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catandturtle catandturtle is offline
 
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Teachers-what is your role in the IEP meeting?
Old 05-26-2018, 05:03 AM
 
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We found out yesterday that our district is planning some very big changes for sped next year. First let me lay out what the IEP process looks like now:

Diagnosticians and/or ARD facilitators currently facilitate IEP meetings (ARDs). The ARD facilitator facilitates any that do not include evaluation. The diag facilitates the ARDs that include evaluation, such as initials and three year reevals. The diag/ARD facilitator opens up the meeting, makes sure everyone is present, asks each person to review their section, gathers all needed paperwork, makes sure ARDs are occurring by deadlines, and after all needed paperwork is inputted, closes out and archives the ARD in the system. Diag clerks schedule the ARDs by calling parents and sending home notices.

So for next year, the district wants US (teachers) to start doing all of the above. We are to call parents to schedule ARDs, get all the paperwork, submit it to the ARD facilitator (who will now be called an "IEP specialist" and will be housed at the admin building) 5 days in advance, who will review it for compliance, facilitate the ARD, get signatures, and close out and archive the ARD in the system. The diag will only come to the ARD if there was evaluation, and she will only discuss the evaluation and then be excused for the rest of the meeting. The administrator (principal or AP) will take notes and keep minutes of the ARD and read deliberations.

This seems insane to me. Placing this burden on teachers in my opinion is going to result in A LOT OF MISTAKES (legal mistakes). I know a lot of sped teachers that already can't keep track of their own paperwork, and now you are adding things like keeping track of IEP deadlines? I am really hoping the district rethinks this over the summer. We have already been in trouble in regards to compliance in the past. I strongly feel that there should be someone else in the ARD who is trained in compliance, not just a teacher. I consider myself well versed in documentation and compliance, but there have even been times where I have missed something, and the diag/ARDF have caught it, and vice versa. Many sped teachers are not well-versed, and many, many, MANY principals are not knowledgeable about sped AT ALL.

This is in Texas, btw. and we were told that these changes are as a result of TEA telling us that we are not using our diags in their intended role.


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Old 05-26-2018, 06:01 AM
 
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Ours is pretty similar to the way you are doing it, but we have a head teacher who is in charge of IEPs. Usually one of the SPED teachers is the one responsible and they get a stipend for being in charge of IEPs. They write everything and update the paperwork, getting input from teachers, and they schedule the meetings with everyone involved. Our meetings involve the IEP specialist, GE teacher, SPED teacher, and parent. If an eval was done, the diagnostician is also there, often only until they have said their piece. As the GE teacher, I generally just give student strengths, weakness, and classroom assessment scores.
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IEP role
Old 05-26-2018, 07:21 AM
 
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I'm also in Texas. At one point, our diagnosticians were running the ARDs, plus doing testing etc. Now we have ARD facilitators (AF) too. Diags are typically required to attend meetings where they need to share their findings. But they usually come to most meetings just to share their expertise. The only people who could go early are the ones who have another commitment elsewhere.

The principals are supposed to "run" the meeting, but it's usually the AF. Most principals zone out during the ARD or tinker with their cell phone. Similar to your district, the AF asks everyone to share their part. As the teacher/case manager, my behind the scene duties include gathering data, updating progress, writing present levels, suggesting new goals and accommodations.

I could not even imagine being asked to schedule meetings and track deadlines. That is INSANE. That's a full-time job in itself. They are basically asking you to work not just overtime, but double time because most teachers are already working overtime! This is so sad to me. I hope our district never tries this.
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Wow!
Old 05-26-2018, 08:26 AM
 
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Ours actually resemble the "new way" your school is moving towards.

I am an SpEd teacher and have a caseload. For all of the kids on my caseload, I schedule the meetings, invite everyone required, assemble the paperwork, collect what is necessary from any others, write up the IEP and even a framework for any new goals.

I lead the meeting with occasional input from my Director/LEA and allowing time for the gen ed, special services and parents to talk.

After the meeting, I input parental concerns and make any changes we noted at the time of the meeting. After that, the Director checks for errors and finalizes it.

We do not have a district statistician or diagnostician in our small district so we also administer any testing the student's need for an eval or re-eval.

It can get crazy and you have to watch the master calendar very well.
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Old 05-26-2018, 09:18 AM
 
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I am in charge of everything you described and more. I believe Texas is one of the only states that has diagnosticians. It's honestly kind of shocking to me that there is an entirely separate job just for that! I know in some places "LEA" is also a separate job and that's also not the case here. Teachers are also case managers, and are also in charge of doing the formal academic testing and eval reports for Tris and Initials. If the student's primary disability speech/language, the SLP is the case manager. The sped teacher is the case manager for all other disabilities.

