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Education Laws and Regulations

603 CMR 28.00: Special Education

28.05: The Team Process and Development of the IEP

(1) Convening the Team. Within 45 school working days after receipt of a parent's written consent to an initial evaluation or reevaluation, the school district shall: provide an evaluation; convene a Team meeting to review the evaluation data, determine whether the student requires special education and, if required, develop an IEP in accordance with state and federal laws; and provide the parents with two copies of the proposed IEP and proposed placement, except that the proposal of placement may be delayed according to the provisions of 603 CMR 28.06(2)(e); or, if the Team determines that the student is not eligible for special education, the school district shall send a written explanation of the finding that the student is not eligible. The evaluation assessments shall be completed within 30 school working days after receipt of parental consent for evaluation. Summaries of such assessments shall be completed so as to ensure their availability to parents at least two days prior to the Team meeting. If consent is received within 30 to 45 school working days before the end of the school year, the school district shall ensure that a Team meeting is scheduled so as to allow for the provision of a proposed IEP or written notice of the finding that the student is not eligible no later than 14 days after the end of the school year.

(2) Determinations of the Team.

(a) Eligibility determination. The Team shall examine the evaluative data, including information provided by the parent, and make one of the following determinations:

  1. The student is eligible. If the student has one or more of the disabilities defined at 603 CMR 28.02(7) and if, as a result of the disability(ies), the student is unable to progress effectively in the general education program without the provision of specially designed instruction, or is unable to access the general curriculum without the provision of one or more related services, the Team shall determine that the student is eligible.

    (i) Consistent with state and federal special education law, the Team shall establish whether a student has a disability(ies) as defined in 603 CMR 28.02(7), determine the type(s) of disability(ies) and shall ensure that the student's inability to progress is a result of the disability(ies) and not a result of an inability to meet the school discipline code, limited English proficiency, social maladjustment, or lack of instruction in reading or math.

    (ii) Once eligibility has been determined, the type of disability of the student shall not be used to provide a basis for labeling or stigmatizing the student. Additionally, the type of disability shall not define the needs of the student and shall in no way limit the services, programs, or inclusion opportunities provided to the student.

    (iii) If the Team determines that the student is an eligible student, the Team shall develop an individualized education program (IEP).

  2. The student is not eligible. If the Team determines that the student is not eligible, the Team chairperson shall record the reason for such finding, list the meeting participants, and provide written notice to the parent of their rights in accordance with federal requirements within ten days of the Team meeting.

(b) Evaluation information is inconclusive. If the Team finds the evaluation information insufficient to develop an IEP, the Team, with parental consent, may agree to an extended evaluation period.

  1. The extended evaluation period shall not be used to deny programs or services determined to be necessary by the Team. If, prior to the extended evaluation, the Team determines that sufficient information is available to identify some necessary objectives and services, the Team shall write a partial IEP that, if accepted by the parent, shall be immediately implemented by the district while the extended evaluation is occurring.

  2. The extended evaluation period shall not be used to allow additional time to complete the required assessments under 603 CMR 28.04(2)(a).

  3. If the parent consents to an extended evaluation, the Team shall document its findings and determine what evaluation time period is necessary and the types of information needed to develop an IEP, if appropriate. The Team may decide to meet at intervals during the extended evaluation, but in all cases shall reconvene promptly to develop or complete an IEP when the evaluation is complete.

  4. The extended evaluation may extend longer than one week, but shall not exceed eight school weeks.

  5. The extended evaluation shall not be considered a placement.

(3) Developing the IEP. Upon determining that the student is eligible for special education, the Team shall develop an IEP using the evaluation data to guide development of goals and objectives for the student.

(a) Parent disagrees with evaluation and seeks an independent education evaluation. If a parent disagrees with the evaluation results, the Team may, with the agreement of the parent, delay writing some or all of the IEP until an independent education evaluation can be completed.

(b) If the Team writes a partial IEP, a parent may consent to the proposed partial program prior to completion of the full IEP. In such case, the partial program shall be implemented immediately.

(c) The IEP shall be completed using the standard IEP format provided by the Department. If the Team members are unable to agree on the IEP, the Team chairperson shall state the elements of the IEP proposed by the school district

(4) Contents of the IEP. Upon determining that the student requires special education and based upon the evaluative data, the Team shall write an IEP for the student and decide the student's placement. The IEP shall describe the special education and related services that the student requires and shall include all elements required under federal and state law.

(a) The IEP shall include specially designed instruction to meet the needs of the individual student and related services that are necessary to allow the student to benefit from the specially designed instruction, or may consist solely of related services that are necessary to allow the student to access the general curriculum, consistent with federal and state requirements.

(b) The Team shall carefully consider the general curriculum, the learning standards of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, the curriculum of the district, and shall include specially designed instruction or related services in the IEP designed to enable the student to progress effectively in the content areas of the general curriculum.

