IEP Service Delivery
Table of Contents
- Overview of IEP Service Delivery
- Related Service Providers
- Extended School Year
- Voices from the Field
This short article addresses the component of the IEP we’ll call “service delivery.” The language at §300.320(a)(7) states the IEP must include:
(7) The projected date for the beginning of the services and modifications described in paragraph (a)(4) of this section, and the anticipated frequency, location, and duration of those services and modifications.
This is where the details are specified about the services that a child with a disability will receive—the when, where, how often, how long of service delivery. The service delivery statement in the IEP should include:
- how often the child will receive the service(s) (number of times per day or week);
- how long each “session” will last (number of minutes)
- where services will be provided (in the general education classroom or another setting such as a special education resource room); and
- when services will begin and end (starting and ending dates).
The model IEP form developed by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education (2006) suggests the format shown below as a means of recording this information.
Considering Extended School Year (ESY) Services
The IEP team should also consider whether or not a child needs to receive services beyond the typical school year. This is called Extended School Year or ESY services. Some children receiving special education services may be eligible for ESY services. States and LEAs typically have guidelines for determining eligibility for ESY. Whether or not a child needs ESY in order to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) is a decision that is made by the IEP team.
Want to know more about ESY? Here is an online resource to get you started:
Extended School Year Services
Voices from the Field
*Teacher candidates interview their supervising practitioners (SPs) or share personal experience if they are currently in a teaching position while pursuing special education licensing.
The focus is on how the special educator/case manager monitors their student’s IEP Service Delivery and all aspects of IEP Compliance.
When looking at service delivery and thinking about what the child’s needs are with the certain provider and special educator, you have to consider how often the child will need intervention/ services, how long each session is, as well as where this intervention will be provided (i.e., within the classroom or in a separate room like a resource room/ special educator’s classroom) and the dates that the IEP will begin and end. After speaking with my SP as well as my SLP, the more involved the child is typically will mean that they will receive more services and an increase of how often the service will be provided. For example, my SLP and SP share a child who has Down Syndrome. Based on testing and what the child needs, he is seen every day for a half hour for math and reading with the special educator as well as the paraeducator, OT twice a week for a half hour as an individual sessions, Speech for a half hour 4 times a week (2 sessions as a group and 2 as individual), PT once a week for a half hour, as well as a 1:1 paraeducator all day. This child has significant needs to get through his day, therefore needs the extra support as well as extra intervention. Where there are other children that just may need a half hour of math every day and nothing else. The service delivery looks very different for all children depending on their disability and how impacted their day is to access the grade level curriculum. Anonymous
My supervising practitioner related to me that in the past, she has kept a log sheet, or a journal, for related services. She related to me that different case managers in the district keep track differently. I also spoke with another special education teacher who stated that the service providers keep a record and that the 1:1 paraeducators document the times and relate them to the case manager. The case manager has a schedule from all service providers and helps enforce the schedule. She also stated that if the provider is unable to deliver services, then the district needs to provide services by finding a qualified substitute or bringing someone in from another district. That highlights the importance of the case manager keeping track as well as providers, because missed sessions have to be made up somehow and a case manager can’t follow up if they’re not keeping track. I would think a digital table or log would be the most effective way to keep track of the information. That way it can be accessed from multiple locations and is stored securely with whatever programs the school uses. Rachel Stoudt
Most times the a missed service involves a student refusing services, especially at the high school level. And especially when it requires being pulled out of a general education classroom. We try to just keep parents informed that this is happening and let them know the ways in which we tried to accommodate the student. Whether that means changing the time we pull them out for the services or changing the way we deliver those services. The key is communicating to the parents that way it doesn’t catch them off guard and allows them to address the skipped services with their child. Some parents will demand we punish their student for skipping those services, but we try to avoid that if at all possible as it is usually more harmful than helpful and only rarely brings the student to the table (or desk). Aside from documenting the missed services to the parents, documenting them in general is good practice, as many students have services that are billed to Medicaid, and you’ll need to fill out those logs so that your SPED department can bill for those services monthly. Medicaid is money your school doesn’t want to miss out on. Arthur Rafus
