The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that an eligible student’s Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) be developed by an IEP team, which includes the student’s parents and a multidisciplinary team of school professionals. Under the law, regular education teachers are key members of a student’s IEP team. 20 U.S.C. § 1414(d)(1)(B). But how should a regular education teacher prepare for an IEP meeting?
To be clear, your good work with the student in your classroom is the best preparation for your role in an IEP meeting. The following checklist includes additional suggestions to help you prepare for an IEP team meeting:
☑ Call or meet with the case manager to learn the meeting’s purpose. An IEP team meeting may be convened for an annual review, a reevaluation, or for some other purpose identified by either the family or the school team. Knowing the purpose of the meeting will help you prepare for the substance of the meeting and will give you insight into how much time to block off for the meeting.
☑ Promptly complete any surveys or interviews from other service providers. These surveys and interviews are often critical components of the evaluation that will inform an eligibility determination or a new or updated IEP. The sooner you provide your responses to your colleagues conducting the evaluation, the sooner they can synthesize the information for the team’s consideration.
☑ Re-read the student’s IEP and Behavior Intervention Plan. When reviewing these documents, note the structure and organization of the IEP. That outline will act as a rough agenda for the meeting. Additionally, spend time thinking about the student’s current accommodations. How often does the student use accommodations or interventions? In your opinion, are they proving effective? What accommodations would better assist the student in accessing general education curriculum?
☑ Read any available draft documents prepared prior to the meeting. Draft IEPs and evaluation reports are often available before the meeting. Reviewing these in advance helps facilitate an efficient discussion during the IEP meeting.
☑ Consider present levels of performance from a classroom teacher’s perspective. Remember, the focus of this meeting is the individual student — how is this student performing right now?
- How much progress is the student making in the curriculum (or modified curriculum)?
- How does the student demonstrate what he or she knows in the classroom?
- Is the student exhibiting socially appropriate behaviors in the classroom, both during structured and unstructured times?
- Does the student attend to and complete assignments appropriately?
☑ Refer any meeting-related questions from the family to the case manager. If families raise questions with you about the upcoming meeting, let the family know you will pass the questions along to the case manager. The case manager is intimately familiar with process and requirements for IEP meetings and will be best positioned to answer the family’s questions.
For further information, contact education attorneys Alyssa Burghardt and Beth Friel. They can be reached at 303-443-8010 or firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.