At the beginning of the year, my team and I sit down together and make a caseload list of all of our students that includes when their ARs and Tris are due. When a new student moves in, it's the case manager's responsibility to add them to the list. We have a team meeting once per week, and any time we find ourselves with "extra time" we use it for scheduling. We schedule several months out in advance using our google calendar and gen ed teachers are invited to the meetings through the calendar.

Everyone who works with the child is responsible for putting their own info into the different sections of the IEP (i.e. SLPs, sped teachers, psych, etc.) The sped teacher is responsible for contacting the gen ed teacher prior to the meeting and putting classroom data/gen ed input into the IEP. Case managers send out notices of meeting to parents and do reminder calls.

If it's an initial or Tri, sped teachers are responsible for formal academic testing, writing a summary of the MTSS process (for initials), and classroom observations. Psychs do cognitive testing and social/emotional rating scales if required, and SLPs or OTs do their own testing if required. Everyone is responsible for doing their own sections of the eval report and reporting out on those at the meeting.

At the IEP meeting, the case manager generally facilitates the meeting and each person shares their own info. The SLP and I work together on so many IEPs that our process tends to be less formal- we know each other well enough to just jump in whenever and introduce/explain a section.

At initials and tris, the psych is the "director designee" as in they sign that box. Ours kind of likes to facilitate so we let her; in a previous school it was still expected that I facilitate. Admin only attend IEP mtgs. if it's a really challenging case/parent and we've asked for support.

After the meeting, the case manager is responsible for uploading any signature pages into our online IEP system and reviewing the IEP paperwork with a compliance checklist. Then we print out the IEP paperwork along with the checklist and put it in the student's paper file.

I personally am a very detail-oriented/structured person and find the paperwork/testing/IEP side of things to be the easiest part of the job. It's obviously a lot of work, but it's easy to do correctly. I find the academic miracles that they expect us to work with these children to be far more difficult and frustrating.


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Old 05-26-2018, 09:23 AM
 
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We do it the the new way your district is proposing. I am the self contained special ed teacher and also Iep case manager for the students on my caseload. I have the nine students in my class plus the four students that are primarily qualified for behavior/ sed. I have to do all iep paperwork, schedule the meeting, run the iep meeting and take notes at the same time. The difference is that I am required to have the draft iep ready to send home to parents 10 days before the meeting,so that they have time to review. Resource/ inclusion special ed teachers have a caseload of 20-25 students and are the Iep case managers. It is a lot of extra work with less prep time. Lots of special ed teachers are jumping ship.
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My district
Old 05-27-2018, 05:17 AM
 
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I am retired now, but sub in my old district. I've subbed in my old classroom for two long term jobs this past school year, so was treated like I'd never left. Things are changing next year, so I'm not sure how things will work. Over the past several years, the Assistant Principal of Special Ed scheduled all AR/EDC meetings. The school psych opened up the MDCs. Teachers send out the notices of conference and make sure that everyone gets their information into the documents. The AP of Sp.Ed. generally runs the meeting and makes adjustments to the IEP on her laptop during the meeting. Teachers are responsible for at least 3 contacts with parents. I generally sent 3 copies of the Notice of Conference, as well as writing notes in communication folders/on daily communication sheets. I also called parents who did not respond. Teachers are responsible for gathering and making copies of all paperwork for both ARs and EDCs and getting them to parents, to the AP of Sp.Ed., and filed in a locked filing cabinet in the team room. Teachers are responsible for getting signatures on all documents that require a signature. The district does have a checklist for teachers to follow, which makes life easier. I have heard of districts that have "IEP teachers" whose jobs are to write the IEPs and take care of all of the paperwork. I don't know if I'd like that or not. We don't have clerks or secretaries to do any of the filing and mailing, either, though that would be nice.
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Old 05-27-2018, 07:24 AM
 
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We do it similar to your proposed new way. I am the case manager for all the sped kids on my team-last year it was 30. The year before it was 24, this is a middle school. The other 6th grade team has a similar caseload.

Case managers are responsible for tracking IEP and 3 year evals. The school psych is responsible for all testing for new students being tested and those who need an evaluation. She types up those results, Iím responsible for the rest of the report. We do all the scheduling with parents and I send out emails asking for input and inviting teachers. We are also responsible for quarterly progress reports and co teaching responsibilities.

