“Effective date” means just what it says. If you write an IEP and put the “effective date” as the date of the meeting, then the IEP goes into effect on that date. If you are writing an IEP for the next academic year, the dates on the IEP should indicate that.
A special ed teacher asked this when confused about the school’s sudden change in policy. For ten years they had used the beginning and end of the school year as effective dates.
When doing a periodic review for an IEP, I always put the effective dates for the beginning and end of the school year. We are now being told that we should put the dates from when we have the meetings in March.
In some cases, especially for very young children whose needs change often, and for children with complex needs, the IEP should not be written for a full academic year. There is no way to know what the child’s needs will be 4, 5 or 6 months later.
It can be a mistake to write IEPs in March or April of 2008 that are supposed to meet all the child’s needs related to the disability so far in the future – i.e., between Sept 08 and May or June 09 (18 months later).