Advocacy Night: What are IEPs?
DRYDEN MILLS, SENIOR ASSOCIATE FOR STRATEGIC INITIATIVES & PARTNERSHIPS AT JPEF, LED THE FIRST OF OUR QUARTERLY ADVOCACY NIGHTS TO EDUCATE AND ACTIVATE COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO TAKE ACTION ON ISSUES CENTRAL TO OUR WORK
The Jacksonville Public Education Fund knows that closing the opportunity gap requires collective action led by community members and organizations who put children first. We are committed to informing the community about key education issues at the local, state, and federal levels through our quarterly Advocacy Nights.
At the December Advocacy Night, we discussed Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) with graduates from JPEF’s Parents Who Lead (PWL) program. PWL takes participants through a 20-week intensive training program where they develop skills to become strong education advocates.
Parent Perspective: IEPs are the roadmap for success
Latrice is a PWL graduate and a proud supporter of public education, students, teachers, and parents. Sheis also the mom of a high school student who has had an IEP since kindergarten after noticing a speech delay.
“If I want to change what is, and make it what it should be, I have to be the primary advocate for my son,” Latrice said. “That is what I decided to do when I realized that my son had some challenges when it came to the way he learned.”
With support from JPEF and the Parents Who Lead program, Latrice began sharing her experiences through the program “Mommy, Me & My IEP,” put on by Parent Academy.
“This process can get emotional, and this process can get hard,” she said. “It’s not just about us; it’s about every kid in Duval County. That’s why I share my experiences, my knowledge, my tears, and my successes.”
In this program, Latrice reaches out to parents like herself and shares her experiences as a parent helping her son navigate the system and ensuring he receives the accommodations, support, and services he needs.
“His IEP is the roadmap for his success,” she said.
What are IEPs?
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, support and services are made available to schools to address students’ individual needs through an Individualized Education Plan.
Who is eligible for an IEP?
Children must meet the criteria of one or more disability categories and need special instruction and/or related services.
Specific Learning Disabilities
Traumatic Brain Injury
Other Health Impairments
What is the process to determine if my child is eligible for an IEP?
Start with requesting an evaluation through the school system to determine if your child qualifies for services. If they qualify, find out what category of disability they fall under. From there, you can determine the educational needs and level of support for your child.
- Step 1. Evaluation
- Step 2. Eligibility is determined
- Step 3. IEP team writes IEP
- Step 4. Parents acknowledge and sign IEP
- Step 5. Services are provided
- Step 6. IEP is monitored and data is collected
- Step 7. Annual IEP review (can be reviewed more often to update IEP as needed)
- Step 8. Evaluation is available every 3 years but it is not required