About the first week of school or when enrollment has settled down, I type up a spreadsheet with all of the dates/kids for the year. Then add kids as needed. We also have to add teachers to have access in our online system and that is actually the worst part. It will have a drop down box listing all teachers for that student but we have to add them individually. It is a waste of a few hours.

The district has talked about ranking kids do the caseloads can be more evenly distributed. Kids who require more time would be ranked differently than a low need kid.
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:28 AM
 
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I am an elementary resource teacher and case manager for 37 students this year, even though our "goal" is 25 students--but that's another story! I schedule and run all annual IEP meetings (plus draft the IEP)and any other IEP meetings that come up throughout the year. I am responsible for them from start to finish and every step in between! I also write FBA's/BIPS as needed for students on my caseload.

Luckily I don't have any responsibility for reevaluations other than providing present levels to our psych--she does all the testing, writes the report, holds the meeting.

It's so interesting to read how different the process is from district to district and state to state!
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Old 05-27-2018, 04:57 PM
 
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I am a sped teacher and I do everything. Basically whatever a question you ask about 'who does?' anything in due process (keeping track of timelines, scheduling, data, maintaining student files, writing, testing, evaluating, contact with parents, service providers inside and outside school,....) or in student needs -it's my job. Pretty simple. And while it was a steep learning curve initially, I think it gives me greater appreciation of how everything interrelates. And I know due process well.
One of my own children gets sped services in a different district where there is more of team approach. I am always amazed how much falls through the cracks because no-one really assumes full responsibility.


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It'll be okay
Old 05-27-2018, 09:26 PM
 
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I think we are in the same district if the name begins with an "S". I'm a diag in the district and I think the change is good simply because the diags will be able to do what we actually went to school to do!

I understand that you feel like this "burden" shouldn't be placed on the teachers, but I feel it really should be the sped teacher's responsibility to facilitate ards as you are the ones who know the students the best. Also you mentioned that you would be responsible for scheduling and calling parents... you won't, the diag clerks will still exist.

I feel that maybe if the responsibility is finally given to sped teachers then maybe they'll be more mindful of what they're inputting into the system. Regularly, I deal with teachers who copy and paste plaafp statements and goals/objectives from year to year or just show up to IEP meetings with nothing in the system at all. It is quite time consuming to have to fix everyone's mistakes and any time something is wrong, everything falls on the diag regardless of if it's our error or not.

I am really hoping the district DOESN'T rethink this over the summer. I am absolutely grateful that TEA realized and addressed how misused we are in the district.

Honestly, you all will be okay. As a sped teacher in another district, I facilitated IEP meetings and it was just fine. I know that it is a big change and yes there will be some hiccups, but everything will work out. Yes, there will be mistakes, but guess what? Diags make mistakes too. No biggie, they'll be fixed and you'll make less errors as you become more comfortable with running IEP meetings. I think this will make sped teachers even stronger teaching professionals and it will help expand knowledge on legal frameworks.

Also diags aren't completely thrilled about the change as those responsibilities were only taken away from us because our referrals are going to triple next year. We will be testing so much we won't have time to even blink. :/

These major changes have both pros and cons, but we are all going to just have to adjust accordingly.

Good luck next year!
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IEP role
Old 05-28-2018, 06:51 AM
 
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In my experience, the special ed teacher is responsible for sending 3 notices about the meeting to parents and informing related service professionals about the IEP meeting (OT, PT, speech).

I have always had a "case manager" who sets the meeting times and inputs/checks all the information that goes into the system.

My last case manager wanted teachers to makes sure related services got their stuff in. That did not go over well.

Case manager is seen as an administration position and usually requires an admin endorsement. IME case mangers generally cover multiple schools and have other duties beyond IEP meetings.

In my last district they did special ed teacher evals and split up duties overseeing related services, billing and budgeting.

In my current district they are in charge of things like adaptive communication, special ed curriculum, vocational and billing.

They also are involved in classrooms in their specialization. As a life skills teacher, I have someone in charge of like skills classrooms that will informally observe me. This person also has separate case manager duties at other buildings.

Next year will be the first time I have had a special ed case manager just dedicated to my building. She will not do my observation, but a building administrator will.

Building administrators were required to attend IEP meetings, but their involvement was anywhere from signing and leaving to presenting their own documentation and observations. This is usually when they are advocating for a change in placement.

