A Special Edition — 2008
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The Maryland Online IEP

Background
During School Fiscal Year (SFY) 2001, the General Assembly Joint Chairman’s Report requested the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to work with local school systems to create a computerized and standardized Individualized Education Program (IEP) form. The purpose was to create an IEP form that would follow a student with a disability if the student should move from one jurisdiction to another within Maryland. MSDE met with representatives of public agency directors of special education, data managers, coordinators of preschool services, and nonpublic special education facilities to discuss advantages, disadvantages, and barriers.

Development of an Online IEP Tool
MSDE works collaboratively with the Johns Hopkins University, Center for Technology in Education (CTE) to develop a standardized Online IEP tool that complies with the requirements of the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA). The Statewide IEP is intended to aid public agencies with data collection and provide service providers with a student educational services planning tool.

Alignment with Federal Reporting Requirements
Federal law and regulations require MSDE to report data to the U.S. Department of Education. The Statewide IEP collects this data. Data on students with disabilities is submitted electronically from public agencies. The Statewide IEP links student demographic information and identified service data to the MSDE Special Services Information System (SSIS) for local, State, and federal reporting. This includes elements of required data needed for the State Performance Plan and Annual Performance Report.

Implementation Timelines
Since 2004 there has been an ongoing IEP workgroup comprised of local school system personnel, service providers, and data managers to review the content, technical collection and transfer of data and to assist in problem-solving any technical issues or process questions. MSDE began a pilot of the Online IEP on July 1, 2005. On July 1, 2006 the project was expanded to include additional local school systems. Any IEP created on or after July 1, 2007 must comply with the Statewide IEP in form and format. By July 1, 2008 all public agencies are required to use either the Online IEP or a vendor-based web-based electronic data collection system that will generate students’ IEPs that match the Statewide IEP form and format for data collection.

Training and Resources
The Online IEP encompasses a two-part process for support and embedded professional development. First the Online IEP is an electronic web-based “tool” for data collection. Each public agency trainer receives a copy of the Online IEP Users Guide that delineates the procedures for using the Online IEP tool. Second, the completion of the Statewide IEP entails the understanding and compliance with procedures and processes for individualized student decision-making encompassed within the Statewide IEP.

These procedures are detailed within the Maryland Statewide IEP Process Guide. Both of these documents are accessible to Online IEP users within the Statewide IEP tool. MSDE provided public agencies six hard copies of the Maryland Statewide IEP Process Guide.

The Online IEP also includes a web-based connection to the MSDE Voluntary State Curriculum (VSC) to assist IEP teams to use current data to enhance an IEP team’s ability to make data-driven decisions on a student’s individualized goals to address access to the general curriculum and the provision of special education and related services. The Online IEP also includes instructional “Wizards” on documenting a student’s present level of academic achievement and functional performance and guidance related to writing effective annual IEP goals.

Current Users
The following local school systems and public agencies are using the Maryland Online IEP: Allegany County Charles County Department of Juvenile Services Frederick County Kent County Maryland School for the Deaf Prince George’s County Somerset County Baltimore City Department of Adult Corrections Department of Juvenile Justice—MSDE/JCEP Garrett County Maryland School for the Blind MSDE Approved Nonpublic Special Education Facilities (including facilities bordering Maryland) St. Mary’s County Washington County

Advantages
The Statewide use of a uniform document will assist students, parents, families, local school systems, and other stakeholders to locate information and documentation quickly. A uniform process of data collection and submission will enable MSDE to use data to support systemic analysis of program effectiveness for strategic planning. Over time, MSDE will have the ability to study the longitudinal affect of early intervention services as it relates to the performance and achievement of students with disabilities through an analysis of services and supports provided through an IEP. Used appropriately, the Statewide IEP has the potential to eliminate service delivery delays when a student moves from one local jurisdiction to another within Maryland.

For More Information
Sharon A. West Section Chief Instructional Support and Professional Development Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services Maryland State Department of Education 200 West Baltimore Street Baltimore, Maryland 21201-2595 Phone: 410-767-0237 Email: swest@msde.state.md.us
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