Maryland Statewide Individualized Education Program (IEP) Process Guide July 2014  

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Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Decision Making & Placement Summary

When making a placement decision, the IEP team must consider the least restrictive environment (LRE). The placement decision determines where the student’s special education instruction will occur. This decision is made by the IEP team and is based on the student’s IEP. The student must be educated in the school that he or she would attend if not disabled unless the IEP indicates that another school is appropriate. The IEP team must consider placement closest to the student’s home, if the student is not in the school the student would attend if not disabled.

 

LRE means that students with disabilities are educated with students without disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate. Students with disabilities must not be placed in special classes or separate schools unless education in regular education classes with supplementary aids, services, program modifications, and supports cannot be achieved satisfactorily. In selecting the LRE, consideration is given to any potential harmful effect on the student or on the quality of the services that he or she needs. The student may not be removed from education in age-appropriate general education classes solely because of needed modifications in the general curriculum.

 

The LRE mandate of the IDEA requires students with disabilities to receive their education in general education settings to the maximum extent appropriate. If such a setting is not appropriate, the student is to receive his or her education in a setting with the least amount of segregation from the student's nondisabled peers, as possible. In short, the LRE relates to the settings WHERE a student with a disability receives special education services, and how much TIME is spent in those settings, NOT WHAT SERVICES a student is to receive.

 

Placement decisions CANNOT be solely based on:

  • Category of the student’s disability;
  • Severity of the student’s disability;
  • Language and communication needs;
  • Needed modifications in the general curriculum;
  • Configuration of the public agency’s delivery system;
  • Availability of space or educational or related services; or
  • Administrative convenience.

Placement Options Considered

If the student is removed from natural environments with nondisabled peers (3-5) or from general education instructional settings (6-21) the IEP team needs to document other less restrictive options considered, including WHY services CANNOT be delivered in less restrictive settings with the use of supplementary aids, services, program modifications, and supports provided in the natural environment or general education setting with nondisabled peers.
 

If Removed from General Education, Explain Why Services CANNOT be Provided in the General Education Environment

IDEA requires a justification for the removal of the student from general education settings. This includes a specific explanation of WHY services CANNOT be provided in general education classroom settings with supplementary aids, services, program modifications, and supports.

 

The response must describe why the IEP team recommends that the student be removed from general education classes, what supplementary aids, services, program modifications, and supports were considered and rejected, why these services cannot be provided in general education settings.

 

IDEA REQUIRES placement of special education students in regular classrooms “to the maximum extent appropriate” with the use of supplementary aids, services, program modifications, and supports provided in the general education classroom. Thus, the decision as to whether any particular student should be educated in a general education classroom setting, all of the time, part of the time, or none of the time, is dependent on the needs and abilities of the particular student, and SHOULD NOT be based solely upon:

  • Category of the student’s disability;
  • Severity of the student’s disability;
  • Language and communication needs;
  • Needed modifications in the general curriculum;
  • Configuration of the public agency’s delivery system;
  • Availability of space or educational or related services; or
  • Administrative convenience.

Document Basis of Decision(s) (required)

A required text field for an IEP team to provide additional information to document the basis of the IEP team’s decision. If addressed properly, documentation will meet requirements of prior written notice (PWN), in accordance with 34 C.F.R. §300.503 and COMAR 13A.05.01.12, PWN includes:

  • A description of the action proposed or refused;
  • An explanation of why the public agency proposes or refuses to take the action;
  • A description of the options the public agency considered and the reason the options were rejected;
  • A description of each assessment procedure, test, record, or report the public agency uses as a basis for the proposal or refusal;
  • A description of any other factors relevant to the proposed or refused action;
  • A list of sources a parent may contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of IDEA; and
  • If an action proposed by a public agency also requires parental consent, a public agency may provide notice at the same time it requests consent.

[20 U.S.C §1415; 34 C.F.R. §300.503; COMAR 13A.05.01.12]

Total Time in School Week

Indicate the total hours and minutes in a school week

Total Time Outside General Education

Indicate the total hours and minutes in a school week the student is in general education settings.
 

