What is an IEP team meeting?
An Individualized Education Program Team (IEP team) is a group of people who meet together for the purpose of:
- Examining and evaluating all the test results, related information, and discussing if the child requires exceptional education support to be successful in general education. This information is used to determine if the child is eligible for exceptional education and related services under the Tennessee State Department of Education guidelines. Specialists will explain results of tests for you and ask questions about your child’s strengths, skills, and weaknesses. You will be given a written copy of all evaluation reports.
- Developing, reviewing or changing the eligible child’s individualized education program (IEP).
Who is a member of the IEP-Team?
- One or both of your child’s parents or guardians. (Court documents will be needed for guardianship.) If child is in custody of DCS, Agape, or another agency, then Metro Schools will assign an educational surrogate. Please send in parental rights termination papers.
- A teacher qualified to teach children of your child’s age and suspected exceptional education needs. Feel free to invited your child’s current teacher/specialist to the IEP meeting.
- An assessment specialist, or a person who is knowledgeable about assessment procedures and can explain the test results to the other members of the IEP-Team.
- A principal or administrative designee of the school system, who is qualified to supervise exceptional education services.
- Other persons whom the parents OR school system believes to be necessary to provide information about the child or for developing the educational plan.
Activities to do before the IEP-team:
Many parents find it helpful to keep a notebook/file folder of important records. Such a notebook might include:
- shot (immunization) record
- birth certificate
- important numbers and cards such as Social Security and/or TN Care
- copies of any evaluations the child has received
- any medical records that are important for the child
- pictures of the child.
In addition to keeping a notebook/file folder of your child’s records, you might consider doing the following before the IEP-Team meeting:
- Review the educational procedural safeguards of your child and your procedural safeguards as a parent or guardian
- Write down what you see as your child’s strengths and areas of difficulty.
- Make a short list of things you would like your child to accomplish in the next year.
Things to remember at the IEP-Team meeting:
As the parent or guardian, you are an important member of the IEP-Team. You have valuable information and advice to give.
During the meeting you should:
- Be ready to discuss what you believe should be considered as your child’s educational plan is being developed. A list of areas to be addressed in the IEP is listed on page 8.
- Ask questions about any part of the meeting, the IEP, your legal procedural safeguards, or anything else that is not clear to you.
- Understand the program placement for your child and the exceptional education and related services that will be provided.
- Feel free to wait on giving written permission for the proposed program until you have taken it home and reviewed it. You may return the signed forms to your cluster office within the next week or so.
- Get a copy of your child’s IEP and find a safe place to keep this at your home. This copy will help you keep up with your child’s progress, as well as work with your child at home.
- Remember that you can request another IEP meeting at any time if you have concerns about the program as the year goes on.
What will happen at the IEP-Team meeting?
At the beginning of the meeting, your child’s legal procedural safeguards will be explained. Ask questions if you do not understand these procedural safeguards.
All evaluations will be reviewed. Your child’s performance in his/her current educational environment will also be discussed. The IEP-Team will determine if your child is or is not eligible for exceptional education services under the Tennessee State Department of Educational guidelines.
An eligibility form will be signed. All members of the IEP-Team will be asked to sign the form and mark if they agree or disagree with the eligibility. You, as parent, will be asked to sign the form last, so you can review the opinions of all member of the team.
If your child IS NOT eligible for exceptional education services through the school system:
If your child IS eligible for exceptional education services through the school system:
- Information regarding other placement opportunities and services within the community will be discussed with you.
- The IEP-Team will discuss and develop goals and objectives for your child’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP).
- The IEP-Team will decide what type of program will be needed to address these goals and the amount of time Metro school staff will be needed to support the goals.
- Each member of the IEP-Team will sign the IEP and mark if they agree or disagree with the proposed plan. The other members of the IEP-Team will sign the IEP first. Then the chair person of the meeting will review the entire plan with you, will answer all questions, and then will ask you to sign the IEP and mark if you agree or disagree.
- You may take a copy of the IEP home and think about it before you sign that you agree or disagree. Please remember that services cannot begin until you do sign the first IEP and return it to our office.
|Your Child's Individualized Education Program|
|An IEP must contain the following:
- Your child’s present level of performance (what your child is able to do and not able to do)
- Annual goals (what the IEP-Team hopes the child will accomplish within a school year) and short term instructional objectives to meet the goals
- The methods and procedures which will be used to determine if the objectives have been met
- The amount and type of exceptional education services and related services that are needed for your child’s program
- Starting date and length of time each service will be offered
- Documentation of the IEP-Team members (their signature and if they agree or disagree with the plan)
|If you and the school system cannot agree on what is needed for your child, then you can mark "disagree" on the IEP. You then have to write a letter to state why you disagree and request one of the following:
- Ask for another IEP-Team meeting
- Ask for additional evaluations or information
- Ask for a meeting with the Exceptional Education Coordinator or Special Education Director
- File an administrative complaint with the Tennessee Department of Education, Division of Special Education
- Ask for state sponsored mediation
- File a due process hearing request
These procedures can help both you and the school work out a difference in opinion and come up with a solution. Tennessee Protection and Advocacy of Vanderbilt Legal Clinic may be contacted for free legal advice.
Additionally, you are encouraged to read the Step by Step: a Guide for Parents booklet or the Rights of Children With Disabilities and Parent Responsibilities booklet so that you will be familiar with your procedural safeguards. One of these booklets will be given to you with your referral packet and another will be offered and explained at the beginning of your child’s IEP-Team. A summary of these rights can be found here.
Remember, a Due Process hearing is intended to be used as a last resort. Both you and the school system can ask for a due process hearing when normal discussion and mediation cannot produce an educational plan for your child.
Continue to Step 7: School System Sets Up the Program
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