How to Request an IEP Meeting
Although an IEP team typically meets at least once a year, you may find you need to meet sooner. As a parent, you can call an IEP meeting at any time to discuss your child’s IEP and have a voice in it.
How do I request an IEP meeting?
Contact your child’s case manager
You do not have to wait for the annual IEP meeting if you are concerned about problems with your child’s current IEP, want to make revisions, or feel that a new unanswered educational issue has arisen for your child.
When making a request for an IEP meeting, it MUST be done in writing.
You may send an email or certified letter to the child’s case manager. You may also send copies of the letter or email to other relevant team members, such as the school psychologist, teacher, and principal. (When sending emails, you may want to cc the IEP team members and request a “read receipt” so you know when it’s been opened.)
Here are several templates you can use to write your request for an IEP meeting:
- On the day you send the email or letter, be sure to mark the date on your calendar. If you have not heard back from the school within five to ten business days, you may want to follow up by email and possibly a phone call to each of the individuals you originally contacted.
What do I need to include in my request?
Be specific as to why you are requesting the IEP meeting. Examples include discussing how your child will continue to access the goals within their IEP, new accommodations for the classroom, a change in service minutes, etc.
If you are working with an advocate or a lawyer, inform the IEP team in the email. If this person will be present at the meeting, include that information as well.
If there are certain team members that you feel need to be in attendance, make sure you request their attendance ahead of time.
When is the district legally required to respond?
Response to the written request
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), federal law does not specify a timeframe within which a school district must respond to a parent’s request for an IEP meeting.
However, in California, once the school receives your meeting request, the meeting must be held within 30 calendar days (not including days between the school’s regular sessions, terms, or vacation in excess of five school days).
Special education attorney Grace Clark tells us that if a district doesn’t hold the IEP meeting within 30 days of the written parental request, the parent can file a state compliance complaint. That fact can be used with other facts at a due process hearing to support an argument that the child was not receiving a free, appropriate public education (FAPE).
Scheduling a meeting for the IEP team
Once the IEP team has agreed on a meeting date, the school district is required to notify the parents of the scheduled IEP meeting by sending an IEP meeting with enough notice to make sure they can attend.
The school must also schedule the meeting at a time and place agreeable to the parents and the school, let the parents know who will be attending, and tell the parents that they may invite people to the meeting who they feel have relevant knowledge of their child.
Request a draft of the IEP
Write to the program specialist (or the administrator in charge of the IEP), the teacher, and/or the case worker to request a draft of the IEP at least two weeks in advance of the meeting; you can request that the district provide the draft no less than three days before the meeting.
In your request, you can note that it’s important to ensure that you have the information you need to participate meaningfully in IEP meetings, which may include reviewing your child’s records.
Do I need to let the district know if I want to record the meeting?
- You can only record the meeting if you give the school district 24 hours written notice that you would like to do so. In addition, if you record the IEP meeting, the district may also make their own recording.