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Special Education: Process Sequence & Timeline

What is the Special Education Process?

There are 6 steps in the special education process in New Hampshire:

  1. Referral to the school team where a decision is made as to what next steps need to be taken.
  2. Evaluation and assessment to determine the child’s strengths and weaknesses, the type of disability the child may have, and the impact the disability may have on the child’s learning and involvement in curriculum.
  3. Determination of eligibility by a team of people, including the child’s parents and regular education teacher, a special education teacher, and a representative from the school district, that the child meets both criteria: 1) The child has a disability which fits one of the 13 categories; and, 2) The child requires or needs special education because of that disability.
  4. Development and approval of the Individualized Education Program (IEP).
  5. Placement or where the services will be implemented is decided. The child must be educated with non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate.
  6. Ongoing monitoring of the IEP, including quarterly progress report.
  7. Annual review of the IEP, with re-evaluation every 3 years.

Special Education Timeline

The New Hampshire Rules include clear timelines for each step of the process. The timelines are in calendar days, meaning that the timelines count weekends, holidays and school vacations. The Rules state that:

  1. Within 15 calendar days from the receipt of a referral, a disposition meeting must be held with the IEP team
  2. The school district has 45 calendar days from the date a parent signs permission to evaluate to complete the evaluations and provide the parents with a written report of the results
  3. The team has 30 calendar days from the time a child is determined eligible for special education to conduct a meeting to begin writing the initial IEP
  4. Parents are to be given 10 days written notice before a meeting (parents may waive this advance notice when warranted)
  5. Parents have 14 calendar days to review an IEP. Meetings for manifestation determination reviews for disciplinary reasons require only a 5 day written notice
  6. Timelines for parental consent requiring a response within a specified timeframe begin when the district sends the request, not when the parent receives it.