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CONDUCTING GOLD STANDARD IEP MEETINGS

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1 CONDUCTING GOLD STANDARD IEP MEETINGS
By Craig W. Bartholio, Ed.D.

2 IEP Meeting An IEP meeting is a legal document that provides a snap shot of the students current levels of performance and is to be reasonably calculated to provide the opportunity for Educational Benefit (Rowley)

3 IEP Meeting Costs 3 people, 1 hour, $50K = $83
10 people, 1 hr, 50K = $278 5 people, 2 hrs, 50K = $278 10 people, 8 hrs, 50K = $2,222 14 people, 24hrs, 50K = $9,333

4 A bit about myself Taught SDC Mild/Moderate (4-6)
Taught SDC Moderate/Severe (9-12+) Program Specialist Adjunct Professor to become full-time professor B.A. Psychology CSULB M.A. Education: Special Education [Moderate/Severe] Cal Poly Pomona Ed.D. Educational Leadership [Educational Psychology] Univ. of Southern California Current research investigations: Special Education services in Faith-Based Elementary Schools. How CTA can help capture the differences between Experts and Novices in conducting IEP meetings. Elements facing General Education teachers transitioning to Special Education. For this presentation I am actually using some of the qualitative data I have obtained through the multiple interviews I am currently conducting for my research on the differences between experts and novices in conducting IEP meetings. The ultimate goal is to create a Gold Standard IEP meeting document that details all the action and decision steps that occur prior to, during and after an IEP meeting. If you have looked online prior to today, you would have seen multiple websites that talk about the 8, or 10, or 12 steps to an IEP program. Those are decent enough to give you a general sense of “what to do”. My intention today is to take you beyond what you find on the internet and discuss the discrete action and decision steps that are quite often overlooked or viewed as “less important” aspects to the IEP process.

5

6 Focus of IEP Meeting Presentation
Your role as a Special Education Teacher Pre-IEP meeting actions What happens during the IEP meeting Creating defensible goals How to write services correctly Post- IEP actions Perspectives of the IEP meeting Are these agreeable items for today’s presentation?

7 Your Role as a Special Education Teacher
Professionalism Case manager Collaborator Preparing for your next role: Understanding the position above and below you Your role as a special educator is multifaceted. You are the educator of the classroom, the students school parent and counselor. You are the “specialist” at your school with specific content knowledge on how to address the variable needs of students. You are the consummate collaborator who needs to continually build the relationships with all of the general education teachers, site administrators, and district personnel.

8 Pre- IEP meeting Special Education Teacher Actions
Pre-IEP meeting actions will greatly determine the outcome of the IEP meeting. Logistical Information Document preparation Reports Discussions with all stakeholders All reports read by stakeholders prior to meeting Phone call or personal visit with parents prior to meeting The actions of the Pre-IEP meeting should really be intensified from the current state that they are in. the actions of all stakeholders (especially the Case Manager or Case Carrier [The Special Education Teacher] should lead up to a smooth IEP meeting which is the culminating event of the work done prior to the IEP meeting. The work done prior to the meeting should be focused on eliminating or at least reducing any surprises during the IEP meeting. You will have multiple situations going on at the same time or overlapping. The perception others will have of your professional ability will be determined in part on your ability to professionally manage your IEP meetings. Which includes pre-IEP meeting activities, during IEP meeting activities, and post IEP meeting activities.

9 Logistics Invitation sent with a reasonable amount of time for parents. 10-day notice is not in the legal documents. “Reasonable amount of time” is the legal wording. Invitation clearly states all stakeholders attending and all those you are asking for permission not to attend. Number of individuals must be accounted for on the IEP invitation. Location and equipment will be available for room. You must make several attempts to contact the parent for an IEP meeting to be held prior to the 60 day timeline. These attempts must include mailed invitations [even certified mail], visiting the home to provide an invitation, and even meeting them at their place of work. Personally I visited a parent (single mother) who worked at a local restaurant on a nightly basis to confirm the IEP meeting date and time. IF you have more than one general education teacher who will be attending the IEP, the meeting notice must indicate that. Parent needs to have full participation in the IEP meeting which includes preparing for who will be present at the IEP. The parent may have specific information that they want to discuss with one of the general education teachers. If the parent does not know that they will be there, they may not come fully prepared to address their concerns.

