How do I get ready for my child study team meeting?
For the initial or re-evaluation meeting:
Your child's evaluations (school evaluations and outside evaluations, if you have them), all copies of IEP's, communications/printed emails, work samples, current photo of your child to show at opening of meeting. Put them in file or notebook.
Here is a great example of how you can organize your folder: LINK HERE
Take a copy of IDEA federal regulation and a copy of our NJ state regulations. (saving them as PDF's on devices to search terms easily is helpful). It's good to be able to quote the section of an item in case they tell you they cannot provide it. Also, if you are not able to come up with the specific law, you will have the references with you.
Documents to create initial or re-evaluation meeting:
After reading any new evaluations, make up a list of any questions you have about the evaluations. (the law says you receive them 10 days before the meeting, it is your right to request more time if you are not given at least ten days to review the evaluations). Find your child's lowest scores, highlite and list these areas of weakness.
Do the following with or without an evaluation as part of the meeting:
1. Write a list of your concerns as a parent.
2. If it is appropriate for your child's age, write down their concerns.
3. Write down a goal statement for your child for the next few years. (more long term goals)
4. Review the work samples you have prepared to share with the team- are you seeing improvement?
5. Create a list of what you think your child's goals should be. You are an active member of the team and have the right to give input. Remember, this is an INDIVIDUALIZED education plan. Make sure they address appropriate needs based on your child's disability.
They may include the following:
Academics: Reading, Writing, Spelling, Math
A goal that is best is SMART:
A- Uses Action Words
R- is realistic and relevant
T- is time-limited
As you think of goals for your child in certain areas, make sure you are using the SMART method. Also, encourage the child study team to screen their IEP goals through the SMART process.
Some additional important questions:
1. What specialized instruction, curriculum or method are they going to use to meet these goals? Try to push for some names- ask to see the workbooks and materials.
2. Does the teacher have certification, or which level of credential with the program being implemented?
3. What training does the teacher have in your child's disability? Again, get specifics.
Scheduling with School:
Contact your case manager a few days in advance of the meeting to inquire about their agenda for the meeting and ask how much time has been scheduled for the meeting. If you feel that there will not be enough time, ask for an extended meeting time or schedule an additional date.
** A couple items to remember ***
Parents are considered equal partners with all other school personnel in making decisions.
If it is not in writing, it did not happen. Make sure you get everything written down, or you have the right to record your meetings.