Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s)
The Washington State Constitution guarantees every student a free and appropriate public education. Students who experience difficulty learning may need specialized instruction and services to learn and grow to their full potential. When students’ academic abilities fall below those of their peers or cognitive capacity, a team of their parents, teachers, specialists, and school administrators work together to set reasonable learning goals, develop an “appropriate” instructional plan, and identify the services the district will provide.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a federal law, controls the procedural requirements of developing IEP’s and Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) assists parents and local school districts understand and develop appropriate plans.
Parents and school districts are partners in this process and the process works best when everyone works together. Extra support, however, is available when needed.
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)
Federal law provides for three dispute resolution options and can address concerns about the identification, evaluation, educational placement, and provision of specialized instruction and services for students. The OSPI’s website provides the following guidelines and assistance
- Request Mediation – Mediation is a voluntary process for parents and districts to meet to discuss their concerns with the help of a trained, neutral mediator. There is no cost to the parties.
- File a Citizen Complaint – Any citizen can file a complaint alleging that a federal or state special education rule or law has been violated. OSPI can investigate allegations that occurred within the past year.
- Request a Due Process Hearing – In a hearing, parents and districts appear before an independent administrative law judge. The parties present information and documents about the issues so the judge can reach a decision.