How do I get ready for my child's Team meeting?

Bring with you:

Initial and Re-evaluation meeting:

Your child's evaluations (school evaluations and outside evaluations, if you have them).  Put them in file or notebook.  

Take a copy of your Wrightslaw book (Federal law-IDEA) and a copy of our Mass. state regulations.
It's good to be able to quote the section of an item in case they tell you they cannot provide it.   It's a good idea to remind the Team that this meeting is about meeting your child's needs and it's not about money instead about your child's education.  It's good to let them know if they are not familiar with the law, you can look the law up for them if they like.

Bring a photo of your child (especially if there is a large IEP population in your school.)

Re-evaluation or yearly (annual) Team meeting:

A copy of your child's current IEP (and the previous IEP) for reference.

Bring your child's Communication Notebook (or printed out emails).

Gather up your child's work samples from the regular ed classes and special ed sessions.

Documents to Create for your meeting:

Initial and Re-evaluation meeting:

After reading your evaluations, make up a list of any questions you have about the evaluations.
Find your child's lowest scores,  highlite and list these areas of weakness.

In preparation for creating your child's IEP:

Write down or typed up list of your Parent Concerns (worries).

Depending on the age of child, write down your child's concerns, for the Student Concerns (worries).

Write down or typed up hopes and dreams for your child.  Use these to create your vision statement for your child (your  long term goals, where you would like to see your child in 1-5 years).

You will read and present your documented concerns to the Team to be discussed and to be include in your child's IEP (page IEP1). These concerns can be used as an outline for the contents of your child's IEP.

Review the child's past years achievement, work samples from the regular ed classes room and his special ed  sessions, homework, grades, reports, previous history, etc.).
Consider the student's present level of educational performance.
Estimating what can be expected in a year's time or the duration of the IEP.

Make up a list of what you think your child's goals should be. You need to provide input as to what goals your child should have.  Want to ask do these goals address your child's needs based on his disability.

These may include the following:

List the goals in order of their priority.
Identify the category of instruction for each deficit area.

Make up a list of questions for your Team meeting.  See two examples of a possible format to use:
Crabtree's and Wrightslaw. Here are some examples of questions to discuss:
       Prioritize your requests/questions.

Annual Team Meeting:

Look at the pass years goals, If you have draft copy of your child proposed goals:
Assess the practicality of the chosen goals in terms of final outcomes, age appropriateness, relevancy,
Are the goals measurable?

What specialized instruction, curricular and method they are going to use to try to meet those goals.

Ask if the special ed teacher has taken any course in the subject they are going to teach.
(For reading, i.e. Orton Gillingham, Wilson, Lindamood Bell, etc.).
Request to see the workbooks/materials they will be using with your child.

Have more than one approach to offer.  If your initial suggestions cannot be implemented,
you should have given some thought to your fallback position.

What training does his special educator have in your child's disability.

Contact Your School:

Contact your case manager/Team chair a few days in advance of the meeting to discuss the agenda for the meeting.  Inquire about how much time has been scheduled for the meeting. If you feel that there is not sufficient time scheduled to address the full agenda, discuss with the TEAM Chair the possibility of extending the TEAM meeting time or request that, if necessary, that an additional date be set at the conclusion of the first meeting. Be sure to bring your calendar to the meeting.

Tips for Team Meeting:

Did the people at your Team meeting discuss issues, create goals and work, as group towards consensus?
From the Federal regs: IDEA 97 Question and Answers  (40 parent friendly questions): Appendix A

9. What is a public agency's responsibility if it is not possible to reach consensus on what services should be included in a child's IEP?

(To define, "public agency" is the local school district, a representative of the local public agency (i.e. School Principle, School Administrator).)

The IEP meeting serves as a communication vehicle between parents and school personnel, and enables them, as equal participants, to make joint, informed decisions regarding their child's IEP. 

Parents are considered equal partners with school personnel in making these decisions, and the IEP team must consider the parents' concerns and the information that they provide regarding their child in developing, reviewing, and revising IEPs.

Here is what our current Federal law says about creating and updating your student's IEP:

(a) Development of IEP.
(1) General. In developing each child's IEP, the IEP Team must consider:
(i) The strengths of the child;
(ii) The concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child;
(iii) The results of the initial or most recent evaluation of the child; and
(iv) The academic, developmental, and functional needs of the child.

(b) Review and revision of IEPs.
(1) General. Each public agency must ensure that, subject to paragraphs (Consideration of special factors (b)(2)) and
(Requirement with respect to regular education teacher.(b)(3)) of this section, the IEP Team:
(i) Reviews the child's IEP periodically, but not less than annually, to determine whether the annual goals for the child are being achieved; and
(ii) Revises the IEP, as appropriate, to address:
(A) Any lack of expected progress toward the annual goals described in (requirement for measurable goals: Sec. 300.320(a)(2)), and in the general education curriculum, if appropriate;
(B) The results of any reevaluation conducted under Sec. 300.303;
(C) Information about the child provided to, or by, the parents, as described under Sec. 300.305(a)(2);
(D) The child's anticipated needs; or
(E) Other matters.

(Federal law Sec. 300.324 Development, review, and revision of IEP.)

The IEP team should work toward consensus, but the public agency has ultimate responsibility to ensure that the IEP includes the services that the child needs in order to receive FAPE. It is not appropriate to make IEP decisions based upon a majority "vote."

If the team cannot reach consensus, the public agency must provide the parents with prior written notice of the agency's proposals or refusals, or both, regarding the child's educational program, and the parents have the right to seek resolution of any disagreements by initiating an impartial due process hearing.

Every effort should be made to resolve differences between parents and school staff through voluntary mediation or some other informal step, without resort to a due process hearing. However, mediation or other informal procedures may not be used to deny or delay a parent's right to a due process hearing, or to deny any other rights afforded under Part B.

Article about Team meeting:

The following information is from Jennifer L. Bollero , Esq., Her article  titled: "Play Hearts, Not Poker"
can be found on  the Wrightslaw website, states the following:

We cannot lead a team we do not join.
It is not enough to come into a meeting, periodically and make demands; even legitimate, legal demands.
We must model the behavior we want to draw out in our children's IEP team.
If we want the other team members to be patient, prepared, and educated about our child's needs, we must set the standard.

We must be understanding of them and the demands on their time.
We must be patient with them as they learn our child's method of learning.
We must be prepared and secure helpful test results on our child's development, articles or other related materials, and then share them; and
We must be as or more educated about the objective realities of our child's disability so we can talk to other team members as peers.
Before we make any demands on a team member, we must ask ourselves,
"Am I asking of this person something I have not done, or am not willing to do?"


This webpage was created October 3, 2003, by Melody Orfei
Webpage last modified on February 28, 2012 - V7, by Melody Orfei