We have what we call “block 5” at our school. This time used to be a free period for students to socialize and participate in fun activities. Since this pandemic, and since our students have fallen behind, we have turned this hour long block into a time to schedule help, whether it be academically or emotionally or, if neither of those are needed, scheduled and structured socialization. It is during this block that we special educators try to deliver our 1:1 services so as not to be too disruptive to our student’s schedules. It really works out in our favor as well, as many high school students hate being pulled from classrooms. We can drop into a Math classroom or English classroom during a help session and give the student not only the support of a special educator, but also the guidance of their general education teacher as well. And we can do so with much less students in the room so it is not as awkward for them. Arthur Rufus
In my short time of being a special education case manager, I have not experienced a lot of students refusing their services. However, I have experienced a lot of students miss services because they are absent, often and just do not come to school on a regular basis. I have observed that students do extremely well when they have consistency in their lives and come to school on a regular basis. Once they start missing school, everything is off. Their grades take a hit and drop, and their behavior is not as good as it used to be. Lucas Fisher
Our school is fortunate enough to schedule a lot of their services during their study hall periods which allows the student to go to their service providers during a “free” block where they can do their homework or get ahead on assignments. The study hall is designed to help students stay on top of their work and for identified students it can be a block where they can go fulfill their services. However, I do not know if you face this issue, but students here can come in late or leave early from school during their study hall if they have good grades and 1’s (excellent) in effort and conduct. We had one student who took advantage of it a lot. That led to the student falling behind, however, we had a meeting and created a plan for the best of both worlds. “The services and hours should be directly connected to the IEP goals and the supports that the student requires to access improved outcomes.” This step is crucial because everything in the IEP is connected and must be logged in order to provide the students with the best educational experience possible. Once the service is planned it could help the school implement the services into the students’ busy schedules. Lucas Fisher
My SP also has a master calendar in her (locked) office that outlines when IEP drafts and evaluations are due and when meetings are scheduled. She’s come up with a color-coded system, so you can get a sense by just glancing at the calendar what is ahead, which has been helpful for me. I know providers have information about when IEPs end, but my SP reaches out to everyone before due dates and meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page. We also meet as a special education team regularly to check in. We talk about how services are going, trouble-shoot any issues, and take a look at the weeks ahead to make sure we are on track.
I know there is a lot to keep track of, and I find it overwhelming at times. I had a teacher that helped give me a different perspective by saying that I should consider all of the paperwork and compliance as advocacy work. She said that for so long students with disabilities did not get services, and this is just how we make sure they are getting what they need. Even though I understood that concept intellectually, the way she framed it helped me see it in a different light. Jessica Warning
In my school, the staff work together closely to review each other’s IEP for accuracy and compliance. We meet monthly and discuss issues that we might have with anything, but even before that, since the middle school special ed staff all share one office, we are easily able to communicate with each other several times each day. We talk about the students that we are providing services to, who was in attendance at intervention sessions, who is participating, who is struggling, what other methods we could try, and other things that might come up. Anonymous
I spoke with the 7th/8th grade case manager at my school about IEP service delivery and compliance. During our conversation, I asked Mrs. K how she keeps attendance of the students that she provides services to. Mrs. K explained that she has an attendance log where she keeps track of students that are absent, tardy, or have been dismissed early. She also has a smaller notebook that she carries with her through the day. In the notebook, she keeps track of conversations she has with teachers, paras, and anyone else in the building. Along with the conversations, she keeps track of the services each day and whether or not the student comes to the services or not. At the beginning of the year, Mrs. K writes down the students’ schedules on a neon colored index card and gives it to them. She asks the students to keep it with them, somewhere visible, and refer to it each day to know when to go to her room. When I asked her why she doesn’t come get the students from the room for their scheduled services she told me that there are a few reasons. One reason is to help them become more responsible for knowing the schedule and going to the service on time. The other reason is that students in middle school are not happy when an adult comes to get them. The students feel as though they are being called out in front of the whole class and it’s embarrassing. She does often call the room and ask for the students to be sent to her room. Each time a student refuses services, doesn’t show up, or misses services due to the class work, she writes it down in her book. She then uses both of her attendance logs as a reference if/when a question is asked about why the student missed service or is not making progress on the goals. Allison Gison