Schools psychs here have such large case loads that they can barely get the diagnostic and triennials done. Again they generally cover multiple buildings here and I cannot imagine them taking on additional duties.

I find this all very interesting as a couple PPs are in the same state as me. I know nearby districts have done/are trying to do what the OP describes with mixed results.

IMO, if I had a case load of students that just received pull out resource support I would be fine running the meetings. If I had even a small case load of more involved cases (related services, behavior plans, placement issues) I would not feel it was appropriate for me to run the meetings.

A former colleague of mine worked in a district that required teachers to run the annual reviews. She said it was a lot of stopping the meeting and reconvening after administration weighed in. It would have been much more efficient if administration was just there.
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Old 05-29-2018, 06:23 AM
 
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Special education teacher of 17 years here. In my district we typically have caseloads of 20-25 students My students are in all co-taught or general education classes and typically have one period of intervention each day. We are in charge or scheduling, inviting participants, collecting data, writing and finalizing all IEP documents. The only thing we don't do is test our students every three years for their ETRs. We have School Psychologists that do that. I can't even imagine a world where a special education teacher wouldn't do all that we do. How difficult is it to keep track of IEP deadlines? What do your special education teachers do currently? Just teach? What a great world that would be!!!
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Old 05-30-2018, 06:28 PM
 
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We have a case manager that schedules the meetings. I am responsible for writing the entire IEP ( takes about 5 hours per IEP). We all sit at a table and tell parents how their child is doing, and what we will be working on for next year, if we are keeping the mintutes the same, adding or decreasing serivices.
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Old 06-02-2018, 03:33 PM
 
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I've worked in sped departments in several schools in several states. The sped teacher (case manager for the target student) has always been in charge of IEPs in each of those places. That includes inputting the IEP into the system (basically also writing it, with the exception of information from SLP, OT, etc), following the IEP deadlines, and paperwork compliance. They are also in charge of calling parents, scheduling meetings, and notifying all pertinent school staff.

The evaluation process was headed by either a school psych who did all the things listed above, or a school specialist whose roles was to oversee compliance and do all paperwork. Sped teachers were never in charge of evaluation meetings (in some places, they did the academic testing for them, and in other places they did not). In some of the places, school psychs attended IEP meetings and in other places they did not.
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No different here
Old 06-05-2018, 05:24 AM
 
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This sounds like my district and I am far from Texas. We have a person that schedules our IEP meetings (similar to your diag asst), and we have to keep track of the deadlines for evaluations and IEPs. We get this info to our person that schedules, get all the progress the student has done, get reports from teachers in other classes (I work at a high school), look over attendance, grades, and credits, contact the parent when the meeting has been set, and send reminders to teachers about the meeting.

Once the meeting is started, the sped teacher will facilitate unless it's an initial or 3 year evaluation. We are then in charge of finishing up the paperwork as well as making sure the teachers are aware and understand the accommodations. We do this on top of teaching. I see 150 students a day in a co-teaching environment and then case manage 22 students.

In doing all of this, our psychologist (similar to your diag that I can tell) is able to do all of the testing for evaluations as well as FBAs and start on creating behavior plans if needed. It's a give and take game. If I don't do the work on the ground with the student, the psych won't have all the information. They don't know the student like I do and won't know what accommodations work or don't work for them. I would hate for someone else to be making decisions about my students without looking at the whole student, and I feel I have the best view.

I understand you are upset, but I think your students will benefit more from you having more say in their case.
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I think it all depends on your staffing
Old 06-05-2018, 09:15 AM
 
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At my present school, we do it the way you are transitioning into--We schedule the meetings, do any testing or assessments, fill out the IEP, lead the meetings, etc. This is my third district.

In my first, we had access to a statistician/diagnostician who would do any testing or assessments and did all the evals/re-evals and attended the meetings to explain those portions to the parents. She often volunteered to write up or assist in writing the IEPs when she had time. She had a tiny caseload of her own and only taught a few classes. We did everything else.

In my second school, the Sped department was part of a Co-op. We had a school psych with her own secretary. The secretary set up all appointments, meetings, phone calls with support staff and all that. The Psych did testing and led the eval/re-evals. We filled out the general IEP sections and those that pertained to us. She also attended every meeting. Specialists filled out their own sections.

We had a Transition worker who would fill out that part for the MS/HS kids as needed. We also had a Compliance officer who kept up with all the latest rules/changes and went over each IEP with a fine tooth comb so that it was completely correct and legal before it was finalized.

