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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation


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One common thread in special education is the IEP. Are you happy with the ones you get for the students in your classes? How can IEPs be improved? How often do you refer to the IEP in a school year? How do you prepare your IEPs. In New York City almost all are still written by hand.

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Diane Laramore's picture

I am in Indiana and our district has online IEPS with the state called ISTART7. The learning curve is steep, but once things are in place, revised IEPs information is cloned over.
I refer to my IEPs at least every nine weeks because we have our nine week progress on goals to put in the IEP.
I think it would be helpful to have a more standardized IEP for the nation since IEPs vary so much, it can be frustrating to interprete. As the TOR I try to write the IEP to reflect where that student is as if I didn't know the student. I would want the best info to reflect the whole child.
Our goals are written to be measurable and driven by the present levels.
They must be connected to the Indiana Standards even if they are the functional standards for our lifeskill kiddos.

Just an aside...I find this website so helpful in getting the big picture about where our profession is right now.

Diane Miner Hazel's picture

I am new to the spec ed PPT/IEP process...only 3 months reviewing a 15 yr old student's case...& the whole field of issues re his past, pres & fut needs...realize the enormity of the adult's responsibility to get this student's IEP & next 3 high school years right: overwhelming!
I will check out all web sites noted here. I welcome others, tips! Thanks.

Diane Miner Hazel's picture

Insanity prevails in educational decisions...Those who care & know are being silenced and/or let go... Thank you for your work each day of your career. For the spec ed community of staff and students the crisis is beyond imagination... Staff needs to rest, rejuvenate, & the larger community needs to rise up and stop the nonsense. Why is it in education when true leaders figure out what is needed the powerful cut what has already been working----instead of moving ahead???

Tina Lunt's picture
Tina Lunt
Special Education Inclusion Teacher in Northeastern North Carolina

I consider the IEP a process as well as a document. In North Carolina we use statewide forms available at DPI's web site. That does create uniformity in the specific questions to be answered and areas of information to be included but there are no drop down menus. Personally I keep notes about student performance that I cannot easily locate in their report card information. The notes would contain specific information about "how" they complete tasks and "the function" of specific behaviors. Theses notes and reported grades are included in the Present Level of Performance. I try to take academic goals from the Standard Course of Study and modify as applicable to the individual student. This allows the student to learn much the same information as their same aged peers. I include functional life skills when necessary. I find that the more I write in the IEP the better the student gets served. As I am writing IEP's I try to consider 'could anyone pick up this document and understand the child, their learning style, their difficulties, family concerns, and areas of academic concern' without needing me to explain anything.
During the 'process phase' (which is all year long) I ask questions of the student and other service providers and teachers. These answers are included in my notes so I have good working statements in my file. At IEP writing I use this file that also includes the grades and achievements of the child as well as specific data collected during the life of the current IEP. When I open the file I have all the information I need to write a comprehensive IEP that is very detailed and specific to the child. I hope this helps.

Diane Miner Hazel's picture

Thank you for your detailed response-great idea for what should be obvious, to record all year long relevent info-keeping big picture in mind. Very useful, & appreciated.

Diane Miner Hazel's picture

Preschool-present(Gr 9)history of Aud Proc Disorder/disfunction...
Effects in school & social life seen every day...
Yet new, technical school wants to EXIT student from sp ed
"Does not have a learning disability"!!! Anyone know how to stop this nonsense? Any literature on how APD impacts learning that the school
cannot dismiss? Thanks.

Laura A Warren's picture

Very interesting perspectives on IEP's. My perspective typically involves determining why an IEP has failed a child. I have seen some horrendous dishonest actions by LEA's (falsified test scores, reported mastery of goals when no skill has been aquired to name a few) but I also see heroic and talented teachers; Gen Ed, RSP, SDC Dedicated to making a difference & they do. Sadly, my job is often to tear an IEP apart, to hold someone accounable for the child who is 2-3 years below grade level or can't read. I truly don't now how teachers deal with the politics of this process. I have witnessed teachers fired for standing up in an IEP meeting to disagree with a district wrongly disqualifying a chld's from SE svs in order to cut costs and/or lower the % of SE kids. Teachershave left confidnetial notes under my doormat because they are so afraid of district retaliation but ethically want to help. The IEP process in theory is a good one, but the stakes are higher now. Administrators want AYP and federal funding at any cost in some cases. Into an IEP meeting walks an advocate like me, pulling the cloak off and headng to due process for pvt school tuition and winning. Teachers are expected to be superhuman; inclusion in a class of 30 is beyond comprehension! I greatly respect educators. The reality is prinipals and superintendents are like CEO's. Their jobs, promotions,& salary dependent on the budget bottom line more thaneven test scores. From where I sit, much of the IEP process is a cat & mouose game. Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger and I didn't make the rules to the game. Just another 2 cents in the blog. Thanks

Diane Miner Hazel's picture

Thanks for your input-your vision of the "game" is exactly what I see & the reality kills me as I believe in the pure vision of educators at all levels working for the common goal/educ of indiv std. Old Dogs don't change! But now I am pulled into the fray of reality...& the stakes are my grandchild, whose mom, my daughter succombed to leukemia just under 2 yrs ago...Doing my best/meeting Advoc Mon/PPT Thurs!Thanks to all for previous & forthcoming input. :)

Laura A Warren's picture

Good luck Diane, my sympathies on the lass of your daughter. I don't know the particulars of your grandson's circumstance, but hopefully you will hook up with a knowledgable advocate. The best advice I can give you is to rely on private testing and assessments. If there is a complicated diagnosis w/ LD then a child psychiatrist eval with written MD documentation will be the bottom line for your understanding and is quite difficult for IEP team to refute the MD. Hopefully securing svs for him is all that's needed, if change of placement is the goal, it will get very intense. YOur grandson is lucky. To teachers: The extensive IEP responsibilites,trainings, ect. it is easy to burn out. It is a special calling for specail people. My gratitude to all.

Diane Miner Hazel's picture

Auditory Processing Disorder has been confirmed to be the base of our grandson's learning obstacles. We me Advocate who will attend PPT on Thursday...Stud is Fresh at Tech school-new to the staff. By Feb 3 academ failures & school statements "should be exited from spec ed"
"does not qualify"...like APD goes away...we wish! Anybody have any experience or thought with keeping this injustice away. We have a whole list of items to put in IEP to increase services & accomodations...exiting makes no sense.

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