MCSD announces plans to align with IEP/graduation rules

School Board
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     The Monticello Community School District plans to change its policy regarding  Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for graduation in response to a new Iowa Department of Education requirement.

     The department amended Iowa special education rules to conform with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

     Monticello High School Principal Joan Young rolled out the new plan during a Dec. 21 meeting of the Monticello School Board. It needed to be introduced so that it can be included in the registration handbook that is scheduled to be approved by the board in January.

     Beginning with the Class of 2022 (this year’s juniors), a regular high school diploma must be fully aligned to state-required standards, and it is no longer permissible to award a regular high school diploma based on IEP goal attainment solely.

     This year’s seniors have been grandfathered past these changes, so they will not have to adhere to them.

     The requirements, set forth in the Iowa Code, includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies and three years of science, otherwise known as the 4-3-3-3 plan.

     When the requirements were announced in September 2019, Young began work on it with then-curriculum director Gretchen Kriegel, along with behavior and special education coach Shannon Guyer. Robyn Ponder, who succeeded Kriegel, also worked extensively on the plan.

     They came up with three pathways for graduation: a standard diploma, a standard diploma with individual pathways, and an IEP pathway that results in not a diploma, but a certificate of completion/attendance.

     “This isn’t something that we dreamed up. This is something that the state has required,” Superintendent Brian Jaeger said at the Dec. 21 meeting. “I think Joan, Gretchen, Robyn and Shannon have done a nice job of trying to break this down into an easy-to-understand, manageable way to help every tier of students that we have, to help them all find success.”


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