021-12 IEP: Annual Review Date
Is there a “common meaning” for the word “annual” when used in the context of when IEPs must be reviewed? For example, two school divisions hold annual review IEP meetings on January 17, 2012.
- One team writes the IEP annual review date as January 17, 2013.
- The other team writes the IEP annual review date as January 18, 2013.
Which LEA is correct?
Virginia Regulations, at 8 VAC 20-81-110 B.5, mandate that the school division must ensure that the IEP team reviews the student’s IEP "…periodically, but not less than annually." This provision is consistent with the federal regulations governing special education that expect IEPs to not be static documents, but rather, be responsive to each child’s current educational needs. (34 CFR § 300.324(b)). The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) does not address the meaning of the term “annual” in its analysis to the federal regulations and to date, has not provided guidance on this issue. Therefore, VDOE applies the “plain meaning” to the word; i.e. "annual" means 365 days from the date of the last annual IEP meeting (or initial IEP meeting if the IEP is the first for the child with a disability.) In the example given above, both teams convened on January 17, 2012. The IEP team would then meet on or before January 17, 2013 for its annual review.
Keep in mind that the annual review date for the IEP meeting may differ from the actual "service dates." For instance, if a student’s annual IEP meeting takes place on August 15, 2011, and the school year begins on September 6, 2011 and ends on June 10, 2012, the service dates may be from 9-6-11 through 6-10-12; the annual review date is no later than 8-15-12.
If the IEP team meets to develop an addendum to the child’s IEP, does the team’s meeting date to develop the addendum become the new "annual review date?"
During an annual review, all IEP components are reviewed, discussed, and determinations made accordingly. Thereafter during the school year, changes may be required in the child’s IEP. Addenda are for the purposes of changing some provision(s) in the child’s IEP. Meetings for any purpose other than the annual review (e.g., developing an addenda or conducting MDR) do not extend the annual review date. Meeting for the purpose of annual review, prior to the expiration of the annual review date, creates a new annual review date.