IEP FAQs: What should be the “Effective Date” on IEPs?

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“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).

  1. Should I write a NEW GOAL for a graduating senior? Her annual is today, and all seniors’ graduation date is in 4 days (6-9-2023). It doesn’t make sense to add a new goal for four days.

    Instead, I should leave the old goals (By 6-5-2023)… OR change the By 6-5-2023 in Future to 6-9-2023 and in the baseline, state that this goal is being continued…????

    • I suggest a goal saying that since she is graduating in 4 days with her goals accomplished, the goal is to make the last days as enjoyable as possible. Also that she will be asked, how staff, & the campus might help her as she goes forward, & what staff can do to better to help students next school year.

  2. My question is, when does the IEP become non-compliant, one year after the signature date OR the IEP end date on the Profile Page? For example, the meeting was held and signed on 04/10/22, but the Profile Page shows the date range from 08/09/22 to 05/25/23. I have heard that the signature date is the actual expiration date, but I have also heard that the true end date is listed on the Profile Page and would be non-compliant after that date. Which is correct, legally?

  3. Is it legal to backdate an IEP? Meaning… holding the conference at the end of April, but have the IEP start date at the beginning of March.

  4. I feel like Wrightslaw misunderstood the original question. It seems to me that the dates of the program spanned the whole year, because that was the class the child was in. When the IEP was reviewed mid-year, do you change the program date to start mid-year, or do you keep it unchanged from the beginning of the year? Technically, the program started at the beginning of the year and that part of the IEP was not changed.

  5. Hi, Does the date for the goals of an IEP have to be the same date of the IEP meeting. For example, the IEP meeting took place 8/16/2021 but the goals date is 5/20/21…

  6. In an IEP amendment, a new goal was added. Does the date of the goal match the original IEP date (start and end) or does it match the amendment date?

  7. What happens if you have an IEP with an end date the day after the annual review PPT? Since an IEP never expires, would it be necessary to request to the parents to waive the implementation date to start the new IEP sooner?

  8. Can an IEP start date, start the next day after the meeting is held, or does it need to be pushed out longer?

    • Typically states make schools wait a certain number of days (5 school days in Texas) to give parents time to consider what they agreed to, unless the parent, & school agree to waive that rule.

  9. An example of my afore mentioned post is the following: I have a student right now who used the virtual platform last school year. His IEP annual date is 10/2/21. We need his services to change now, so we are rectifying the situation by accelerating his annual review date. Instead of doing an amendment or waiting until October to amend his services and accommodations, we’re holding the meeting on Sept 9. We have assessment data that provides evidence for the need, and the student will have almost the entire school year to benefit from increased services.

  10. The date of an IEP should be the date that the IEP services need to take effect, usually the day of the meeting, and the end date should the annual review date. The phrase “services provided during regular school hours” can be inserted. Additionally, there is already language in place to determine the need and services provided for possible extended school year. Personally, I put many accommodations in place for a student’s IEP. In the event that the student requires a significant change in services, that can be made effective with an amendment or initiating a new annual date on an IEP.

  11. HI! For a senior graduating with a regular diploma, when is the end date? in my previous districts, it was always the date of graduation. But in my new district they want the IEP for a year. How can I say he has met his goals and objectives that are written for a whole year when he is graduating???

  12. Hello,
    At my last school district, our effective dates were from when the IEP expired to the following year. However, my new school district told me to make the effective date the day of the meeting.

    With this said, who is correct in this situation?

  13. I have several students whose IEPs runs through May 2021. It is a triennial year for all these students so testing needs to be done. The school psychologist decided to move all the review to March 2021 for no reason other than to lighten his load in May and June. Is this legal? All services and goals run through May 2021.

    • Yes. As long as the triennial is done anytime during the 3 year period it is fine. It’s actually a good idea to look at the caseload so that there is time to devote to each child and not rush things.

  14. I have a question about high school IEP’s regarding a student’s graduation pathway, because there are 3 possible options (standard diploma, modified/career, and/or ability). In order to be eligible for modified-career path, students must have deficits in both cognitive abilities and adaptive behavior and be enrolled in career readiness classes. If a student has very low academic performance (standard scores 50s/60s) and there is a need for a comprehensive evaluation to assess adaptive behavior, should a Transition/Annual IEP be done for the next school year (9th Grade), when it is unknown what graduation path is correct? Is it best practice to state courses on the IEP for standard pathway in Transition IEP for next year or for current 8th grade year only?

  15. Is this the same general rule as for IEP re-evals? For example a child is re-evaluated and their re-eval meeting takes place on 9/26 but it clearly states in the actions discussed were to be initiated 10/3. I had an attorney who filed due process against the re-eval based on 9/28 but the school district’s response was no the 9/26 was 2 year date. the OAH judge sided with the school district

  16. If the end date of an IEP is the last day of instruction , example 5.22.19. What happens if snow days are added. Should the IEP state “the last day of instruction for the 2018-19 school year” or should the date that is on the school calendar be stated?

    • Logically the IEP should continue to the end of the school year in this case, unless another IEP has been developed. But your state may have rules on this.

  17. We had met on an IEP prior to the 3 year eval, the district provided an IEP at the beginning of January. We partially rejected since no services were on the IEP. The district needed the evaluations done and we elected to have our own evaluation as well. We did not agree with anything and waited for our independent evaluation to be complete. After 5 and half months after our initial meeting we met and agreed upon an IEP. This was right before the summer. On the following school year the distict called to meet in December. The IEP they made had the dates of the first meeting that was prior to the 3 year eval to the following Jan. The IEP dates have 01/05-01/06, but the 5/17 as the next annual review. How can we have this corrected, we believe the IEP should be going to May not Jan

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