My reflection on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Today's Topic

Just this afternoon, I was able to sit in on and observe an IEP meeting at a local school. As part of my SPED 179 class, my job was to reflect on the overall process. As a future teacher, I will most likely partake in several of these meetings each year, so it is important I get a basic understanding of everyone's role in the plan! Below is a brief reflection of my thoughts and feelings about the meeting.

About the Meeting:

1. Who attended?
This meeting was for a fourth grade student who also attended the meeting, along with:
  • parents
  • brother
  • RSP teacher
  • Speech Teacher
  • RtI Teacher
  • General Ed. Classroom Teacher
  • Curriculum Specialist

2. Why was the meeting held?
This particular meeting was part of an annual review meeting. There were no specific assessments, but it was held to review the student's progress since August. Several goals were set in place in the fall, and this is where they discussed if he had met those goals and what they would do next if he had not.

3. What was brought out of the meeting?

The meeting focused on 3 major aspects: strengths, challenges, and outcomes.
The IEP meeting started by mentioning all of the student's strengths and areas of growth. In fact, the student was also able to add in what he felt he was good at and what he had been working very hard towards. Every person in attendance at the meeting also had a chance to express what they saw as areas of strength for the student.
Next, the group went over what they felt the challenges were. This list was much shorter, and a lot of the items were things the student had already been working on. One thing that really stood out to me was that no matter what challenge was listed, everyone addressed it in such a positive and respectful manner! Everyone was very quick to say if they see growth, or that he is trying, or even if that is what other students are struggling with as well. Rather than seen as a challenge, they addressed it more as simply the next "goal" to reach!
For outcomes, each member of the team stated what they would do to continue to help the student and meet the challenges, and they also wrote how many sessions of help the student would receive over the next year.

4. Overall impression.
I was very pleasantly surprised by this meeting! It makes absolute sense, but I did not know before hand that the student with the IEP would be present. I think I had this picture in my head of parent-teacher conferences about report cards where students were not present. However, I really liked that the student was able to be an active member of the team! It was neat to see him talk about his strengths, and I think it was great for him to hear all the great things his teachers had to say about him. I also really liked that the "challenges" were explained to him, and his parents, in a way that made it seem like a goal he could easily achieve. They reiterated all of the progress he has made thus far, and they really assured him he would be able to meet all of his goals by next year!