Each school had issues though with something--No one system is perfect. You will get used to it.

My best advice is to get a Master calendar now and lay out all of your caseload timelines now. Timeline compliance is the hardest part in making sure all of the right people are notified, do their part and show up to the meetings. Here parents can be fickle about committing to meeting times and
attending meetings.

Learn all the bells and whistles in whatever IEP/computer system your school uses to make this easier. Will your system offer to email parents, teachers and other members when you create a notification letter or other appointment? Will it email it to pertinent Goggle calendars, that sort of thing?

It may be that the staffing is changing at your school. The Diagnosticians and clerks may be reduced or eliminated. Who knows...
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:04 AM
 
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I have to run the meetings and keep track of the deadlines. This is the majority of the paperwork I do. If I didn't have to do all this I wouldn't have much. The only time a someone else runs a meeting is a new out of state student who needs a domains meetings, the school psychologist will then run the meeting and if no additional info is needed will do eligibility a that meeting (as long as parent waves) if we need additional testing we will have another meeting when the testing is done and the school psych will again run it. Otherwise, reevaluations and annual reviews are my responsibility. This includes contacting parents for their availability and sending out the meeting invites, etc. I take care of writing the IEP and making sure various service providers update their presents levels and goals. We have diagnosticians but they help our one school psych out with testing and may run a meeting in her place if there was no cognitive testing done. A diagnostician also sends us a list of students due for a reeval during the school year. We also have coordinators assigned to specific schools or programs plus at the middle/high school level we have department heads that assist in making sure procedures are followed. The only thing I wish I had was someone who made the calls/contacts to parents to set up meeting times since that is time consuming. I teach in a self-contained setting so my max number is supposed to be 13 students and since I see them daily I send home a letter at the beginning of the year looking for their availability during a set week. Just yesterday I made my calendar of meeting dates in a google drive spreadsheet. On the sheet I list all the students and the various services they may have and their annual review and three year reeval dates. I highlight the students due for a reeval and make sure that I do the domains/reval prior to an IEP so I can hopefully save myself a meeting. For example, I have a student with an annual review due in October but their reval isn't due until February, I am doing the domains/reeval first so I don't have to write two IEPs for one student. For my experience, this is standard in my area. The special education teacher are the case managers along with supplying instruction. I would rather write my student's IEPs anyways since I know them and know what skills they need to work on. I have gotten a couple of students in the past where the IEP was written by one of our coordinators after a teacher had quit and you could tell they didn't know enough about the student since they weren't in the classroom working with them.

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Old 06-14-2018, 05:39 PM
 
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The special ed teacher does it all here in NY. We run the whole thing. (not an initial eval though)
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My duties
Old 06-16-2018, 08:25 PM
 
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I have a clerical aide that takes care of scheduling all my meetings. This person also calls the parents a day or two before the meeting to confirm and mails out all paperwork. We also have a school psych that does most of our testing.


I do everything else. I keep up with progress monitoring, quarterly testing (which takes about 3 weeks, 4 times per year ), writing the IEP, running the meeting, and co-teaching. I do this for all my 23-25 students for all meetings from initials, to reevals, to AR, to separate programming.



The only people that attend my meetings are myself, the gen ed teacher, and the parent. There are very few circumstances where an admin or my LEA attend.
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:24 AM
 
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I teach in Michigan and your new way has always been the way we hold IEPs. I can't imagine someone else writing the IEP for me, because I know the students better than anyone else. The school psychologist does the testing if we question eligibility, but other than that, I schedule the IEP and coordinate with service providers based on their schedules, write the IEP (the academic areas... the service providers do their own PLAAFP and goals/objectives), disburse the IEP, and handle all the paperwork after that.

It sounds great to have everything done for me.... I could focus on teaching instead of all the paperwork, but to be honest, the students deserve someone who knows them to write the IEP.
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:54 PM
 
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Quote:
It sounds great to have everything done for me.... I could focus on teaching instead of all the paperwork, but to be honest, the students deserve someone who knows them to write the IEP.
This is how I feel. On the one hand, of course I'd like to spend less time doing paperwork, but on the other hand, it's kind of ridiculous to have someone who doesn't even work with the student write the IEP. It seems horribly inefficient- that person must have to spend a lot of time gathering info from the people who actually do know the student, and then trying to make sense of all of that and write a decent IEP all from others' information sounds like it would be very difficult and time consuming. When it's a student I know very well, I can write the IEP in no time.
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