It is important to communicate with the students para educators. This will cut back on misunderstanding schedules. Paras need to know when and where services are so the students do not miss these special service times. I have personally found it is best to have cell phone numbers with case managers and specialist such as your OT and Speech coworkers, to quickly communicate throughout the school. There have been multiple times that services have been changed and I haven’t been informed and have gotten a text that informs me of the schedule change. Had I not had that established relationship and communication method, my student might have suffered. It is the responsibility of the case manager to inform the student’s teachers and para educators if these services change, but when direct communication is lacking, this is a good back up plan. Jazmine Perkins
My SP is usually aware of the students who may have missed services. He said what is most important to him should a student miss a service, is for him to inform the parents about the student not receiving those services. Communication with parents as well as with the related service providers regarding delivery of services is something my SP is very focused on. He also keeps an Excel spreadsheet to track each student’s services, IEP and evaluation dates, as well as scheduled meetings. Due to Covid, we have gone without related service providers as well as students for weeks at a time. Last month, our OT missed a week of services due to Covid. She made up the time for each student she missed the week upon her return. Thankfully, we have a great group of related service providers who always show up for our students. Sarah Caroll
HERE is a link to some Q and As regarding service delivery during COVID. Kari Grimes
Private School Perspective
The school I work at is a private school, so the rules regarding special education services are different than public school. Private schools do not have IEPs, instead they have ISPs (Individual Service Plan). The main difference is students with an ISP are only provided equitable services. They are not entitled to FAPE or the same level of service as in public school. Because of this my school has limited special education services available. SAU XX decides which children will be served, what services will be provided, how and where the services will be provided, and how the services will be evaluated. This can lead to students who do not qualify for services. So, a meeting of teachers and school administration will meet to see if in house services may be applicable. The classroom teachers will accommodate and modify lessons to the best of their ability. But if parents, teachers, or school admin think more help is necessary than can be provided, then the decision is made for the student to leave and enroll in a public school. Because of this there are only a small number of students with ISPs in the school. My SP is a classroom Kindergarten teacher and due to the limited resources most kindergarten students are not tested and very few have services. Anonymous
Private Special Education School
Working in a treatment based facility, our IEP caseloads and how we handle them are a bit different than the typical school. My SP has helped me with IEPs since day one when I was just a sub, when we get new student intakes there are different reports we receive; behaviors, case information and the current IEP (if the student has one). Once she gets a student with an IEP, she makes a copy of it, since legally there can only be one official, and puts it into her IEP binder. She goes through the IEP highlighting and numbers the goals she’s responsible for. From there she records the student’s information (name, birthday, district, IEP start + end date and their goals), and creates a progress sheet for tracking. This tracking sheet is helpful because as each quarter ends she has her information easily accessible and tangible for reporting back to the districts. After recording all this information, she incorporates the goals into her daily lesson plans if necessary and will write the student’s initials with the goal #1 under it so she can go back and report easily on the tracking sheet. She has helped me immensely with IEPs, treatment reports and my job as a whole, I’d be so lost without her. Sarah Harkness
Our K-2 special educator told me that she has a chart that lists each student, the related service (or multiple services) they receive, the provider of that service, and when/where it occurs. The special educator and service providers work together to schedule services for each child. Typically, they begin to create a schedule in the beginning of the year once the students start school, but the schedules may change if more students receive IEP’s and need to receive services. She keeps a checklist of her student’s goals and each week she assesses each student to measure their progress towards their specific goal. The service providers and case manager hold a weekly meeting to discuss the progress of the students and identify any concerns they have about specific students. These weekly meetings are helpful in keeping everyone in the loop about progress and concerns. If a new student is added to the caseload, they will discuss scheduling, the specific goals for the child, and the data as well.
