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Co-Presented by: Mary Samples, Assistant Superintendent

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1 “Taking Charge” of IEP Meetings- for new School Principals And Other IEP Team Leads
Co-Presented by: Mary Samples, Assistant Superintendent and Fran Arner-Costello, Director of Programs and Services, Ventura County SELPA MARY

2 The Dream vs the Reality
The IEP Meeting…. A collaborative, creative brainstorming team on behalf of students -or- Accusatory and adversarial Fraught with legal challenges Boring Complicated Review that the original law is a wonderful vision. That parents and educators work together in good faith to help kids. And quite often this is the case. However, sometimes the meetings are not that way, and may have angry, defensive, or upset people, and may cause legal damages to the district.

3 Who Should Run the Meeting?
Best if not an active participant Not emotionally involved Good leadership skills Often the school psychologist or administrator

4 The Role of the IEP Team Lead
Run the agenda Follow all steps Make sure parents are heard Make sure professionals are heard, and are not attacked Assist the team in coming to consensus The team lead is in a powerful position, and must be willing to take responsibility for running the meeting. They must give the meeting their full attention, making sure that the agenda and process are followed. They must make sure that all team members are treated with courtesy and respect (parents and professionals). It is their job to assist the team in making decisions.

5 The IEP Process Clarify meeting purpose Make introductions
Review all reports and progress Establish current performance (“Present Levels”) Determine eligibility (if appropriate) Develop transition to adult life plans Review the process.

6 Select Special Education services to address goals Decide ELD services
7. Set goals for year Decide accommodations or modifications needed and participation in state assessments Select Special Education services to address goals Decide ELD services Overall description of program- offer of FAPE Complete required documentation and signatures We will go over each of these steps one by one.

7 This is the agenda – it’s a best practice to have a copy at the meeting.

8 Meeting Purpose Initial/ Triennial- Must establish eligibility and need Annual review- Review progress and set new goals, change services if needed Other: New assessment or FAA Manifestation Determination Review Parent Request These are the various reasons to meet. It is important that the principal be aware of the reason before the meeting, because there will be different things to be done depending on the purpose. Also, the reason should be clearly articulated to the parents and the rest of the team, in the interest of keeping the agenda within the allotted timeframe.

9 Required Members at all IEPs (or it’s not legal)
Representative of the district Parents Special Education Teacher or Specialist General Education Teacher Anyone who has conducted assessment The student if over 15 Can use an Excusal These people must be there. If not, use the Excusal, get parent permission, and place in file. Do not hold a meeting without the required members.

10 This Excusal must be used even if someone leaves early.

11 Representative of the District must be . . .
Qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education Knowledgeable about the general education curriculum Able to commit the resources of the district REFER TO THE HANDOUT OF VARIOUS ROLES. (HO-1)

12 Introductions Sets tone for the meeting
Parents must know who everyone is and their role Sit parents next to someone who is trusted (often the Case Manager) Establishes that you are in charge of keeping the meeting on track, and observing professional courtesy Demonstrates your interest in supporting the student The way introductions are done can set the tone for the meeting. Gets people on the same page, is courteous, parent feels more confident, etc. If the parent is not at ease, seat someone who knows them well next to them, to listen to them, make sure they are understanding, etc. Offer coffee, water?

13 Review all Reports Reports must be reviewed by qualified person
Everyone should have a copy of the report as it is being reviewed Allow people to ask questions and express concerns Make sure the specialist clarifies any “jargon” The report can be modified if all agree Make sure that each assessor shares their report. Use words and terms that are understandable to everyone. Ask clarifying questions if the person is not being clear. Make sure there are enough copies of the report for everyone, including parent. If the assessor agrees to modify the report based on input given by a team member, make sure parents get a copy of the revised report.

14 Reports Prior to the Meeting
Assessor can review with parents prior to the meeting Parents can have copies of reports prior to the meeting (if completed) If parents want to review report at the meeting and then reschedule they can.

15 Review of Progress Review all the existing Annual Goals note “Met” or “Not met” Staff should have data supporting each of the goals Allow parents to respond to progress reports The goals are the signposts along the way to educational benefit. If students are making progress, then the program is right! If there is any disagreement about goals, make sure your staff have “backup” data to support their findings. The data doesn’t have to be fancy (although fancy is nice), as long as they are functional- checklists, grade books, student work, prompting sheets, behavior contracts, etc.

