Change of Services in High School – “That’s All We Offer!”

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teen girl in classMy daughter is in middle school, where she receives skills support every day in an inclusion program. At the annual review, we were told she will now only receive skills support every other day because that is all the high school offers.  Can the district automatically make this change?

Your daughter’s educational program and services are developed by the IEP Team (you are part of that Team) and written in the IEP.

The Model IEP Form

IDEA requires that your child’s IEP includes the frequency, duration, location, and projected dates for services.

34 C.F.R. Section 300.320(a)(7) in Wrightslaw: All About IEPs, page 43.

Read the US DOE Guidance on the required content of IEPs explained in the Model IEP Form.

Your child’s IEP drives her program, placement, and services – not what the school has available. The school is responsible for providing FAPE.

The Annual IEP Review

The annual review is for IEP team to review and revise the IEP based on:

  • any lack of expected progress
  • results of any reevaluation
  • information provided by the parents
  • anticipated needs

20 U.S.C. Section 1414(d)(4)(A) in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, page 104.

Individualized IEPs

Your child’s IEP is based on her:

  • present levels
  • needs
  • goals
  • progress

The discussion by the IEP Team at the annual review should have been about your daughter’s unique needs and the program she requires to meet those needs – not about her schedule.

Is your child’s IEP individualized? Get the checklist!

More Resources

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs, Chapter 5
IEP Drives Services
Updating Present Levels
Roadmap to the IEP
IEP Facts: Review and Revision


  1. I feel that too often services are decided based on the school schedule rather than individual needs of the student. Thank you for listing out exactly what should decide a student’s LRE. Having this information will be beneficial in the future during IEP meetings. This is especially important to remember when students transfer in from other schools and especially other counties and states. We are supposed to provide them with comparable services, but often this is not the case. Staffing, scheduling, and large class sizes seem to contribute to this issue. When schools “do not offer” a specific service at the school level; for example, self-contained, what are the options?

    • Services are based on unspoken policies and philosophies of those in power- often NOT the Special Ed administrators. School Boards & superintendents run schools. If you have a new SPED admin or one you don’t trust, be sure you bring an advocate. It takes a year for new admin to learn school politics. We had 5-credentialed admin forced out in 12 years. The one with no administrative credentials is going on her 4th year, doing what the Board, general administrators, and superintendent tell her to do. She’s really good at saying, “We don’t do that in high school” and “I don’t have the authority to do that”. She denies FAPE, especially LRE issues and 504 services, all the time-less when parents have advocates/attorneys.

      • I am going through this myself with my son in 2nd. The principal and teacher flat out deny FAPE. They changed his modifications and accommodation with no meeting. I was not informed. Teacher never follows IEP because she has other kids to worry to about and my son does not matter. Try to request for an IEP meeting and the school threatened to turn me in or harassment charges. They now are moving my son to an autism classroom without my consent so the other kids won’t have to deal with him. Why can’t the school see that I am trying to help my son get the education he deserves? I have tried complaining but am getting no where. I guess I am going to have to request for due process.

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