(c) For any student approaching graduation or the age of twenty-two, the Team shall determine whether the student is likely to require continuing services from adult human service agencies. In such circumstances, the Administrator of Special Education shall make a referral to the Bureau of Transitional Planning in the Executive Office of Health and Human Services in accordance with the requirements of M.G.L. c. 71B, § 12A through C (known as Chapter 688).

(d) The daily duration of the student's program shall be equal to that of the regular school day, unless the Team states that a different duration is necessary to provide a free appropriate public education to the student. In such case, the Team shall specify the daily duration of the program, and the Team shall state on the IEP the reason for such different duration.

  1. An extended year program may be identified if the student has demonstrated or is likely to demonstrate substantial regression in his or her learning skills and/or substantial difficulty in relearning such skills if an extended program is not provided.

  2. If residential services are required, the IEP must clearly specify the reasons for such determination and how such services will be coordinated with the day education services provided to the student. Additionally, the goals and services on the student's IEP must reflect the comprehensive nature of the educational program required.

  3. If a longer program is required, the student's IEP must specify why a longer program is necessary.

  4. Camping or recreation programs provided solely for recreational purposes and with no corresponding IEP goals or specially designed instruction shall not be considered extended year programs.

(5) Transportation. The Team shall determine whether the student requires transportation because of his or her disability in order to benefit from special education.

(a) Regular transportation. If the student does not require transportation as a result of his or her disability, then transportation shall be provided in the same manner as it would be provided for a student without disabilities. In such case, the IEP shall note that the student receives regular transportation, and if the school district provides transportation to similarly situated students without disabilities, the eligible student shall also receive transportation.

  1. If regular transportation is noted on the student's IEP and the student is placed by the school district in a program located at a school other than the school the student would have attended if not eligible for special education, the student is entitled to receive transportation services to such program.

  2. If regular transportation is noted on the student's IEP and the student is enrolled by his or her parents in a private school and receiving services under 603 CMR 28.03(1)(e), such student is not entitled to transportation services unless the school district provides transportation to students without disabilities attending such private school.

(b) Special transportation. If the Team determines that the student's disability requires transportation or specialized transportation arrangements in order to benefit from special education, the Team shall note on the student's IEP that the student requires special transportation. In such circumstances, transportation is a related service.

  1. The Team shall determine necessary modifications, special equipment, assistance, need for qualified attendants on vehicles, and any particular precautions required by the student and shall document such determinations in the student's IEP. If specialized arrangements can be provided on regular transportation vehicles, the school district shall make such arrangements.

    (i) The district shall arrange to have eligible students who use wheelchairs transported in vehicles that do not require such students to be removed from their wheelchairs in order to enter or leave the vehicles; provided, however, that this requirement shall not be applicable where a Team or the student's physician recommends that the student regularly transfer in and out of conventional vehicles to or from a wheelchair for therapeutic or for independence training reasons.

    (ii) The Team shall specify whether the student requires assistance in or out of the home, on or off of the vehicle, and in or out of the school. If such assistance is specified, the district shall ensure that it is provided.

    (iii) The Team shall specify if the student has a particular need or problem that may cause difficulties during transportation, such as seizures, a tendency for motion sickness, behavioral concerns, or communication disabilities.

  2. If special transportation is noted on the student's IEP, the student is entitled to receive transportation services to any program provided by the public school and in which the student participates.

  3. If special transportation is noted on the student's IEP and the student is enrolled by his or her parents in a private school and receiving services under 603 CMR 28.03(1)(e), the school district's obligation to provide transportation shall be limited to transportation services within the geographic boundaries of the school district.

(c) In no event shall a school district allow transportation considerations to influence, modify, or determine the educational program required by any student in need of special education.

(6) Determination of placement. At the Team meeting, after the IEP has been fully developed, the Team shall determine the appropriate placement to deliver the services on the student's IEP. Unless the student's IEP requires some other arrangement, the student shall be educated in the school that he or she would attend if the student did not require special education.

(a) Identification by the Team of placement shall proceed in accordance with the options delineated in 603 CMR 28.06.

(b) Lack of an identified placement shall not delay the proposal of the IEP to the parent following the Team meeting.

(7) Parent response to proposed IEP and proposed placement. Immediately following the development of the IEP, and within 45 school working days after receipt of the parent's written consent to an initial evaluation or reevaluation, the district shall provide the parents with two copies of the proposed IEP and proposed placement along with the required notice, except that the proposal of placement may be delayed according to the provisions of 603 CMR 28.06(2)(e) in a limited number of cases.

(a) No later than 30 days after receipt of the proposed IEP and proposed placement, the parents shall:

  1. Accept or reject the IEP in whole or in part; request a meeting to discuss the rejected portions of the IEP or the overall adequacy of the IEP; or if mutually agreed upon, accept an amended proposal; and

  2. accept or reject the proposed placement.

(b) Upon parental response to the proposed IEP and proposed placement, the school district shall implement all accepted elements of the IEP without delay.

Regulatory Authority:
M.G.L. c. 69, § 1B; c. 69, §§ 1J and 1K, as amended by St. 2010, c. 12, § 3; c. 71, § 38G.



Last Updated: April 1, 2014
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