Preparing for an IEP Meeting

Instructor: Jocelyn Cherry

Jocelyn has taught Special Education for over two decades and has three post secondary degrees all in the field of Education.

Preparing for a student's Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) meeting is a vital step in the IEP process. This lesson will show you steps to have a successful IEP meeting.

Purpose of an IEP Meeting

The Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a legally binding plan written for students with disabilities. The IEP details exactly what special educational services the student will receive and to what degree. The needs of students with disabilities vary, as will each student's IEP.

Stated on the IEP is the student's identified classification(s), academic goals, accommodations, modifications, and therapies. It also includes information about assistive technology, educational placement, percentage of time with non-disabled peers, and explanation of progress monitoring. The IEP is reviewed annually or revised whenever necessary at an IEP meeting.

IEP Meeting Participants

IEPs are created and completed with the collaboration of an IEP team. IEP team members must include the following individuals:

  • The parents or legal guardians of a student with a disability
  • The student's classroom teacher
  • A special education teacher, or special education provider, such as the student's speech language pathologist
  • The LEA (local education agency) representative, who is privy to the services a school has and can ensure the fidelity of special education services (such as the vice principal)
  • An individual who can interpret any evaluation results, who may also be the LEA representative
  • The student, if appropriate

Others individuals who have knowledge of the student may be invited and attend at the discretion of the parents/guardians or the school.

Pre-Meeting Work

An IEP meeting is a collaborative effort with all invitees adding input and expertise. Be prepared and familiar with the information you expect to contribute during the meeting. Share with the team pertinent student information, such as the student's strengths, academic and behavioral progress, and suggestions for future student growth. Bring work samples, anecdotal notes, student notebooks, anything that could help the team visualize your interaction and involvement with the student.

Proper Notice

Because the IEP meeting is a collaborative process, ensuring the attendance of IEP team members is paramount. Best practice is to give the parents at least a 10-day written notice of the IEP meeting. Afford the same notice to other IEP team invitees. It may be helpful to contact invitees in advance and solicit dates and times that will work for all. Have a contact person's information listed on the notice if the parent has questions or a need to reschedule.

IEP Draft

A draft IEP can be created prior to the IEP meeting. Send home the draft IEP to the IEP team members so you can respond to their comments or questions prior to the meeting. If everyone is in agreement, the sections in the draft that meet approval can be reviewed, while the majority of time is spent on more pressing issues. Stress the importance of it being a draft and not the actual IEP.

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