Congratulations! You made it through this mini-course on the Service Delivery Grid.
I hope that you will be able to see the story that is told in this spreadsheet. In the service delivery grid, you see how many services are working to help your child achieve the annual goals. Some services, like academic support, address multiple goals. You also see when your child is in small classes outside the general curriculum and when your child is with general education students but with some special education support. You see when things are happening and how often.
It is important to check this grid with your child’s schedule. Sometimes there is an error. With a little comparison, you can make sure everything matches.
Now you can talk to your Team like a pro!
The dates of the Service Delivery Grid on your IEP tell the story of the next year for your child.
Notice that there is a start date column and an end date column.
As we can see under the C grid, this child has math in a separate setting, starting 2/1/14. (The 2/1/14 is probably the date that this IEP goes in to effect. It is the earliest date on this IEP. We could also know the first date of the IEP by looking at the header of the IEP page, which I have not included.)
Do you see that the math class ends on 6/20/14? Math with the special educator is ending in June, presumably at the end of the school year.
So what happens to math in the fall? Why is math not listed until 1/31/15, like the occupational therapy?
Look up at the B grid. Math is starting with a general educator and the special educator on 8/25/15. Since it is on the B grid, we know that it is in the general education classroom.
So this child is in a small class, outside the general education classroom, until the end of the school year in 2014. Starting in the fall, the student will join a general education math class that has a special educator in it.
Meanwhile, we can look at the “Education” – the last item on the C grid. The dates are 7/6/14 to 8/15/14. This shows us that “Education” means a summer program. We know from the frequency column that summer school meets four times per cycle (or week, in this case) for 180 minutes.
Occupational therapy will continue into the next school year for this student. We know that because the start date is 2/1/14 and the end date is the last day of the IEP, 1/31/15.
So even though the Start and End dates seem easy, they actually contain some nuanced information. With the dates, you see when any changes to your child schedule will occur. It is important to look at those dates to make sure they reflect your understanding of the services and when they will happen.
Let’s say your child has an IEP goal of occupational therapy. We have seen that occupational therapy is on the IEP service delivery grid and that the grid notes that a therapist is providing the service. How often does that service happen? For how long?
Welcome to the fourth column on the service delivery grid, the frequency column. Once again, this could be under the A, B, or C grid. We are going to focus on the B and C grids, because those are for direct service to the child.
This shows how many times per cycle this service happens, and for how long.
You see two numbers with “x” between them. The second number is easy to understand. It is the number of minutes of each meeting. In this case, a class period is 45 minutes. So the math class is 45 minutes long. This is a general education class – we know that because it is on the B grid.
Going down to the C grid, we see that the length of time that a student meets with the occupational therapist is 30 minutes.
What is that 180 on the last number? If I zoom out to show the entire grid (see below), we see that it means summer school. But we only know that because of the dates, which is our next entry. In this case, the child is in summer school for 180 minutes per session, or three hours per day in the summer.
Now for that first number in the frequency. It means how many time the service is delivered per cycle. Not per week. Per cycle. Your child’s school may have a six-day cycle. I have taught six-day cycles in middle school and high school. In that case, the child would have math, say, 6 x 45.
But in the images here, the student has a five-day cycle. We see 5 x 45 for math.
Notice that the child does not meet with the occupational therapist five times per cycle. The OT meeting is once per cycle, thus the 1 x 30. (Why not 45? It could be. It just depends on what the Team decides.)
As for the summer school frequency, we already noted that the child goes to school for three hours per meeting, or 180 minutes. You can see that the first number is 4. The school is on a five-day cycle, but summer school only meets four days per week. So the child goes to summer school four days per week for three hours per day.
By looking at the Frequency and Duration column, you can understand your child’s day. Any classes that are not on this grid would mean that the child has a general education class with a general educator.
We can tell something about the type of classroom or setting by looking at the Type of Personnel. This tells us who will be delivering the services to your child.
(I apologize for the blurriness of the image. I thought I had conquered the blurry images, but they have returned.)
The first service provider on this list is a pair made of a general educator and special educator. The pair is under the B grid, which, as you remember from my previous post, means the service happens in a general education classroom. This pair is teaching in an “inclusion” classroom. The class has students from both general education and special education programs. The special educator may co-teach the class, the special educator may pull certain students to smaller groups within the class, or s/he may support students as needed during the class, going from student to student. In any case, the general educator and special educator are both working to meet that goal of the student.
Then we move to the C grid. You remember that the C grid means services that happen outside the general education setting. The first item on this list shows a class with a special educator only. This might be a study class or a small academic class.
