Individualized Education Programs, or IEPs, are written legal plans mapping specific instructions, supports, and services for special education students. They are covered by special education law under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and must comply with strict guidelines and evaluations to ensure the proper support is given to every student. To tell the truth, IEPs are often time-consuming, large projects for already busy teachers to undertake, making it all the more important to streamline this process while maintaining high standards for students.
Thankfully, many schools now utilize IEP software to help create IEPS, ensure compliance with regulatory guidelines, and evaluate and report student progress. But how are these systems assessed? To help you determine if your IEP system is working for you and your students, here are four questions you should ask yourself.
Does my IEP system ensure regulatory compliance?
Managing IEP compliance is critical for every school district, and with COVID-19 causing so much disruption to learning environments, it is more important than ever. A properly functioning IEP system allows the user to manage sequencing and timelines, data collection and validation, and configure permissions and privacy settings across users. Teachers rely on their IEP software to ensure all steps are within sequence and that timelines are accurate from the initial meeting to evaluations.
Your IEP system should get everything right the first time so that you don’t have to waste time fixing mistakes that seem to appear just as report deadlines come around. A good IEP management system will alert the appropriate staff when deadlines are approaching or are not met, perform validations to ensure accurate data entry, and prevent staff from skipping steps in their IEPs.
Is my IEP system adaptable and efficient?
Preparing IEP documents, enforcing their compliance, and determining special education eligibility are some of the most time-consuming tasks for teachers and school districts. An IEP system should streamline this process to save you time and effort. Additionally, the system should be able to adapt to the evolving needs of your classroom as well as any changes in your process due to things like school closures and regulatory changes.
An adaptable IEP management system saves teachers and school districts time and frustration by addressing these issues. Rather than determine your process or workflow, IEP software should accommodate your needs just as you accommodate the needs of your students. It allows for easy customization and configuration, supports process management, and quickly adjusts to changing conditions and regulatory requirements. Teachers work in such dynamic settings, so their IEP software should be just as flexible.
Here are five things you should look for in an adaptable IEP management system:
- A system that is built around your workflow process and is responsive to changes
- Access to data that informs dynamic decision-making
- Customization built into the software without additional costs
- Supports multiple users with different access permissions
- Compatibility and integration with external systems used in your district
What can my IEP system do?
If your district uses an IEP software built exclusively for the planning process, you may be missing out on other features that offer more efficient workflows and much-needed flexibility. School systems require an immense amount of managerial work, and the right IEP software can help manage this. An effective and efficient implementation of an IEP system will help you:
- Develop your educational plan
- Manage resources and data efficiently and accurately
- Deliver and track services and support
Does my IEP system provide me with the right data?
In 2014, the Results Driven Accountability (RDA) framework shifted educational priorities away from compliance and toward results. This means there is a greater focus on measurable outcomes for student growth. To best support these positive outcomes, it is vital for schools to allocate resources efficiently and effectively and provide special education students with interventions and support systems that deliver results.
IEP software should allow you to view where every child is in both their personal progress and the educational process. It should also provide service data to evaluate what you’re doing for the students, what is working, and what isn’t. The right IEP system will not only promote your student’s growth but your professional development as well.
In order to help you live up to the promises you’ve made to your students and their guardians, you need a management system that works for you, not the other way around. The right IEP software provides you with a clear view of student progress and pitfalls so that you can provide your students with the instruction and support they need to succeed.