Top Five Takeaways from COPAA’s 21st Annual Conference
(Part 2 of 5)

IEPs Must Contain Ambitious Goals

In 2017 the Supreme Court ruled educational programs under IDEA must be “appropriately ambitious in light of the child’s circumstances” and the instruction offered must be specially designed to meet a child’s unique needs though the IEP. Just like advancement from grade to grade is appropriately ambitious for most children in the regular classroom; the goals may be different, but every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives. Endrew F. v. Douglas County Sch. Dist. (2017).

But, how do you find learning potential to support appropriately ambitious goals? Tests and measurements can give some insight into a child’s potential for learning, but not always. The IEP team should not only rely on tests, but also chart the academic growth of the child over time, chart the increase in abilities, etc. Parents can take videos of the child learning at home or with private services, and observations should include the child both inside and outside the classroom. Parents should also bring in data from others (outside the school system) who have experience with the student to show the student potential for growth.

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