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School Law - Thoughts about the IEP Process

Posted by Hope Scott on Thursday, October 28, 2010 Under: school law
Response #1: How do school staff members feel about the IEP process as a whole? Is it stressful? Do they feel it represents a true collaboration between parents and staff members to best serve students?  Our school staff members feel that the IEP process is a necessary evil.  Our school has a large special needs demographic due to the fact that we are the school of record for the Hughen Center which provides services, including housing, for severely handicapped youth and adults.   Our diagnosticians try to schedule ARDs at a time that is convenient for faculty.  They also try to ensure that they do not keep us too long, that is not to say they rush through the process.  They feel that the collaboration between parents and staff is authentic.  Many times parents are unable to attend.  The diagnosticians  ensure parents are aware of all that is taking place by utilizing conference calls so that parents can hear and be a part of the ARD.  Students also know that the diagnosticians are available for them if they have any questions.  The diagnosticians ensure that students know and understand their rights.  They also try to ensure that seniors have made plans for after high school and encourage eleventh grade students to get a job during the summer months.  They are a support system for our students and their parents.  This is not to insinuate that all goes according to plan and everyone like everything that the diagnosticians do.  But, they do strive to serve our students and their diverse needs. 
Response #2:  Which aspect of the IEP process most confuses or discourages team members?  I think the pre-referral process confuses and discourages team members.  We see so many students who seem to have fallen between the cracks when it comes to special education programs.  Many at the high school level feel that it is too late to initialize the process for placing a student in special education.  In some cases, students may have been denied the service or the service was rejected by a parent or guardian.   I do not think that teachers of younger children have this dilemma.  They are with the child most of the day; whereas, we see them for about an hour and fifteen minutes every other day.  It is evident that some of our students need intervention, but I think that we feel that it is too late to help.
Response #3:  How does your school/district determine whether students are eligible for special education?  The district uses the same criteria set forth by the state.  Teachers can initiate the process.  The teacher then speaks with the diagnostician to find out what documentation is needed to start the process.   
Response #4:  What do IEP team members say can be done to better improve the process?  The process at our school could be improved if the diagnosticians had cooperation of parents and administrators.  Even though they try to schedule ARDs at a convenient time, administrators have a lot on their plates.  They have so many other commitments that it is hard to tie them down to a time to meet with the committee to discuss the needs of students and parents.  I also think that the paper load is burdensome.  Most of our diagnosticians come early and stay late to get all the paperwork done.  
Response #5:  Are students’ IEPs effectively implemented at your school? What can be done to improve implementation?  Students' IEP are implemented, but not effectively.  Many times we get the information too late.  We can usually tell if a student has or requires special accommodations, but the paperwork comes after school has already started.  I try to keep the IEP's in mind as I grade and work with students who need accommodations.  I think the only thing that can be done to improve implementation is to receive the information earlier.  The block schedule makes it hard to really know the students before the end of the 1st grading period because we see them every other day.  If we had time to look at the list of students along with our attendance rolls, we will have a better handle on who in our classes have IEP's in place.
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Resources:
Texas Project FIRST  -  Families, Information, Resources, Support & Training. Retrieved October 9, 2020 from http://www.texasprojectfirst.org/SEProcessStep.html.
Videos on LRBI. Least Restrictive Behavioral Interventions. Utah State Office of Education: LRBI Resources. Retrieved October 9, 2020 from  http://www.usu.edu/teachall/text/behavior/LRBI.htm#lrbi.
MY CHILD'S SPECIAL NEEDS. A Guide to the Individualized Education Program. Retrieved October 9, 2020 from http://www2.ed.gov/parents/needs/speced/iepguide/index.html.
LD Online. IEP's. Retrieved October 9, 2020 from http://www.ldonline.org/indepth/iep.
PBS Parents. Inclusive Communities. Special Education: Evaluation. What Parents Should Know and Ask. Retrieved October 9, 2020 from http://www.pbs.org/parents/inclusivecommunities/special_education.html.
The Learning Disabilities Association of Texas.  Retrieved October 9, 2020 http://www.ldat.org/index.html.
Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004. (2004) Retrieved October 10, 2010 from http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,regs,preamble2,prepart2,E,3500.
UnderstandingSpecialEducation.com. Retrieved October 10, 2010 from http://www.understandingspecialeducation.com/index.html

In : school law 


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Hope Scott I am a Web Technologies teacher. I created this blog as part of my Master of Education in Educational Technology Leadership for Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas.

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