What is an IEP?

  • An IEP (or Individualized Education Plan) is a term used to describe the official documentation of special education services that will be provided to your child as well as the meeting where the services are determined.  It is a legal document identifying the district "offer" of services.  Below are key details to help you better understand the IEP.


    The IEP is:

    • A meeting where parents, students when appropriate, and school personnel jointly make decisions about an educational program for a student with a disability.
    • A document that is a written record of the decisions reached at the meeting for a student who will receive special education and related services.
    • A management tool used to implement the IEP.


    The IEP has a number of purposes and functions:

    • The IEP meeting serves as a communication tool between parents and educators and enables them, as equal participants, to jointly decide what the student's needs are, what services will be provided to meet those needs, and what the anticipated outcomes may be.
    • The IEP process provides an opportunity for resolving any differences between the parents and the school concerning the special education needs of a student with a disability – first, through the IEP meeting, and second, if necessary, through the procedural protections that are available to parents.
    • The IEP sets forth in writing a commitment to provide services and resources necessary to enable a student with a disability to receive needed special education services.


    The IEP is not:

    • The IEP is not a daily lesson plan, but it does cover an entire year (365 days).
    • The IEP is not an evaluation report.  An evaluation report describes your child's strengths and needs.  The information from an evaluation report is used to help write the IEP.
    • The IEP is not a contract. It does describe things you and the school have agreed to do for your child.
    • The IEP is not a comprehensive curriculum.  It related to special considerations within your child's overall education.
    • The IEP is not timeless.  As your child grows and changes, the IEP will need to reflect these developments.