The K-2 special educator told me that in a typical year, if the service provider is out for any reason, they will usually work with the classroom teacher to schedule a make-up time. For example, if our occupational therapist is out, she will talk with the classroom teacher and reschedule an extra session during the week (or following week). Now, if a service provider or a child is out for an extended amount of time, the sessions can be rescheduled or held virtually. If a child or service provider has to quarantine because of Covid, they have the ability to complete their sessions over Zoom. Usually, the child will go into the special educator’s classroom, and the teacher will project the service provider on the screen and that’s how they complete their sessions. While that may not be an ideal way to have a session, it allows the student to still be seen and have some consistency. Isabella Desimone
My SP maintains a “big picture” that includes the daily schedules for other services providers, the reading specialist, the two other Special Ed teachers, the paras, and herself. This way she can make sure everyone’s time is being used effectively and to see what may need to change and/or be accommodated for any staff absences. Using this she can also rearrange para services. For example, this week the Speech Therapist is absent so all of her sessions are via Google Meet. Fridays are for data tracking, which gives some flexibility in case any make-up services are needed.
My SP also keeps an IEP service page for each special ed student that shows the why, when, and to whom they are going for any of their services; pull-outs, transportation details, and para support; when their classroom specials are, and Medicaid logs. I think one of the most valuable documents is the IEP goal tracking sheet. This is a template, which helps makes maintenance more streamlined, consistent, and straight-forward for users. In addition, this document is shared with regular ed teachers so that they can also document any relevant information. One thing she really stressed was that the progress narratives were very detailed and included student attendance, which was documented on the IEP goal data sheets. Rebecca Foss
At the beginning of the year, my SP creates two case load charts. One lists each student, their date of birth, IEP dates, 3 year evaluation date, and when their IEP draft needs to be submitted. The second chart lists each student, the classroom teacher they are assigned to, room number, transportation information, and all related service days and times.
In her teacher planner, each week, she lists out what services the students have each day under their name as well as any academic plans she has for them, meetings for them, teacher/service provider consults, etc. In that plan book, she marks if the student is absent, dismissed early, tardy, or if a specific service is delivered. Each service provider also keeps service logs of when they see each student. If the service provider is absent or has a meeting, then they find make up sessions for the student. However, if a student is absent, or does not log on for a scheduled remote session, then the service providers usually do not make up the session unless there are extenuating circumstances.
While our district uses our own formatting for IEPs, we still enter the information into the NH Special Education Information System (NHSEIS) which keeps track of IEP and Eligibility dates. The system provides warnings and flags when IEPS are about to go out of compliance. My school has about 90 students with IEPs so we are lucky enough to have a special education administrative assistant. She spends much of her job organizing physical files, electronic files, making sure everything remains in compliance, and making sure IEP and Eligibility meetings are scheduled on time. She does so much; I know not every school is lucky enough to have someone dedicated to this. Anonymous
I communicated with a Case Manager who works with students in the classroom I work in. She has worked at my school for 14 years in special education. She has a sizeable and challenging caseload. She tracks how the students she is assigned to receive their related services by meeting with the service providers regularly and keeping open communication between each colleague.
To make sure that she is successfully managing her case load’s services and “air traffic controlling” each student properly – she has found success using a digital caseload workbook. Teachers Pay Teachers has some helpful resources for templates similar to what she has adapted for herself. She reports that she keeps a record of each student’s pertinent information on a Caseload tab in a table. She keeps tabs on deadlines related to each student within a compliance section. There is a tab to help her keep track of recommended accommodations and each student’s schedule. Her information is all organized in a Google doc spreadsheet. Colleen Mehalko
After speaking with my SP, she makes sure that all of her T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted when it comes to compliance. At the beginning of every school year, as well as throughout the school year as things change, she makes a schedule for each one of the children on her caseload. By doing this, she can cross check the IEP and her schedule to make sure that her children are being seen by everyone on the Service Delivery grid. If there is a session missing, she checks in with the service providers to let them know as well as making sure that it is added to the child’s schedule when it has been updated. She has all of these schedules in a Google sheet. She also has a document that is in Google sheets as well that contain all of the IEP information on her caseload, (when IEPs begin, when IEPs end, and the amount of sessions the child has, the child’s disabilities etc.). As a district, there is a Master list that contains all of the places to log the IEP dates, including the meeting dates where all Special educators as well as related service providers can view that also shows when the 3 year evaluation is needed as well. Anonymous
