Many of you are probably getting notices about parent-teacher conferences approaching. We know it’s yet another thing to add to your already busy schedule, but we highly encourage you to participate! Even if the parent-teacher conference is a virtual planform it still can be productive.
Conferences are your opportunity to gather data and feedback in between progress reports, which typically come out every nine weeks. Nine weeks is a long stretch if things aren’t going well. You’ll want to discover problems sooner rather than later so that changes can be made. COVID has made school more difficult for sure, but the school is still obligated, under IDEA law, to meet your child’s needs and make sure that he or she is making adequate progress in light of his or her unique circumstances. Keep your eye on your child’s progress!
During conferences, you’ll be able to meet with teachers who don’t come to your child’s IEP meeting (only one is required to attend an IEP meeting). Don’t forget about specials – like art, gym and music. Even if that particular teacher does go to IEP meetings, you may get new or more detailed information in a one-on-one, candid conversation, without the teacher’s boss and peers present. This is your chance to gather feedback, test scores, insight, and other data from each of those teachers. Conferences aren’t the right time to ask for changes to the IEP – those are team discussions. But conferences are a great time to gather information. If your child has accommodations, ask how they are being implemented and if they’re working. Ask if the teacher has any additional suggestions of what might help your child.
Hopefully you’ll get some great feedback and find out that your child is making good progress. But if you discover that the IEP isn’t being implemented as written or that your child is not progressing adequately on the IEP goals, call an IEP team meeting to discuss your findings. Then the team can brainstorm solutions and, if necessary, make changes to the IEP so that your child can get back on track as quickly as possible. You’ve got this!