As I scheduled my first IEP of the new school year, I thought I should share some tips for any new Special Ed teachers out there. Your first IEP meeting can be really nerve-wracking!
1. Make sure you're aware of your IEP and ReEval due dates. I always try to schedule my meetings at least 2 weeks out prior to the due date. You don't want to schedule your meeting the day before the IEP is due and then have the parents cancel on you. If you give yourself a little leeway, you still have time to hold the meeting if there is a cancellation.
I use this little calendar to help me keep on track. You can download your own editable version by clicking on the picture below.
2. Speak to the gen ed teachers, admin, SLPS, OTs, PTs, etc. before you call the parents. Are there days that are just off limits for one of the team members? Maybe they can't stay after school for a meeting on Thursdays, because they have to get their child from school early. The team members will appreciate if you speak to them beforehand about possible dates.
3. Before you call the parents have several possible dates/times in mind for the meeting. You never want to call the parents and tell them that they have to come in on a specific date for a meeting. I try to be very conscious of parents' time. Many of them work or have transportation issues so they may need to plan ahead to attend a meeting.
4. Have the school's phone number in eyesight. Every time I need to leave a message for a parent to call me back, my mind goes blank and I forget our school's phone number. So silly but I need to have it written down in front of me.
5. Log in your contact with the parent or any messages you leave. This will be especially useful if you have trouble getting the parent in for a meeting.
6. Send your parents a reminder a day or two before the meeting. We're all busy and a quick reminder is always helpful. I also like to send a friendly email reminder to the IEP team members a day before reminding them of the meeting.
7. I like to hold my meetings in my classroom. This way my parents can see the room, and I can easily access all of the student's work and data. However if you know the parent will be bringing the student or younger child and will not make them behave, schedule your meeting in a neutral place like the office conference room. You do not want kids running around destroying your room while the parent just sits there.
I hope this is helpful!