We keep track of all attendance for students in Title One and special education, using an electronic attendance document, shared by a technology specialist from the District, at the beginning of the year. In this document, we can each make a roster of our students and click, each day, if they attended their session. There are certain codes that we will use if the service was not able to happen. Examples of this include “SNA” for “staff not available”- we only use this when an unforeseen circumstance comes up such as a major behavior issue that we are involved in, other emergency, or a meeting that is NOT regularly scheduled. We may also put “CNA” for “child not available” if that child is emotionally or physically unable to join us or if they are sleeping. There are other codes such as “NS” for not scheduled, and this could be used regularly scheduled professional development such as Project SEE and those kinds of things. Chelsea Hoadley
One of my duties as a para is to submit a Medicaid report online. I try to fill in my hours every day so any details are fresh. If we have gone off schedule for any reason, I do my report same day. If we are completely on track and have been able to stay on schedule, I can usually enter it all at the end of the week. We are pretty effective as a team at commitment to the schedule so all the students get their hours every day, every week, as planned. Another benefit of this is that is makes Medicaid reporting manageable. Mia Donati
In my preschool, we are very lucky that over half of our services are delivered within the classroom whenever possible. This makes tracking much easier for the Case Manager/Special Education teacher. For example, our preschool’s lead classroom teacher is the Special Educator/Case Manager for the students in his or her class. Each classroom has a Speech Pathologist as a co-teacher. We are then each assigned an OT who comes in to our classroom twice a week to work on individual services and also teaches lessons. The only service that is does not happen in the classroom often is PT. Tracking is easy because the Special Educator/Case Manager is present and observes the services happening. He or she may step in and help. We have weekly check-ins to ensure everything is on track and if a service is missed, it is rescheduled right there. Excellent communication and a very simple school setup makes this tracking very easy. I have worked at some of the elementary schools recently and can see how tracking is much more difficult! Kids were being pulled left and right. As the classroom para, I am in charge of tracking the outside of the classroom service (PT) and use a simple tracking sheet which I use for Medicaid billing that timestamps the services and notes if one is missed. Overall, I am lucky to be learning in a school with this setup. Deanna Hanley
For my clinical, I split my time between two organizations; one is at a local special education preschool and the other at a preschool in an early learning center. With the latter, there are no IEPs or services provided through the center itself, but for children who require services, they can have an outside service provide their care during their day at the center. We have SLPs and OTs visit often as needed for different children. Whether the children get services provided to them in the building or out, we always try to get the parents to share the evaluation results with us so we can better help their child and understand their needs. If the parents wish for us to be in contact with their service provider, we gladly will discuss how to best help the child with them and/or implement a plan they have created but there is no ensuring services are rendered as it is not within the bounds of the center. The special education preschool, however, is a completely different idea.
At this preschool, the classes are small (only eight kids or fewer) with a special education teacher as the head teacher, two paraprofessionals, an SLP stationed in the room, and two rotating OTs who arrive for certain programs throughout the day. As the IEP service providers are within the room, it is on them to ensure their students are receiving services as needed. Every “session” is logged into the Easy Medicaid system for the school. There are rarely any sessions where the child is taken for a pull-out service as the group is small and there are so many available adults to help guide situations where needed (ex. keeping other students away when one child is receiving services). Most of the time, the services are provided through whole-group activities where the child who the activity is specifically for is being monitored more closely. Things like yoga with the OT or reading activities with the SLP are a frequent occurrence. However, when a more private setting is needed, pull-out sessions are possible and do occur. Most often these are seen when more than one service provider is involved in the session (ex. OT and SLP are doing a joint skill). Each paraeducator also has a binder to note when services are provided to work as a second set of eyes ensuring the student’s needs are met. Annie Lewis
Center for Parent Information and Resources (2010). Service Delivery , Newark, NJ, Author. https://www.parentcenterhub.org/iep-servicedelivery/
IEP Screen Shots from: Next Steps-NH.org, (2016) Blank IEP Template from NHSEIS Retrieved from https://nextsteps-nh.org/wp-content/uploads/IEP-Blank-from-NHSEIS-4-11-16.pdf
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. (2006). Model IEP form. Washington, DC: Author.
Updated 3/25/2022 PL