If you are a general education teacher who has been asked to attend an IEP meeting, you may be feeling a little nervous. Don't worry – you can prepare for the meeting and make sure that you have all of the information you need. In this blog post, you'll learn exactly how to prepare for an IEP meeting as a regular education teacher. These tips are also helpful if you're another type of IEP team member, whether related services or special education services.
General Education Teacher Tips
When you are preparing for an IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting, it is important to collect data about the student. This can include information from progress reports, general education curriculum tests, and observations. You should also take some time to review the student's file. This will help you to be familiar with the student's history and any previous IEP goals or behavior plans.
It's also a good idea to meet with the special education teacher before the IEP meeting. This will give you an opportunity to discuss the student's needs and what you hope to accomplish at the meeting. You should also ask the special educator for any materials that they think would be helpful for you to review.
At the IEP meeting, you/ll be asked to provide input about the student's progress from the current school year. You should be prepared to share any data that you have collected, as well as your observations of the student in the general education classroom setting. It's also helpful to bring along any questions that you have for the other team members.
Special Education Teacher Tips
Maybe you're reading this and thinking, but wait a minute – I'M the special educator!
You may be feeling overwhelmed as the case manager, especially when it comes to helping everyone on the IEP team prepare for an upcoming meeting. It can be stressful to see the names of a school psychologist, school administrator, classroom teachers, physical therapists, related service providers, and family members all on one attendance sheet.
You're also juggling the task of collecting important information on educational needs, the child’s strengths, the student’s progress, functional performance, and present levels of academic achievement. It's definitely A LOT, but remember it doesn't rest all on your shoulders – your important role is curator. You'll gathering all the resources from school staff and organizing it to be presented at the IEP team meeting. This means you're not actually writing all of it by yourself, but instead compiling the information.
Related Service Provider Tips
Related Services refers to school personnel who may be working on goals by providing services with a student directly or acting as a consultant to special or regular ed teachers. This includes occupational therapists, physical therapists, school psychologists, social workers, and speech-language pathologists. In preparation for an annual review or other IEP meeting, you may be asked to present assessment data (results of evaluations), student progress reports, and proposed goals to members of the team.
IEP Meeting Organization
Whether your role is of general education teacher or related service provider – or you're the special education case manager, pulling all the data together, organization is KEY to preparing for upcoming IEP meetings.
Here's some easy steps to take TODAY:
- Find a calendar and immediately add all IEP meeting dates. It's a great idea to backwards plan about two weeks – this is when you'll want to have all your data ready. Too early – the data may not be as valid as needed to make decisions and too late is only going to add additional stress to your busy days.
- Create email templates. Communication is so important, especially when everyone is working towards the same goal – supporting a child's needs. This isn't a time to get creative though – compose a simple, yet informative email and then SAVE it as a template for the next meeting. You'll be able to reuse it over and over by quickly switching out the personalized student information.
- Turn your hard work into templates – this builds upon tip #2. Save even more time by turning EVERYTHING into templates! Data tracking forms, summary statements, progress reports… it's okay to plagiarize yourself!
If these tips sound helpful, but you need them yesterday… check out the Special Educators Resource Room. This bundle is packed with forms, presentations, and tools that will help you feel confident during all of your upcoming IEP meetings.