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Deanna Boerstler

Participation in the IEP Process


Last week, I observed an IEP meeting for a student in my Ceramics 1 class. Before I
could observe this meeting, my presence had to be approved by both the student, whose IEP it
was, and his parents. The special education supervisor for the district and the students special
education teacher and math teacher were also in attendance. The students father entered the
meeting appearing stressed and slightly defensive while his son was very laid back and seemed
pleased to be missing class.
The student, Dylan, had moved to this school district just before the beginning of this
school year. Therefore, being a ninth grader, Dylan began his career at the high school along
with his peers. Dylan is the age of most sophomore students, but because of missing credits, he is
classified as a ninth grader on his transcripts. Dylans IEP carried over from his last school
where he had been flagged as a struggling student. After entering school here, Dylan continued
to struggle with his classes and receive poor grades.
The meeting began by introducing everyone in the room. Dylans dad was asked, again,
if my presence was permitted. Dylans special education teacher then officially began the
meeting by having each individual sign a sheet saying that they were in attendance. Copies of the
procedural safe guards were given to both Dylan and his father. Copies of the draft of Dylans
IEP were also passed out to everyone in attendance.
Next, the special education teacher read through the summaries teachers had provided
about Dylans participation in their classes. These began with either Dylans final or current
grade in the class and included the students strengths and weaknesses. Because Dylans final
grades had been near failing the previous semester, Dylan had been moved into Classroom
Success, a class that focuses on building school readiness skills, every day instead of every other

Deanna Boerstler

day. This seemed to help improve Dylans overall grades for the current semester. Dylans math
teacher, who was in attendance, gave an elongated version of the short paragraph he had written
to be included in the IEP. According to the math teacher, Dylan lacks focus, urgency, and
preparedness. He often forgets the supplies needed for class, such as his textbook and calculator.
Dylan also struggles with simple mathematical equations. This teacher stated that he uses
prompting and preferential seating in his classroom to keep Dylan on task.
Most of Dylans accommodations come from his Classroom Success class. This class is
taught by a special education teacher and consists of only students that have IEPs. This teacher
requires all of her students to carry a daily planner so that they can record their homework and be
more organized. Each day, she checks their planners to make sure that each student will do their
work and be successful. She also provides the students with a daily checklist that includes things
like preparedness and focus. The students grade themselves on this checklist and then the teacher
does as well. Because of this class the students are also allowed to request additional testing
accommodations. These include extended testing time as well as having the test read aloud to
address pacing and focus issues.
Lastly, the special education teacher went over Dylans goals and his future plans. His
father stated that he hopes for Dylan to attend college whereas Dylan remained unsure about his
future. Throughout the meeting, the districts special education supervisor was taking notes. As
the meeting came to a close, he reminded Dylan that Dylan must be his own advocate. He stated
that as Dylan moves into higher education, Dylan must be aware of the accommodations
available to him and push to have them provided.
As Dylans teacher I must create accommodations for him within my classroom. I have
noticed that Dylan has trouble staying on task and working for the entire ninety minutes. Some

Deanna Boerstler

strategies I could implement would be additional redirection and preferential seating. I could also
provide Dylan with class previews which would let him know what he would need to be thinking
about for the next class. Additionally, I could establish a reward system where if Dylan works for
fifteen minutes, he could take a three minute break.
Overall, this meeting was very informative. It was both formal and informal in that there
was a lot of legal safeguards that had to be considered and discussed. However, the discussion of
the IEP draft was more of an informal discussion. While I did not witness any changes made to
the IEP during this meeting, it did appear that this meeting helped both Dylan, his father, and his
teachers stay informed.