IEP Meeting Procedures

Instructor: Shannon Orr
In this lesson, you'll learn what occurs prior to and during an IEP meeting. You'll also leave the lesson with an understanding of the IEP as a document and who makes up the IEP team.

What is an IEP?

An IEP stands for an Individualized Education Program, a document that is designed for students with academic challenges. These challenges may be physical, mental, emotional, or a combination of any and all of them. An IEP contains a description of the student, his/her strengths and weaknesses, test results, goals, and accommodations. An IEP also contains notes and comments that are made and discussed prior to and during an IEP meeting. An IEP meeting occurs annually, or once a school year, and it is usually held around the same time every year.

Preparing for an IEP Meeting

Prior to the time for an IEP to be re-evaluated, the special education teacher will contact the parent(s), either by phone or through a written invitation, stating when he or she would like to have the meeting. A parent(s) has the option of requesting another date for the meeting, agreeing to attend, or agreeing that the meeting can go forth without him or her being in attendance. The parent(s) can also send a representative if he or she is unable to attend, or bring a representative to the meeting.

Once the meeting is scheduled, the special education teacher will also invite the student's general education teacher, a special education representative from the school or district, and a school counselor or administrator. The student with the IEP may also attend the meeting. This group of people makes up the IEP team.

It is important for the special education teacher to provide a draft of the revised IEP so that the IEP team has a structured outline to follow. The special education teacher should also bring a copy of the procedural safeguards, or student/parent rights and responsibilities for the family.

IEP Meeting Procedures

The day of the meeting, invited representatives gather together in a private area; the meeting is usually conducted by the special education teacher. The teacher may ask for someone to take notes so they can be added to the IEP and facilitate the introductions. The teacher begins the meeting by discussing specifics about the student. It is important that everyone who is part of the IEP team feels that his or her role is vital to the success of the child. Language used should be clear and easy to understand and provide opportunities for questions and comments throughout the meeting.

Another critical part of the meeting is discussing goals that are to be set for the student. Goals should be determined based on data so that areas where the student needs to improve are highlighted, instead of focusing on areas where the student has already reached mastery. Setting goals based on data allows teachers, parents, and the student to gauge how well the student is performing and determine what areas are still difficult. Each goal is discussed and either accepted or modified based on what the team feels will help the student be more academically successful.

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