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IEP Teams

October 27, 2021
Advocacy, Special Education

Committee on Special Education (CSE) teams, in New York City referred to as Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams, collaborate to develop a student’s IEP. As important members of the team, parents and families can prepare in advance to make meetings with the IEP team successful. 

IEP Team Members & Their Roles

  • The parent(s) or guardian(s) are vital, full and equal members of the IEP team.  Your ability to describe your child’s strengths and needs keeps the meeting focused and can influence the outcomes.
  • Depending upon a student’s age and willingness to participate, they should be included in IEP meetings when appropriate. Students must be invited when discussing postsecondary goals and transition services (by age 14).
  • A school psychologist explains the evaluation results and shares information with team members. At Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) meetings, or preschool IEP meetings, the evaluator or a representative of the evaluating agency interprets the results.
  • A special education teacher assists with decisions about supports, services, curriculum modification, and goal setting, unless the student receives related services only. A general education teacher will participate if the student is or may be participating in the general education environment. Often these are the student’s own teachers.
  • The district representative acts as the chair, facilitates discussion, and must be knowledgeable about special education services. The district representative role may be filled by another member of the team, like the school psychologist or special education teacher.
  • A parent member may be requested in writing with at least 72 hours’ notice before the meeting. This individual helps parents understand information and participate in the meeting by explaining procedures, asking questions, and clarifying information.
  • Other participants may include a school social worker, related service providers, school physician, or anyone who has special knowledge of your child. Parents of children transitioning from Early Intervention (EI) to CPSE may invite an EI representative.

Important Notes about Attendance:

  • Initial or mandated three-year reevaluation (formerly triennial) meetings always require full IEP team attendance (full CSE) because new information about the student is being interpreted, eligibility established, and recommendations made. 
  • Annual reviews are primarily used to review progress and make minor changes, so there may be fewer team members in attendance. Members required for an annual review include the parent, special education and general education teachers, and the student, if appropriate. This is sometimes referred to as the Subcommittee on Special Education. Other team members, like the school psychologist, related services providers, can attend at parent’s request or if certain programmatic changes are being considered. For example, the subcommittee cannot recommend a more restrictive placement, such as a move from an Integrated Co-Teaching Class (ICT) to a special class. 
  • All CPSE meetings are full committee.

Collaborating with the IEP Team: How to Have a Successful IEP Meeting 

  • Look over the IEP Meeting Notice. Parents should receive it at least 5 days before the scheduled date. It will include the date, time, and location of the meeting, and the names and titles of everyone invited.
  • If there is anyone that should be at the IEP meeting who is not listed on the Meeting Notice, such as an outside therapist, invite them. If family members are attending, make sure you are on the same page before the meeting.
  • Review the student’s progress. Re-read the current IEP and recent evaluations. Identify areas where the student needs reduced, continued or additional support. Make a list of questions.
  • Start on a positive note. Point out something a team member has done to help the student, or one improvement you’ve seen in your child. Use “we” to promote collaboration. “We all see that Derek has been struggling in math. What are some other ways we can support him?”
  • Listen respectfully and keep your cool. Give everyone a chance to speak. You will have a turn to contribute too. When feeling overwhelmed or emotional during the meeting, ask to take a 5 minute break.
  • Participate fully. Remember, parents are an equal member of the IEP team and know their child best. Be sure to share concerns during the meeting. If you run out of time, you have the right to another meeting.
  • If you disagree, do it in writing. Unless you formally disagree with the results of your meeting in writing, the IEP team will assume you are in agreement with all of the team’s recommendations.
  • Call INCLUDEnyc’s Help Line for assistance preparing for your child’s IEP meeting.