The school district will continue to provide the services in an IEP to your child at no cost to you, as the parent, whether or not you give your consent for the District to seek Medicaid reimbursement.

Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)

A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is a written plan that describes interventions and other strategies that will be implemented to address goals for a student’s social, emotional, and behavioral development.

A BIP includes observational and behavioral data from the functional behavior assessment (FBA) as the basis for a plan of action for managing a student’s challenging behavior. A BIP may include ways to change the student’s environment to:

  • Prevent the behavior from occurring
  • Provide opportunities for positive reinforcement to promote appropriate behavior
  • Teach replacement behaviors
  • Provide supports or planned responses to reduce a student’s problem behavior.

IEP Team Meetings

The IEP team creates, reviews, and revises the student’s IEP. Each IEP team meets at least once a year to review their student’s IEP.

Learn about IEP Meetings

IEP Implementation

Students in Seattle Public Schools

The IEP start date is listed on the signature page of the IEP and this is when implementation begins. Once the IEP is completed, a team led by the case manager will provide the services and/or accommodations included in the document for one year until the next IEP is written.

Private School and Homeschooled Students

Students voluntarily attending approved private schools or homeschool have two service delivery options: dual enrollment or a service plan. IEP implementation may vary depending on the option selected.

Link to Learn

IEP Implementation Center for Parent Information and Resources (CIPR)


Annual IEP Renewal and Amendments

IEPs must be reviewed annually at minimum. This is called an Annual IEP Review. The IEP Review must be completed within one calendar year of the previous IEP meeting date. The team will determine how the existing IEP is serving the student and what changes are necessary.

Additional IEP meetings may be convened when:

  • A student has received a formal assessment
  • An IEP team member, including the parent/guardian, requests a meeting to develop, review, or revise the Individualized Education Program (should be considered when there are concerns that a student is not making progress or has exceeded expectations)
  • When a change of placement is considered or selected by the IEP team
  • There is a change is eligibility category or a change of areas of service, including SDI, Related Services, or Assistive technology
  • To conduct a manifestation determination on disciplinary issues
  • Following a 3-year or off-schedule reevaluation

Parents are invited and expected to participate in all of the IEP team meetings, including annual renewals.

Maintaining and Revising Services

Measuring student progress is a crucial step in the IEP process.

Learn more about Reviewing Services

Problem Solving

10 Defusing Phrases to Use at IEP Meetings from Understood.org


Service Types in the IEP

Four types of services are defined in the IEP: special education services, related services, supplementary aids and services, and transportation services.

Special Education Services

Special education services are academic, functional or behavioral instruction that differs from the general education curriculum. It is specially designed for the individual student’s needs. Under The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) it is called specially designed instruction (SDI).

Related Services

Related services are a broad category encompassing any services that assist a student to access and gain benefit from their special education services. Related services may include: speech-language pathology and audiology, interpreting (sign-language), psychological, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, identification and assessment, counseling, orientation and mobility (for vision impaired), medical, nursing, social work, or parent counseling and training services.

Supplementary Aids or Services

The term “supplementary aids and services” means aids, services, and other supports that are provided in general education classes or other education-related settings to enable students eligible for special education to be educated with nondisabled students to the maximum extent appropriate in accordance with the Least Restrictive Environment requirements.

These services, like accommodations and modifications, support a student’s participation in their education. The difference is that they fall outside of the scope of what the general education teacher is expected to adjust. They may include additional staffing resources, specialized equipment, Assistive technology, or modified materials for instruction.

Transportation Services

Transportation services include: travel to and from school and between schools, travel in and around school buildings, and adapted busses, lifts, and ramps if required.


IEPs for Students not attending SPS

Students not attending SPS include those voluntarily enrolled by their parents in private school settings, home schooled students, and those in contracted placements.

Regardless of their daily school setting, all qualified students must have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) that fully and accurately reflects his or her evaluation and areas of qualification. Therefore, no difference should exist between the IEP of a student not enrolled in SPS.

The delivery of services for students not attending SPS may be different.


Students Entering the District with an IEP

Students of any age transferring into the District with an IEP must first enroll in the District through the Admissions Department.

Parents/Guardians must notify Admissions that their student has a pre-existing IEP. This triggers an out of District placement process including: review of the existing evaluation and IEP, forwarding of existing materials to the student’s new assigned school, or recommendation for reevaluation.

If a reevaluation is recommended, services equivalent to the existing IEP will be provided until a new IEP is in place.