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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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Mindy Cahill's picture
Mindy Cahill
Special Ed. Inclusion Teacher

In my district in Virginia we IEP on line. It's a mix of drop down menus, however, most of it is typed. My students are in inclusion classes. Like you, I spend at least 3 hours on my own time writing them. There's no time during "contract hours" for the paperwork. With the standardized tests that our state uses, the IEP goals and objectives become rather pointless. We must teach and the kids are suppose to learn the standards to pass the end of year tests. The PLOP gives the next year's teadher good information, and behavioral and organizational goals may vary from child to child. Accommodations are based on the child's needs. Basically, academic objectives are no longer individualized. the Federal government only requires that IEPs contained annual goals - our division still requires objectives.

At report card time, not only do I have to do report cards with my general ed. teachers, I also have to do IEP progress reports!!! I've had it with the whole thing.

Betsy's picture
K-5th Severe/Multiple Disabilities SpEd Teacher

I think we need one national/standard IEP. I have received transfer students from other states whose IEPs I cannot read, they are disorganized, and many still handwritten.

Deven Black's picture
Deven Black
Middle school teacher-librarian in the Bronx, NY

Creating national standards for IEPs would be interesting. The first step would be to create a common vocabulary and a common form, and I suspect that would be equivalent to the debate about the shape of the table at the Paris Peace Talks (okay, I'm dating myself. You young 'uns can look it up on that Googly thing).

T Croneberger's picture

IEP THE "I" is meaning Individualized!

I see many that ARE NOT!

When I worked in the Clark County School District, Las Vegas, NV, the IEP's were very indivualized.

If I wrote the IEP it was, if I received a student from another school it was Individual, to the exact short term goals, dates to be met and percent for proficiency!

In NJ, They ARE NOT!

Karlene's picture

I am in PA and they have pretty strict regs to follow. the school that I am in also uses a web based IEP provider. One of the best that I have used is called School Port, but that is not the one that I currently have to use. I am a Life Skills teacher and I have various IEPs that are well over 20 pages...ugh! Usually it's the parents that want several goals, but the more goals to work on the smaller the amount of progress is made.

Evelyn Metzger's picture

I see advantages and disadvantages; I'm definitely in favor of a standard format for IEPs, since it drives me crazy trying to find the information I need. I'm also definitely noticing a lot of poorly written goals and objectives, with no mastery criterion, and no conditions named.

Debra's picture

I see a lot of things at our school that Nevada would have a fit about, my son has an IEP and i have never ever seen one written so poorly, I'm not as smart as you all but, I know the rights of kids and i understand... but just to throw a IEP together to shut a parent up, that is so not right...So much of no child left behind! I have corrected my son IEP and i am not getting called names and one of them is trouble maker,

Deven Black's picture
Deven Black
Middle school teacher-librarian in the Bronx, NY

[quote]So much of no child left behind! I have corrected my son IEP and i am now getting called names and one of them is trouble maker,[/quote]

Parents need to stand up for their children. I wish the parents of some of the children I teach got involved in their IEPs and other aspects of their schooling. I have had parents not show up for IEP meetings arranged to fit their schedule, not be there for arranged phone consultations and not even bother to pick up their child's report card when they are available five days a week from 6:30AM until 7:00PM.

Debra's picture

Why is it i make my self so available its not even funny, In our school my son by the way is in 3rd grade with Aspergers...That if he is having a bad day they can't even put in his planner. Which was given out the first of the year. He comes home upset and we all know that a child with Autism does not communicate the way a reg child would...Why can't they write in it, we had this and that happen.... but if i call or go up there... they have no time! Am so sick of this school year i have called specialist in... To see if it is me or the school.. will have report next wk... Am sorry am not a educator like you all are I am trying everything to educate my self, so i am better equip for my son future in this back woods town!
Thank you

Judyth Wylie's picture

I have an interesting note. I am a brand new SPED LD Resource teacher in my district. I was a reg ed teacher for 10 years. I took all these classes to prepare for the SPED job and not ONE of those classes had anything to do with writing an IEP. THe classes were all about testing kids but mostly methods and ways to teach. So I just want to submit this thought and see what anyone else has to say about it. And the fact that once I got into the resource classroom, the main focus is not on the teaching and remediating of these students but worrying about the IEP and whether or not the paperwork is properly done. Seems a little out of focus.

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