Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Length of IEP Meetings

meeting Recently I asked some special education teachers in my Ravelry group (special ed teachers who knit and/or crochet) to help me prepare for the summer grad classes that I will be teaching. I asked them to give me input on specific topics that they would like me to address in class. They have an assigned textbook and we will review the topics from the book but there are many that are not covered in the textbook that I think are important. So, I will throw out a topic and see if you can give me your perspective on the topic so that I can cover this in the best possible way.

I was asked:

One: I had to leave a meeting yesterday that had already lasted 3 hours. What is protocol for IEP meetings? How do you keep them running smoothly and not being so lengthy without jeopardizing what needs to be discussed for the student? We understand that some are just longer than others, but are some too long?

I usually contact the parents before the IEP meeting (either by phone or email) to see if there are any issues they would like to have put on the agenda for the meeting. I also check with the other members of the IEP team to include any issues they may have. Then I write up an agenda for the meeting but I do list at the end an “additional issues” in case anything else comes up. When the meeting starts, I give everyone a written agenda and we try to stick to it. If an issue comes up before it’s time, I try to ask that it is held until we come to it. This really helps to keep everyone on track and the meeting goes so smoothly. Everyone seems to like know what to expect. I also think emotions can be high during this time so by having a “roadmap” of the meeting really helps keep people calmer. Parents can see that their concerns will be addressed and won’t focus on them during other discussions. Also at the beginning, I announce that if the meeting lasts longer than 90 minutes, we will need to reconvene at another time because I want everyone able to deal with the needs of the student with fresh minds.

Many times the IEP meeting is pretty routine and I state at the very beginning how I usually hold the meeting. I will go over each section of the IEP with the parent by giving a short summary of the section and then asking the parent if there are any questions for that section. Then I ask the rest of the group if they have any questions or input for that section. Each section is also listed on a written agenda for people to follow. Usually these meetings can last from 30-45 minutes.

Do you have any suggestions, tips, and tricks for holding an IEP meeting? Please share!

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'Meeting Table'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22965089@N00/32325828 by: Mo Elnadi


CozyStitches said...

Approximately how long are IEP meetings? Is three hours standard or (please tell me) they are the odd ball....

tammy (aka cozystitches on Rav)

Jennifer Beza, M.S. Ed. said...

I agree that IEP meetings should be treated like any other professional meeting. An agenda and start and end times should be adhered to.
Setting ground rules at the start of a meeting can be helpful, especially when there are many individuals involved.


TPHamilton said...

I’m curious to know if there is a required time limit of IEP meetings?

Mrs. Ampersand said...

What a great post! Thank you for the tips on keeping meetings short and to the point. These strategies can be applied to all sorts of parent-teacher conferences, not just IEP meetings.