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Flipping IEP Meetings

Recently I was leading a workshop on flipped learning and several of the participants and I were talking about some of the challenges of working in schools.  One of the teachers discussed some frustration with the way IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings took place in her school.  Often she was pulled away from class to attend meetings while her students were taught by a substitute teacher.  She even mentioned one meeting that took over two hours and caused her to miss valuable class time with the rest of her students. What if we applied the principles of flipped learning to IEP meetings?  The key question in flipped learning is:  “What is the best use of my face to face class time?”  When applied to an IEP meeting, the question is similar:  What is the best use of an IEP meeting time?

Before I get any further, let me state clearly that IEP meetings are important and valuable.  Students with special needs must be accommodated and supported. I am not advocating doing away with IEP meetings, but rather, I want to propose a way to rethink the meeting time by using elements of Flipped Learning.

In my previous position, IEP meetings were typically scheduled before school so that all teachers had the opportunity to be in the meeting.  After school didn’t work very well because many teachers were coaches or had other after school events.  We started school at 7:45 and the meetings were scheduled for 7:00 but invariably some teachers were late due to dropping off their kids at daycare or getting ready for their first period class.  And the parent(s) were also sometimes late due to traffic around the school or simply getting lost in the building.  The Special Education teacher ran the meeting and off to the races we went.  The meetings were typically rushed so that teachers could get to their classes.  If teachers were giving reports, they were very short, and many of them excused themselves right after their report so that they could get to their classes.  I would argue that this type of rushed meeting does a disservice to the student needing accommodations and extra support.

So using the lens of flipped learning, how can we re-imagine the IEP meeting time?

Traditional Flipped
Accommo-

dation Needs Meeting

Typically the Special Education Professional shares with teachers the accommodations this student needs Have the Special Education Professional create a short flipped-video which they can share with each teacher about the needs of this student.  This could be made in conjunction with the student as he/she explains what they need from their teachers.  This can then be sent to teachers, and tracked if they watch it.
Progress Meetings Parents, student, Special Educator, and Classroom Teacher discuss student progress. Each teacher makes a short video explaining how the student is doing in their class and the Special Educator makes recommendations based on the feedback from the teacher.  These short videos are played during the meeting for all present to view and discuss.

The videos should also be shared with parents/guardians so all stakeholders in a child’s life are on board and know how to individually meet the needs of the student.

Another benefit to flipping the IEP meeting is that the recording can be watched asynchronously by teachers, parents, and administrators.

Some challenges that might need to be addressed are some of the legal rules surrounding meetings. In some schools, a certain number of teachers must be present in order for the meeting to be legal.  I suggest that if a teacher were to create a video report about their student, then this would count as their de facto attendance.  Another challenge will be training educators on some of the technology tools of the flipped classroom.

So what do you think?  Is this a good idea?  If you try this, I would love to hear about your successes and challenges.