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Haley23 11-30-2017 07:35 PM

How are your IEP meetings structured?
We are getting a lot of pressure to be more "innovative" with the meetings. They don't want us to beat parents over the head with how low their child is. We've traditionally just gone through the IEP and explained each section. We try to be as positive as possible, but I do think it's also important for the parent to get a realistic picture of where their child is. We aren't allowed to modify grades for students with learning disabilities, so I don't want the parent to leave our meeting thinking the child is doing great because we only said positive things, and then get a report card with all 1's on it.

I don't want to become one of those "old" teachers that isn't willing to try new things, but I kind of like the way we already do it. I just feel uneasy about handing the parent a 20 page document without really explaining any of it (and TBH, it makes me feel like writing the 20 page IEP is a waste of my time). I feel like the majority of our meetings go very well and parents do leave happy.

Also, at my last school I was a gen ed teacher and the sped team had IEP meetings that to me felt just like rambling conversations about the child. They didn't talk about any of the IEP sections at all. I wondered if perhaps this was more comfortable for people who weren't all that familiar with IEPs. I'd get an IEP in my box a week later with a ton of accommodations I was responsible for that weren't discussed with me beforehand.

Our school psych just led an initial meeting that our director attended (long story), so she felt like she had to try the "new way." She sent home the eval report for the parent to read, and then in the meeting asked the parent if they had any questions and we didn't go over it/explain it at all. What if the parent doesn't know what to ask? What if they think they understand it but don't really? We then spent the bulk of the meeting making a chart that highlighted the students strengths and how they could be used to help him. Our director absolutely raved about it. I hated it!

So, what do you think? Is there anything "innovative" that you like in your meetings? Do you think parents don't really care about what's in the IEP and are happier to just have a conversation about their child?

pdxteacher 11-30-2017 07:56 PM

Ugh. BS like that just makes me want to hit my head against the wall. Of course no one wants to keep hammering the deficits, but the deficits are why the IEP is necessary!! I try to talk about positives I see in each section, even if it's really small progress, but I walk through the document step by step. It's a legal document!

whatever 12-01-2017 04:06 AM

Meetings here
I will say that I teach MS/HS so most of my parents have been to at least 6 or more IEP meetings by this time. We try to make sure that we touch on each section even if it is to say, "This section is about ___, it remains unchanged. Student is still _____."

We do have conversation but it is in the same order as the IEP sections. There is a little more in certain sections. The Changes since the last IEP, testing, goals, etc. The student strengths are just prior to that though so those are mentioned first.

In the Changes since the last IEP section, our Director likes us to follow a certain procedure there. We summarize the goal from the last IEP, tell the progress and tell where we hope the child will go from there. Then we make the new goals based on that. We do that for each of the goals for the last IEP and the new goals. That way the parents hears the deficits, the progress and the hope (new goal) close together.

We also try to at least touch on each section because it sets a pace that leads the meeting to the end. This, this, that and "do you have any additional comments or questions? OK. Thanks for coming in. At that point, the gen ed teacher usually stands to leave and the parent usually follows the lead.

I would think that if we "just had a conversation" about the child, the meetings would not have a logical and noticeable conclusion.

SpedinTx 12-01-2017 06:46 AM

In Texas the IEP meetings are called ARD (Admission, Review, Dismissal) meetings. We have to talk to all of our parents every six weeks about the students progress or lack there of, as well as send home progress reports. So the parents always know before the ARD how their student is doing.

When we create the paperwork it is a collaborative effort. We first meet with each of the student's teachers one at a time to get information about their specific subject for the PLAAFP, discuss accommodations, discuss testing information, and write the goals.

Then we send the proposed paperwork home at least one week prior to the meeting, We call the parents of the child and discuss the information asking their input on the goals, accommodations and testing.

During the actual meeting we are just working on anything that is not in agreement. So while prepping the paperwork is a total nightmare the actual meeting usually take 30 minutes or less.

rwinters 12-01-2017 07:57 AM

We send home all IEP items at least 3 days beforehand. As we have 40 minutes to get through it all--for all meeting types--we start with "What questions do you have?" and run from there. In most cases, we pick with eligible and move on. Annuals--parents, teacher, (all fall under present levels), move to goals and services, accommodations and any the rest of the IEP and then done.

Unless we know or think the parent doesn't read the testing or is confused we don't go through our testing report by report in detail. Each member has 4 minutes to summarize and we move on. No dwelling. We are being encouraged to start with a summarized report of testing and jump into the rest of the IEP.

But this all depends on the parent. You have to know them and what kind of support they need.

catandturtle 12-02-2017 09:17 AM

Our ARDs are very standardized. I am in Texas as well. We send home (we are supposed to do this but I feel like a lot of people don't) the proposed present levels, goals and accommodations five days beforehand so the parent has an opportunity to see them first. Each meeting follows the same order. We discuss each aspect of the IEP. During the PLAAFP section we discuss everything about the student, including eligibility, language, emotional, physical, health, academics, needs of a critical nature, and accommodations and modifications needed. This section includes strengths AND weaknesses in each area. We go over the students schedules, testing scores, and any supplements needed. At the end we ask the parent if they have any questions or concerns. No stone is left unturned. No one should receive any documents after the meeting that were not discussed at the meeting!

NewCAteacher 12-02-2017 01:28 PM

I do think parents need to hear positive things in the IEP. They're so used to hearing what their children can't do and how low they are in comparison to everyone else. I usually start by saying how much I enjoy working with the child, which is true for about 95% of my students. I don't say that if it's not true, but I will state their strengths. Now, I agree that we must talk about weaknesses. If there were no weaknesses, the child wouldn't have an IEP. I think it's best to state the weaknesses very matter-of-fact, and possible ways to help the student improve. What drives me nuts is when the IEP becomes a complaining fest instead of a team effort to help the student.

Haley23 12-02-2017 07:26 PM

Thanks for the replies. I can understand that as students get older, parents might just feel like they're hearing the same things over and over again. Since I'm K-3, we do a lot of initials, so the majority of my students are new to sped or have only been in for a year or two.

We always start with strengths and do say a positive first for each section. Even if I have to go back 47 steps to find something the child actually can do, I always start with that. For example, "Johnny has mastered all of his letter sounds. His next step is to begin blending sounds together to read words," even if Johnny is in 3rd grade and supposed to be reading 100 wpm at that time. I don't ask teachers to bring work samples or go over every test they got a 10% on or anything like that (unless the work sample is going to show something positive or I'm dealing with parents who just aren't "getting it.") I do always state the grade level expectation to though. I just feel like it's dishonest to only focus on the positive things, and I don't like not explaining every section (we're told to skip sections that don't really apply to that child, like "special factors" or ESY). It takes 30 seconds to explain what the section means and why it doesn't apply to that child!

I wonder if we could at least give parents the option when they come in for meetings. Something like, "This IEP is a legal document. Would you prefer for us to go over each IEP section in detail, or would you prefer us to have a conversation about Johnny's strengths and needs and just send the IEP document home for you to read?"

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