In the world of special education services during Covid-19, writing IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) and holding IEP meetings for our exceptional students, is one of the most important elements to take place during the student’s SPED program. During this time though, writing IEPs and holding IEP meetings can be challenging. Seeing students grow and thrive is our goal at E-Therapy, and we know how important it is to host a successful IEP meeting. We wanted to share some important tips based on our experiences, for your upcoming IEPs, in order to ensure that you and the IEP team have a positive experience.
Here are three core elements that help to create a productive and beneficial IEP meeting:
BEFORE THE IEP MEETING:
- Be sure to communicate with everyone effectively before the meeting: parents, staff, and related service team members.
- Be clear about the goal of the meeting, where, and when it is to take place.
- Since you will probably be conducting the meeting remotely, make sure everyone understands the technology you are using, and has the right link and/or dial-in phone number.
- Make sure that the meeting notice goes out at least 7 days before the meeting is to take place and that reminders are scheduled.
- Gather materials and documents that are required, in regard to the student’s attendance, progress, and data notes, so that everyone is ready to dive in.
Data Gathering is Key! The better the data, the better the meeting, and the better the result for the student! As time allows, be sure to gather and provide all documents available to you from the student’s IEP support team, to help reinforce and guide annual goals moving forward. Some ideas of content to gather include:
- Most recent teacher and instructor progress reports, testing results, and parent feedback.
- Academic achievement data/report cards, etc.
- Clinical data input from all therapists that support the student- if your therapist is part of our E-Therapy team, then this is easily accessed via the E-Therapy STAR platform which houses detailed notes and student reports. If your student’s data is not easily accessed, be sure to put the information into concise and clear notes so that they are easily understood.
DURING THE IEP MEETING:
During the meeting, introduce all team members and designate a team member to take notes. It is of the utmost importance to communicate clearly and ensure that the parents of the student and the IEP team members are on the same page regarding student’s goals and progress. Discuss supports and next steps that are needed for continued progress and new annual goals. If these goals, strengths and weaknesses are not discussed and vocalized, they sometimes go unaddressed and potential progress is limited. Ask questions and get feedback from IEP team members regarding the student’s work, achievements and needs.
And finally, it is necessary to write a detailed PWN (Prior Written Notice) that outlines what took place during the IEP meeting and what the school’s actions will be for the annual IEP year. It helps to keep everyone accountable, which means the meeting will produce measurable and positive results.
IEP MEETING COMMUNICATION:
As with just about everything, face-to-face or remotely, the theme regarding these important tips is communication. Be sure to communicate before the meeting, during the meeting and at the end effectively. Afterward, to ensure synergy, as well as a holistic annual IEP strategy, along with team cooperation and collaboration, provide required documentation regarding the new annual IEP and what it will look like for the student. Make sure all services, goals, and frequency of service are indicated and written correctly. This allows for student success for their upcoming school year. After all, that is why we do what we do, isn’t it, to make sure every student gets the chance they deserve in order to thrive and succeed in school and in their day to day life!