Preschool Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) - ESC-20

Preschool Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
District Program Analysis
The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA ’97/2004) gives every child with disabilities,
including preschool children with disabilities, the right to a free and appropriate public education
(FAPE). State and local education agencies are to provide this education in the Least Restrictive
Environment (LRE). The LRE provision of IDEA ’97 according to Code of Federal Regulations
(CFR) §300.550 states that each local education agency (LEA) shall ensure to the maximum extent
appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other
care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled. These requirements apply to all
preschool children with disabilities ages three through five who are entitled to receive FAPE.
The assumption of the law is that consideration for placement of services for each child with
disabilities will begin in the general education classroom. According to 34 CFR §300.551, each
LEA must ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of
children with disabilities for special education and related services. In addition, 34 CFR
§300.347(b) requires the ARD committee to determine and provide the accommodations,
modifications, supports, and supplementary aids and services needed by each child with a disability
to be successfully involved and progress in the general education curriculum while achieving the
goals of the IEP.
This program analysis document was designed to assist districts in assessing the quality of
educational programming for preschool children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment.
District and education service center staff is encouraged to collaboratively engage in the program
and analysis process. The goals for this effort are to increase the number of preschool students
served in least restrictive settings, to assist districts in assessing their current preschool practices for
children with disabilities, and to improve the quality of services and collaboration with other service
providers, i.e., child care centers, Head Start, parents, etc.
The process for district preschool LRE program analysis includes the following steps:
 Collect Data – Potential data sources, including reports and other quantitative sources, have
been included. Data sources may also include interviews, observations, and other methods of
collecting anecdotal information. Information collected becomes data for the purpose of data
analysis. (Forms 2,3,4)
 Analyze Data – The results of data analysis are used to determine the district’s status for
each of the probing questions on the Preschool LRE Self-Analysis document. Analysis
results are documented in the “Analysis Results” section. (Forms 5, 6, 7 & 8)
 Determine Potential Solutions – During this step, districts engage in problem solving to
address areas of need and identify potential solutions to move toward quality. Potential
solutions are documented in the “Potential Solutions” section. (Forms 5 & 6)
 Develop an Action Plan – This step involves incorporating the previous needs assessment
steps and developing an action plan that addresses continuous improvement in the areas of
expanding the continuum of alternative placements and increasing access to the general
education curriculum for three through five year-old students with disabilities. The district
and education service center staff involved in this process will determine options for support
and the resources needed to achieve the desired outcomes. (Form 1)
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