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Serving Students with Disabilities in an Independent Study (IS) Setting

Independent Study (IS) programs provide a unique and flexible educational option that may benefit a cross section of learners that may not “fit” into the traditional education model. The IS program also generates unique special education programmatic and compliance issues that impair student outcomes and may result in legal proceedings. Special education requirements such as least restrictive environment (LRE), educational benefit, the development of a reasonably calculated IEP, specialized academic instruction (SAI), and free and appropriate public education (FAPE) are addressed this increasingly popular educational option.


  • Identify characteristics of independent study programs.
  • Review considerations when a student with an IEP is placed on independent study.
  • Understand the importance of effective and frequent communication and collaboration with parents, teachers, and students to support independent study placements.
  • Identify service delivery models, curricular/instruction adaptations, and overcoming potential barriers when serving students with IEPs in an IS setting.

Local Control Accountability Plan Alignments:

Basic Access: Providing all students’ access to fully credentialed teachers, instructional materials that align with state standards, and safe facilities,

Parent Involvement: Encouraging parent involvement and participation, so the local community is engaged in the decision-making process and the educational programs of students.,

Student Achievement: Improving student achievement and outcomes along multiple measures, including test scores, English proficiency, and college and career preparedness.,

Student Engagement: Supporting student engagement, including whether students attend school or are chronically absent.,

School Climate: Highlighting school climate and connectedness through a variety of factors, such as suspension and expulsion rates and other locally identified means.,

Course Access: Ensuring all students have access to classes that prepare them for college & careers, regardless of what school they attend or where they live.,

Other Student Outcomes: Measuring other important student outcomes related to required areas of study, including physical education and the arts.

Statewide Performance Plan Indicator Alignments:

Indicator 1: Graduation 4 Year Rate,

Indicator 2: Dropout 4 Year Rate,

Indicator 5: Least Restrictive Environments,

Indicator 8: Parent Involvement

Any of our Regional Trainings can be given at your school site. These Site-Based Trainings are best suited for larger groups, and locations where a version of this training is not already scheduled.

Site-Based Trainings generally require a minimum of 10 participants at your school site. Should you wish to have a Site-Based Training, but do not have enough participants, the SELPA may be able to pair your LEA’s needs with other local SELPA Partners in order to offer the training at your site.

Contact your SELPA Program Specialist to discuss your professional learning needs, and to schedule any site-based trainings.

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