Getting ready to hold your first Individualized Education Plan meeting? Check out this guide for the top tips on how to run an effective IEP meeting.
Agenda for IEP Meetings are Necessary in How to Run an Effective IEP Meeting
I cannot even tell you how important it is to have an agenda. I went many years without using one and now that I have gotten into the routine of using one, I won’t go back.
An agenda keeps everyone on track. I’m sure you have never had a meeting where things went way left and 30 minutes later nothing has really been discussed. Having an agenda keeps things going. It also makes it easy to bring everyone back by simply referring to where the meeting is at via the agenda.
An agenda is super important when there are multiple team members. On bigger teams that contain Speech/Language, OT, PT, Guidance, Principal, etc. that all want to share, agendas are life. They let everyone know when it is their turn to share information. This is not to say that people cannot talk as things arise, just that there is a specific time for them to share, cutting down on the number of random comments.
Make the agenda ahead of time. Either print it out or send it out digitally so everyone has a copy. If you are meeting in person, make sure to make extra copies just in case. Pro-tip: this is a great place to also take notes throughout the meeting. Make sure to bring an extra pen for the parent/guardian so they have that option too. This will help empower them too.
If you are looking for some pre-done agendas, check out this resource. It has several different forms of agendas along with several other resources to run a great meeting. Sticky note reminders, checklists, and different teacher input forms are a few. And did I mention that these agendas are printable and digital? Amazing! They will keep your meeting on track and focused on the task at hand. Click here to grab them.
Parent Input is Essential In How to Have a Successful IEP Meeting
After introductions, your first step should be parent input.
This includes asking the parents about student strengths, what is going well, and concerns.
Student strengths can be things that are going well. It can also include things that the student enjoys. It just may surprise you what the parent says as it could be something that isn’t seen at school due to the environment.
When asking about what is going well, make sure to include both things at home and at school. Sometimes something might be fine at school but at home, it is a big issue. For instance, a student might do great with independent reading at school. But when they get home, reading for even 10 minutes is a fight. Once you know the struggles, you can suggest ideas to help.
It is important for parents to feel heard. They want to be part of the process and helping their child. Giving them the time to voice their ideas to start the meeting, shows that they are important.
Sharing Current Data Is the Next Step in How to Run an IEP Meeting
Collect data on where the student is currently at before the meeting.
This data should be on both their current IEP goals as well as how they are doing in the classroom with the curriculum.
If the student has behavior that stops their learning or the learning of others, it is a good idea to do a functional behavioral assessment before the meeting too. (Not sure where to start with this process? Check out this free 5 step guide to writing an amazing functional behavioral assessment here.)
Share out all this data so everyone knows where the student is at.
And make sure to compare it to where the student was a year ago. It is a nice time to celebrate growth. Especially for the parent who knows their child is behind peers.
Discuss Goals and What Is Needed to Meet Those Goals
The next step in how to run an effective IEP meeting is to discuss goals.
This is where everyone talks about the future.
What does the student need to be able to do in a year?
What foundational skills does the student need to close the gap between them and their peers?
If the student has behavioral needs, write up a Behavior Intervention Plan based on the Functional Behavioral Assessment you did before the meeting.
Pro-tip when writing goals: Make sure to check out the common core standards of your district/state. Look at the grade level the student is currently in. Then backtrack to find where their skills currently are. Use this as a great starting point to see what they need to learn to bridge that gap.
Once you have goals, talk about what is needed to help the student meet those goals. This is where service minutes come into play.
It is also a great time to talk about accommodations/modifications. What does the student need to be successful with their current skills? Make sure to discuss anything that is needed in all settings of the school. With assessment data becoming more and more important, basic reading, writing, and math skills are needed in almost every subject. Including art, music, and gym! So make sure the student gets the support they need in those settings too.
Last Step In How To Run A Successful IEP Meeting: Give Out Boring Information
The last step is giving out all the boring information. While it isn’t exciting, it sure is needed when thinking of how to run a successful IEP meeting.
This includes the start date of the next IEP. Everyone on the team needs to know when this new service plan is starting.
It also includes how and by when the parents should be getting updated paperwork. Depending on where you work, paperwork gets delivered in different ways to the parent. This could be snail mail, in a student’s backpack, or done via email. (If you are looking for information on What Is A Individual Education Plan And How To Write One, click here.)
Also, make sure parent(s)/guardians know who to contact if they have any questions after the meeting is over. This is especially important for new students. Phone number and/or email address should be given to the caregiver at the end of the IEP meeting. Again, this will help them feel they are connected and part of the team.
Sharing out Information with the School Team
And don’t forget to give out the information to the rest of the team after the meeting too. In many places, not all staff working with the student have access to the IEP. It is often the case manager’s job to make sure everyone has the information.
Using an IEP at a glance form is a super effective way to communicate this information. Having a quick guide to the individualized education plan is super helpful. This includes all the needed information like current levels, goals, service minutes, classroom & testing accommodations should be on it.
Looking for a done-for-you version that you just need to plug all the information into? Check out this IEP a Glance sheet. Simply pull up this Google Document and type in all the student information (or if you are lazy like me, just copy/paste). Everything that a staff member would need from that big ol’ IEP packet is in this condensed IEP at a glance form. And with Google Docs, it is so easy to pull it up quickly to reference and to share it with others electronically.
Need Ideas Of How To Conduct An Effective Iep Involving Tough Student Behavior?
Check out this post on functional behavioral assessments. It breaks down conducting an FBA. This would be something you would want to do prior to the meeting. This way you can bring data and some ideas of the why behind student behavior. But make sure to go into the meeting with an open mind. Others on the team may come up with ideas on the why behind the behavior that you didn’t.
This post is all about behavior intervention plans. Packed with information on what is a BIP and how to write one.
If you are looking for more support on tackling tricky student behaviors, check out this freebie. It is a 5 step process to writing a great behavior plan. And it includes some great data tracking forms. Click here to tell me where to send it to.
Now that you have all the tools and ideas of how to run an effective iep meeting, take a deep breath and know you are going to rock that next one.