IEP’s, Tools and Timesavers

by Neva Fenno, M.S.Ed. MLIS

It’s impossible to believe we are approaching mid-school year, a time of assessment, review and renewal. If you’ve made any resolutions, and are the type of person that keeps them, please comment on this blog with tips for the hopelessly resolution-challenged. I make really great ones. Keeping them?? Not so much.

hands filing

In my last blog, I touched on IEP (Individual Education Plan) management as it relates to parents and their wishes. There’s a fine line between being helpful and caving in to unrealistic demands in the form of additions to the legal document we know and love, called “The IEP”.

The IEP (Individual Education Plan) is a critical part of a special student’s dossier. It was introduced during the implementation of Public Law 94-142 many years ago. I have seen IEP’s that are so badly written that they only muddy the waters for the student, and are used as a device to placate over-involved parents.

There are some tips and tricks to writing a good IEP. Keep in mind that a good IEP is crafted by many people, all of whom are involved in the academic life of a special needs child. Ultimately though, it is a legal contract, a binding agreement between a special needs child’s parents and family, and the school district.

Lately, there has been a great deal of interest in using RTI (Response to Intervention) strategies to help prevent premature referrals to the Special Education bureaucracy in any given school district. I agree that a good program can help to bring everyone together in a tiered instruction model, and that it is in the best interest of students to provide interventions, especially for behavior management- the root of all evil in the classroom. Teachers need special training to become masters of behavior management. The single best resource to help teachers in that area is:

                “Pre-Referral Intervention Manual”, Hawthorne Educational Resources, Third Edition, Stephen B. McCarney, Ed.D

This manual provides teachers with strategies and checklists to help manage the most troublesome behaviors that are present in the classroom; the activities some students invent to make us all crazy. You need to be armed and ready.

I have brought together some resources in this blog that can help save you time and aggravation as you prepare IEP’s for review in 2014.

  • Wrightslaw: the best one stop website for the development of IEP’s. It reminds teachers of the legal aspects of the document, its history, and its use as a tool in a well-defined plan for managing the education of a special needs child?
  • IEP Direct: reviews and guides to state-specific IEP regulations, what happens in New Jersey may not apply in New York.
  • SPEDAssist: a review of IEP preparation software programs, comparison of commercial products. These products have come a long way, and you would be wise to work with your district leaders to invest in one of them. It will help you develop consistent goals and objects.
  • For Parents: A guide to working through the SPED IEP process.
  • For Teachers: Writing great IEP goals that are clear and enforceable. National Association of Special Education Teachers.
  • Administrators: Managing the IEP process.
  • Annotated bibliography of SPED resources.

In the end, like anything else in education, managing your paperwork for your special education students is about building relationships with concerned parties, all of them. It can’t be done in isolation; many schools develop pre-meeting focus groups so that consistent policies and procedures can be implemented.

Add to this list, we all work best when we work together.

Don’t be silent, comment on this post, what do you think, do you have tips for teachers when it comes time to reveiw IEP’s? Let us know.


Grant Name: Foundation Grants

Funded By: Flextronics Foundation

Description:  The Flextronics Foundation sponsors educational programs and other charitable activities where Flextronics employees volunteer their time. We focus our efforts on those organizations distributing funds toward programs that benefit students with socioeconomic issues, learning disabilities or handicaps. We support academic programs in areas related to electronics manufacturing, and the betterment of disadvantaged students.

Program Areas:   After-School, At-Risk/Character, Disabilities, Early Childhood, General Education, Math, Reading, Safe/Drug Free Schools, Science/Environmental, Social Studies, Special Education, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)

Eligibility:  Public School, Private School, Higher Education, Other

Proposal Deadline:  3/1/2014

Annual Total Amount: $100,000.00 – $900,000.00

Average Amount:  $2,000.00 – $50,000.00

Address: 847 Gibraltar Drive, Milpitas, CA 95035

Telephone: 408-576-7528

Website: Flextronics Foundation

Availability:  All States


2 thoughts on “IEP’s, Tools and Timesavers

  1. Pingback: Blog Carousel: Disability in the Classroom, According to Teachers | Love in Search of a Word:

  2. Pingback: Blog Carousel: Disability in the Classroom, According to Teachers | Love in Search of a Word:

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