***Post written by Sarah Perkins, President-Elect, Website Administrator, and Membership Chair for WSPA**
I moved to a new school this year. At my old school, all of the SPED team members ran their IEP meetings in a similar way–the way that I had asked them to do it. At my new school, I’m getting a chance to watch different case managers run IP meetings in different ways.
It appears to me that there are two major divisions lines. The first is regarding the use of the Smartboard. At my new school, most case managers put the IEP up on the Smartboard and use it to go through the IEP in front of the parents, often typing on it as the meeting progresses. At my previous schools, we made a conscious decision not to use the Smart Board. We found that it discourages conversation and could be off-putting to parents because it encouraged direct reading of text and the use of jargon. That being said, I believe that a Smartboard can be a useful tool for keeping a meeting on track and ensuring that every part of the IEP is covered.
The second division line is in regards to an exhaustive discussion of every aspect of the IEP or a more conversational style. I tended in the past to lean towards the more conversational style. In other words, I avoid any use of jargon and usually don’t reference any part of the IEP by name. Instead, we discussed the student strengths and weaknesses, what their needs are, and our general goals for them. We end by discussing what their day looks like, AKA services. The more comprehensive approach requires reading through every aspect of the IEP, explaining jargon, and discussing every box before it is ticked.
I’m willing to admit that the more legally sound approach would probably be to use the Smartboard and move through the IEP in a comprehensive manner during the meeting. However, I feel like if we don’t just look at the letter at the law but at the intentions, we remember that the point of an IEP meeting is to have a conversation regarding the needs of a child. It is very difficult to have a team conversation if some members, namely the parents, don’t even know the vocabulary to use.
How do you like to run IEP meetings in your buildings?