5 Simple Ways to Have the Most Effective IEP Meetings

Thursday, February 7, 2019

IEP meetings can be super daunting - for both teachers AND guardians. We as educators spend so much time crafting effective (seeming) IEPs with our students best interests at heart - but the meetings don't always go as smoothly as we'd like. Here's 5 considerations when planning for these important and often stressful meetings.

1.) Plan with the family 
Family members (guardians, parents, etc) are an integral part of the IEP process, they even have a spot in the IEP for "guardian concerns". I feel a common mistake is using that box DURING the meeting - it can be really overwhelming for a family member to be asked in the middle of a meeting where an already written IEP is being presented, "Any concerns?"

Some school districts allow teachers to send home drafts of an IEP, while some do not. Either way - get family involved!! Two ways I have done this are hosting an unofficial pre-meeting. During this short meeting, it's guardian focused. I gave them the opportunity to share barriers their see at home, and anything they'd like to see their child completing. This allowed me to ask follow-up questions and the guardians knew that I was taking their considerations seriously and making them an integral part of the team. Another idea is sending home a simple (KEYWORD: SIMPLE!!!) questionnaire asking what their child's biggest barriers are at home and any tasks they'd like to see their child completing - essentially, any questions I would ask in that unofficial pre-meeting.

Listening to home concerns, implementing that into the IEP, and during the meeting pointing out where you addressed that concern is a HUGE way to create a fluid sense of communication, build trust, and ultimately ensure carryover is an important way that we can support our students holistically in our IEP writing.

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