The Power of the IEP Process

September 28th, 2021

Our IEP process and document are so powerful! How do you leverage a strength based approach that truly allows for collaboration, connection and shared planning? When we can leverage the IEP process to center in a student's strengths, we can set a growth mindset for students, families, and colleagues about the immense capacity of a learner.

Here are a couple of strategies to center in a Strength-Based IEP:

  • Invite students to participate or LEAD their IEP. When students support their own plan, they can deepen the conversation about their strengths and develop ownership in their plan.
  • Present Levels Set the Tone - we always start by celebrating a students strengths. When we bring those strengths and areas of growth through the present levels, we can set the tone for self-awareness, reflection, and a growth mindset for all.
  • Can we weave a students strengths into their goals? How does the student's leadership skills, peer relationships, interest in science, or math facts provide a foundation for goals in self-regulation, written expression or math?

You know your students! While you will come to the IEP meeting with a DRAFT, this is a great opportunity to ask the student about the plan or share about the ways a student participated in the development of the draft. You are supporting a group of learners to become self-aware, reflect and a setting the stage for a community that invites participation from students, families and school professionals.

Recently a student made a Google Slide show for their IEP, another welcomed everyone to their fabulous team, and another facilitated the discussion with their teachers. Our students are ready and you are leveraging the power of the IEP process!

IEP Tip: Share a DRAFT of the IEP ahead of time! It supports all in centering in deep discussion at the meeting.

Procedural Guidance Academy

It's that wonderful time of year where we get to share about our Procedural Guidance Academy! We work hard to keep our focus on things that have a significant impact on student learning: Improving Instructional Practices, Creating Inclusive Cultures, Increasing Student Voice. And, in special education, there are many processes and procedures required that help ensure the rights of children and families.

Lori Prater, Instructional Coordinator, is hosting an opportunity to come together and deepen our understanding of this procedural guidance. This is a fantastic time to connect to learn more about our special education paperwork processes and case management. We strongly encourage all new staff members to attend these sessions. This is an additional paid time to dig into ePEP and learn together!

If you are planning to attend, please RSVP here - this will allow us to customize the sessions based on what you need!

Here is the Zoom link for these sessions:

Synergy and Viewing a Student's Accommodations

Isaac Force, Khang Duong and Curt Nelson have added an incredible new feature in Synergy! Our colleagues can log into synergy, look at their class list and check out a students accommodations right there! Here is how it works:

  • Log into Synergy using your teacher account
  • Look at the Seating Chart (not attendance mode)
  • Click on a student's picture. Students will have an icon indicating if they are served by special education
  • Click on "Student SPED Details"
  • The student's case manager and accommodations will be listed.

This system connects with epep and will update every night. As IEP meetings are held, accommodations are individualized, and IEPs are finalized, Synergy should update the next day!

Supporting our Students in WKOA

As you are leaning into supporting your students participating in WKOA, check out this resource document. This document walks through content areas, access and supports at the Primary Level and Mid/high levels.

Our Special Education Handbook is Robust!

A quick reminder that we have a FABULOUS Special Education handbook that provides a wealth of information from Child Find and Eligibility resources and guidance to Parent Collaboration, Peer Support, and Instructional Resources.

Each area is organized with this consistent structure:

  • Guiding Principles
  • Procedural Guidance
  • Resources
  • FAQs

Move-In and Transfer Students

When new students and families move into our school district, we have a wonderful opportunity to create feelings of belonging, inclusion, and welcome. Building rapport with each student, demonstrating genuine warmth and caring, is the most important thing that we can do to help each child have a successful transition into our schools.

Check out our Move-In and Transfer Student Process! Our handbook walks through the process for:

  • In-District Transfers
  • In-State Transfers
  • Out-of-State Transfers.

IEP Timelines

Students are returning to school after being out of school this past year. You may notice more students than we often anticipate who are coming to you with an overdue IEP. Please hold these IEPs as soon as you are able and initiate a special education action about services while an updated plan is being established.

Check out your Caseload

Take a moment and look at your caseload in epep. Does it match the students that you are seeing in the building? Is anyone missing? We want to ensure that your profile is loaded and ready to facilitate the strong work that you are doing. If you see any discrepancies, please let Ruth Zollner and Maria Swanson know.
Click Here for Student Services School Year Guidance

We heard your questions and have drafted a place to share current guidance. As questions are raised, or new guidance is shared, we will continue to update this link. Click on the teal banner to navigate to the guidance.