When I first started teaching, I saw IEPs as an exercise in compliance. IEPs were something I needed to churn out to follow the law and of course to keep my job. After finishing the exhaustive process, the IEP would gather dust in a filing cabinet to be revisited during progress reports. Over time, my perception of IEPs has evolved to see them as an opportunity to collect data and reflect to create a dynamic, living program that supports the student realizing his or her potential. I also see the IEP as an opportunity to celebrate each student’s strengths and start planning as early as pre-school for how a student will eventually be a meaningful part of the community.
At the same time, the IEP process can be wrought with stress. Managing all of the spinning plates, advocating for a student, and avoiding litigation can be like walking a tight rope… with an elephant on your back.
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