The New York City Department of Education (DOE) is committed to creating inclusive preschool classrooms for all 3 and 4 year olds that offer the opportunity for preschool students with disabilities to learn and socialize with typically developing peers in their least restrictive environment. An important component of creating inclusive preschool classrooms is the opportunity to review student IEPs in order to gain information on present levels of performance and established educational goals. Below you will find information regarding the use of IEPs, including access, storage and best practices. Your school will receive a copy of IEPs for preschool students enrolled in your school.
Accessibility and Storage of IEPs
Each student attending your school who has an IEP is entitled to specific assurances and protections per the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA). In New York, compliance with state regulation Chapter 408 is required of all programs serving students ages 3-21. The requirements of this regulation can be found on the New York State Education Department's website. Key components of Chapter 408 relating to accessibility and storage of IEPs include:
- Prior to initiation of IEP recommendations, all staff who are responsible for implementing the IEP, either in whole or in part, must be provided with electronic access to or a paper copy of the IEP.
The preschool program leader (e.g., principal or director) or designee must review the IEP with each classroom teacher, related service provider (e.g., occupational therapist, speech therapist or physical therapist), special education itinerant teacher (SEIT) or other provider as appropriate who is providing individual or group support and explain their responsibilities for implementing the IEP.
The classroom teacher or other provider as appropriate is responsible for reviewing the IEP with the paraprofessional(s) providing individual or group support to the student. The paraprofessional(s) must be given the opportunity to review the IEP upon request.
The preschool program leader (e.g., principal or director) or designee, classroom teacher, related service provider, special education itinerant teacher (SEIT) or other provider as appropriate who is providing individual or group support must ensure that all IEPs are maintained in a secure, locked location.
Confidentiality protections under IDEIA and FERPA require that the contents of all IEPs must be kept confidential and should not be disclosed to any person not identified per the requirements herein.
Best Practices for IEP Implementation
- Create and implement program-wide expectations regarding lesson planning and progress monitoring that support IEP implementation.
- Support teachers in the development of daily lesson plans and strategies that address individual student needs and IEP goals.
- Collect ongoing assessment data to measure student progress toward IEP goals and to inform planning and implementation of strategies as needed.
- Create a schedule with providers, including both related services and SEITs, to avoid any scheduling conflicts.
- Provide daily sign in sheets for providers to ensure that students with IEPs are receiving their services as mandated on their IEPs, including frequency, e.g., 2x/week and duration, e.g., 45 minutes.
- Schedule regular meetings for teachers and providers, including related services and SEIT, to discuss and plan for support of student progress and ongoing needs
- Provide time for classroom teacher(s) and paraprofessionals to discuss instructional plans for individual students.
- Provide time for general education teachers to participate in CPSE meetings (The rich amount of knowledge teachers have about the student and his or her development, general education curriculum and interventions, and day-to-day workings of the classroom provide a unique and valuable perspective to the CPSE team.)
Pre-K Special Education Contact Information
The Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) is responsible for coordinating the special education process for preschool children ages 3 to 5. There are 10 CPSEs in different areas of the city that work with families in the district where the family lives. CPSE contact information can be found on the DOE’s website.