Notice that the last item on this list is a pair of a special educator and educational support personnel. This is a class that is led by a special educator with another assistant in the room.
It is possible that the class with only the special educator DOES have an assistant in the room, like the last class on this list. The difference is that the last class is required to have an assistant, according to this IEP.
You also see that the child has a meeting with an occupational therapist. All kinds of providers can be listed here: speech, counseling, literacy, behavior, etc.
The second column on the Service Delivery Grid of the IEP is Type of Service.
This is what it sounds like. It lists the subject area that will be added or modified for your child’s particular needs. The child in the photo has counseling, speech/language, reading and academic support.
Remember that the Service Delivery Grid is divided into:
A Grid – Consultation Direct Service
B Grid – Special Education and Related Service in General Education Classroom, and
C Grid – Special Education and Related Services in Other Settings?
Each grid has a Type of Service.
So if your child has English Language Arts in a general education classroom that has a special educator as a co-teacher, English Language Arts will be on the B Grid.
On the other hand, if your child has English Language Arts in a smaller classroom with only students who have a small ELA class on their Individual Education Plans, then English Language Arts will be on the C Grid.
You’ll notice that Type of Service is not just for academics. It is also for counseling, speech, occupational therapy, and other areas of need that are identified in the IEP.
Again, remember that for an item to be on the Service Delivery Grid, it must have a goal. If it has a goal, it needs to have data backing up that goal.
Okay, fellow special educationites, let’s look at the columns of the service delivery grid.
Underneath the headings for Grid A, B, and C, you’ll see six columns with the following headings:
Focus on Goal#
Type of Service
Type of Personnel
Frequency and Duration / Per Cycle
Today we’ll just deal with that first column, Focus on Goal #.
Remember how I said in the previous post, How to Read the Service Delivery on Your IEP, Part 1, that everything in an IEP needs to refer to everything else? This is a prime example. The Measurable Annual Goals (see my previous post about goals) determine what services will be provided.
Let me say that again. The goals in Measurable Annual Goals, IEP4, determine – not guide, not suggest – what services are provided. If there is no math goal, then math should not appear on the service delivery grid.
What’s the big deal? you ask. Why does a service need a goal?
Here’s the beauty of the IEP. The data about your child’s past performance determines what adult educators, including you, believe your child can achieve in the next year, with a certain amount of support. What your child can achieve becomes the goal. The support becomes the service delivery.
So the first column tells the Team to figure out which goals need what support. No goals, no service.
As you can see in the photo above, some services will just have one goal in the first column. In the photo above, the child has a reading class with a single goal – reading.
You also see in the photo that some services have multiple goals. In this case, the child has a Language Arts class with two goals – reading and writing. You don’t know what the goal titles are unless you go to IEP4, Measurable Annual Goals and look at the numbers.
It is good to know what the Goal Number column means. If you have a question about anything in this column, ask the teacher before signing. Sometimes old goals are left on by mistake, sometimes a teacher mistypes a goal number, sometimes a cell is empty, which is not good. These details matter.
Sometimes goals end in June, with new goals starting in the fall. If there is a service that goes until the end of 8th grade and does not continue in 9th grade, the IEP needs to show that. I’ll talk about this advanced grid reading in another post!
There can be a small difference between which goals show up on which grid. If your child is pulled out of class to see a counselor for an emotional management goal, it will probably be in the C grid, because the C grid is for pull-outs. Academic goals tend to be in the B and C grid, showing that a student is in both general education and special-ed-only settings. As you remember from the other post, the B grid is for services that happen in the general education classroom, and the C grid is for services that happen in specialized environments. When I’ve seen goals in the A grid, they tend to be either really general, like all the academic goals, or very specific, like occupational therapist talking to a teacher.
This is a lot of information. Does that make sense? Write me back!
- the IEP of your fifth child
- the fifth page of your IEP
- the fifth IEP that your child has had
- the fifth section of the IEP – Service Delivery
Good job! You knew the answer because you read my post about page numbers in IEPs, right?
This fifth section of your IEP will be the topic of a few of my posts. Although the section is (usually) only one page long, it packs in a LOT of information. We’ll take it in steps.
Today, we’ll get a general overview and look at three sections created by rows.
IEP5 might be where you go first when you’re looking at your new IEP. It tells you the services that the district is proposing to provide to your child. (Remember, a new IEP is only a proposal until you sign it and get it back to the school.)
One thing that you should know is that we teachers, like you, like to start with this page. “Come on, what happens? How are we serving this kid?” “Hooray, she’s moving into mainstream math!” Or “Great, he’s getting the occupational therapy we were hoping for!”
But teachers are warned not to write this page first when we’re writing IEPs. The service delivery is the end result of a lot of other information.
