3 IEP Wins You Need to Hear (Ep 165)

best special education resources iep advice iep coach iep goals iep meetings iep resources iep resources for parents iep resources for teachers Dec 28, 2022

What happens when you start sharing draft IEPs, educating families in military communities, and hosting IEP coffee talks in your hometown? Jenna, Destiny, and Christine shared their results inside the Master IEP Coach® Network and I can’t wait to share these wins with you!


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Transcript Summary:


I've got three IEP wins from Master IEP Coaches® that you need to hear. Welcome to this episode of the Special Education Inner Circle podcast. I'm your host, Catherine Whitcher. Make sure that you check out the links above or below. Wherever you're watching or listening to this, I've got a free IEP checklist for you so you can get prepped for your next IEP meeting. All right, so all the time here on the Special Education Inner Circle Podcast, we are talking about ways to make things better and do things differently. So let me share with you some wins that have happened from some Master IEP Coaches® who are using many of the strategies that I share right here on the podcast. They're using these at their IEP meetings when they're helping clients through the IEP process. Now, remember, Master IEP Coach®, the whole community, the programs, all of it. 



It's for parents, teachers, admins, and therapists who want to build IEPs together that work in the real world. So the first win that I'm going to share with you is from Jenna. So listen to Jenna's experience. Jenna is a newer Master IEP Coach®. I was really excited when I saw her post this inside of our network. She says, I wrote an a letter in response to a draft IEP yesterday, and it was shared by the parents with the team this morning. Okay, so here's what's key about this. Number one, they gotta draft IEP. If you are not sending or receiving draft IEPs, that's a huge piece of making sure that there are no surprises at the IEP table. The other thing is you can see that Jenna as a Master IEP Coach®, she is writing a letter, but then giving it to the parents so they can proof it, and maybe tweak it a little bit. 



But she's empowering the parents to have a voice at the IEP table. In fact, she, she didn't even need to be at the meeting because she helped the parent prepare for this meeting and really voice their concerns in a collaborative way. So she wrote the letter, she gives it to the parents, the parents then give it to the school. So a whole lot of teamwork and collaboration going on. Alright, so now, she says that in the letter she had to address that there was a lot of missing information in the draft and some of the things, had that had been added really didn't make sense for this student. The parents were really frustrated, but they trusted me to write a response that would prepare them and the team for the meeting letter later this week. So Jenna's constantly working on building trust with her clients. 



And again, a little bit different than traditional advocacy. Master IEP Coach®es® really work with families long-term. They're really building relationships, with the parents so the parent can then build relationships with the team and it becomes this whole different approach to IEPs. So in this letter, she made sure that she was using facts and she goes on to say, you know, that she was, really, solidifying everything with data, making sure everything was as clear and concise as possible. And, then she said, we also added a rockin’ parent input statement. So, parent input statements are a big piece of the Master IEP Coach® process. I've been, you know, going through this parent input process for 25 years, which means that we've nailed this kind of down to a science and it's much different than what you would typically expect in that parent educational concern section or an apparent letter that would be submitted prior to the meeting. 



So this parent input statement made a huge difference. So here's the last piece of what Jenna has to say. She says, the response from the team has been awesome. Everyone is grateful that we are communicating before the meeting, and that now we have time to fill in the gaps and address concerns. I am feeling so validated that I chose this direction for my career. Up until now, I have been focused exclusively on providing private tutoring for students with disabilities, but I am excited to make a bigger impact at IEP meetings too. So we're so excited for Jenna and you know, the impact that she's making in building these relationships with clients in a whole new way. If you are a parent who is like, I need a Jenna on my team, I need a, I need to talk to Jenna, I'm going to put the link to the Master IEP Coach® directory right here. www.masteriepcoach.com/directory


So again, above or below, wherever you're watching or listening, you're going to have a link to the directory there. You can search for your own Master IEP Coach®. You can also find out more on how to become a Master IEP Coach® on that page. The important thing to know about Master IEP Coach® is that we are not lawyers. We are not giving legal advice. Everything that we do is based on, you know, on IDEA Law. It's rooted on the foundation of what needs to be provided in special education. But again, we are not lawyers. We're assisting parents and helping teachers through the IEP process to make sure that we are reaching that ultimate goal of preparing every child for further education, employment, independent living, by meeting their unique needs. Alright, let me tell you about Destiny. Destiny is, , working directly in the military community and I love that. 



, my daughters were born on a military base and military families have some unique circumstances. So, Destiny shared with us inside of our Master IEP Coach® network. So I love being able to come here and share wins because I feel like this network and community understands the importance of it. This is important. Just that one sentence right there. She loves that she can come share this win because other people just don't get it. , do you feel that sometimes other people just don't get it? They don't get, your wins are big even though they sometimes seem small to other people. In fact, I've been seeing a lot this year that parents and teachers are feeling more broken and defeated than ever before. Like through the system, there was a lot of hope in the last couple years of like, okay, we're getting things back to normal. 



