As a parent, it’s hard to know all of the technical terms teachers use when referring to your child’s education.  If you are interested in applying for the McKay Scholarship and unsure if you qualify for an IEP, we are here to help.

An IEP (Individualized Education Plan) is a document that teachers follow to help them give your child the tools they need to be successful in school.  It is a document that must be followed and is required by law.  IEP’s are mandated by law by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and students of all ages could have an IEP.  A student receives an IEP when their learning at school is affected because of a disability.  Below are the steps that are typically taken when a child receives an IEP.  If your child does in fact have an IEP, some of the following steps may sound familiar.

Step 1:

Typically, if teachers see an individual student struggling, they will try to give him extra help or attention to bring them up to speed for a certain amount of time.  After that time limit, if the student has not progressed they will suggest that he might be given a test to figure out if he qualifies for Special Education services.  In this case, the parents must be notified and give permission for their child to be tested.

Step 2:  

Once your child is tested and the results are received, the parents, student (in some cases), school psychologist, and school teachers will meet to discuss the evaluation and determine if Special Education services are appropriate for that student.

Step 3:

If the child does qualify for Special Education, an IEP Team will be created.  These team members typically include:

-parents or guardians of the child

-student (in some cases)

-Special Education teachers

-child’s current teachers

-school psychologist

-school Principal or Assistant Principal

Sometimes, teachers might invite other people that work in the school that you might be unsure of who they are.  All of the people invited to the meeting should know about your child and their educational battles.  As the child’s parent, you might also want to invite a babysitter, tutor, or anyone that works with your child on a regular basis.

Step 4:

Once the team has been created, there will be a meeting to discuss the child’s present performance, strengths, and weaknesses.  From those, individualized goals will be written to help the child make progress in the classroom.  Each team member will type and sign the plan if everyone agrees on the goals.

If you recognize a few or all of these steps, your child might have an IEP.  If you are still unsure, ask your child’s teacher.  You do not want to miss out on the McKay Scholarship, now known as the Florida Empowerment Scholarship!