Having your child’s IEP meeting online may not be your ideal situation, but it’s being done all over the country, and there’s no reason to think it can’t be successful.
To help everyone through the process, The Department of Education has produced a guide to hosting and participating in virtual IEP meetings. In it, you’ll find a sample protocol for a 60-minute meeting, with clear step-by-step directions for each phase of the process. It even includes tips for keeping the agenda moving forward.
While this may seem like a completely new approach to the annual meeting required for students in Special Education or those with a 504 Plan, in fact, “the law has always allowed for remote meetings to review and approve student’s IEPs” according to a recent article in Education Week.
But due to the coronavirus pandemic, virtual IEPs are now a mainstay—at least for the time being.
IEP Format of the Future?
Tessie Rose Bailey, one of the developers of the guide, points out some reasons why virtual IEPs have not been utilized despite their availability and obvious benefits:
We have found that some districts have policies that try to prevent the use of a virtual IEP. They claim it’s for security reasons, or they’re just concerned about parent participation. But, in reality, parents actually are more likely to participate when it’s done virtually. A lot of parents are appreciating this virtual participation right now because they can take an hour at their lunch break, participate in the IEP meeting, not miss a day of work where they would have previously had to take off and go into the school.
What we are finding, and not just with virtual IEPs but with virtual instruction, is that people just aren’t familiar with ways to effectively engage people. And that’s what really prompted the development of the tool; it’s to support educators in effectively engaging parents, as well as building the capacity of parents to really participate in that, not just be a passive participant.
Whether you’re new to the IEP process or a veteran of the face-to-face version of the annual meeting, this one-page infographic guide will help you prepare for your virtual IEP meeting, which may become your format of choice.
Access the guide at https://www.parentcenterhub.org/wp-content/uploads/repo_items/sample-agenda.pdf