Back-to-School Toolkit Part 2: The Fall Check-In
You’ve signed the IEP that’s currently in place — but is your child actually getting everything that has been written into it? With school in full swing, it’s important to make sure your kid is receiving the services and supports they need to make meaningful progress and get their year off to a great start.
About four to six weeks after school begins, make time to review some key areas of your child’s IEP to see what may need updating or adjusting. This can help you determine whether you need to call a fall check-in meeting with your IEP team. While an IEP meeting isn’t necessary for everyone, it can be critical in certain situations:
- You want to make changes to the IEP;
- Your child is starting the year at a new school and you want to meet the IEP team to establish a good working relationship and build trust — and make the kinds of adjustments that inevitably come with a change in schools;
- Your child will be working with therapists, teachers, or administrators who aren’t familiar with them. Discussing goals carried over from the previous year — especially if your child didn’t make the progress the team had hoped for — can help establish better expectations for this year.
But even if those situations don’t apply to you, it’s still a good idea to check in on your child’s IEP for the year by doing the following.
Review your child’s IEP
Request any necessary assessments
If your child has experienced a loss of learning over the summer or you feel their goals, services, and accommodations are no longer sufficient, a new assessment could go a long way toward getting your child the supports they need.
One reason you may want an updated assessment is to check in on the tools (whether high- or low-tech) that your child uses to access their education. Are they able to keep up with the pace of classwork? Are they struggling to do work independently at school or at home? Could a few well-designed apps make reading and writing assignments easier so they can focus on the learning at hand? Read about all the ways that assistive technology (AT) can boost a child’s access to their education, and why it’s important to check in on their accessibility needs every year. (You can also check out our article Assistive Technology Tools to Empower Students with Disabilities for a round-up of the many assistive tech tools and software applications out there.)
Finally, remember that parents can request an assessment of their child at any time. Check out our article on assessments to learn more. We also have a sample letter to help you request an assessment.
Review your child’s goals and make sure they’re based on the Common Core State Standards
There are so many reasons why it’s important to make sure your child’s IEP goals are based on the Common Core state standards. The main one, of course, is that every child deserves a rigorous education that helps them grow and learn about the world.
In California, teachers use the Common Core state standards to shape what they teach at each grade level. When students aren’t ready to access the standards as written, teachers also have access to Core Content Connectors (CCC) and Essential Understandings (EU), which help bridge the gap for both children with disabilities and their neurotypical peers.
Check out these resources to help you talk to your child’s teacher about using CCC and EU to support your child if they need better access to Common Core curriculum.
Every child also deserves the opportunity to graduate with a diploma. Recent developments in California have led to the creation of a new pathway to earning a diploma for students with cognitive (and other) disabilities. Even if a student is using modifications to access their curriculum, or taking alternate assessments, they have the right to the opportunity to work toward a high school diploma. Read our article New Pathways to a Diploma for Students with Disabilities to learn more.