Monday, September 23, 2013

IEP Writing Lesson #1: Time Saving Tricks

Before the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) mini-series even began, I had a reader ask the following question and realized I should back this train up!

"Holy do you have time to do that?!? I barely have time to go to the bathroom a few times a week! [ditto] Do you have clerical support to manage all of that?! I'm a pretty good time manager, but still...Please share how you do this!! the teachers have issues with someone else writing goals/objectives for their kids?"

Alas, I do not have any clerical support anymore for Committee on Special Education (CSE) related tasks, but when I did, she didn't take care of any IEP writing responsibilities (only filing, mailing of letters, and being a grump). Here's a few things I do that has made the IEP writing process a lot easier for me. (BTW... the below information is facilitated a great deal by the fact that I type at a ridiculous pace. If you do not type at a ridiculous pace, you will still find them useful. :) )
  1. The majority of the information that I write into an IEP is copied directly out of my psychological report and tweaked as needed. Why type it twice? Within my psych reports is classroom academic data, cognitive descriptions/strengths/weaknesses, information on study/organizational skills, social/emotional and behavioral functioning, and when appropriate, physical development information. My CSE chairperson, who does all the standardized achievement testing (e.g. Bracken, WJ-III), also has started doing this with her observations and scores. This is a HUGE time saver!
  2. Before I write my reports, I either sit down with a teacher to chat about the kiddo or, most often due to time constraints, have teachers fill out my "teacher report" form that is literally laid out exactly like a NY state IEP. That's where I get the information for my reports, which in turn gets put into the IEP itself. I also ask for state testing data, curriculum-based measurement scores, quarter grades, DIBELS, AIMSweb, etc. with that teacher report form. I hand out the form at annual review time to help teachers scaffold when they write their IEPs so they remember everything to include. 
  3. Related service providers (speech, OT, PT, vision) write all their own PLEPs and goals/objectives, so that's off our plate.
  4. During CSE meetings, I bring my laptop and type information into the IEP and Present Levels of Educational Performance (PLEP) as we go. The teacher and parent may have more information not already gathered prior to the meeting, so we want to make sure that gets entered. We also discuss goals/objectives at this time, with the teacher and team talking things out together and agreeing (the teacher gets the final say). If I have written any social/emotional goals before the meeting, we also discuss those and agree to them/make changes. 
  5. One thing I haven't figured out how to streamline yet is the Management section. In my district, the Management section is a detailed reiteration of all the program modifications, testing accommodations, and anything that "works" for a kiddo into one place, organized under the headings of "Environmental Modifications," "Human Resources," and "Material Resources." What I do is write the entire Management list during the meeting in a Word document, paste it into Management, then follow my Word doc and enter piece-meal into Program Modifications and Testing Accommodations. It's tedious, but at least they're centralized in one place and I'm not flipping through reports or scrolling around the document. This is only really a problem for initial meetings, as reevaluations and amendments should already have this completed. 
Does this all make sense? I promise, I'm not a robot (beep boop) or have more hours in my day than you. In fact, I only take work home with me maybe once a month, and it's only for half a Sunday. I guess maybe it's working "smarter" not harder? (I dislike that saying, so I apologize) 

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