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Five ways to ensure a successful school year with your child's IEP Team

#1 Review

Review the current IEP: Do you have questions or concerns related to the content of the current IEP? Are goals listed still relevant? Are modifications and accommodations listed still relevant? Over the summer: Has your child made progress? Demonstrated regression? Has anything changed with your child’s medical diagnosis, medication and/or dosage, therapies? Review your rights: eced/iepguide/index.html

#2 Organize

Compile school records: Request records from the school if necessary. Organize work samples, assessments, and correspondence with teachers and staff. Compile IEEs (Independent Educational Evaluations): Include documents from other professionals, such as: letters, evaluations, tests, reports, and therapy notes from tutors, doctors, therapists, and other professionals. Create a system: Organize all documents in an three-ring binder with tabs, and keep a separate binder for each academic year.

#3 Plan

Check the calendar: Do you have upcoming meetings? Do you need to schedule a meeting or evaluation? Meet & greet: Attend the school orientation and open house so you and your student can meet his/her teacher. Begin at the End: Consider how you would like your child to progress this year. Plan with these short term goals in mind.

#4 Communicate

Be specific: Ask specific questions of school staff to get detailed answers. Ask “W” questions: who, what, when, where, and why. Be positive: Send your student’s teacher an introductory email with your contact information; after meetings write thank you notes or send an email. Make sure ALL your child’s teachers have a copy of the IEP: To avoid the possibility that your child’s teachers did not receive a copy of your child’s IEP, ask or go ahead and provide them with one. It is important that all teachers working with your child are aware of what supports he/she requires.

#5 Monitor

Monitor your child’s progress: Study recent progress reports, evaluations, tests, revisit your notes from recent meetings. Request an IEP progress meeting when needed. Take an active role: IDEA regulations describe the parent's role: “The parents of a child with a disability are expected to be equal participants along with school personnel, in developing, reviewing, and revising the IEP for their child. This is an active role…” YOU are a key member of your child’s team: Remember, YOU know your child best; you are an expert, too!

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