Total Time in General Education

Indicate the total hours and minutes in a school week the student is in general education settings.

NOTE:
The total amount of time in a school week is based on the actual hours and minutes of the school day. The time of the school day may vary.

The calculation of hours is based on the time outside the general education classroom versus inside the general education classroom. Subtract the total time outside of general education based on the services listed on the Services pages of the IEP. This should indicate the total time in general education. You are subtracting from the total time in the school week.
 

Special Education Placements (3-5)

Attending a Regular Early Childhood Program for at Least 10 Hours per Week and Receiving the Majority of Special Education and Related Services in That Setting.

Early childhood programs include, but are not limited to:

  • Head Start;
  • kindergarten;
  • reverse mainstream classrooms;
  • private preschools;
  • preschool classes offered to an eligible pre-kindergarten population by the public school system; and
  • group student care.

Attendance at an early childhood program need not be funded by IDEA, Part B funds.

 

Attending a Regular Early Childhood Program for at Least 10 Hours per Week and Receiving the Majority of Special Education and Related Services in Some Other Location.

Attending a Regular Early Childhood Program Less Than10 Hours per Week and Receiving the Majority of Special Education and Related Services in That Setting.

Attending a Regular Early Childhood Program Less Than 10 Hours per Week and Receiving the Majority of Special Education and Related Services in Some Other Location.

If the student does not attend a regular early childhood program or kindergarten, the next factor to consider is whether the student attends a special education program, as defined below. Report the student according to the location of the special education program. Report the student in one of these environments even if the student also receives special education at home or in a service provider location.

Service provider location.

Students who receive all of their special education and related services from a service provider, and who did not attend an early childhood program or a special education program provided in a separate class, separate school, or residential facility. For example, speech instruction provided in:

  • private clinicians’ offices,
  • clinicians’ offices located in school buildings,
  • hospital facilities on an outpatient basis, and
  • libraries and other public locations.

Do not include students who also received special education at home. Students who received special education both in a service provider location and at home should be reported in the home category.

 

Home. Students who receive special education and related services in the principal residence of the student's family or caregivers, and who did not attend an early childhood program or a special education program provided in a separate class, separate school, or residential facility. Include students who receive special education both at home and in a service provider location. The term caregiver includes babysitters.


Separate class. Students who attend a special education program in a class with less than 50% nondisabled peers. (Do not include students who also attended a regular early childhood program as listed above.


Public Separate Day School. Students who receive education in public day school designed specifically for students with disabilities. Do not include students who also attended a regular early childhood program.


Private Separate Day School. Students who receive education in a private day school designed specifically for students with disabilities. Do not include students who also attended a regular early childhood program.


Public Residential Facility. Students who receive education programs in publicly operated residential schools or residential medical facilities on an inpatient basis. Do not include students who also attended a regular early childhood program.


Private Residential Facility. Students who receive education in privately operated residential schools or residential medical facilities on an inpatient basis. Do not include students who also attended a regular early childhood program.
 

Special Education Placements (6-21)

In Regular Education Settings 80% or more of the time.

6-21 year old student enrolled in a comprehensive school that receives special education and related services inside general education settings 80% or more of the school day.

This may include students with disabilities placed in:

  • regular class with special education/related services provided within regular classes;
  • regular class with special education/related services provided outside regular classes; or
  • regular class with special education services provided in resource rooms.

 

In Regular Education Settings Between 40% and 79% of the time.

6-21 year old student enrolled in a comprehensive school that receives special education and related services in regular education settings between 40% and 79% of the school day.

These are students who receive special education and related services outside the regular classroom for at least 21 percent but no more than 60 percent of the school day. Do not include students who are reported as receiving education programs in public or private separate school or residential facilities. This may include students placed in:

  • resource rooms with special education/related services provided within the resource room; or
  • resource rooms with part-time instruction in a regular class.

 

In Regular Education Settings Less Than 40% of the time.

6-21 year old student enrolled in a comprehensive school that receives special education and related services in regular education setting less than 40% of the school day. Do not include students who are reported as receiving education programs in public or private separate school or residential facilities.