10 Document Preparation Document preparation occurs throughout the year
Are you collecting hard data for your goals? How? And how often? Are you continually updating your Educational Benefit file for each student? Determine if this is a new case to you or not. Read all reports and review previous years Individual Education Programs (IEP’s) Do not repeat goals and objectives Determine if all stakeholders have the assessment reports prior to the IEP meeting. As the case carrier, it is your responsibility to determine if all stakeholders have received any of the assessment reports that will be reviewed prior to the IEP meeting. It is general best practice to have all reports and a draft IEP to the parent at least 5 days prior to the IEP meeting. As part of your document preparation- have you meet with the parent over the phone or in person to discuss the parents insights on their ideas for the next year, the progress the student has made so far in class, and your proposed goals? You need to be able to share with the parent draft goals and objectives and listen to the parent’s own draft goals and objectives. Traditional IEP goals are written in a certain formula that is defensible. We will go over that in detail later in this presentation. To establish a point, most goals have a call to action for a teacher in terms of number of trials. These are traditionally written as 3 out of 4 trials, etc. As the special educator, you will need to have collected at least 4 data points for every benchmark during the course of the IEP year. The IEP year will traditionally be different that the calendar and school year as IEP’s are held throughout the year, except summer traditionally.

11 Discussion with all Stakeholders
Confirmation with the general education teacher. Document, document, document all of the discussions you have with all stakeholders. Make a phone call, send a note, Skype, or send and to the parent weeks prior to the IEP meeting to begin a dialogue. Send home a “draft copy” of the IEP to the parents 5 days prior to the scheduled meeting based on the students progress and the contact you have made with the parent. As you know there are elementary school districts, high school districts and unified school districts. Each level- Elementary, Junior high, and high school has a culture of their own. Each has different logistical issues and flexibilities or lack there of to be able to participate in IEP meetings. From my perspective and based on the multiple interviews I have conducted with teachers from all levels, educators within the elementary school setting tend to hold their free time hostage at a higher rate than their junior high and high school counter parts. What this refers to is their personal participation in IEP meetings past their “contract time”. As a special educator, developing the relationships with your general education counter parts is critical to making those connections to several teachers (across grade levels or subject matters) to have them understand that the students in your class are part of the whole school. This relates to a school culture issue and can heavily be determined by the site administrators and the teachers in general.

12 IEP Meeting Agenda Finish this Sample Agenda: Introductions
Parent concerns Assessment reports Review Goals and Objectives ……… Take the next 3 minutes with a partner and complete this IEP meeting Agenda. Research on how to teach complex skills utilizes part-task and whole-task examples for individuals to work through in order to complete the complex task. We have discussed the framework for the purpose of creating and IEP meeting agenda and your working memories have activated your long term cognitive structures related to IEP meetings. In order to help elaborate on your current level of knowledge in a fashion that is germane to each of your varying levels of schemata, this exercise will allow for those differences and hopefully will not become an extraneous activity

13 IEP Meeting Norms Helps establish a positive working environment
Provides a cognitive and affective focus on the student in question Sample meeting norms: We are all here for [student name] Be respectful of the meetings time frame Respect one another- no personal attacks Keep all discussion focused on the child Has anyone ever presented meeting norms at an IEP meeting? Can anyone think of some other statements that could be included in IEP meeting norms?

14 Pre-IEP Meeting Major Factors
Logistical Information Document preparation Discussions with all stakeholders IEP Meeting agenda IEP meeting norms Items to make sure you have completed prior to the IEP meeting Determine who will take notes during the IEP Determine who will be the IEP meeting facilitator Determine that the IEP meeting room is technologically ready IF the IEP is being audio-taped by the parent, THEN do you have a recording device? Have you created an agenda and disseminated it to all the stakeholders prior to the IEP meeting? Determine if you have commitment from all stakeholders involved in the IEP meeting of their attendance.

15 Life Skills: [Make sure you stand up and stretch at this time]
Take 3 minutes and share with your neighbor the major aspects of Pre-IEP meeting actions. Determine your “Call to Action” [what will you do now as a special educator?] [Make sure you stand up and stretch at this time] Things to say when you are caught asleep at the computer: “I just took a typing by thought class last night and I am completing my homework.” “Did you ever notice that the keyboard makes a humming noise when you put your ear really close?”

