School Law EDLD 5344 Week 1

Response #1

How do school staff members feel about the IEP process as a whole? Is it stressful? Do they feel it represents a true collaboration between parents and staff members to best serve students?

I think most school staff members have a fairly ambivalent view of the IEP process. Obviously, it’s a good thing and is very useful for the students’ overall success, but I think there are a number of educators who view it more as a nuisance or as a necessary evil. They feel that it interferes with or even dumbs down their curriculum. One of the things I think frustrates teachers is that many parents aren’t as involved as they should be (at least in the opinion of the teacher), which is particularly frustrating since you’re dealing with a child in need of special/extra services, which results in greater need for support at home. If the parent(s) shirk the responsibility, that can result in them not actually providing input for the IEP and the educational goals/objectives are left entirely to school employee(s).
Response #2

Which aspect of the IEP process most confuses or discourages team members?

I think team members seem to be most frustrated with IEP that aren’t very explicit in their instructions. For example, a student that has accommodations for math, science, reading, and social studies, but not for electives or CTE courses. This means, technically, that teachers in those subjects do not have accommodations that they have to follow, even though it would be in the students’ best interest. Also, I think many educators are discouraged by the “just business” approach to ARD meetings and the IEP process. That is, instead of realizing the lifetime of consequences our choices in each of those meetings, we treat it like a formality and just move through because we have “more important things to do” whether we acknowledge that belief or not. I have found that it is true, after all, that actions speak louder than words and even though a fellow educator may give lip service to the IEP process, seeing another educator or administrator treat this as though it were just more paperwork can be disheartening.


Response #3

How does your school/district determine whether students are eligible for special education?

Our school district utilizes testing based on the referral process that teachers go through to nominate the student for that testing. If there is a student, for example, that seems to be struggling in class (which may or may not be related to their behavior), our district starts a three-tier series of interventions that try to determine if the student does indeed need the services of special education or if the student would best be served in an accelerated instruction class, tutorials, or some other type of intervention. If the student’s performance is not impacted by these other interventions and the appropriate documentation has been completed, the student may be nominated for testing. The testing is very comprehensive and detailed and, based on those results, determine whether the child should be placed in special education or not.


Response #4

What do IEP team members say can be done to better improve the process?

IEP team members think the process could be improved by better/more follow-up and accountability. Additionally, they believe that all teachers could benefit from specific training about the actual implementation of the various accommodations. They argue that while a teacher sees “Extended time for assignments” on the IEP, they are left to ascertain how much constitutes “extended time.” The wording is very broad and leaves much to the interpretation of various teachers, which is far from best practice and does not provide the best educational experience for the individual student.


Response #5

Are students’ IEPs effectively implemented at your school? What can be done to improve implementation?

Our school does a fairly good job of implementing IEPs and making sure that teachers have the right information when it comes to servicing our special education students. While we may be given the IEPs for the students on our roster, specific, relevant training would be extremely beneficial, especially to our less-experienced teachers. Some examples of this would include what to do when a student refuses to abide by their own IEP, what some of the accommodations actually look like in a specific classroom, and how to document the services given to a student within the classroom.



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