Regular Education Teachers as IEP Team Members -- Topic Brief
Archived Information

March 1999

Regular Education Teacher on IEP Team Is Required by IDEA '97.
The final Part B regulations incorporate the requirements of IDEA '97 regarding regular education teachers in the IEP process, including specifying that --

  1. The IEP team for each child with a disability must include at least one regular education teacher of the child (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment) (see §300.344(a)(2)); and
  2. The teacher must, to the extent appropriate, participate in the development, review, and revision of the child's IEP, including –
    1. the determination of appropriate positive behavioral interventions and strategies for the child, and
    2. the determination of supplementary aids and services, program modifications, and supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child consistent with the IEP content requirements in §300.347(a)(3). (See §300.346(e))

Other School Staff May Not Be Substituted for the Reg. Ed. Teacher.
Some commenters on the NPRM suggested that other school staff (e.g. a special education teacher or a counselor) be substituted for the regular education teacher at IEP meetings. Adopting that suggestion would be inconsistent with the Act, and would undermine the new focus of IDEA '97 -- on improving results for children with disabilities through participation in the regular education environment and in the general curriculum. Thus, the regular education teacher who serves on the IEP team should be the teacher who is, or may be, responsible for implementing a portion of the IEP, so that the teacher can participate in discussions about how best to teach the child. (See Q-26 in Appendix A -- the Notice of Interpretation on IEPs.)

Extent To Which Reg. Ed. Teacher Must Be Physically Present at IEP Meeting.
While at least one regular education teacher of a child with a disability must be a member of the IEP team (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment), the LEA need not require the teacher to -- (1) participate in all decisions made as part of the meeting, or (2) be present at all meetings or throughout an entire meeting, as described below:

  1. THE TEACHER WOULD PARTICIPATE IN DISCUSSIONS ABOUT the child's involvement and progress in the general curriculum and participation in the regular education environment (as well as discussions about the supplementary aids and supports for teachers and other school staff that are necessary to ensure the child's progress in that environment).
  2. THE TEACHER NEED NOT PARTICIPATE IN DISCUSSIONS about certain other matters in the IEP meeting (e.g., the physical therapy needs of the child -- if the teacher is not responsible for implementing that portion of the child's IEP).
  3. WHETHER THE TEACHER MUST BE PHYSICALLY PRESENT AT EACH MEETING, and the extent to which the teacher must participate in all phases of the IEP process are matters that must -- (1) be determined on a case by case basis by the public agency, the parents, and the other members of the IEP team, and (2) be based on a variety of factors. (See analysis of comments on §300.344(a)(2) in Attachment 1, and Q-24 of Appendix A.)

Children With Disabilities Who Have More Than One Reg. Ed. Teacher.
The substance of the note following §300.344 in the NPRM (related to the participation of regular education teachers on the IEP team) has been incorporated into the Notice of Interpretation on IEPs (Appendix A) and in the "Analysis of Comments..." (Attachment 1 to the final regulations), as follows:

    If a child with a disability has more than one regular education teacher, only one of the teachers is required to be on the IEP team. However, if the participation of more than one of the teachers would be beneficial to the child's success in school (e.g., in terms of enhancing the child's participation in the general curriculum), it may be appropriate under the Act and regulations for them to be members of the team and participate.
    If a child has more than one regular education teacher, the LEA may designate which teacher or teachers will be on the IEP team.
    In a situation in which all of the child's regular education teachers are not members of the IEP team, the LEA is strongly encouraged to seek input from the teachers who will not be attending. (See Q-26 of Appendix A.)

Child's Teachers Must Have Access to IEP and Be Informed of their Responsibilities.
A new §300.342(b)(2) (entitled "Implementation of IEPs") has been added to the regulations to specify that each public agency must ensure that --

  1. THE IEP OF EACH CHILD WITH A DISABILITY IS ACCESSIBLE to each regular education teacher (as well as each special education teacher, related service provider, and other service provider) who is responsible for implementing the IEP; and
  2. EACH TEACHER AND PROVIDER IS INFORMED OF -- (A) his or her specific responsibilities related to implementing the IEP, and (B) the specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided to the child in accordance with the IEP.

Mechanism for Informing Staff at Discretion of Agency.
The above requirement is necessary to ensure proper implementation of the child's IEP and the provision of FAPE to the child. However, the mechanism that the public agency uses to inform each teacher or provider of his or her responsibilities is left to the discretion of the agency.

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* On October 22, 1997, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was published in the Federal Register to amend the regulations under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The purposes of the NPRM were to implement changes made by the IDEA Amendments of 1997, and make other changes that facilitate the implementation of Part B. The changes made since the NPRM are based mainly on public comments received.

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Last Modified: 07/19/2007