16 Beginning IEP meeting Phase
Have someone meet the parents/ guardians at the door and escort them to the room where the IEP will be held. Introductions: Everyone introduces themselves and states their purpose for the IEP meeting Administrator or District representative: State the purpose of the IEP- Initial- Annual- Triennial- Amendment IEP Send around the signature page for all participants to sign Offer another copy of the procedural safeguards (Parental rights) Review IEP meeting norms and time frame for IEP Review the agenda for the IEP meeting Ask the parent for input on the IEP agenda and their approval of the agenda You need to consider how you set up your IEP room. Where are you going to position everyone? How many people are the parents bringing with them? The Signature page needs to be sent around in the beginning due to the revolving door that exists in IEP meetings. People come and go throughout the meeting and sometimes you may miss a participants signature if you send it around at the end of the meeting. When you send it around just make a simple announcement to everyone that this is just indicating your attendance at the IEP meeting. Inform the parents that they are not agreeing to anything at this time. They are just stating that they are present at the IEP meeting. If IEP meeting is being held via phone conference or skype, then the meeting notes would indicate how the meeting was being conducted.

17 Beginning IEP meeting Phase
IF Initial or Triennial IEP, THEN- Have the psychologist review their report (Hand out copies of report) Have any other related service provider review their report (Hand out copies of report) Have the nurse present their report (Hand out copies of report) Have the special education teacher review their report (Hand out copies of report) Determine if the student qualifies for special education and through which primary eligibility and secondary eligibility, if appropriate.  IF the student does qualify for special education, THEN go to Step 7 and proceed with the rest of the IEP meeting and review the IEP forms. (Hand out “Draft” copies of the IEP) IF the student does not qualify for special education, THEN determine if the student can receive a 504 plan and calendar a date to create a 504 plan or just a classroom based intervention plan

18 Beginning IEP meeting Phase
IF the IEP is an annual review (and the completion of a triennial and initial IEP), THEN: Review front page demographics Review the students current levels of performance Ask the parents for their future concerns for their son/daughter Ask the parents how their child learns the best Are there health concerns? Are there behavioral concerns? Are there assistive technology concerns?

19 Present Levels of Performance
Present levels of performance need to include concise factual statements about where the students performance level is presenting. No Empty boxes. State current level even if at grade level. OK to state “[Student is not presenting a current need at this time in this area.” Maxwell is doing well in reading Jasmine is decoding at the 2nd grade level, Reads 75 words per minute in a 2nd grade text. According to curriculum based measurements, she continually answers reading comprehension questions at a 90% accuracy. NEAT scores Reading Fluency; GE 2.8, Reading Comprehension: GE 2.1; Math GE 3.1 There is a difference between present levels in the second page of the IEP and the students current present level for an IEP goal. They need to be addressed differently. The students present levels for the second page need to present an overall picture of the students current academic, social, behavioral functioning levels. They are an area to insert information from both standardized assessments, from curriculum based measurements, and from data collection charts and observational qualitative notes. When you actually make an observation of a student, you need to write down (or type) your antidotal statements about the students current state at the moment of the observation. To review a years worth of “seeing” the student perform in your class through a quick 3 second mind movie of the last year during the IEP is inadequate and actually a bit disrespectful to the parent and not very professional.

20 State Testing Review and determine classroom accommodations and modifications Review and determine state assessment accommodations and modifications Determine the State assessment that student will take (CST, CMA, CAPA) IF the IEP team is considering the CAPA, THEN the IEP team needs to review the artifact for determining participation within the CAPA assessment. Be careful when determining state testing accommodations and modifications. There are no modifications for the CMA test. It has already been modified from the CST. 1% CAPA 2% CMA 0r 3% total CAPA + CMA

