Sometimes when I read an IEP and I try to build a picture, road map or plan of where I want to see a student go. This to me seems normal and makes my type A heart happy. I love a plan!
I know the IEP is not the whole child-no matter what is written in the pleps, but if people have been thorough and truthful it should be a solid picture of a student. I would like to think I do a good job putting an IEP together, but I know there is always room for improvement, better ways to phrase things or different perspectives to look at when writing.
I recently saw a Facebook post of a teacher who was questioning a students abilities and progress. Not to expose to much of that story, but she had really great comments about the IEP not matching what she saw in her classroom. This got me thinking about what we write and what to do when the student in front of you doesn’t match with their document.
I think there are a few things to do.
STOP AND SLOW DOWN
Stop lesson planning for the moment.
Think of some ways to gather data and notes that can show where the student’s present level really is.
- Language skills
- Communication skills
- Academic skills
- Social skills
- Advocacy skills
- Recent audiogram
DO NOT PLAY THE BLAME GAME
I would like to think many teachers are trying their best and think they have written an accurate report. Last year is over, look forward and breathe.
You can always ammend.
I think starting from now can go in two directions. The student may have less skills than reported or more. Maybe the IEP was accurate…students can regress or mature. Either way the only way to make progress is be in the now.
START FROM NOW
Think about what needs to be addressed in the goals.
- What is measurable?
- Are you the only one able to collect and track the data? Sometimes this is the case, but think of how the team can work together.
Think about what is written in the PLEPs.
- Does the IEP reflect the students present levels?
- Are the needs/goals evident in the narrative?
- Are there other things to work on that are not a specific goal? Not every need needs a goal.
- Has parent feedback and concerns helped shape the narrative?
Once these things are looked and and adjusted start planning again. Now that you have a more accurate baseline it will be easier to plan and collect data.