i.           What is an IEP?

           ii.           How to Develop an IEP

          iii.        Setting Annual Program Goals

           iv.        Writing Learning Expectations

          v.           Identifying Teaching Strategies and Accommodations

          vi.         Planning for Human Resources

          vii.      Planning for Individualized Equipment

          viii.      Additional Requirements


i. What is an IEP?

An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is a written plan describing the special education program and/or services required by a particular student. It identifies learning expectations that are modified from or alternative to the expectations given in the curriculum policy document for the appropriate grade and subject or course, and/or any accommodations and special education services needed to assist the student in achieving his or her learning expectations. (The IEPs of students who have no modified or alternative expectations will focus only on accommodations and services.) The IEP is not a daily lesson plan itemizing every detail of the student's education.

The IEP also helps teachers monitor the student's progress and provides a framework for communicating information about the student's progress to parents and to the student. The IEP is updated periodically to record any changes in the student's special education program and services that are found to be necessary as a result of continuous assessment and evaluation of the student's achievement of annual goals and learning expectations.

The IEP reflects the school board's and the principal's commitment to provide the special education program and services, within the resources available to the school board, needed to meet the identified strengths and needs of the student. The principal is responsible for ensuring compliance with all of the requirements described in this document for the development and implementation of students' IEPs.

An IEP is...
     - a summary of the student's strengths, interests, and needs and of the expectations for a student's learning during a school year that differ from the expectations defined in the appropriate grade level of the Ontario Curriculum;
     - a written plan of action prepared for a student who requires modifications of the regular school program or accommodations;
       - a tool to help teachers monitor and communicate the student's growth;
       - a plan developed, implemented, and monitored by school staff;
    - a flexible, working document that can be adjusted as necessary; - an accountability tool for the student, his or her parents, and everyone who has responsibilities under the plan for helping the student meet his or her goals and expectations; an ongoing record that ensures continuity in programming; and a document to be used in conjunction with the provincial report card.


ii. How to Develop an IEP

Identify and Record Student's Strengths and Needs:

Many factors - physical, intellectual, educational, cultural, emotional, and social - influence a student's ability to learn. Understanding these factors can help the IEP team develop statements of strengths and needs. A clear understanding of the student's strengths and needs is fundamental to the development of an effective special education program and the provision of appropriate accommodations and services to facilitate the student's learning.

A description of the strengths and needs of the student must be recorded in the IEP. In the case of students who have been identified as exceptional by an IPRC, a description of strengths and needs will have been provided in the committee's statement of decision. The description in the IEP must be based on and consistent with the description contained in the IPRC's statement, but may elaborate on it to reflect the results of any further assessments conducted or observations made of the student.

In the case of students who have not been identified as exceptional, descriptions of strengths and needs must be developed on the basis of appropriate educational, psychological, and/or health assessments, and on the basis of observations of the student.

The descriptions of the student's strengths and needs must be clear and specific.

It is expected that the strengths and needs described in the IEP will be supported by relevant assessment data. They will also be reflected in the description of the student's current level of achievement, and in the student's learning expectations and special education strategies, accommodations, and resources.

The IEP's statements of the student's strengths and needs should describe observable factors that influence the student's learning and areas in which the student demonstrates significant strengths or the need for significant support. They should not describe the programs, services, or strategies that will address needs.

Identify the Student's Current Level of Achievement

Information summarizing the student's current level of achievement in each of the subjects, courses, or skill areas to which the IEP applies must be recorded in the IEP. This information will serve as a baseline against which the student's progress towards achievement of his or her learning expectations and annual goals in each subject, course, or skill area will be measured through subsequent assessment and evaluation.

The student's level of achievement will be described in one of the following ways:

The current level of achievement of a student who is working on modified curriculum expectations must be indicated by a letter grade or mark, as reported on the Provincial Report Card. (If the student's program includes modified expectations, the report card will indicate that the student has an IEP.) The description must also indicate the grade level, or range of levels, of the Ontario curriculum from which the expectations in the student's modified program have been derived. (Modified expectations are expectations derived from a provincial curriculum policy document for a grade level, or levels, above or below the student's age-appropriate grade level.)

The current level of achievement of a student whose needs cannot be met through the Ontario curriculum and who is working on alternative expectations will be described in terms of the student's progress towards meeting the learning expectations that form his or her educational program, as outlined in the IEP. (Alternative expectations are expectations that are not derived from a provincial curriculum policy document or that are modified so extensively that the Ontario curriculum expectations no longer form the basis of the student's educational program. Learning expectations in the areas of life skills and orientation and mobility training are examples of alternative expectations.)


iii. Setting Annual Program Goals

Annual goals are statements describing what a student can reasonably be expected to accomplish by the end of the school year in a particular subject, course, or skill area. Annual goals must be developed under the following circumstances:

·         if the student's learning expectations are modified from the curriculum expectations for a particular subject or course

·         if the student's learning expectations are alternative expectations

In the first case, the annual goals may be modified from the overall expectations outlined for a subject at a particular grade level, or for a secondary school course, in a curriculum policy document. In the second case, they will not be derived from the overall expectations, but will be developed on the basis of the student's identified strengths and needs and will constitute a summary of the student's alternative learning expectations.

