IEP Participation Success Strategies for General Education Teachers, Administrators, and Counselors
General education teachers, administrators and counselors have a crucial part to play in a student's annual IEP review. By being prepared to participate in the IEP review process, general education teachers, administrators and counselors can more effectively influence the planning and design of a individualized educational program for a student. While specific strategies differ between general education teachers, administrators, and counselors, there are several general IEP preparation success strategies which apply to all: * Ask the special education teacher if there is any specific information they would like you to share. General education teachers are required to attend all IEP meetings but the reason for their invitation may differ depending upon the student. Sometimes a teacher is invited to give input on a specific content area or program even though the student is in a self-contained classroom and only working with special education staff. In those circumstances, the general education teacher will provide information to compare the special education curriculum with the general education curriculum. * Review the previous IEP. Note any concerns or issues which apply specifically to your area of expertise. * Review recent student interactions. Draw up a list of student strengths as well as weaknesses. Parents want and need to hear what their child does well, not just their problems! CONCERNS FOR THE GENERAL EDUCATION TEACHER * Review student turn-in rates, grades, and classroom strengths and weaknesses (academic and behavioral). * Identify specific concerns you have about performance and behavior. * Be ready to discuss relevant goals for the upcoming year. Are the goals too hard or too easy? Has a short-term objective been met or is the student still struggling? * Review accommodations and modifications. Does the student still need the listed accommodations, or is there a different one which will be more effective? * Be able to recommend additional resources related to your class which might be useful such as websites or local tutorial services. * Means for students to request help or support from you after school and any permission forms required to make this happen. * Don't forget the positive comments! CONCERNS FOR ADMINISTRATORS * Be ready to talk about building resources that are under your direct control such as: non-special education aide support transportation schedule modifications access issues academic credit issues. * If behavior is a concern, have behavioral data at hand to illustrate situations of concern. * Be able to talk about classroom placement options that are under your direct control. * Don't forget the positive comments! CONCERNS FOR COUNSELORS * Feedback that can be shared from individual or group sessions. * Counseling resources available in the general community. Often parents may need help finding support for themselves or their child. * Availability of support groups in the school building, especially groups which need permission. * Don't forget the positive comments! The IEP review meeting is your opportunity to contribute to the success of a special education student. By participating in these meetings, you have the opportunity to identify student strengths and needs, focus on what the student needs to do to continue to progress academically and behaviorally, and gain further insights about the student and his family. You are part of creating a useful plan that will help this student's academic progress in the year ahead. Taking a few moments to follow these IEP preparation success strategies will help focus your contribution to this crucial piece of a special needs student's school success.