But what we're finding is there are more struggles and more things have surfaced than before. So the struggles are, significant and they need new solutions and that's what we're working on in the Master IEP Coach® community. , one of the biggest strategies that you can do for yourself if you're feeling defeated and broken through the IEP system as a teacher, as a parent, is to get surrounded by people who get, you, get surrounded by people who understand your wins, your worries, your struggles, alright? That's exactly what I, what I hope that you come explore inside of the Mastery Coach mentorship. If you don't come to the mentorship,  find your people okay? Because doing this alone can feel like you're on an island. And I hear that all the time, but you know what I, it's like I'm tired of hearing like, special education is like a lonely island becuase it doesn't have to be. 



You just have to find the right people. We have the tools, we have the technology, we have things for you to not feel alone. Again, if you're struggling to find the right people and you're wondering if the mastermind coach mentorship is right for you, then reach out. I mean, I'll be completely honest with you and tell you if it's the right place for you or not. If you're looking for traditional advocacy in somebody who wants to, you know, help you fight against the school, and there are plenty of groups that do that, that's not us. That's not us. If you are a parent-teacher, admin therapist and you're like, I'm exhausted from the system and I need to figure out a better way to do this cause I need to hang in there a little bit longer, <laugh>, we might be the right fit for you. 



Okay, so let's go back to Destiny. Destiny says, I'm a military spouse and I advocate for military families. This is a huge, huge passion of hers. So, due to the mentorship and the knowledge that she gained there, she was able to build her website and her social media. She's had two significant opportunities, the ability to do a talk on a panel about IEPs and information specifically rated related to, military families in support of educating parents in the Black and Hispanic communities. And she also has been afforded the opportunity to partner with partners in Promise, which specifically works with military families who have children enrolled in E F M P, which means that they are affiliated with the disability and special education community. So lots and lots of acronyms, and lots of other things going on there, but she says she's super excited and thankful for these opportunities. 



So here's the thing, Destiny wanted to make a bigger impact. This is a huge win in special education because we need people who want to do things differently than what they've been done before. That's really what's happening. This isn't about, you know, adding extra workload. This isn't about, you know, finding the wins by doing something that required a ton of more work. Now, this is about making sure that we are raising expectations in special education that we are, are finding solutions with the resources that we have and learning how to negotiate appropriately for the resources that we need by collaborating between home and school. Cause here's the thing, let, let me just put this out there. No teacher ever went to school to take away services from a child. Okay? I hear a lot of teachers are nodding their head right now. They're like, yes, that's exactly right. 



A lot of times it's like, well, the school just wants to take things away. No, they don't. As in they, the school is not the teacher, okay? The teachers want all the support and all the things. And parents, you, you didn't get a manual on how, on how all of this works, right? You got some parental rights that sound like legal garbly gook, right? But how does this all actually work? So if we take teachers who want to serve students well, which is the vast majority of all the teachers, and we take parents who want to collaborate with schools, which actually is the vast majority, and we put you guys together and when you give you guys tools that work together, you get to experience leadership at the IEP table in a whole new way. So that's our second win. Ready for our third, here's our third win that just happened in the Master IEP Coach® community. 



Let's see, this is from Christine. Christine says, I just got out of an IEP coffee talk tonight. So inside of the mentorship, we teach Master IEP Coaches® if you want to help others. So some people come into the Master IEP Coach® mentorship because they just want to help themselves. They're like, I have no capacity to help anybody else. I just need to help myself. Got it. Cool. Awesome. I get it. Your oxygen mask first 100%. Some people come into the Master IEP Coach® mentorship because they know that they want to help other people. So that includes learning how to do some IEP coffee talks in your local community. So Christine says, I just got out of my, out of an IEP coffee talk tonight. I'm, I was so happy to support two parents and able to give them, a few next steps. 



The agency that she collaborated with, said we only scratched the service and they're going to be in touch with her for a contract to host more IEP coffee talks. And she's also sharing meaning she, the organization is sharing the Master IEP Coach®'s name with the local, special education PTAs that are in the area. So it's all about connecting and networking and really getting out there and creating this change. I, again, I just want to encourage you, the, these are wins. These are things that are happening. I, I know that you might feel defeated. You might not be seeing these wins right now where you're at. Maybe you're not feeling them at your IEP table, but they are happening and they are possible. I say this all the time, that our hope for special education is really in this next generation of parents and teachers and students. We as, as, as I just mentioned in the, in the, one of the wins there was where, 


Speaker 2 (11:53):

Christine's organization there had said, we just scratched the surface. That's really what it feels like. We have just scratched the surface of what is possible in special education. And again, if you're feeling defeated, get around the right people who are going to celebrate the wins, who are going to give you the strategies, who are going to support you on the tough days. And they're going to go get that latte with you on the, both the good days and the bad days, and they're going to talk shop with you and they're going to understand you and they're going to get you. So just know as we start to wrap up this year and look to the next year, great things have happened. Great things can happen and all of this can happen for you too. I am wishing you guys a strong healthy finish to this year and a, a true feeling of hope and possibilities for what's to come this next year. I'll see you guys next time on the Special Education Inner Circle Podcast. 




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