Annual goals need not be developed for students who are working on unmodified curriculum expectations.

All annual goals must:

·         take into account the student's strengths, needs, and current level of achievement in the program area;

·         describe realistic and observable achievements.

Annual goals meeting these requirements must be recorded in the IEP for each subject, course, or skill area to which the IEP applies.


iv. Writing Learning Expectations

Learning expectations are statements that describe the specific knowledge and skills that the student should be able to demonstrate within a specified time period during the school year. They represent the learning a student must acquire in order to progress from his or her current level of achievement to the related annual goals identified in the IEP. Based on the student's achievement of the learning expectations, parents and teachers will be able to gauge, at particular times during the year, how well the student is progressing towards achieving his or her annual goals.

A representative sample of the student's learning expectations in each subject, course, or skill area must be recorded in the IEP under the following circumstances:

·         if the student is working on modified expectations;

·         if the student is working on alternative expectations;

Learning expectations need not be recorded in the IEP if the student is working on provincial curriculum expectations at the regular grade level.

The learning expectations recorded in the IEP must:

·         be based on the student's learning strengths and needs;

·         reflect learning that is focused on the student's annual program goals in each subject, course, or skill area;

·         be clearly identified as modified or alternative expectations;

·         if modified, include identification of grade level;

·         describe specific, realistic, and observable achievements.

The learning expectations must be reviewed at least once every reporting period and updated as necessary, in view of the student's progress. The student's parents must be advised of any such updates, which must be entered and dated in the IEP


v. Identifying Teaching Strategies and Accommodations

Examples of the individualized teaching strategies that may be identified in the IEP include the following:

·         using special resources such as reading material that is consistent with students' reading levels and learning styles, and videotapes, audiotapes, and other audio visual materials that give learning experiences greater breadth and depth

·         using learning resources that provide direct experiences of seeing and touching (i.e., tactile materials)

·         providing enrichment units, additional readings, and other opportunities (e.g., problems to solve) that extend learning

·         using a variety of teaching and learning strategies, such as special interest groupings for research projects; peer partners, collaborative groups, and cross-age tutoring; mentorship programs; and independent study plans

·         collaborating with resource teachers, teacher librarians, and other professionals

·         simplifying the language of instruction

·         providing opportunities for performance in areas of special talent

·         providing all students with strategies for understanding and accepting exceptional students and integrating them into the regular classroom

Examples of the individualized accommodations that may be identified in the IEP include the following:

·         giving students extra time to complete classroom assignments

·         allowing students to complete tasks or present information in alternative ways (e.g., through taped answers, demonstrations, dramatizations, role play)

·         allowing students to tape lessons for more intensive review at a later time

·         providing a variety of learning tools, such as adapted computers for completing writing tasks and calculators for completing numeracy tasks

·         providing for the use of scribes

·         using pictorial schedules to assist students in making transitions


vi. Planning for Human Resources

For the human resources identified in the IEP, the following information must be recorded:

·         the type of service provided

·         the date on which the service was initiated

·         the planned frequency or intensity of the service

·         the location in which the service is provided (i.e., regular classroom, resource,withdrawal classroom, or special education classroom)


vii. Planning for Individualized Equipment

This category includes any type or item of equipment or any electronic product or system commercially produced, modified, or custom-made to maintain, increase, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.


viii.            Additional Requirements

A variety of appropriate methods for assessing and evaluating student achievement is identified.

Student achievement is evaluated and reported to parents at least once per term.

Any testing accommodations recommended to facilitate the student's participation in provincial assessments must be identified in the IEP. These accommodations must be appropriate to the student's particular needs, as identified in the IEP and included among the strategies, accommodations, and resources identified in the IEP as necessary for facilitating the student's learning and demonstration of achievement in regular classroom assessments.

An explanatory statement meeting the requirement described above has been included if the student has been exempted from a provincial assessment.

A transition plan must be included in the student's IEP who is 14 years of age or older for the student's transition to appropriate postsecondary activities, such as work, further education, and community living.

A parent/student consultation form is included and that it gives evidence of appropriate consultation with parents and the student.

All team members involved in the development of the plan must be identified and that they collectively meet the requirements for staff involvement. The IEP will also be reviewed to ensure that the principal has indicated his or her approval by signing the plan.

A variety of appropriate information sources have been identified and used in the development of the IEP.

The IEP must be completed within the required thirty school day period following the student's placement.

The principal is to give his or her assurance that the plan is being implemented according to the guidelines, and that a monitoring plan is in place.

Any revisions to the plan have been noted and dated in the IEP, and that the consultation with parents and the student regarding the revision has been recorded on the parent/student consultation form.

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