This category may include students placed in:

  • self-contained special classrooms with part-time instruction in a regular class; or
  • self-contained special classrooms with full-time special education instruction on a regular school campus.

 

Public Separate Day School.

6-21 year old student who receives special education and related services for greater than 50% of the school day in a public separate day facility that does not house programs for students without disabilities.
 

Private Separate Day School.

6-21 year old student who receives special education and related services for greater than 50% of the school day in a private separate day facility that does not house programs for students without disabilities.
 

Public Residential Facility.

6-21 year old student who receives special education and related services greater than 50% of the school day in a public residential facility.
 

Private Residential Facility.

6-21 year old student who receives special education and related services for greater than 50% of the school day in a private residential facility.
 

Homebound Placement.

6-21 year old student who receives special education instruction at home. Do not include students with disabilities whose parents have opted to "home-school" them and who receive special education at the public expense.
Hospital Placement. 6-21 year old who receives special education in a medical treatment facility on an in-patient basis.
 

Correctional Facility.

6-21 year old who receives special education in correctional facilities. These data are intended to be a count of all students with disabilities receiving special education in:

short-term detention facilities (community-based or residential), or
local and state correctional facilities.

 

Parentally Placed In Private School.

6-21 year old student who is enrolled by their parents in a religiously affiliated or other private schools and whose basic education is paid through private resources and who receive special education and related services at public expense from a local school system under a service plan. Do not include students who are placed in private schools by the local school system or public agency in order to receive free appropriate public education (FAPE).

Potential Harmful Effects

Consideration is given to any potential harmful effect on the student or on the quality of the services that he or she needs. Indicate YES or NO

NOTE:
The student MAY NOT be removed from education in age-appropriate general education classes solely because of needed accommodations or modifications in the general curriculum. 

 

If YES, Document Basics for Decision (required)
A required text fieldfor an IEP team to provide additional information to document the basis of the IEP team’s decision. If addressed properly, documentation will meet requirements of prior written notice (PWN), in accordance with 34 C.F.R. §300.503 and COMAR 13A.05.01.12, PWN includes:

  • A description of the action proposed or refused;
  • An explanation of why the public agency proposes or refuses to take the action;
  • A description of the options the public agency considered and the reason(s) the options were rejected;
  • A description of each assessment procedure, test, record, or report the public agency uses as a basis for the proposal or refusal;
  • A description of any other factors relevant to the proposed or refused action.
  • A list of sources a parent may contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of IDEA; and
  • If an action proposed by a public agency also requires parental consent, a public agency may provide notice at the same time it requests consent.

[20 U.S.C §1415; 34 C.F.R. §300.503; COMAR 13A.05.01.12]
 

Services in Home School

Indicate YES or NO

 

If NO, Document Basis for Decision(s) (required)

A required text fieldfor an IEP team to provide additional information to document the basis of the IEP team’s decision. If addressed properly, documentation will meet requirements of prior written notice (PWN), in accordance with 34 C.F.R. §300.503 and COMAR 13A.05.01.12, PWN includes:

  • A description of the action proposed or refused;
  • An explanation of why the public agency proposes or refuses to take the action;
  • A description of the options the public agency considered and the reason the options were rejected;
  • A description of each assessment procedure, test, record, or report the public agency uses as a basis for the proposal or refusal;
  • A description of any other factors relevant to the proposed or refused action;
  • A list of sources a parent may contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of IDEA; and
  • If an action proposed by a public agency also requires parental consent, a public agency may provide notice at the same time it requests consent.

[20 U.S.C §1415; 34 C.F.R. §300.503; COMAR 13A.05.01.12]

Is the Placement as Close as Possible to the Student’s Home?

