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A Guide to Holding an IEP Meeting

How to Set Up a Child's IEP Meeting

As a teacher, you want to do what's best for your students, but sometimes it can be hard to know what that is. As a result, you may feel unprepared or unsupported when it comes time for an IEP meeting. 


 An IEP meeting can be stressful and overwhelming, especially if you're not sure what to expect. You may feel like you're in over your head or that you're being asked to do too much. 

Many people think that holding a meeting is time-consuming and frustrating, but it doesn't have to be. The more you plan for your meeting in advance, the smoother things will go on the day of.


This blog post will walk you through everything you need to know before, during, and after an IEP meeting. In addition, we'll provide tips on how to support the families of your students and solicit information from general education teachers. Plus, we'll give you best practices for follow-up year-round so that you can feel confident and prepared every step of the way.

What is an IEP meeting, and why do you need one

An IEP, or individualized education program, the meeting is a meeting that is set up to discuss your student's educational needs. The meeting is attended by various people, including your student's teacher, school counselor, special education teacher, and parents. The goal of the meeting is to develop a plan that will help your student succeed in school.


You may be wondering why you need an IEP meeting. An IEP is important because it ensures that your student receives the appropriate education and services to meet their unique needs. The meeting also allows you to work with the school staff to create a plan to help your student achieve their academic goals.

If you are concerned about your student's education, it is important to call a meeting with school staff. In addition, school staff members are required by law to meet with the student's parents in question, so don't be afraid to call for a meeting.

First thing when preparing for an IEP meeting

The first thing you need to do when preparing for an IEP meeting is to decide if it should be a full team or a student study team meeting. With a full team, you have all the people involved in your student's IEP present, including teachers and school administrators. A student study team meeting usually has just a few IEP team members. The main difference is that the team can change your student's educational placement at a full team meeting. A student study team meeting is usually called to discuss a particular issue and make recommendations.


If you do decide on a full team meeting, it's important to get an agenda together. You will want to include the date and location of the meeting, what other people are invited, an explanation of the meeting format, who will be moderating the meeting, what materials will be available at the meeting, what your student's present levels are, and how they have changed since the last IEP was written.

After you have all this information together, it's time to inform everyone that will attend the meeting. Ensure all who are required to be there, including the parent, school administrator, and special education teacher if they are not part of the IEP team. You also want to send out an agenda to know what will be discussed at the meeting.

"I know you're busy and you probably don't have a lot of extra time to spend preparing for your student's IEP meeting. But think about making some time now. It will pay off later on when the meeting is over!"


The last thing you do before holding the meeting is to make sure all the attending people have gotten the agenda. If they haven't gotten it yet, send them another copy. Then check in with everyone to know what they need to do on the big day. Finally, make sure that you have everything you need. No one wants to stop a meeting because someone didn't bring the necessary materials.

Once you have everything together, it's time to see where you should hold your meeting. People usually meet in the school or district office so they don't need to go far. However, if your student has a lot of extra support needs that would warrant more than just an IEP meeting, you may want to consider holding it at a hospital or clinic. If this is the case, make sure that everyone knows where to go and how long it might take them to get there.

​The day of your student's IEP meeting has arrived!


​You have put a lot of work into this so don't let anything dampen your spirits. You know what to expect and you're ready to make some progress with your student's education. Once everyone has arrived, start the meeting on time and try to keep it on schedule. Get straight into discussing your student's present levels in each area of need without going off on a tangent. Once you have agreed on your student's present levels, it's time to move on to setting goals for the upcoming school year. Be as specific as possible and try not to focus too much on grades or scores.

​Once everyone has set their goals, you need to come up with a plan on how those goals will be accomplished. You want to make sure that the plan is appropriate for your student and will help them achieve their goals. If you don't think it will work, come up with an alternative plan of action. Now that you have plans for future goals, set out some practical ways to monitor them throughout the school year so everyone can remain accountable.

It would help if you also thought about accommodations or modifications that can be made in the classroom to suit your student's needs better. Everyone at the meeting should come up with these together and if possible, they should be documented somewhere so you don't forget them by the end of the year. Once everyone has finished discussing and setting goals, it's time to go over the next steps of the IEP meeting.

The first thing you need to address is if your student can continue attending school at their current school or if they will eventually have to be switched to a new school. Once everyone has agreed on what should happen, make sure that any changes are documented and sent to the parent for confirmation. Next, discuss what training or continuing education you feel is necessary to help all those involved in your student's education better understand their needs and how they can best help them succeed.

It's now time to look at any of your student's special accommodations that still need to be fulfilled. This can include something like having someone in your student's class act more as their "shadow" or working on an individualized behavior plan. Once everyone has finished discussing if any more accommodations are needed, you should also go over the location of future IEP meetings and set out some dates that work best for all involved.

The final step of a school IEP meeting

The final step of a school IEP meeting is to assess everyone's performance throughout the year. This should always be done before you leave because it shows that you were truly there to have an open discussion about your student and their progress. If there are any changes that need to be made, this is also where they need to be decided on and documented. If you feel that anything was left out of this year's IEP, go ahead and add it in.

Once everyone has had a chance to voice their opinion on how your student is performing, you can all leave the meeting with a set plan for the next school year and goals that need to be met. Don't forget to document and then send your student's IEP home with you for you to read.

That wraps up an overview of how to set up a school IEP meeting. We hope this article has helped you understand what should happen during an IEP meeting so that everyone can contribute and leave feeling satisfied.

Teaching Tip: The IEP team's success depends on how well parents and guardians are prepared for meetings. Take the time to educate and prepare your students' parents. It will pay off in the end.

9 Tips for parents attending their first IEP meeting

If you are attending your student's IEP meeting for the first time, it is important to be prepared. Here are some tips to help you get ready:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the IEP process. The IEP is a document that outlines your student's educational goals and how they will be achieved. It is important to understand what is included in the IEP so you can be an active participant in the meeting.

  2. Come to the meeting with questions. Parents often have many questions about their student's education. Be sure to write them down and bring them to the meeting. This will help ensure that all of your questions are answered.

  3. Make a list of your student's strengths and weaknesses. You will be able to mention these during the meeting and discuss how they impact your student's education.

  4. Jot down key points that you want to address at the meeting. Be sure they are organized so you don't forget anything important.

  5. Prepare for disagreements with school staff members or other parents attending the IEP meeting. It's possible that you or someone else will come into the meeting with a different opinion on what your student needs to succeed.

  6. Be honest about your student's performance and behaviors when discussing testing results. During IEP meetings, testing results are often discussed in order to understand how well they impact your student's educational goals or how they might be modified to accommodate your student's needs. Being honest about how your student is performing in these areas will help the school create an IEP that works for everyone.

  7. Leave ample time for questions and answers at the end of the meeting. This will ensure that you leave with all of your questions answered and understand what happens next.

  8. If you are not satisfied with the IEP, let your student's teacher or parent know right away. You can also follow up with them in writing so they have a record of your concerns.

  9. Celebrate your student's successes! Your student's teacher will want to share results from their educational goals so be sure to congratulate them on a job well done!

​​If you are a parent who is reviewing your child's IEP first time or attending your child's IEP meeting, it might be nerve-wracking. But don't worry! We'll walk you through what an IEP meeting entails and how to make sure that it goes smoothly. The steps we've outlined in this article should help ensure that there won't be any surprises when you attend your next IEP meeting with confidence. 

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