In my blog post about the evaluation process for exceptional learners, I briefly mentioned that students who qualify for special education within the public school system receive an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Here in Pennsylvania, this IEP includes the following components (and more):
- special considerations (such as visual or hearing impairments or English as a second language)
- present levels of academic and functional performance
- transition needs (required for ages 14 and older)
- goals and objectives for the special education services
- accommodations within the general education classroom
- related services such as speech therapy
- if the child qualifies for summer school services
- the percent of time the child is in a special education vs. general education setting
Several years ago, I helped a private school take the PA IEP format and modify it to make a usable plan for them. We called this a Learning Support Plan (LSP) and shortened the 17-page PA IEP form to a 3-page LSP form. You can access the PA IEP form and an annotated copy online, and I have attached a blank LSP at the end of this post for your use. This LSP format could benefit from additional revisions, but it does provide one sample of how a private school writes plans for their students.
Looking at the second page, this is how I suggest you complete the form:
Considerations: typically all “no,” but if a “yes” were necessary, this section reminds the school team of these factors.
Present levels of academic achievement: summary of the child’s current academic skills. This can include 1-3 paragraphs of teacher input, current grades, achievement test data, information from DIBELS and other progress monitoring measures, and any other pertinent details.
Present levels of functional performance: summary of functional skills, such as life skills for a child with an intellectual disability (tying shoes, zippering coat, washing hands), or, much more commonly, behavioral skills, such as staying on task, staying organized, and getting along with peers. Often, there are no significant functional or behavioral concerns, so this box simply reads “There are no functional concerns at this time.”
Parental concerns: note any input from parents to ensure that is honored.
How the student’s disability impacts involvement: a few brief statements explaining the need for alternative instruction: “________’s difficulty with reading, decoding, and reading fluency significantly impacts his ability to benefit from the 3rd grade reading curriculum and to work independently in reading-based subjects at the same pace as his peers.” Or “________’s difficulty staying on task during class instruction impacts his ability to learn material presented during class time.”
Strengths: a brief but important reminder for everyone involved that every child has strengths!
Needs: a bullet point summary of needs: “Increase oral reading fluency and accuracy” or “Increase time on task during classroom instruction.” These should be directly related to the disability impact (two sections earlier) and stated in an objective format “Increase time on task” rather than “Decrease distractibility.” How do you measure “distractibility”?
Goals and objectives: specific, measurable statements based on the student’s needs. “Given a 3rd grade DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency probe, ________ will read 100 words correct per minute with 97% accuracy on three consecutive trials.” Or “Based on adult observation, ________ will be on task (eyes on his teacher or doing his work) 80% of the time on three consecutive observations.”
Modifications and SDIs: list each intervention and accommodation the student is receiving. (I address these in this post.) https://thedockforlearning.org/contributions/evaluations-for-special-education/
Related Services: list any related services, such as speech therapy.
Supports: list staff supports, such as consultations with professionals and between resource/classroom teachers.
Educational Placement: first, a statement about classes in which the student is not participating in the regular classroom, and then a statement about subjects from which he is excused and/or is receiving in the intervention setting.
CONTRIBUTOR: Lynell Nissley