21 IEP Goals Review last year’s academic goals and determine if the student level for achievement for each goal- Work samples and data are present to support goal attainment or not. Present the new proposed goals for the next year. Obtain parent approval for each goal (If using an online system make sure to mark “approved Formula for creating goals: By (Date) student, (Behavioral statement) Will be able to (action of skill) at a ?% accuracy, in (determine the number of trials) as measured by (Teacher checklists, an assessment, logs, teacher observation, etc). When you present previous years goals, you need to have actual hard documentation of the students progress from the last IEP year. Go through the goal, what was going on, show the evidence that the goal was achieved or not achieved and what recommendations they have if they didn’t get that child to that point. Legally, if the teacher notices after a period of time that the child is not making progress towards the goal and is unlikely to make progress towards the goal. The teacher is required to call a meeting and amend that goal, so it is more achievable and appropriate for the child. To determine if a goal is appropriate or not, you need to give the student days to show progress. You will need to have at least the number of trails as stated in the benchmark goal as data points to consider if the student is making progress. For example, if you have a ten step task analysis for benchmark one and the student after days is accomplishing 7-8 of the steps, then you can say that the student is making reasonable progress and the goal is appropriate. If however the student is showing mastery on 1 or 2 of the 10 steps, then as the Case Carrier you need to strongly consider what steps you are going to make at this time. Other steps to make include changing the instructional strategy. In the mild/moderate setting instructional methods include mainly verbal instruction with assistance through problems. So a change of instructional strategies may include use of visuals (Heuristic to task solutions, picture sequencing, video modeling), peer modeling, use of manipulative material, realia, cloze materials as some examples. If the student is in a moderate severe class, you are traditionally using some form of ABA methodology. ABA instructional methodology is utilized throughout all classroom environments to some extent. ABA does not have to mean 1:1 Discrete trial instruction. A change of instructional strategies for a moderate/severe class could include some of the same methods- peer mediate learning, visual modeling, picture sequencing. There are truly a finite number of instructional strategies. Instructional strategies are based on theories of learning. Major theories of learning include Behavior, Socio-cultural, Information processing are the three major theories of learning. Current instructional strategies are based on research based learning theories. We see variations on a theme especially in ABA techniques: i.e. Pivotal Response training, Denver Model, and Discrete Trail Training are all based on the underpinnings of Applied Behavior Analysis. Remember to never state within a goal a specific instructional material or methodology. If a goal, for instance, will require the use of assistive technology, then you need to write “with the use of an interactive reading program” instead of “Text-to-Speech” for example. To review, if you have tried two to three instructional strategies, modified the number of trials and breaks in-between instructional sessions, used a variety of reinforcing items to motivate the learning process, then you are safe to call a meeting to amend the goal. Remember that 80% accuracy is considered mastery according to the research literature.

22 Creating a goal Based on the following case study, create an IEP goal with the appropriate baseline. Sarah, a 9th grade student, currently reads at a fifth grade level. She reads approximately 89 words per minute. Sarah is able to correctly answer 4/5 comprehension questions after reading a passage. What questions, if any, do you still need answers to?

23 Creating a goal Present Levels in Math:
Samuel can identify the penny and the dollar bill. Samuel knows the value of the quarter. He can add single digit numbers up to a product of 9. He has 1:1 correspondence up to 5 items. He knows 4 shapes (Circle, Square, Triangle, Star). He can identify the colors red, blue, purple, and black. He can count up to 10, but omits the number 7 on a regular basis. What goal for math can you create? What is the best way to have a defensible baseline when writing an IEP goal? Make sure to have the appropriate baseline for your goal. Take 2 minutes to create a goal with your partner.

24 Individual Transition Plan (ITP)
Needs to be created for students who are 15 and will turn 16 by the next annual review. IF the student will be 16 before the next IEP, THEN present the ITP to the IEP team New practice: Student presents own ITP to the team. (Traditionally for students with mild/moderate disabilities) Invite appropriate individuals (Regional Center, Department of Rehab, Community College DSPS) The Individual Transition Plan should be determined through actual assessments and personal interviews the the student. For students with moderate/severe disabilities, the ITP should be based upon the conversation you have with the parent in terms of their desires for their son or daughter and their future.

25 Related Services IF the student has related services, THEN review the goals from each related service. Present new related service goals for parent approval IF a related service provider asks to leave, THEN the parents need to approve their dismissal. (Make sure that they sign the IEP before they leave the meeting) Review and discuss the services needed and their level of frequency (“# of sessions” versus “Times per week”) This is an area that quite often comes under a heavy level of discussion in the IEP meeting. Parents traditionally want number of times per week (i.e 3 times per week for 30 minutes). However, the District Related service individual traditionally likes to have the flexibility of Number of session per year (i.e. 80 sessions per year, 30 minutes per session). Within the IEP document on the services page, each individual service item has a “Notes” section. This is where you can write clarifying statements that

26 Services on the IEP Make sure to make each service as explicit as possible. If the “Specialist” is going to provide direct, collaborative and consultative services, they need to each be identified and each needs their own service box.

27 Placement and offer of FAPE
Discuss the continuum of possible placements and determine the appropriate placement District offers one clear Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) offer Does the FAPE offer include Extended School Year (ESY) Transportation Determining Placement is determined after you have gone through all the previous items within the IEP process. After reviewing the assessments and reports, the recommendations from all the specialists, you’ve gone through the current goals, the previous goals and objectives, students progress, you’ve gone through the present levels, you’ve agreed upon draft goals and objectives for the next reporting period. You’ve got recommendations for the services and supports, like behavior support plans and anything like that, any referrals for more assessments. And then you go through the level of placements from the least to the most restrictive. Even if you have a profoundly impaired individual, you want to say “The least restrictive environment is the general education setting and the law states in the least restrictive environment with their eligible peers. You need to determine if the goals and objectives can be met in a placement. Goals and objectives drive placement. Supports and services are provided to ensure that the placement will provide the opportunity for educational benefit. Therefore, FAPE is the defining moment in the IEP. It is the culminating event of the whole process. What is the most appropriate program and services for this particular child.