Indicate YES or NO

If NO, Document Basis for Decision(s) (required)

A required text field for an IEP team to provide additional information to document the basis of the IEP team’s decision. If addressed properly, documentation will meet requirements of prior written notice (PWN), in accordance with 34 C.F.R.
§300.503 and COMAR 13A.05.01.12, PWN includes:

  • A description of the action proposed or refused;
  • An explanation of why the public agency proposes or refuses to take the action;
  • A description of the options the public agency considered and the reason the options were rejected;
  • A description of each assessment procedure, test, record, or report the public agency uses as a basis for the proposal or refusal;
  • A description of any other factors relevant to the proposed or refused action;
  • A list of sources a parent may contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of IDEA; and
  • If an action proposed by a public agency also requires parental consent, a public agency may provide notice at the same time it requests consent.

[20 U.S.C §1415; 34 C.F.R. §300.503; COMAR 13A.05.01.12]

Consideration of Transportation Needs

Consideration of Transportation Needs:  Is the Related Service “Transportation” needed based on the unique needs of the student or to allow the student access to special education services?

 

Indicate YES or NO
 

NOTE: COMAR 13A.05.01.10C(1)(e) requires the following:
If the student’s IEP team determines the student cannot be educated in the school or typical early childhood setting the student would attend if not disabled, the IEP shall document the specialized transportation needs of the student, including consideration of the effect transportation may have on the student in relation to the:

     i) Student's age and disability;
     ii) Specialized equipment needs of the student;
     iii) Personnel needed to assist the student during transportation;
     iv) Amount of time involved in transporting the student; and
     v) Distance the student will be transported.

 

If a student is not attending the school he or she would attend if not disabled, or is in need of specialized equipment in order to attend his or her school, the IEP team is required to consider the student’s need for specialized transportation in order to enable the student to benefit from special education.

 

Is Specialized Equipment Needed to  Assist the Student during Transportation?  If YES, Document All Specialized Equipment Needed

If "Yes" Document all specialized equipment the student needs for transportation.

 

Are Personnel Needed To Accommodate Student During Transportation

Indicate YES or NO

If YES, explain the type/role of personnel needed to assist the student during transportation.

 

Are Other Supports Needed to Accommodate the Student During Transportation?
Indicate YES or NO.  If "YES" explain/describe the supports needed to accommodate the student during transportation.
 

Document Basis for Decision(s) (required)

Discussion of consideration of age and disability, time and distance involved in travel, and unique needs of the student in determining need for the Related Service Transportation:

Describe the IEP team’s discussion relative to the discussion of consideration of age and disability, time and distance involved in travel, and unique needs of the student in determining need for the related service transportation to ensure service providers and parent understand the unique nature of the service(s).

NOTE:

A required text field for an IEP team to provide additional information to document the basis of the IEP team’s decision.  If addressed properly, documentation will meet requirements of prior written notice (PWN), in accordance with 34 C.F.R. §300.503 and COMAR 13A.05.01.12, PWN includes:

• A description of the action proposed or refused;
• An explanation of why the public agency proposes or refuses to take the action;
• A description of the options the public agency considered and the reason the options were rejected;
• A description of each assessment procedure, test, record, or report the public agency uses as a basis for the proposal or refusal;
• A description of any other factors relevant to the proposed or refused action;
• A list of sources a parent may contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of IDEA; and
• If an action proposed by a public agency also requires parental consent, a public agency may provide notice at the same time it requests consent.

[20 U.S.C §1415; 34 C.F.R. §300.503; COMAR 13A.05.01.12]

Explanation, if the Student WILL NOT Participate with Nondisabled Peers in Academic, Nonacademic, and Extracurricular Activities

The IEP team must specify the extent to which a student WILL NOT participate in general education classes and in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities.

Residence County

The public jurisdiction where the parent of the student resides and the jurisdiction in which the student would attend school if he or she did not have a disability.

Residence School

The neighborhood school the student would attend if he or she did not have a disability. This includes students who are home-schooled, parentally placed in a private school, and homeless, unknown school.

Service County

The public agency responsible to provide the special education services. This includes local school systems, Department of Juvenile Services (DJS), MSDE operated juvenile facilities, Adult Correctional Facilities, Maryland School for Blind, and Maryland School for Deaf.

Service School

The public agency school, nonpublic school, or private school where the student receives his or her special education services and related services. This includes students who are home-schooled, parentally placed in a private school, and homeless, unknown school.