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Special Education

IEP Improvement Project

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  • Have you read an IEP?
  • Have you attended an IEP meeting?
  • Have you taught any students with IEPs?

Welcome to the improveIEP Information Center.

IEP Improvement Project: Goal, Theory of Action, and Principles

Project goal: To improve outcomes for all students with disabilities by providing guidance, technical assistance, and tools on equitable processes to school and district professionals, families, and students so that all students with disabilities have meaningful access to the curriculum frameworks and life of the school.

Theory of Action: If students with disabilities have meaningful access to the curriculum frameworks and the skills to engage in all aspects of the life of the school, then we will begin to close the opportunity and achievement gaps between students with disabilities and their age-appropriate non-disabled peers.

To do this, the education system must:

  • Increase effective and efficient collaboration between general educators, special educators, related service providers, parents, and students.
  • Support teachers to know how to respond to the needs of students with disabilities and use that knowledge to proactively work with students across the curriculum frameworks and the life of the school.
  • Promote a high-functioning process for evaluation and ongoing assessment across environments.
  • Develop student-centered IEPs driven by data and written to ensure that students will gain knowledge and skills to prepare themselves effectively for postsecondary opportunities, career training options, economically viable careers, and healthy, productive lives.
  • Support families of students with disabilities to understand how their student learns and interacts with the life of the school, as well as what the individualized program and outcomes will be during the course of the school year.
  • Promote student voice and engage students in their own IEP process.

Embedded in our goal are these principles:

  1. Principle 1: All students are general education students first. Take a strengths-based approach.
  2. Principle 2: General and special education should work together. Integrate systems.
  3. Principle 3: Ensure a continuous cycle of improvement. Move beyond compliance.
  4. Principle 4: Assessment is key. Make no decisions without the right data.
  5. Principle 5: Family engagement matters. Welcome parent and student voice.

Last Updated: September 26, 2022

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.