The IEP teacher is a centrally funded learning specialist. The position was originally created in 2003 as part of a settlement of grievances concerning the elimination of the education evaluator position. Prior to the start of the 2016-17 school year, the DOE and the UFT collaborated to update the position. The goal was to give greater emphasis to the IEP teacher’s role in supporting schools with high rates of referrals for special education services and high numbers of students with individualized education programs (IEPs) by providing interventions for struggling readers. As stated by Deputy Chancellor Corinne Rello-Anselmi in a message to the field, “In a system where one in five students has an IEP and only nine percent of students with disabilities in grades 3 through 8 are proficient in reading, it is imperative that we work together to ensure that all students are receiving the instruction and intervention that they need in order to become proficient readers and achieve.”
Duties and responsibilities
As described in the most recent posting, the IEP teacher fulfills the role of the special education teacher at initial IEP team meetings for newly identified students with disabilities. The IEP teacher also provides coverage for the special education teachers of students already receiving special education services to while they participate in IEP team meetings (annual reviews, three-year reviews and requested reviews) for their students. A minimum of five periods per week are devoted to these activities.
IEP teachers also
- Attend centrally approved professional development on evidence based reading instruction and interventions;
- Provide specially designed instruction to students with disabilities up to (no more than) five (5) periods a week;
- Provide individual and/or small group reading instruction, interventions and progress monitoring for special education students and at risk general education students for at least seven (7) periods per week;
- Prepare and deliver professional development workshops and provide coaching support to teachers and paraprofessionals to building capacity for delivery of evidence based instruction and interventions in reading.
Schools with IEP teachers
The IEP teacher allocation funds 960 IEP teachers. Schools are selected based on a review of the number and percent of students with IEPs enrolled in each school. The allocation is subject to change every three years. It was reviewed and updated for FY 2017-18. Additional information about the allocation, including a list of schools with IEP teacher positions, can be found in the school allocation memorandum (SAM). The IEP teacher allocation is over and above other special education teacher allocations and without regard to special education teacher vacancies.
The DOE issued a guidance document addressing a number of issues related to the IEP teacher position. Included in this document is information regarding the purpose of the IEP teacher position, roles and responsibilities of the IEP teacher, identification of IEP teachers in the school budget, IEP teacher rating, filling other roles in addition to the IEP teacher, involvement in IEP meetings, postings/seniority, training and professional development and additional assistance and resources. Examples of IEP teacher schedules are also provided.