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IDEA requires that at least one regular education teacher be represented on the team “if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment.”
That’s what IDEA says, for starters. IDEA also states that the regular education teacher must, to the extent appropriate, determine “appropriate positive behavioral interventions and supports, and other strategies for the child” [§300.324(a)(3)(i)]. Not insignificantly, the regular educator must also (to the extent appropriate) determine which “supplementary aids and services, program modifications, and support for school personnel” are needed to help the child:
–progress toward attaining the annual goals;
–be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum;
–participate in extracurricular activities and other nonacademic activities; and
–be educated and participate with other children with disabilities and those who are not disabled [§300.324(a)(3)(ii) and §300.320(a)(4)].
The regular education teacher knows the curriculum for a child’s grade level and what children in regular education classes are typically expected to do. If the child is going to be educated in the regular education environment for any part of the school day, then the child’s regular education teacher may talk at the IEP meeting about what the child will be taught and expected to learn. This information can contribute directly to making decisions about what types of supplementary aids and services the child may need to be successful in that setting. These supports and services might include:
The regular education teacher may also tell the rest of the team what he or she needs to help the child understand the general curriculum and achieve the goals listed in the IEP.
IDEA requires that at least one regular educator serve on the IEP team, but many children with disabilities have more than one such teacher. It is very important that each of these teachers be well-informed about the child’s IEP—what his or her goals are, what classroom or testing accommodations are to be provided, and what supplementary aids and services are necessary so the child can access and progress in the general education curriculum.
Because it’s not always possible for all of a child’s teachers to attend the IEP meeting, the school system must ensure that each regular education teacher (as well as other service providers working with the child) has access to the child’s IEP and is informed of his or her specific responsibilities related to implementing the IEP. It’s also a very good idea if teachers regularly review the IEPs of their students, refreshing their memory of the details and monitoring how well the IEP is addressing the child’s needs, progress, and learning.
If the IEP needs to be revised to address either lack of progress or great progress, teachers responsible for the child’s education are invaluable in alerting the rest of the team that it’s time to gather and discuss what adjustments need to be made.
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