IEP & 504 101


The Special Education Process

1. Identification

Identification of students who may be in need of further evaluation/supports can be school based or based on outside evaluations.   As a school, various interventions are utilized to support students.  If interventions through MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support) or BHT (Behavioral Health Team) do not help to fully support a student a school-based referral may occur.

2. Referral from a parent/guardian or school personnel

A request for a Full Individual Evaluation must be submitted in writing to the principal or the case manager.  The request should be signed, dated, and include an explanation of educational concerns and any supporting documentation. The school must provide the parent/guardian written notice of their decision within 14 school days of receiving the request.

3. Assessment Planning Process

If the school agrees to evaluate the student, an assessment planning meeting is scheduled within 14 school days of receiving the request for an evaluation. The purpose of the meeting is to plan the evaluations needed to assess the child in all areas related to their suspected disability. Before the evaluation process can begin, the parent/guardian must provide written consent.

4. Evaluations

The initial evaluation must be completed, and the IEP team must determine eligibility for special education and related services within 60-school-days after the date the parent/guardian provides written consent to conduct the evaluations. Parents/Guardians must receive copies of the draft evaluations at least 3 school days prior to the eligibility meeting.

5. Eligibility Meeting

Before the 60th school day elapses, the IEP team (including the parent/guardian) meets to review the evaluation results and determine whether the student is eligible for special education and/or related services.

  • If the student is found eligible for special education, the team develops an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
  • If the student is not found eligible for special education, the team may consider eligibility under a Section 504 Plan.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

The IEP team (including the parent/guardian) meets to develop the student’s IEP.  A copy of the draft IEP must be provided to the parents/guardians at least three school days prior to the meeting.

The IEP identifies the student’s unique needs and describes how the school will address those needs. The IEP establishes goals and identifies the supplementary aids, supports and services to allow the student to meet those goals.

The student’s IEP is reviewed by the IEP team at least once per year.

For more information about what to do if you disagree with the IEP placement decision, visit Know your Rights.

Special Education and/or Related Services

Before the school may provide special education and related services to the student for the first time, the parent/guardian must provide written consent.

Special education and/or related services may begin within 10 school days from date the IEP is developed, unless a parent/guardian waives that waiting period.

IEP Report Cards

The student’s progress toward the annual goals is measured, as stated in the IEP. IEP Report Cards are provided quarterly to inform parents/guardians about the student’s progress towards the annual IEP goals.

504 Plans

The 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability under the law (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations and supports that will ensure their academic success and equal access to the learning environment. The disability must substantially limit a major life activity, which includes a child’s ability to learn in a general education classroom.

Section 504 has a broader definition of a disability than IDEA, so a child who does not qualify for an IEP might still be able to receive accommodations and related services under a 504 Plan. Accommodations can help children who are struggling at school, work around their weaknesses. Examples of 504 Plan accommodations include preferential seating; extended time on tests and assignments; changes to class schedules, homework assignments, and grading; verbal, visual, or technology aids; and behavior management support.

All of this information was gathered from the CPS website.