Virtual IEP Meetings: Tips for Parents
While school buildings in NC are closed, it is not necessary to have an IEP meeting for your child to continue to receive special education and related services. Those services may be different than what is on your child’s IEP, and a meeting to amend the IEP is not required.
Still, some IEP meetings may happen during this time to plan for when students return to school buildings. That might include an Annual Review meeting or a Transition Planning meeting.
Things to know about virtual IEP meetings:
- These virtual meetings will happen by video call (Skype, Zoom, etc.) or phone instead of in person.
- Parents, guardians, and students 14 and older should still receive an Invitation to Conference by mail, email or text before the meeting. Someone from the school should contact you to ask if you can join the meeting by phone or computer. Parents are REQUIRED members of the IEP team. The school needs to make sure that you can participate meaningfully.
Tips for making the most of virtual IEP meetings:
- Ask the school to send copies of any documents they plan to go over at least 2 days before you meet so that you have time to read and think about them before the meeting. Let the school know whether you would like to get the papers by mail or email or by text as a picture of each page that you can see on your phone. Here are some examples of what you might ask for:
- Draft IEP goals
- Evaluation reports
- Progress monitoring data
- Behavioral data that was collected prior to school closing
- Before the meeting, make a list of your concerns, questions, and anything else you want to talk about with the team. Consider sending some or all of your list in an email or text to the EC Case Manager before the meeting, or have a brief phone call with your child’s teacher or EC case manager before the meeting. The EC Case Manager’s contact information should be listed on your Invitation to Conference. Your child’s special education teacher may be the EC Case Manager.
- Tell the EC Case Manager if you will need an interpreter or some other accommodation during the meeting.
- You can always invite a family member to the meeting if you need support. You can also invite people outside your family to join. That person should be someone who really knows your child (a private therapist, advocate, or even a friend). Make sure anyone you invite knows how to join the call. You should also tell the EC Case Manager if you invite anyone. You can also share their contact information so they can be included in the meeting.
- If you decide to record the meeting, you should let the team know before the meeting starts.
- Ask the school team to share their screen during the meeting. It is important that everyone can see exactly what is being written on the IEP and other forms.
- Ask the EC Case Manager to send the final documents to you before you leave the meeting. You should at least get copies of the IEP.
- Make sure the Prior Written Notice lists all decisions made by the IEP Team. That means you should see a statement of each proposal the team talked about (including your own requests). You should also see which proposals were accepted or rejected during the meeting and a reason for each decision. If your school district keeps minutes of IEP team meetings, you should also get a copy of those. You can also ask to have them shared on the screen or read aloud so that you have the opportunity to check them for corrections before they are finalized.
1. Students with disabilities who are at least 18 and are their own educational decision-makers are also required members of the IEP team.
2. North Carolina schools use a database called ECATS (Every Child Accountability & Tracking System) and enter information into that system during the IEP meetings.