Special Education
ARD Process

A Guide to the Admission, Review, and Dismissal Process is a resource to help parents and families of students who are, or may be, eligible for special education supports and services take a more active part in planning their student’s educational program. This guide, written in English and Spanish explains how an individualized educational program (IEP) is developed, explains parents’ rights and responsibilities in the process, and provides information that will help parents and families fully participate in their student’s ARD meeting.  A copy of this guide has been distributed to each family having a student receiving special education services. A copy is given to parents who have a student referred for special education testing or those who have moved here from out of state.
The Procedural Safeguards document addresses the specific rights and responsibilities of the parent in the special education process under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The document, written in English and Spanish, defines common terms and explains specific rights related to activities and areas that impact a student's educational program and services.
Parents will receive a copy of the Procedural Safeguards at the initial referral for evaluation, upon notification of an ARD meeting, upon reevaluation, and upon receipt of a request for a due process hearing.

The letters ARD stand for Admission, Review and Dismissal meeting. This is the name of the committee responsible for making the educational decisions for a student. The parents, or adult student, are members of the ARD committee.
The letters IEP stand for Individual Education Plan. This is the plan written by the ARD Committee and describes the services that a student will receive from special education.
An ARD is needed for initial placement or any time the school staff or parents feel a change is needed in a student'sspecial education program. The IEP must be reviewed once a year, but an ARD meeting may be held at other times.
Parents are entitled to receive a written notice of a meeting at least five school days before the meeting is scheduled to take place. However, sometimes it might be necessary to have an ARD meeting without waiting for the written notice. When this happens, the requirement for the written notice five school days prior to the meeting may be waived by the parent. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend and be involved in their child’s ARD meeting. Efforts are made to schedule the ARDs during times that are convenient to both the parents and the school. In cases where the parents cannot attend, they may give permission for the school to proceed without them.

At a minimum, the committee must include the following members:
  • A representative from the local school district administration
  • A teacher from general instruction
  • A teacher from special education
  • The student's parents, guardian, or designated representative
  • The student, when appropriate
  • A representative of the special education assessment team

Other specific types of professionals for student with specific disabilities or other specialized needs
Participants should have some knowledge of the child to be discussed or some other involvement in the decisions being considered.
During the ARD meeting, the assessment reports are the basis for making decisions. The reports describe the individual student's educational competencies and needs as well as recommendations. If the parents have testing from other professionals, it is a good practice to share the information with school personnel prior to an ARD in order for them to have time to review the report and consider it at the ARD.
The student's IEP must be based on his/her educational needs. If the student needs special help in order to participate in the general education classes, those special help needs, often called accommodations and/or modifications, are to be included in the IEP. The IEP is a one-year plan and the goals should set out what the student is expected to be able to do in each area of need at the end of one year. The goals and objectives are measurable and specify the amount of time the student will spend getting each service in special education, including related services. The IEP must note a schedule for how and when the school district will measure the student's progress and how the parents will be regularly informed of progress. Goals and objectives must be reviewed every year, but they can be reviewed more often.
ARD minutes are not a transcript or word-for-word account; they are a summary of the issues and questions raised and discussed during the meeting. These notes should include any requests for services or other changes in the IEP which the parents bring to the discussion, any proposals or offers of services or other changes to the IEP proposed by the school, any statement of denial or refusal by the school or parents, and any relevant information or comments about the discussion and final decisions made.
An audio recording may be made of the ARD meeting by the school district, the parents, or the student as long as the participants in the meeting are informed that a tape is being made. An ARD report should be an objective and full account of the business conducted in the meeting.
The goal of the ARD is to have parents and school personnel feel like equal partners in the developing the IEP. The forms include a signature page where the participants sign that they have participated in the meeting. The participants also indicate whether they agree or disagree with the decisions of the ARD meeting. When the parents disagree with the IEP, they will be offered the chance for a recess of the meeting for not more than 10 days, during which all members will have the opportunity to get additional information they might need in order to reach an agreement. Before the ARD ends, members should agree on a time to reconvene. Parents will receive a copy of the ARD documents.