Approval of Educational Environments for Children with Disabilities

Information regarding the processes for the following: Educational Environment Approval, Approval of Out-of State Special Education Programs and Individual Program Approval (IPA).

Educational Environment Approval

The process for requesting the approval of a new educational environment for children with disabilities begins with a conversation with the requesting LEA, public academy or JMA and the New Hampshire Department of Education (NHED), Bureau of Student Support (Bureau) Educational Environment Approval Team (Team) to determine the appropriateness of the program and readiness for implementation. The process from development to implementation may last from three to six months. Requesting entities are encouraged to contact the Bureau when first considering the development of a new program. If determined feasible, the Bureau will send out an application packet and provide technical assistance as needed with completion of the application and supporting documents.

If initial approval is granted by the Team, the LEA, public academy or JMA  will receive written notice of initial approval for one year, and the new special educational environment will be entered into the NH Special Education Information System (NHSEIS). At that time students may be placed within the newly created educational environment.

Within one year of the approval, an on-site monitoring visit will be conducted by Bureau representatives to determine if the educational environment still meets the criteria for continued approval. The LEA, public academy or JMA will receive written notification if the new educational environment is granted continued approval and an updated Approved Educational Environment letter. 

All Approved Educational Environments are subject to monitoring as part of the Program Approval and General Supervision Process (PAGS) within a six year cycle starting in January of 2024. 

Creating a New Educational Environment Process

Making Changes to an Existing Educational Environment

When considering a change in a currently approved educational environment such as the name of the educational environment, primary disability areas, location, and/or grade/age spans, please contact the bureau indicating the corresponding changes. The requesting entity will then receive a Educational Environment Change Application from the Team. Upon completion and submission, the Team will provide written correspondence to the requesting entity once the changes are approved and made effective in NHSEIS and an updated Approved Educational Environment Letter will be sent. 

Making Changes to an Existing Educational Environment Process

Please note that LEAs, public academies and JMAs must notify the NH ED about any new educational environments or substantive changes that may impact their approval status. Any deficiencies related to fire, safety and/or health reason, which could lead to revocation of the state health and fire licensure, must be promptly reported to the NH ED. 

Waivers of Age or Program Capacity for Placements in Approved In-State Programs

If you are in need of a waiver for age or capacity in an approved in-state program, please use the forms below. If you have questions regarding the use or appropriateness of these forms, please contact GaetanMarie Fitzgerald-Lacourse.

Other Resources

Out-of-State Program Request Form

Submit this completed LEA Program Request form with a copy of the host state's certificate of special education approval for the school, class, or program.

Individual Program Approval (IPA)

Per Ed 1126.05 Placements in In-State Programs Not Currently Approved to Provide Special Education and Related Services an Individual Program Approval (IPA) is an option for a school district in order to place a student with an educational disability in a program not approved to provide special education and related services. This option is available when no approved program which would be appropriate can be found.

A Request for an IPA is made by the school district to the New Hampshire Bureau of Special Education Support (BSES). An IPA request may be made for a placement of up to one year/365 days in duration. An IPA is available solely for in-state programs. IPAs are not an option for out-of-state programs.

An IPA must be requested by the school district and approved by the BSES before the student may attend the program.

The requirements for requesting an IPA and the IPA Request form are available below. Once an IPA Request has been approved by the Bureau, the student may attend the program. Data entry of the IPA placement into NHSEIS is done by the Bureau, not by the school district.

IPA Request Form

For all new educational environments, changes to educational environments, out of state requests and individual programa requests, please contact the Bureau to schedule a conversation with the Team or to request your Approved Educational Environment(s) Letter:

Contact GaetanMarie Fitzgerald-Lacourse at (603) 271-1577 or to set up a teleconference with the Bureau.

Educational Environments Approval Letters by District