Strategies for an Effective Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meeting

Preparation is the foundation of an effective Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting. The special education process consists of three main players: parents, school agents, and students. Oftentimes, all the players show up having different approaches and perspectives on how to achieve student success. These differences can give rise to mistrust, miscommunication, and/or power dynamics among the players.

It is important to identify potential barriers that may contribute to the escalation of conflicts and take a proactive approach to employ problem-focused collaboration.

  • Identify key obstacles that may get in the way of parents and school agents working together
  • Change the lens by creating a problem-centered focus
Active Engagement Strategies for Students

4 strategies to reduce barriers and build partnership in Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings

These strategies reduce barriers and build partnerships between educators and families navigating through a student’s special education processes.

  1. Build Team – Help parents feel like partners and not outsiders
  2. Build Trust – Value that educators and families bring their own unique insight and are all key players
  3. Build Clarity – Evaluations provide the foundation upon which an IEP is built but this is often the time discord occurs within the team. Families may hesitate to report the depth of their concerns and educators may not broach conservations about a new or different diagnosis if they fear upsetting the family. Sensitivity around labels and diagnosis can be delicate for all involved. Being clear about the evaluation process and what it includes will build clarity so that the focus may remain on attacking the problem and not each other.
  4. Build Satisfaction – Reduce conflict to build satisfaction by meeting the needs in the procedural, the content, and the psychological content of the IEP. Also, utilize a Whole Person lens to put in place truly meaningful solutions.


As we plan an IEP, it is important to remember we will be looking at families perspective and insight. Educators are advocating, too; they want the student to be successful and parents feel supported by the school. Families and educators are necessary to best set forth student needs (intrinsic and instructional) and data necessary to best design and implement IEP.

FIEP: Facilitating an Effective ARD Meeting | Dec. 12 | $120 | Learn More

Join us to go through the procedural nuts and bolts, classroom based observation and feedback, and facilitated IEP to improve collaboration between school and home. Administrators that attend this course will have an outline on their responsibility for ensuring an appropriate individualized education program (IEP) for a student.

Facilitating Trauma Sensitive IEP Meetings | Online (self-paced) | Learn more

In this course, learn strategies, techniques, and skills to facilitate strong collaborations in IEP meetings using trauma-sensitive practices. The goal of this course is to ameliorate the stress inherent in the ARD process. This intended audience for this training are Special Education and Administrators.

FIEP Meeting: Independent Facilitator Series | Online (self-paced) | Learn more

Block off your calendar and take time to go through this self-paced course. Learn about what an independent facilitator does at an IEP meeting. Take note of how to prepare through four steps to use.

Manifestation Determination Review (MDR) | Feb. 20, 2024 |In-person | $55 | Learn more

This training will review the discipline process for students with disabilities and the role of assessment professionals and administrators in the process. You will learn how to determine whether a student’s disciplinary removal constitutes a change of placement and the procedures for addressing the student’s behavior if the disciplinary consequences was or was not a change of placement.

Lisette is a Behavior Specialist and Facilitative Mediator here at ESC Region 13.

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