This is the third and final post about IEP work. In the first post, we talked about things we take care of before the meeting. The second post covered handling the actual meeting. This post will cover what we do now that the meeting’s happened.
Wrapping It Up
If the team’s reached consensus, its time to close out the document. Take any notes that you or anyone else on your team has created for the meeting. In the document, adjust wording, remove any text and reread the document one last time to ensure that you have not left anything out. When you are satisfied with the document, pass it up the line. There is usually someone who puts a final stamp of approval before it goes out. Make sure they know you are done.
That Tough 10%
For about 80% of your IEPs, you will meet once a year and parents will be happy with services as you outline them. There will not be many questions or concerns. For another 10%, you may have to meet more than once because they’ve transferred into the district and their annual is in the spring. Or maybe a student is in an evaluation year, but their annual is in October and its hard to get them both in.
Then there is that final tough 10%. You may be attempting to capture goals for a moving target. Parents may want more services than FAPE supports. With this final group, your goal is to balance everyone’s needs–the parents, the district and the student. These are the most challenging IEPs.
Here’s the thing. If you know an IEP will be a tough 10% type, plan for it. Get ahead of the issues with LEAs so they are aware of parents concerns. Meet with parents ahead of time to discuss and problem-solve issues. I have preemptively met with parents on numerous occasions to iron out specifics before pulling together the full IEP team. This is better than holding 2 or 3 separate IEP meetings where all the legal trappings are needed.
If you are able to do this, there may be more meetings, but this up-front time ensures that IEP meetings won’t be wasted with stalemates. People will all be on the same page. Supports will be appropriate and there won’t be debates over it in the meeting because its all been sorted out ahead of time.
Well, that’s about it for me regarding IEPs. Hopefully, my tips and tricks for what to do before, during and after can help you work through even the most challenging of IEPs.