A new tool to improve communication and engagement with families and learners in special education is coming later this year. Iowa school districts and partner education agencies will play key roles in preparing for the launch of the new resource, known as the ACHIEVE Family Portal.

As an extension of ACHIEVE, Iowa’s online system for supporting the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the new ACHIEVE Family Portal will provide parents, guardians and eligible learners with round-the-clock access to learner information. Portal users may also have the ability to sign documents, access records and view real-time progress reports on outcomes and goals.

“Iowa will be the first state in the nation to offer this type of access to learners’ special education information,” said Barbara Guy, chief of the Iowa Department of Education’s Bureau of Student and Family Special Education Services. “We are excited for the upcoming launch of the ACHIEVE Family Portal and to provide this new opportunity for families to connect with schools and Area Education Agencies to support their learner’s progress.”

To assist with the implementation and to ensure personally identifiable learner information is protected, school districts and agencies will need to confirm family contacts have met the requirements through IDEA prior to the portal’s launch. Validation of family’s contact information for each learner is critical for the success of the ACHIEVE Family Portal.

Additionally, school districts and agencies are strongly encouraged to designate a point-of-contact for training and communication updates before June 30.

A webinar to assist school districts and agencies on the validation process for family contacts will be scheduled for late July. Appointed district and agency designees will receive webinar registration details in a forthcoming email. A recording of the webinar will also be made available after the event.

Questions regarding the ACHIEVE Family Portal can be directed to Shannon Grundmeier at shannon.grundmeier@iowa.gov.