Your Secret Sauce to a Better School Year Next Year

I wanted to take a moment and check in with all of you – my fellow special education parents and teachers. How has this school year been for you? Was it easier than you expected, exactly as you thought it would be, or more difficult than you anticipated?

I ran a poll on my Instagram stories, and the results were quite interesting. Only 7% of you said that this school year was easier than expected – yay for that small group! If you're part of that 7%, I encourage you to reflect on what you did differently this year that made things smoother, and try to replicate those strategies moving forward.

However, the majority of you fell into the other categories. A whopping 57% said that this school year was more difficult than you anticipated, and 35% said it was exactly as expected. Now, whether the year played out as you thought or proved to be more challenging, this is the perfect time to start evaluating what needs to change for next year.

I want you to take a moment and really think about what you desire to be different in your role as a special education teacher, parent, admin, or therapist. What do you want to look different at the IEP table during the next school year? What does "different" look like for you? You can't get to different if you don't know what it looks like. Take some time to journal your top 3 things that you need to be different and what the better outcome looks like for you.

Listen to the full episode to hear me talk about teachers and parents wanting to put up STRONG boundaries next school year so IEPs don't steal your joy!


Inside the Master IEP Coach® Mentorship, I work with parents and teachers who are becoming Master IEP Coaches® themselves because they want change. They desire things to look different. And I always ask, "What do you actually desire? What does that look like?" Because my perfect school year might look different from yours, and everyone's vision is unique.

Once you've identified what you want to be different, you have to be honest with yourself: Do you have the dedication and discipline to make that change happen? Creating change is not always easy – it takes commitment and hard work. We often want things to change in our lives, our relationships, our health, our faith, but are we truly willing to put in the effort required to make that change a reality?

If you're thinking, "Sure, I want things to be different, but I don't know how," that's where the Master IEP Coach® Mentorship can help. Summer is the perfect time to join and become a Master IEP Coach®. The program is self-paced, accessible on-the-go, and I'm just a DM away if you have any questions.

Becoming a Master IEP Coach® over the summer will help you put together your desires for change, give you the strategies and systems you need, and set you up for a better school year next time around.

As we approach the end of this school year, I also want to give you a few quick tips:

  1. Remember that Extended School Year (ESY) is not just for regression. There are other reasons why ESY can be appropriate to support a free and appropriate public education. Also, ESY is not a one-size-fits-all program, so have that conversation with your special education team or as a parent, to ensure ESY is customized and appropriate for your child's needs.
  2. Make sure you're seeing the placements you're accepting as a parent or recommending as a teacher. I've been in situations where placements were recommended without fully understanding what they looked like. As an equal member of the IEP team, you have the right to see and evaluate potential placements before making decisions.
  3. Document present levels of performance with precision. We need to be able to pick up where we left off in the fall and have a clear understanding of where your child was at the end of this school year. This will help everyone avoid feeling overwhelmed or like you're starting from scratch in the new school year.

I've given you a lot of action steps here, but they're all crucial for setting yourself up for a better school year next time around. Write down your desires for change, assess your commitment level, consider joining the Master IEP Coach® Mentorship for systems, guidance and support, and take those three end-of-year action items to heart.

And never forget... You absolutely can become a Master IEP Coach® and be the ideal bringer, solution finder, and team builder at your IEP table. I'm here to help you make that happen. Let's do this together!