Special Education and Regional Center Blog
Helping Parents Navigate the Special Education, the Regional Center, and IHSS program.
I think this issue can be viewed from two different angles: educational records and parent participation.
California law states that a district must priovide parents with a student's records within five business (not school days) days after parents' request. A draft IEP would be considered a student record, and the district must provide a draft IEP within five days from the request by a parent.
In addition to a draft IEP, I always advise my clients to request any assessments to be discussed at the IEP five days prior to the IEP.
Always make this request in writing. A simple request could be: "Please provide any assesments, draft goals, or a draft IEP five business days prior to the IEP to ensure adequate time for me to review the documents and parent participation."
An issue might come up if the draft IEP is not created enough time before the IEP to be able to be provided. For instantance, the draft IEP or goals might be created on on the morning of an IEP schecduled for the afternoon.
Another reason that the district would need to produce the draft IEP or draft goals prior to the IEP is so that the parent can fully participate in the IEP.
The IDEA and courts consistently emphasize how important parent participation is in the IEP process. The U.S. Supreme Court explained, the IDEA requires school districts to develop an IEP for each child with a disability, and in doing so they must ensure that parents play “a significant role in the IEP process.” Schaffer v. Weast, 546 U.S. 49, 53, 126 S. Ct. 528, 163 L. Ed. 2d 387 (2005); see also 20 U.S.C. §§ 1412(a)(4) and 1414(d). A parent is a required and vital member of the IEP team. 20 U.S.C. § 1414(d)(1)(B)(i); Cal. Ed. Code §§ 56341(b)(1), 56342.5.
What to Do If You Haven’t Received a Draft IEP or Draft Goals
If you haven’t received assessments, a draft IEP, or draft goals prior to the IEP you have a few options. One would be to just go forward with the IEP the best you can and read as you go along.
Another option would be to start the IEP, but say at the beginning of the IEP since you did not receive the [assessment, draft IEP, and/or draft goals], that you will need to continue the IEP. Then ask the team when they are available for a continued IEP. Sit there and figure out a date to continue the IEP.
The final option (and maybe my favorite) is to start the IEP and say that since you just received the [assessment, draft IEP, and/or draft goals] that you will need to read them over and then the IEP can continue. Tell the team that it will take about 30 minutes, they should go to the restroom or get a snack, and then you will be able to fully participate in the IEP. Don’t start the IEP until you have read the documents and are prepared to discuss them during the IEP.
Please contact me if you want to discuss this issue futher or have any questions.