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Nothing can cause more stress than an IEP meeting looming in the future. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Stephanie DeLussey, IEP coach and veteran special education teacher, joined me on the podcast today to share some tips and suggestions for making IEPs not only painless but more productive. 

Goal Setting

SMART goals are a big buzzword in the education community, but what does it mean? Stephanie breaks down the acronym;

  • Specific -Is the goal individualized and a direct skill, no generalizations?
  • Measurable – Can the goal be tracked with data?
  • Attainable – Is this goal realistic for the student?
  • Relevant – Is this goal relevant to the student’s needs, capabilities, and grade level?
  • Timebound – Is the goal given a realistic timetable to be met by the student?

Objectives and benchmarks are often used interchangeably when discussing goals, but they are not the same. Objectives are larger skills broken down into smaller skills and goals. A Benchmark looks more like the Annual IEP Goal but is broken into steps to achieve it. As Stephanie called it, ‘same staircase, different way to climb it’.

Every state’s guidance when it comes to skills can be very different, some have State Standards, some have Common Core, some have Essential Elements. Depending on even your district or your individual school, whether you include these in your IEP goals or not. Stephanie explains how this relates to the IDEA Federal Law, state laws, and local recommendations.

Stephanie’s Top Two Tips for IEP Preparation: 

  1. Send Draft IEP – Stephanie recommends always sending home a draft IEP, including the present levels of baseline data and the proposed goals. This levels the playing field for the caregiver, and provides much more collaboration between guardian and education team.
  2. Consult the General Ed Teacher –  Recognizing that there can be animosity between special education and general education teachers, Stephanie encourages collaboration and to work together on IEP accommodations to create individualized and classroom specific modifications.

You can find out more about Stephanie via Mrs. D’s Corner for educational resources and The Intentional IEP for IEP support.

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Today's Guest:

Stephanie is a dual-certified special education teacher, Master IEP Coach®, children’s book author, and teacher mentor. She has a passion for creating engaging, adapted resources for teachers and students with disabilities, and is self-proclaimed #datanerd. She understands that not everyone will love IEPs as much as she does, but it is her hope that with the appropriate training and resources, teachers will not only advocate harder for student services and supports, but also bridge the gap between teachers and families to foster a true IEP Team. She also provides professional development for teachers. You can connect with her at Mrs. D’s Corner and The Intentional IEP.

Stephanie is also a huge mental health advocate, sharing her experiences and struggles to let others know that you can survive the dark seasons and thrive in life and teaching with a mental illness.

What's Inside:

  • Tips for IEP Development.
  • What is a SMART goal?
  • The difference between objectives and benchmarks.
  • How are state “standards” used in IEP goals?
  • Does state testing affect IEP goals?
  • Stephanie’s top two suggestions for IEP meeting preparation.

Mentioned In This Episode

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