IEP Back to School Check List
By Stephanie Wynn
Top 5 IEP actions to complete before school starts
Many of us will be going back to school in the next week or so or by early September. It’s important to enjoy your summer vacation and spend precious moments with family and friends in order to recoup from the hustle and bustle of school year life. With that said; take a moment to get prepared for the upcoming school year with my top 5 MUST DO’S to prepare and enhance your IEP school year. It will only take a few moments to complete but will make a world of difference in the long run. You will need your student’s current IEP, highlighter marker and your calendar.
1. Print out the current copy of your child’s IEP. Make certain you have ALL of the pages printed. Now make enough copies to give out to ALL persons that will interact with your student. Here are the top influencers:
general education teacher, special education teacher, paraprofessional, instructional assistants, bus driver, speech and language, occupational therapy, assistive technology. Don’t forget music, art, technology, computer lab, physical education, and any after school programs. Attach a small school picture to each IEP to help identify your student to any new staff along with your preferred contact info written atop of the page; such as your email and cell number. I suggest personally handing this packet to each so that you know they have received it and it allows you to say hello; welcome them back to school and start off on creating great rapport!
2. Familiarize yourself with the school district calendar. This one is overlooked many times but is so important. I print out the school calendar and input all of the dates into my personal calendar as reminders. Important dates should include holidays, no school, report card, state-wide testing, fun events and fund raisers. Now for the IEP dates; you will want to follow this quick tip. Find your last IEP annual meeting date. Forward one year and find the date on your calendar. If for example your date was November 10. You’ll want to find the same date range and add to your calendar “IEP ANNUAL”. Now you will want to add a reminder 4 weeks in advance of that date “PREPARE IEP ANNUAL”. This will give you 4 week as a reminder. Next add in your progress reporting dates if they are part of your student’s IEP.
3. Safety check your student’s school day. Does your child have food allergies? A spare change of clothes or comfort items? I recommend buying a backpack or gently used one from last year and place the items in it now. This can be the ‘emergency’ bag that could make or break your child’s school day in times of discomfort or not so great days. Make certain each item has their name neatly written and easily identifiable. If you have approved snacks that your child needs jot down a quick list and if you are able to pull a few of them toss them in now. If your child is at risk for elopement (wandering off school property) make certain you provide to the school a completed Elopement Alert Form.
4. Plan out how you will communicate with your IEP team. Be proactive not passive when it comes to communication. Communication is the lifeline of a successful IEP year. If you have the emails for each of the IEP team members from last year; create a brief email with excitement that you are looking forward to a successful school year and are asking for everyone’s preferred method of being contacted; albeit email, texts or main line school calls. Once you’ve got everyone’s response create a quick table and put this in the front of your IEP binder.
5. **Determine your top 3 goals you have for this school year. Write them down and be prepared to either address at the annual IEP or determine if you need to request an IEP meeting before the annual. Determining their importance is key. Now is the time to reflect on a last year and determine what was overlooked, missed or where there’s room for improvement. Perfection is not the goal but consistent goal setting and achievement IS! **Plan ahead for success and you will see the results in your child’s success! I discuss how to prioritize goals and request new ones in my upcoming online course! Sign up using your email and I will send you a notice once the course is live.
This publication is intended to give you a general idea of the law. However, each situation is different and unique. If after reading one of my publications you have further questions about how the laws may uniquely apply to your experience please contact me on any of my social media, which you can find on my instructor profile.
I offer annual advocacy services on a first come first serve basis. For pricing and available openings contact me directly.
Back to Articles
Stephanie is a Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates member. As an IEP Advocate Stephanie has worked with parents, students, & districts across the US.
More Articles by Stephanie Wynn
Do you feel nervous and unprepared for every IEP meeting? Do you feel like you’ve made mistakes on your student’s IEP? Are things taking too long or are you experiencing too little progress? Is your student failing or ne . . .