16 Present Levels of Performance
Start with parent input (considers their concerns) Review all areas Celebrate areas in which student is doing well! Performance expressed in terms of what the student can and can’t do- scores don’t belong here FRAN: Make sure it’s a complete picture of the child- don’t put just “age appropriate,” indicate what the child can and cannot do. Be sure to find good things to say!!!

17 Present Levels, continued
Easy place to add comments parents make (note “parent reports” if not all agree) Be sure to put in the latest statewide test scores and EL levels Note any areas in which goals are needed Putting in parent comments help make this a collaborative document.

18 Impact of Disability This phrase should be the one that interprets for all other educators how the disability impacts progress in core curriculum. The team should not decide placement and services, but what challenges the student faces, or how the disability makes learning difficult. This is the cornerstone of the IEP. It lets general ed, parents, and others see what the disability actually causes for the child, versus the disability label.

19 Make sure parent is ok with everything. If not, note their comments.

20 Determine Eligibility
For initials and triennials only Establish presence of a disability (13 categories) Establish need for Special Education services For Specific Learning Disability, there is a form For annuals and other reviews, the child is assumed to continue to be eligible, and there does not have to be a discussion about eligibility. Eligibility is two prong- presence of disability and need for services.

21 Transition to Adult Life
Required for all Special Education students 15 and older Case Manager should have done lots of preliminary work Student should speak if able Sets the tone for the whole rest of the IEP, in terms of what student wants to do Should have done career interest and career skill assessments. There are lots of forms that can be used for the student to give input. S/he should express their interests and dreams. A plan for addressing those dreams (even a teensy first step!) should be made, regardless of whether the adults think it is a good idea.

22 Must have a career and education/training outcome.

23 Note any adult agencies to be invited next year.

24 Annual Goals In all areas in which there are concerns/student is behind Get input from parents “Guideposts” to outcomes Must be measurable and quantifiable Must have baseline Must be clear who will work on Helps confirm “Educational Benefit” Annual Goals are the “proof in the pudding” of whether the child is making reasonable progress. Parents should not be able to say the program is not adequate if the child is making progress. All members of the IEP team must be clear on what the current (baseline) performance is, and what it is agreed the student should accomplish in one year. Let’s look at the elements of goals, and then some samples. (Mention the 2 types of goals pages.) Case Managers should call the parents before the meeting to share ideas about goals.

25 Description (including baseline)
Required elements: Progress on last year’s goal/reason for goal- This explains why we have a goal in this area Baseline Description of behavior or skill- this is the skill we will measure in the goal Current accuracy, consistency, and how measured Baseline is always stated in terms of, “Currently, student can…” The skill that is described here needs to be the same as the skill that will be measured for the goal. (This is the “point A” from which “point B” stems). There needs to be data supporting the baseline, including a measurement tool. For some skills, one observation is adequate to establish baseline, and sometimes a different tool will be used to establish baseline vs measuring the goal. But the way the skill is measured must be the same as the goal: Number correct, number of prompts, etc. etc. Let’s look at some good examples. (Jesus, Johnny and Yvonne.) (HO-2)

26 Annual Goal By (date) Student name Setting/conditions
Skill or behavior (same as baseline) Accuracy (how well) Consistency (over how much time/trials) How measured The setting and conditions are the factors that will be in place when this skill is measured. Just putting “in the educational setting” may not be indicative if what you really mean is, when prompted, or when asked to do math, or in the speech or counseling office. The skill or behavior must be the same as baseline. The accuracy should be in the same terms as baseline, but of course with an increase or improvement. (Number of prompts, number of opportunities, number correct, etc). The consistency is the amount of times that the student will be expected to demonstrate that skill at the accuracy given to be considered “met.” For some skills, doing it twice is plenty, for others, there needs to be a maintenance over time. As measured is always hard copy, which can be brought to IEPs and hearings to back up assertions made about progress. Look at Jesus, Johnny and Yvonne as good examples. LOOK AT SAMPLES 1 & 2 – WHICH IS GOOD, WHICH IS BAD?

