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Gwinnett County Public Schools

Understanding the IEP Process

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

  • Federal law enacted to ensure all students with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for employment and independent living. 
  • To ensure the rights of students with disabilities and their parents are protected.
  • Assist states, localities, educational service agencies, and federal agencies in providing for the education of students with disabilities.
  • To assess and ensure the effectiveness of efforts to educate students with disabilities. 

Evaluation and Eligibility

  • Evaluations can be requested by you, the parent(s), teachers, or other school personnel. 
  • Written parental consent is requested to evaluate the student. 
  • Once parental consent is obtained and received by the school, the school has 60 days to complete the initial evaluation and hold an eligibility meeting to discuss the evaluation results. 
  • If parental consent is not obtained, evaluations cannot be conducted, and the school will issue Prior Written Notice (PWN).  
  • Based on the data presented at the eligibility meeting, the team will determine if the student is eligible for special education services and under which categories the child meets eligibility criteria.

Eligibility Categories

  • Autism
  • Deafblind
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH)
  • Emotional and Behavioral Disorder
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Significant Developmental Delay
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Speech Language Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment and Blindness

GCPS adheres to the Special Education eligibility guidelines as presented by the Georgia Department of Education:

IEPs & Re-Evaluations

  • If eligible, the team will meet within 30 calendar days to develop the initial IEP for the student.  By law, IEPs must be reviewed annually, but IEP meetings can be requested as needed during the year.
  • Once the student is determined eligible for special education services and the IEP is developed and offered, parental consent for services will be obtained.
    • If the parent(s) choose not to provide consent for services following the initial IEP meeting, the student will not receive special education services.
  • Re-evaluations are conducted every 3 years and new data/information is reviewed to reassess the student’s eligibility.
    • New data/information can result in a student being determined ineligible for special education services or eligible in additional areas.
  • You, the parent(s), also have the right to revoke consent for special education services.

Components of an IEP