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Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Students who are eligible for special education services will need an IEP as mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) to ensure that students receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). An IEP is a written and living document that details a student’s individualized plan for learning. A student is found eligible through an evaluation process at the school level. The evaluation is conducted by a multidisciplinary team who has expertise in the student’s area(s) of need. This team can involve a special education teacher, general education teacher, school psychologist, speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, parent, social worker, or other identified support person. The evaluation may include formal testing, observations, Response to intervention (RTI) data, curriculum-based measures, and other types of assessment as determined by the team. Once the evaluation is complete, the multi-disciplinary team will meet to discuss the results and determine eligibility, using Colorado Department of Education (CDE) criteria, in the suspected disability category or categories. To what extent the student’s educational performance is adversely affected by the disability is a key consideration in the eligibility determination process.
Once a student is eligible for special education services, the team will design an IEP for the student using the results from the evaluation. The IEP contains several components that will support the student’s success with general education curriculum in the least restrictive environment (LRE). Most students in Durango School District 9-R with IEPs spend the majority of their school day in the general education classroom. The IEP will include the following components and will be updated yearly:

Present Levels of Educational Performance
Accommodations and Modifications
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-Driven, and Time-bound
annual goals.
Services to be provided by teachers and service providers
Least Restrictive Environment – the extent a student participates in the general education environment
For Students 15+: Transition Goals, Transition Services, Course of Study are added to the IEP to intentionally prepare for post-secondary success.

Parents or guardians will receive a final copy of the student’s IEP. The IEP team will provide a case manager to the student who will serve as the point person for the family as well as the coordinator of services and progress monitoring. The case manager will be either a special education teacher, early childhood special education teacher (preschool students), or speech and language pathologist, depending on the determined disability. IEPs are updated annually and reevaluations to determine continued eligibility happen at least every three years. However, a parent may request an IEP meeting at any time.

For more information on parental and child rights in special education as well as the eligibility criteria used by Durango School District 9-R, please visit the following Colorado Department of Education website:

The disability categories as outlined in IDEA and further defined with eligibility criteria by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is as follows:

Autism Spectrum Disorder
Deaf-Blindness
Developmental Delay
Hearing Impairment – Including Deafness
Intellectual Disability
Multiple Disabilities
Orthopedic Impairment
Other Health Impairment
Serious Emotional Disability
Specific Learning Disability
Speech or Language Impairment
Traumatic Brain Injury
Visual Impairment

Please see https://www.cde.state.co.us/cdesped/sd-main for complete definitions.

Please contact your school’s special education teacher, school psychologist, or Steve Steiner, Coordinator of Special Education at 970-247-5411 Ext 1100 or ssteiner@durangoschools.org for further information on special education referrals and the evaluation process in Durango School District 9-R.