Dear School District;
There is something you should know. Your IEP reports are just not good enough. Believe me, I should know. I have every copy you’ve ever sent me, 1st to 7th grade. Oh, they have a lot of information on them, don’t get me wrong. You’ve shared my child’s progress on their goals with me many times.
Trouble is, I forget what the goals are a lot. Honestly, I don’t remember specifically what they are working on at any given time. I know broadly that they need a lot of help with social interactions and other areas, but what are you doing about it? They don’t seem to know how to tell me.
Next, are the boxes your teachers fill out to briefly share with me things like, “So-And-So is a pleasure to have in class,” and that they are making improvements. How do you know they are improving? What are you measuring them by?
They might have improved, but by what percentage would you say? How come I don’t see those improvements at home? They still struggle with certain things around the house. Wouldn’t that affect the measurement of success?
IEP reports always have so much information about them but how much of it shows me what you are doing? I can’t see the “what” behind the “why.” I can see their grades have improved, let me not be ungrateful, but how do I know what specifically it is a result of? You don’t really share that with me in the stacks of paper you send home to tell me how they are doing.
Half the time I wonder if I am paying enough attention to the progress. Should I be doing more? If I have a question or a concern, who do I go to? Do I call the principal? Do I email the superintendent?
The school system is a maze of people I am trying to navigate around as I struggle with trying to find answers, always conscious of the hourglass that is my child’s time with you. When the sand runs out, will they be ready for college? Should we hope they can successfully be a college student? No one says anything about that. What should I prepare for?
Where is my space to write my thoughts on the IEP Reports? It seems like you all get to have your say in my child’s education as part of their permanent school record, why can’t I weigh in? Yes, I do go to all your IEP meetings, but I don’t see anyone writing down what I say for the record. Should I submit my evaluation? To whom do I send it?
I’ve asked you many times to speak to our family therapist, why don’t you reach out? I’d like you to talk, collaborate and listen. I think it would help, why don’t you? I am confused by why everything seems so disconnected. Why can’t we all work together?
One woman shared at the last IEP meeting that my child is doing so well that you want to make it a goal to get them off their IEP. Isn’t that the reason we can say they are an academic success?
You have so many supports working together around this one child so they will do well, why do you want to take them away if what you are doing is making such positive progress? Who do I talk to about that? I don’t want you to undo what is working. Why would you want to do that?
A friend of mine told me I should contact an education attorney about all these questions and concerns about your IEP reports. Maybe I should. If you won’t hear me maybe my child’s attorney will make sure you will.
Most Typical Parents of Children With IEPs
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