The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) is currently in the process of revising the State’s individualized education program (IEP) document. An essential component to the provision of a free and appropriate public education to students with disabilities, the IEP document is the official record of a planning and placement team’s decisions regarding a student’s special education eligibility identification and program. As federal and state requirements have changed over the years, the document currently in use in the state has required multiple updates since its origination. As a result, the Bureau of Special Education (BSE) has determined that a more holistic revision of the IEP document is warranted. Our goal is to design an IEP document that is less complicated for practitioners to use and easier for parents and students to understand.
Since July 2018, the BSE has undertaken several activities related to this important work. In addition to establishing an internal team to lead the revision process, the main focus of the BSE has been to seek stakeholder input regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the current IEP document. Opportunities for feedback included a survey of special education directors, regional meetings for parents and educators, an electronic survey accessible on the CSDE website, input from students and the State Advisory Council for Special Education. The feedback received has informed the development of a draft revised IEP document. The BSE internal team also completed a review of statutory and regulatory requirements and conducted reviews of IEP documents used in other states.
In addition to the activities listed above, the BSE formed an external advisory stakeholder group consisting of 22 individuals representing various perspectives. This group met regularly throughout the year to provide comment on the current document and feedback on a draft revised IEP document. The input from this group was critical in the development of a new IEP document.
In the upcoming weeks, the BSE is prepared to post the Draft IEP document revision on the CSDE website for public comment. Following the public comment period, we will continue to engage with stakeholders to design an implementation plan.
It is important to note that the current IEP document will remain in use across the state for the entirety of the 2019-2020 school year.