That reminds me – and this is critical to a good IEP…
Everything in an IEP needs to reference something else. I’ll write more about that another time.
Let’s start with the most general points of IEP5.
First of all, that chart you’re looking at is referred to as a Service Delivery Grid. “Where is ‘Service Delivery Grid’ written?” you ask. Nowhere. That’s just what teachers call it. Now you do too, so you’re In The Know.
“Service” means anything that is provided because of your child’s eligibility for special education.
The Service Delivery Grid has three sections, divided into groups of rows: A, B, C. We refer to them as – can you guess? – the A Grid, B Grid, and C Grid.
When we think about services in special education, we specify whether the child gets the service in a classroom with general and special education students combined or whether the child gets the service in a room of special ed students only.
Let’s look at those alphabetical grids.
The A Grid – This actually refutes what I just said. The A Grid isn’t about your child getting a service, but is about provider-to-adult contact. I haven’t used this section much in my teaching. I’ve inherited some IEPs with A Grid items, but that’s about it. In this section go “consultation” services from one professional to another professional or to parents. It might mean that the special ed teacher talks to the general education teacher, or that a therapist talks to the special education teacher. It might be counseling that is provided to the parents.
The B Grid describes services that happen in a general education setting. If your child is in a general education class and has a specialist in the room, that direction goes here.
The C Grid is about services for your child that happen outside the general education setting.
That’s the big picture of the Service Delivery Grid. The grid divides services into rows that describe who is getting the service and where the service occurs.
Well, we’ve run out of alphabetical rows, so that’s it for now. Next time, we’ll learn about all the pitfalls that can occur in those innocent-looking columns.
You’re in your annual meeting and a teacher says, “On IEP 4..” You turn to the fourth page.
You’re looking at a list of accommodations. The teachers are talking about annual goals.
What is going on? Why aren’t they looking at the fourth page? Welcome to the world of IEPs.
As the photos above show, “IEP4” is written at the bottom, as if it were the fourth page of the IEP. “Page 4 of 30” is also written, as if this were the fourth page of a 30-page IEP. You count, and neither page is actually the fourth page of the IEP.
You’re right. Neither page number describes the fourth page of the IEP. Well sometimes it does.
The teacher was referring to the fourth section of the IEP, not the fourth page. That’s what “IEP4” means.
We teachers do this. We don’t mean to mess you up. We think in terms of sections because each one is so different from the others. And for some reason, our terminology uses “IEP” and not “section.” So the fourth section, “Current Performance Levels/Measurable Annual Goals” is called “IEP4.”
“Wait,” you say. “I thought the whole thing was an IEP.” Once again, you’re right, but.. Every specialty has its jargon.
If a teacher is talking about the fourth page of the IEP, s/he will probably say, “Page 4” or “the fourth page of the IEP.”
And the “Page 4 of 30”? That refers to the number of pages that were printed at one time. Often, the cover letter that came with your IEP was part of that printing, so the letter is page 1. Your IEP might not start until page 4.
To make it even crazier, I have sometimes made a change to a section in the middle of an IEP. In order to send to the parent, I have reprinted that section, and then inserted the revised section into the rest of the IEP. I really should print the whole thing again – and most of the time I do – so that the parent doesn’t go from page 5 of 30 to page 1 of 2, then back to page 7 of 30. But sometimes I just don’t want to kill any more trees.
So that’s the scoop on your IEP pagination. If each section is only one page and if this was the only document printed at the time, then the numbers at the bottom will be the page numbers of the IEP. Otherwise, you need look around the table to make sure you know what the teachers are talking about. Or your could sound very knowledgable about these distinctions and ask what the teacher means.
Setting goals is tricky for most of us. (How are those new year’s resolutions going?) Our goals tend to be either too easy, too hard, too general or too specific. However, well-written goals can propel us to new heights of achievement. Similarly, well-written goals in a child’s Individual Education Plan can pave the way, step by step, for the child to master the right skills for her/his achievement level. Conversely, poor goals create an abyss where it is hard for parents, teachers, and other educators to understand why a student is struggling, despite years in the special education system. “We’ve been having the meetings and following the IEP. What’s wrong?”
Not only do poor goals create problems for students, they can create issues for the school districts.
The Maine Department of Education recently found the district in York to be out of compliance with federal special education laws. According to an article in seacostonline, one of the issues is that York’s IEP goals look “very similar from year to year and don’t always appear to be designed to show progress.”
There are two major reasons that goals stay the same from year to year: lack of student progress, and poor wording of the goals.
Let’s look at the first reason. Goals might stay the same because the student is not achieving them. There is a system to address this issue, and it is active throughout the year.
