and what to do about it
Having a child with Learning Differences is like having a second job: doctor’s visits, therapy sessions, extra tutoring, and the paperwork involved! As parents, we like to believe that the schools are putting an effective plan in place to help our children, but that is not always the case.
Below are three big warning signs that the school may not be following your child’s IEP:
1. You’re not receiving Progress Monitoring Reports: You may be saying that you get their progress reports, and your child is doing fine! Progress Monitoring Reports are different than Progress Reports.
- Progress Reports go out to every student, indicating the academic grades and conduct grades for his or her classes. Progress Monitoring Reports are daily, weekly, or nine-week reports that directly address the IEP Goals.
- These Progress Monitoring Reports should be sent to you in a form either via the mail or via your child. There should be a number attached to the goal showing how much ground the student has gained based on the IEP Goals written in the IEP Meeting. For Example: “Kira will read 120 Sight Words by May at 80% Accuracy.” Your Progress Monitoring Report should show you where Kira is based on that Goal.
- If you are not receiving these Progress Monitoring Reports, contact your school and ask for them. Mark your calendar or set your phone to give yourself a reminder that you should be receiving them as it states on the IEP.
2. There’s no Data showing Progress or lack of Progress
- When you attend your annual IEP meeting, your child has been in school for a year. This means that the school should have a year’s worth of progress monitoring to show whether your child has made sufficient progress toward his or her Academic or Behavioral Goals. This can be in a chart form (which I prefer) or another kind of document that shows dates the progress monitoring was given and the results.
- A word of caution on these: DO NOT simply look at the IEP’s Present Levels and take the school’s word for making progress. You want to make sure that the teachers are actually taking information to measure how well your child is doing.
- This includes all classes, as well. Students with behavioral goals are often in classes without a co-teacher. The classroom teacher is responsible for keeping accurate data, and your child’s case manager is responsible for collecting it.
3. There are no classroom assignments, quizzes, or daily check sheets showing progress or lack of progress:
- This is a big one. I attended an IEP for my son three years back, and when I asked to see the artifacts (in this case, it was daily check sheets) showing his behavioral data, they didn’t have any to show me. I asked how they got the information, and the answer came like crickets in the silence. When I pressed further, the teacher said she was “making a mental note of how many times he wasn’t on task, writing it down when [I] remembered.” This is completely NOT OKAY…and it’s against the law.
- Schools are required to keep track of all IEP Goals, and they should have some kind of artifact to back-up the data and information that they show to you at the IEP meeting.
- Teachers are extremely busy; I get that, but you and your child are entitled to know how they are progressing. This tells you and the team whether the goal is appropriate or not.
If you believe your school is not doing the three things listed above, then your school is probably not following the IEP as it is written. I’d be happy to talk with you about this. Call me at 912.217.4817 for a free 30 minute phone consultation.