Home and school IEP collaboration with Katie Ploss
It's back to school season here in the US!
I've been on both sides of the table in IEP meetings.
Regardless of your role in an IEP meeting, these things can get intense.
I was a special education teacher and behavior specialist for many years. I also spent a year as an assistant principal in a residential treatment center where I was the administrator who attended all the IEP meetings, about 20 each week.
In these roles, I was the so-called 'expert'. The child's teacher. The behavior guru. The one with the authority to make decisions.
Also, I spent some time as a foster parent to a kiddo with LOTS of needs.
In this role, I was in the awkward position of knowing my child's teacher was not very good at her job because I worked in the district and was in her classroom frequently supporting other students. Then there was the time I found out the school nurse had only been giving my child half his medication dosage. The report I filed led to her losing her job.
But here's the thing: We are all doing the best we can.
Parents are doing the best they can to raise their kids without being experts in neurodivergence or education most of the time.
Teachers are doing the best they can to teach and support their students without being an expert in each child.
Specialists are doing the best they can to support high caseloads of students, all with different needs and situations.
Administrators are doing the best they can to support their staff, whom they rely on, as well as the parents who drop their kids off at the front door every day, whom they are here to teach and protect.
In this week's podcast episode, Katie Ploss and I talk about ways to support home and school collaboration in the IEP process. Katie is a school psychologist who is passionate about supporting parents along the full developmental experience with their kids. We also discuss the best places and ways to ask questions and get accurate information when it comes to your child's education (HINT: It's not by posting in FB groups).
Here's a clip from this episode:
A lot of the acronyms and the big... all the paperwork and all of those things were put in place to protect, for procedural safeguard purposes, to protect children and parents and to ensure that students have access to education. So it's like a double-edged sword, it's like all of this stuff is what's legally protecting your child, and giving them, providing that access to them. But on the other side of it, it is, it's a bear, it's there's so much to sift through. IEPs are like 20, 30 pages long. And then if you have your child evaluated, if it's a three-year or an initial IEP, you know, you have maybe multiple specialist reports that you're sifting through, it is insane. And, you know, a lot of schools just don't have the resources, the time, the parent doesn't have the resources or the capability, capacity to sit and go through all of it. And it's just really overwhelming. So, you know, it's knowing like, again, that communication and how to... what questions to ask, how to ask them, when to ask them. And it's up to us on our end to make sure that we're communicating the information in a way that's digestible.
And if you're looking for some support as we kick of the new school year, my 1/1 sessions can be used to discuss your child's IEP or attend a meeting with your child's school staff via Zoom. Just send an email to hello@StarfishSocialClub.org if that sounds like something that would be helpful for you.
How to find Katie: www.beyoucmty.com, and 'beyoucmty' on social media.