When the annual IEP meeting is held, the Team should determine that the student has achieved the goals of the previous IEP. New goals are then written. An IEP goal that remains the same as the previous year technically means that the child has not achieved that goal.
But you shouldn’t get to the annual meeting and suddenly realize that the goal hasn’t been achieved.
If the child has not been progressing enough to reach the goal, this issue should have been addressed in the child’s periodic progress reports. Then, partway through the year, if the student is still not on track to meet the goal, the teacher should call a progress meeting. At a progress meeting, parent(s), teachers and staff discuss why the student is not achieving the goal. Are the accommodations and modifications being followed by teachers and other educators? Is the student completing homework and schoolwork? Is the student seeking extra help, as is often expected for all students? Is there another health or social issue which may be affecting the student’s performance?
If everything specified in the IEP is happening and if the student is seeking extra help but still not achieving a goal, then the goal is rewritten. Every goal in the IEP needs to be attainable for the child. If the goal proves to be unattainable, it needs to change.
Sometimes, a child achieves part of a goal. In that case, the unattained portion might remain and new higher levels of achievement are added. While not ideal, at least this keeps the momentum moving forward.
The tricky part about writing goals is to make them broad enough to describe learning in the coming year but specific enough to mean something about this child. A goal that is so specific as, “Andre will know 90% of multiplication tables up to 12” may address his difficulties with multiplication but may not address his challenges with the bulk of the math curriculum. And yet, if team merely copies the topics from the math curriculum (which I have seen done), then the IEP becomes a mirror of the general education program – not individualized at all.
The other common reason that goals stay the same is that they are so general that they could apply to any year of a student’s education, regardless of the student’s actual achievement. “Andre will correctly answer 80% of problems in grade-level math assessments.” Hey, it worked last year, it still works for this year. And it even has a percentage in it and it says “grade-level”!
Wrong. What is being assessed? At what grade level does he perform now?
Any district can improve its goal writing. The improvement can happen at multiple points in the IEP writing process: by the Team at the annual meeting; when an educator writes the final version of the IEP; when the administrator approves the IEP prior to sending to parents; when the parent receives the IEP for approval.
The best time is at the annual meeting. Whether you are a teacher, parent or administrator, you can have input about the goals. What is the child ready to learn in the next year that will make a real difference in mastering the subject? The current popular lingo, “SMART goals,” is helpful. Specific; measurable; attainable, realistic, timely.
I like goals that have 2-4 elements. Usually, 2-4 elements will cover a subject broadly enough that if the child is achieving them, s/he is in pretty good shape with the curriculum. The child may not be at grade level, but critical pieces of the curriculum are being learned.
Well-written goals are a key tool to tracking students’ progress. The criticism that York, Maine, has received can apply to many many districts. Whether we are parents or school educators, we can all take a little time to improve those IEP goals and to improve our service to the kids who need us. And maybe as we gain on those goals, we’ll get better at writing our own resolutions for next year.
Every IEP has the same seven components.
1. Parent / student concerns
2. Impact of disability on learning
3. Accommodations and modifications
4. Annual measurable goals
6. Length of day or year
7. Transition requirements
1. Parent / student concerns
This section is a small paragraph at the beginning of the IEP. It records concerns that the parent and/or student have concerning the student’s school work or activities.
2. Impact of disability on learning
This is a longer section which will include some or all of the following:
a. a description of the student in class, including strengths and weaknesses, interests, and interactions with others
b. recent grades
c. recent standardized test scores
d. recent assessment scores
e. the hopes that the team has for the student.
3. Accommodations and modifications
This is also called PLEP A and PLEP B, or Present Levels of Performance A and B. A is for academic work; B is for nonacademic activities. Each section begins with a description how the student’s disability affects the student’s ability to access the general curriculum. Then come lists of accommodations and modifications to be made so that the student can access the general curriculum. If the student cannot access the general curriculum, specific modifications to the curriculum will be stipulated here.
4. Annual measurable goals
The IEP might have one goal or more than five goals, depending on the needs of the student. Each goal covers one area, like mathematics, science, speech, counseling, occupational therapy. For each goal, there will be a paragraph describing what the student can do. Then follows a measurable goal that the student can be expected to attain within the next year (or remaining period of the IEP). Benchmarks to help guide the student to achieve the goal may also be listed.
This lists where the student will receive special education services and which staff members will provide the services.
6. Length of day or year
If a student needs something other than the standard day or year (for instance, if a student needs summer school), it is noted here.
7. Transition requirements
This is used for students in high school to identify the steps necessary to prepare them for post-secondary work.