Special Education

Interagency Coordinated Individualized Education Program (IEP) Pilot Project

“The strengths portion has been welcomed by all and the students are thrilled to hear positive things about themselves; I had one student tear up when she heard all the lovely things about herself.” – Educator, year one pilot

Interagency Coordinated IEP is a pilot project designed to improve student outcomes by using the IEP process to improve interagency coordination, and uses core concepts of person-centered practices.

During the 2015-2018 school years, approximately 40 high school students (and families) with IEPs that have the involvement of other agencies are being supported through this interagency, facilitated, person-centered IEP planning process. The process includes pre-meeting preparation, during-meeting facilitation and post-meeting follow-up. The aim is to ensure that:

  • All team members take part in planning and delivering services.
  • All agency plans for the student are jointly developed.
  • Plan goals reflect the student’s interests and future goals.
  • Ongoing communication occurs so that the student gets the right services at the right time.

Students, families, school staff and agency professionals provided feedback on how the process went in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the model.

Where did it happen?

Mankato Area Public Schools collaborated with Blue Earth Social Services and the Regional Vocational Rehabilitation Services counselors, as well as any local healthcare providers that may have been involved with the participating students. Mankato focused on one area high school.

School District 197, in the West St. Paul - Mendota Heights - Eagan area, collaborated with Dakota County Social Services and their regional vocational rehabilitation services counselors. They focused on one high school and their transition program.

What did we do?

A state interagency team, using implementation science principles laid the groundwork and identified evidence-informed practices for this project (“Exploration” stage).

We have completed the pilot project. This stage has been about “Installation” and “Initial Implementation.”

Year one evaluation is currently being reviewed. We are specifically reviewing fidelity of practice implementation (“quality of effort”) and satisfaction of affected families (“Is anyone better off?”).

  • Explore four areas – home; meaningful and productive day; community; and professional supports – and describe what should be present in each area.
  • Consider what is important to a person in context with what is important for them.
  • Increase the creativity of teams to capture what a person wants in life through graphic recording.
  • Identify support needs and associated costs to deliver services.
  • Organize information into a document that is useful in helping people design, evaluate, and select services.
  • Help officials assess community capacity against documented need.

The state interagency team is reviewing and modifying materials based on the pilot. We will then retest in other areas and use those results to plan and then scale-up interagency coordination in other districts and coops across the state.

How much and how well?

So far, 38 students from the two pilot sites have had an IEP using this process.

43 people from both districts were trained at the beginning of the year. They are team members who provide support to the 16-20 students identified for participation in the pilot.

The local leadership team members and the state interagency team provided coaching throughout the year.

Results (so far)

Results are preliminary and ongoing.

Fidelity documentation was evaluated. Elements of the fidelity data collected:

  • Family and Student Input forms are given to families and students to complete prior to IEP meeting.
  • Interagency partners are invited to the IEP meeting at least one month prior to IEP.
  • Facilitate the collaborative agenda during the IEP meeting.
  • Assure that IEP is strength-based and goals reflect both the student’s wants and needs (based on student input).
  • Create coordinated plan summary document.
  • Continue communicating across agencies at least twice post-IEP.

A survey was given to all team members and was completed right after the IEP to measure satisfaction about things like levels of participation, roles and process. Those survey data are still being finalized and reviewed. Initial results suggest that most people were very excited about the responses from the students. (See next section for some quotes.)

An end of the year evaluation survey was also completed. An initial review suggests that, while the fidelity documentation is an added task, the overall process (e.g., starting with student strengths, participation and coordination with team members from other agencies, using a specific agenda) were all valued. Communicating assessment or evaluation results prior to the meeting was more difficult. In general, participants were supportive of person-centered planning and interagency coordination and less supportive of the fidelity work and some of the process changes.

More in-depth analysis of this evaluation data is coming, as well as a review of student data to answer questions like, “Is this process influencing things such as attendance, dropout, discipline, graduation etc.?”

What do our participants say?

Here is a sampling of what are participants are telling us, with names omitted for confidentiality:

  • “ALL of the staff at West Saint Paul are a valuable asset. They did a wonderful job working together to put all the information together.” - Parent
  • “As a service provider, I felt more engaged in the service delivery process. It felt coordinated. The interagency model enabled me to see the participant as a whole in the context of their community.” - County social worker
  • “The families, and sometimes the students, seem to know more about what supports are there for them now, but more importantly after they leave, the supports the school provides to them” – Educator
  • “Understand how we as a community can wrap around each student based on their individual needs.” – Educator

Where can I learn more?

For more information about the Interagency Coordinated IEP, please contact any of the state interagency team members who are working to design and support this project:

Carrie Jakober (DHS)

Wendy Berghorst (MDH)

Alyssa Klein (DEED)

Sue Benolken (MDE)

This project aligns with the following initiatives:

Interagency Services for Children with Disabilities Act, Minnesota Statutes, sections 125A.023 and 125A.027. The State Interagency Committee described within that law has spearheaded this project.

Person-centered planning is a concept integral to Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan. For more information about the Olmstead Plan, please visit the Minnesota Olmstead Website.

Contact the Person-Centered Practices in Education Leadership Team.

Updated 6/1/18