Five Tips for the IEP

Although we go into detail in our book, we didn’t want to leave you high and dry with nothing on walking into your first IEP. So, this is what it is, and 5 tips to survive the process.

First, the IEP is the Individualized Education Program that is mandated by the IDEA Act of 1990 and each state implements it a little differently. What does that mean to your child? Well, in a nutshell, it’s a contract between you and your child’s school on their special education. This contract is specific for your kid. It’s part of the Free and Appropriate Education for your child. Again, what’s that? It means you shouldn’t have to pay for these services out of pocket at a public school. If you send your kid to a private school, however, it does not work that way. Those, well, you do have to pay. And if you’re like most of us, you don’t have a ton of extra cash just laying around for that sort of thing. However, it will not necessarily transfer state to state or even school to school, you will need more information on that, and we do cover it.

  1. You will get a notice from your child’s school, with a date and time for the IEP. Make sure you can go on that date, and put it in your calendar. There should be a box to check that you plan to be there. Do not let them have it without you! We get it, we all have jobs and commitments, but this is one you need to try and take the time for. If you need to, make them reschedule so you can be there.
  2. Show up. Yeah, we know, it seems a little obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times Assistant Principals tell us the parents never bother to show. Again, what goes on (or doesn’t) with your kid’s education is something you are going to have to live with for a very long time. Make it count.
  3. Read all Reports and Get copies. There are a lot of people involved with an IEP. Read the reports they have written.
  4. Do not sign the IEP when you are there. We’ve heard horror stories from parents that they’ve been coerced or threatened into signing an IEP before leaving the meeting. You do not have to do this. This is a binding contract. READ it before you sign! Like with any contract, it may have typos, or something other than what you agreed to in the meeting. It doesn’t matter if it’s not written in that document, so make sure. We had an IEP where the computer program kept deleting sections – and if we had signed it, our kids would have been completely stripped of services – due to a technical glitch.
  5. Follow up through the year. See how it’s going. Is the plan working for your child, or do you need to modify it? In most IEP’s, goals are incremental for your kid to make progress throughout the school year. You should at least get a progress report from your child’s teacher every quarter. (preferably a meeting, if you can.)

That’s the short and sweet of the IEP. As much as I hate to just say read the book, it does go into much more detail. But honestly, whether anyone ever buys the book or not, being able to help your kid is what’s most important, and these tips can help you do that.

2 thoughts on “Five Tips for the IEP

  1. In most states suisubttte teachers only need 64 credit hours and a background check proving they never creeped anyone out to be in a classroom. No training. No experience with children of any kind. I was a suisubttte teacher as a junior in college, my only work experience having been restaurant work and janitorial duties up to that point. Find out VA’s reqs for subs, then go in and demand that someone with actual training of some sort be provided if subs are necessary for Joey’s classes. Too many schools blame kids for behavior when there are subs, without examining their own hiring policies… (which should, frankly, be illegal.)Kick.Some.Ass

  2. that close answers shulod favor the student. They gave no level of impairment at the first meeting besides substantially limits major life activities. That qualifies for a 4 out of 5, which qualifies for accommodations.I asked for a 504 hearing, but the 504 coord. (Asst. Sup.), wouldn’t go through with it until I went back for a second meeting. I disagreed with her assessment that no decision was given, since a decision was given – denied accommodations. She wouldn’t put my request through (which, I believe, is noncompliant with OCR procedure) and so I went to a second meeting.The team declined accommodations and put no impairment level down at first meeting and after speaking with Asst. Sup., the team put a level one down at the second meeting, though they still found my child to be, substantially limited in walking and breathing and impairment has the condition for life threatening effects .The OCR has made the case for life threatening potential as to extraordinary circumstances that warrant accommodations. (see OCR complaint # 11-06-1147 for case study re: OCR’s position on this).The Superintendent is the one who allegedly discriminated against us when she refused to let the buses stop for our children in our neighborhood, as buses were passing our homes (which is against their own policy per their email to me and their intra dept. emails I obtained through FOAI requests. Also, the district’s safety walking limitations policy, when hazardous conditions exist, which the Sup. Stated in email to me) leading me to go the disability route for my own children.The three BOE members (I believe) were allegedly protecting her and themselves from a possible lawsuit re: alleged discrimination, and so they took the cul de sac turn away (going against the police report 9/2009 and the Sup.’s own route designation) January 21, 2010 and my Kindergartener’s drop off away January 22, 2010, after saying no changes which would have left them both in tact, but they broke their binding agreement, which is allegedly CONTEMPT OF COURT.The Asst. Sup. allegedly perjured herself in my 504 hearing, when, under oath, she said: No bus ever went down that road. I asked her three times, Who told you that? She evaded the question three times and the hearing officer then cut off my cross-examination. She gave no proof. I had proof that the buses came down that road. The hearing officer wouldn’t allow my evidence.The hearing officer ended up to be an attorney formerly of the same firm as the school district’s. He was also hired by the firm in a nearby town during the same year as my cases (2009-2010). They are supposed to be impartial, but he gets paid by the jobs he gets through the firm.Conflict of interest.The Dir. of Pupil services, did not comply in the allotted ten days to get the hearing officer or to set the date for the 504. He later judged against my children in the review of the 504 decision. (I think that his judging the case goes against town ethics, as well.)Alleged Violations:Alleged Discrimination (stopping for children as bus passes homes per Administrations email and internal emails)Alleged Retaliation (Three BOE members took my safe and legal turn away & my kindergartener’s afternoon drop off away, no other children get off the bus with her on our entire road, but the BOE said she was safer with other children at the bus stop than at her own driveway, even though no other children were ever with her at either bus stop)Alleged Purgery (Asst. Sup. making false statements under oath that bus never came down this road emails from Sup. designating route contradicts this)Alleged Defamation of Character (I said bus came down that road,; asst. sup. contradicted me under oath and hearing officer cut me off and said that I was misleading them. He wouldn’t allow my evidence that would show the buses DID come down the road and attorney did all she could to keep my evidence out. I got it in when I sent in my post hearing brief under policy , since, it was, in fact policy , since, according to our town’s policy, the Superintendent designates the bus routes, as she did ours, per her emails)Alleged Bias (Three BOE members who ignored safety policy to avoid cul de sacs, though, no no cul de sac policy exists)Alleged breaking DMV law (avoid backing of bus when possible)Alleged breaking contract (Superintendent must abide by DMV law and safety walking to school bus policy she admitted concerns in email to me regarding our road conditions and allowed cul de sac turn, but no stop at our end of neighborhood)Alleged violation of Professional Code of Conduct (Sup., Asst. Sup & Dir. of Pupil services)- I asked who chose the hearing officer and no answer was given, which might be allegedly covering up attorney connection, which would allegedly prove corruption.Alleged violation of attorney code of ethics (no frivolous cases all four attorneys 2 hearing officers and 2 attorneys for the boe, not allowing bus to stop as it passed our homes is a frivolous case and waste of tax payer dollars, and goes against the emailed policy sent to me by transportation dept. with the approval from both the Asst. sup. and Sup. per their internal emails)Alleged retaliation (Hearing Officer threatened in email to postpone my decision if I didn’t destroy evidence of alleged FERPA/alleged HIPAA violations of district’s attorney)This is off the top of my head. There is more.

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