27 Accommodations and Modifications
Allowances the student needs across the school day State Assessments Accommodations: Do not substantially alter the construct of test/assignment/course Modifications: Do substantially alter the construct The team decides- general education teachers must help The team needs to think about the student’s disability, and in which subjects/settings s/he will need extra allowances. Once documented, they must be provided – teachers can’t choose. Review Classroom Accommodations Menus (HO-4). The general education teacher needs to describe the requirements of the course, and whether or not proposed allowances would or would not substantially alter what students are responsible for learning.

28 Be as creative as possible!

29 Special Education Services
Necessary to meet goals Consider all adults available in the educational setting Multidisciplinary Frequency, duration and location Provider Eligibility ≠ Services! These are the Special Education services that make the child’s program unique. Be clear as to how much, and where the services will be provided. Do not put ranges, but ok to put “per month” for some services. As an administrator, it is your responsibility to ensure that these are provided. Require your specialists to keep logs of services, in case there are any disputes. Mary tell Hueneme story.

30 You can note “end dates” now.

31 Offer of FAPE Before the meeting ends, you must have in writing what you are proposing to offer. The representative of the district makes the final decision on behalf of the district “Overall Description of Program” describes the student’s school day, the services s/he will receive, where and by whom. Put this in writing even if you anticipate that parents will disagree. Include supports for school sponsored extracurriculars. Put in any detail that is important to describe what the student will get. This is the offer that you are willing to defend if the parent initiates due process. If you have nothing, you will automatically lose any case. You can change this offer if you get new information and meet again, or you can change it with a Prior Written Notice letter.

32 Make sure the offer of FAPE is complete.

33 Required Documentation
Make sure everyone who attended signs Parents must sign that they were in attendance. If parents don’t want to sign in agreement, let them think about it for a few days, but set limits. Get parents to indicate everything they are in agreement with If you can isolate the areas of disagreement, you can implement those in agreement and work on solutions to the area of disagreement.

34 Show where disagreement would be indicated.

35 If Parents Disagree OK to try to compromise within reason during the meeting If not willing to change something, put it in writing and let parent indicate disagreement Make a plan to meet again as soon as possible to discuss that area Check with Special Ed. Administration for advice on how to proceed. Follow up with “Prior Written Notice to Parents of Action” Prior Written Notice should be given to clarify your position in the IEP, if there is something that the parent has requested that you are refusing, or if there is something that you are offering that the parent is refusing.

36 Do not forget this step!

37 Solving Disagreement Request further assessments
Bring in other experts Consult with district office Special Education Department Try to come up with a “win-win” solution Agree to a “short term” trial (either your idea or parents’) Ask the parent to clarify WHY they are asking for something, or refusing something. With that reason in mind, try to come up with solutions that meet that same need.

38 If Team Members are Inappropriate
If your staff is inappropriate: - Ask for a break - Speak to them outside the meeting If it’s the parents or an outside party: - Ask for professional courtesy - Refer back to agenda - Ask for a break - Stop the meeting and plan to reconvene Don’t allow people to be abused verbally. Stop anything that is inappropriate. Be strong if you feel that any members of the team are being treated disrespectfully. Work with your own staff before the meeting to anticipate any pitfalls or areas where they feel scared or vulnerable.

39 Parent Action CDE Complaints OCR Complaints Due Process
Resolution Session Mediation Hearing MARY

40 If Parents Request Due Process
Assist them in accessing the required paperwork (on SELPA website) Let your district Special Education office know asap Resolution Session will be the next step- many things will be resolved at this level This is not the end of the world. It just establishes that they are not in agreement with something, and that they are willing to pursue it. Your district can decide if they want to hold the line on the issue or resolve it in resolution. Does not necessarily allege wrongdoing, and is an administrative process for resolving differences. FRAN - SHOW SELPA WEBSITE – DUE PROCESS FORMS – SIRAS User’s Manual & Instructions.


42 In Summary….. 98% of all IEPs will be collaborative, productive meetings Parents will appreciate your caring and involvement Staff will appreciate your leadership and protection Be prepared for the ones that are challenging, and get help if needed! Keep informed of changes in special education information Although we would not want to have DO staff in attendance at every IEP team meeting, we certainly need to use them for problematic sitruations which might cause harm to the district farther down the road.

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