***Post written by Howard Wakkinen, Conference Graduate Credit Chair for WSPA***
In the midst of providing specialized services and instruction to students who meet the IDEA criteria for an educational disability, school teams sometimes struggle to effectively follow a continuum of specialized services. Special education and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) provide specific supports, instruction, and accommodations / modifications to help struggling learners. IEP teams may consider the following questions and graphic below as they move forward in their planning to meet students’ needs. 1) Once students qualify for special education and IEP services, how often do your teams look at the students’ progress toward specific goals (no, I’m not talking about the legally obliged quarterly progress reports that everyone completes to fulfill this part of the process)? 2) Do your IEP teams and Case Managers examine data from the IEP goals on a regular basis (e.g., weekly for intensive supports or at least monthly for most students)? 3) What progress monitoring tools do you utilize to inform growth and students’ overall progress compared to themselves (and to same grade peers)? 4) How closely do your students’ goals align with the district curriculum to find out how close or how far away the student is performing compared to same grade peers? 5) Have you defined your continuum of specialized services as an IEP team? 6) Have you discussed what the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) truly is for each student?