28 IEP meeting notes IF it is not in the notes, THEN it did not happen.
The notes of the IEP meeting are read to the group for review Additions and or corrections to the IEP meeting notes are made IF parent has made their own notes, THEN they can be attached to the IEP but are not numbered as part of the “Official” IEP. Comments page needs to state that “Parent participation comments pages are attached to the IEP”. [Date and time] Introductions were made. Those present included: Parent Special Education Teacher Administrator Psychologist Speech therapist OT PT APE Purpose for the IEP: (Initial, Annual, Triennial, Addendum, Review Assessments, Change of placement) Copy of the Procedural Safeguards offered to parent Parents concerns were: Assessment reports were reviewed: Psychologist: SLP: OT: APE: Special education teacher indicated: Present levels were discussed: Accommodations/ modifications for classroom include: Student will participate in state testing in (CST, CMA, CAPA) Accommodations/ modifications for state testing include: Previous years goals were review: New goals were presented: Related supports and services were discussed: [For students who have a Transition Plan] Individual Transition Plan was presented (by student, by the case carrier) The continuum of placements were reviewed The Districts FAPE offer is Placement in (Gen. Ed., RSP, SDC, Moderate/Severe, etc.) with related services [write out SLP, OT, APE in detail (i.e. SLP 30 min, small group, 40 sessions a year) Transportation was discussed Parent is (not) in agreement with the IEP

29 Obtaining Parent Signatures
Parents are presented the IEP for signatures and approval or disapproval Create copies of the “Completed and Signed IEP” for the parents before they leave the IEP meeting. IF there is a disagreement with the FAPE offer or other issues that presented themselves during the IEP that could not be resolved, THEN calendar an IEP date before everyone leaves to resolve the issues Parents should walk away from the IEP meeting with a couple of things. First, they should walk away feeling comfortable with and in agreement with the IEP. They should walk out with a hard copy of the IEP. IF the IEP meeting is done via telephone conference or through Skype, they the IEP document needs to be either faxed or ed to the parent so they can have a hard copy of the IEP document that day, regardless. As a program specialist, I was not one to force a parent to sign the IEP document on that day or not. There is a place where parents can sign that they are in “receipt of a copy of the IEP” and will provide an indication to the IEP team [District] within a certain time frame. I like to give the parents hours to come to some sort of decision. Remember that if the parents do not sign the IEP, the current levels of services, goals, placement continues from the last previously signed IEP.

30 Post IEP meeting Actions
Assign actions to stakeholders to complete after the IEP. Contact the parent later on in the week to debrief the IEP meeting and get a sense on how they felt the IEP meeting went. Follow through on all actions assigned to you. Follow up with all actions assigned to other stakeholders. The most important aspect to your job as a special education teacher is developing the trust of the parent. IF through continual communication to the parents you have built a positive professional relationship with them, chances are you have gained their trust that you are looking out for the best interests of their child. Having that trust is a delicate item and needs to be continually nurtured. From my experience, even if the student did not make the progress the team and or the parent desired, the parents will typically not fight the District’s offer of FAPE based on the trust they have developed with the teacher, school site and all the stakeholders in general.

31 Items to consider A parent can call an IEP meeting every 30 days.
There are no “emergency IEP meetings”. For a behavioral incident, the meeting needs to be “On the calendar” within 48 hours of the incident. Parent, advocates, and lawyers smell fear Saying “I don’t know, but will get back to you on that piece.” is golden. You can stop an IEP meeting if it becomes out of hand. Document all interactions with your parents. (Even hallway conversations)

32 IEP Meeting Process Exercise:
Stand up and walk over to someone who you have not spoken to today and each individual in the pair needs to share four (4) things you learned today, three (3) things you already knew, two (2) things you don’t understand and one (1) item you disagree with. Take 4 minutes to complete this activity.

33 Perspectives of IEP Meetings
Parent’s Perspective Administrator’s Perspective Special Educator’s Perspective What is Education Benefit? What is Reasonably Calculated?

34 Last Slide (Yeah!) Thank you for today and thank you for working with children with special needs! Craig W. Bartholio., Ed.D. I want to that you for allowing me to share with you some of the items that I have learned over the years in conjunction with the current research I am working on. I want to honor your commitment to working with students with exceptional needs.


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