ASPIRE promotes self-determination and self-advocacy skills to prepare students for educational, career, and independent living decisions that they will need to make in adulthood.  ASPIRE provides training and follow- up activities to enable students to actively participate in the development and implementation of their IEP. This process is referred to as Self-directed IEP and Student-Led IEP.

System Oversight, Infrastructure and Organization: 


This collaborative initiative between the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilites is funded by the State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) awarded to the state from the United States Department of Education, including professional development and technical assistance activities designed to provide school personnel and families with the knowledge and skills needed to implement educational programs and interventions that have proven to be effective in improving outcomes for children and youth with disabilities.  Schools participating in Project ASPIRE receive training and follow-up technical assistance to support the successful implementation of the ASPIRE process.  Resources including training materials and sample lesson plans are also provided.  In addition, ASPIRE staff and consultants collect fidelity of implementation and outcome data to measure the effectiveness of the process and outcomes for students, families, and teachers participating in the process. 

ASPIRE is a student-led IEP initiative designed to develop self-determination skills in the following areas: problem solving; self-evaluation; choice-making; decision-making. By utilizing a student-led IEP model, the IEP meeting becomes a cooperative experience of working together to assist the student.

Program Access & Delivery: 

Program Access & Delivery

During the 2015-2016 school year, 15 Georgia Learning Resources System (GLRS), a network of seventeen regional centers that provide training and resources to educators and parents of students with disabilities, will manage ASPIRE Projects for their districts.  2 GLRS centers are in readiness for implementation for the 2016-17 school year.  284 schools/facilities are participating in the ASPIRE Project.  See breakdown below.

Current Participation:

  • High Schools: 87
  • Middle Schools: 75
  • Elementary Schools: 96
  • GNETS (Georgia Networks for Educational Therapeutic Services): 11
Practitioner Standards & Professional Development: 

Training & Performance

Training:  Evidence-based training is a critical component of Project ASPIRE.  Administrators, teachers, parents, and students participating in the project receive training on the ASPIRE process using materials developed by the Georgia Department of Education.

  • District and school administrators from participating schools and districts attend a training session to receive an overview of the ASPIRE process and expectations.

  • Teachers from participating schools attend a face-to-face training session where they receive information on self-determination and self-advocacy as well as strategies for teaching these critical skills to their students through the student-led IEP process.

  • Parents of students participating in ASPIRE also participate in a session where the importance of self-determination, self-advocacy skills, and participation in the IEP process are discussed. 

  • Students receive instruction in self-determination/self-advocacy skills and how to participate in the IEP process in the context of classroom instructional activities.

Training Videos and PowerPoints: The ASPIRE training videos are a series of modules to provide parents with information about their student’s participation in the ASPIRE program.  They are designed to be used when on-site parent training is not possible or the parent cannot attend the parent training.   Each module focuses on different aspects of ASPIRE that a parent may need to know in order to partner with the school to provide their student with the best experience in the program.

Module One: Introduction to ASPIRE; Module Two: Overview of an IEP (Individual Education Program) and IGP (Individual Graduation Plan); Module Three: Participation in ASPIRE; Module Four: Next Steps

Public Awareness & Outreach Activities: 

Materials & Resources

Resource Sharing:  Project ASPIRE has developed a resource manual for participating schools that includes information on the IEP process, research related to self-determination and self-advocacy, and strategies for teaching these skills to students.  Sample lesson plans are also provided.  Project staff have published several videos that provide schools/districts with alternative methods for training to build capacity.

Evaluation & Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI): 

Analysis & Reporting

Data are collected from parents, students, and teachers via pre-surveys and post-surveys to determine progress on ASPIRE Vital Behaviors.  The vital behaviors cover the five competencies which are the focus of the curriculum (IEP Awareness, IEP Participation, IEP Content, Knowledge of Strengths and Challenges and Communication Skills). 

Additional Information: