Special Services » Annual, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Process

Annual, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Process

The Whole Process










ARD: The letters stand for Admission, Review, & Dismissal committee. This is the name of the committee responsible for making the educational decisions for a student. The parents, or adult students, are members of the ARD committee.

IEP: The letters 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.

Scheduling an ARD Meeting

When is an ARD meeting necessary?

An ARD is needed for initial placement or any time the school staff or parents feel a change is needed in a student’s special education program. The IEP must be reviewed at least once a year, but an ARD meeting may be held at other times. For example, an ARD will need to be held to review additional assessment.

When is written notice required for an ARD meeting?

Parents are entitled to receive their written notice at least five school days before the meeting is scheduled to take place.

When may the requirement for written notice be waived?

Sometimes it might be necessary to have an ARD meeting without waiting for the written notice but such situations should not happen very often. This usually happens if there is an emergency but parents can refuse to waive the notice requirement.

Can an ARD meeting be held without the parent?

Parents are strongly encouraged to attend and be involved in their child’s ARD meeting. Great efforts are made to schedule the ARDs during times that are convenient to both the parents and the school. In cases where the parents can not attend, they usually have given permission for the school to proceed without them.

Participants of the ARD Meeting

At a minimum, the committee must include the following:

  • A representative from the local school district administration, someone designated and authorized to commit the district’s resources to implement the IEP. Often, the building principal, assistant principal or counselor serves in this role.
  • 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 students with specific disabilities (for example, a professional certified in education of the deaf, when a student with auditory impairment is being considered), or when other specialized needs (for example, vocational instruction or Limited English Proficiency) will be discussed.

Participants should have some knowledge of the child to be discussed or some other involvement in the decisions being considered.


Assessment Reports Discussed

The special education assessment reports are the basis for making all decisions in the ARD committee meeting. The reports describe the individual student’s educational competencies and needs as well as recommendations. A comprehensive individual assessment must be done at least every three years.

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 understand the information and consider it at the ARD.

IEPs Developed

  1. The student’s IEP must be based on his/her educational needs, not on what everybody else in the class gets.
  2. The IEP must address all of his/her educational needs. This may include academic subjects (i.e., reading, writing, and arithmetic), as well as extracurricular activities, related services (like physical therapy or special transportation), and others. If the student needs special help in order to participate in the regular education classes, those special help needs (often called modifications)must be included in an IEP.
  3. The IEP is a one-year plan and is written to cover one year. The goals in the IEP should set out what the student is expected to be able to do in each area of need at the end of the year.
  4. The IEP must begin by stating how the student is currently doing in each area. This must be based on testing or other assessment information.
  5. The IEP must have measurable goals and objectives. This means that the IEP must set out the steps (objectives) the student must complete to reach the annual goal.
  6. The IEP must set out the amount of time that the student will spend getting each service in special education, including related services. This should be specific information such as "45 minutes twice a week," rather than "as needed." The IEP must state the position of the person who will provide each service, such as the special education teacher or physical therapist.
  7. The IEP must set out a schedule for how and when the school district will measure the student’s progress and how the student’s parents will be regularly informed of progress. Goals and objectives must be reviewed every year, but they can be reviewed more often.

ARD Deliberations/Minutes

The 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 definitely should include:

  • 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
  • Any relevant information or comments about the discussion and whether a decision was made or not

An ARD meeting may be taped 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.

Signing the Forms

The goal of the ARD is to have parents and school personnel feel like equal partners in developing the IEP.

The ARD forms include a signature page where the participants sign that they participated in the meeting. They also indicate whether they agree or disagree with the decisions. 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 in our district receive a copy of the ARD papers.