NCEDC TIPS: Distance Education

Information on Creating Collaborative IEPs

March 1, 2004

Hi fellow NCEDC members!

This is the March "Tip of the Month" (and I wanted to get this out before the call tomorrow --with the combined dissemination and technical assistance committees --when it would become obvious that March was almost over and that the "tip" had not been distributed!).

Information on Creating Collaborative IEPs
A few years ago a group of parents and educators began meeting to discuss and develop ways to create IEPs using a collaborative process. Their belief was (and is) that collaborative IEPs lead to students experiencing school success, having friends, being integral members of their school communities, and having positive futures. Using collaborative teaming practices and IDEA requirements as foundations, they wrote Creating Collaborative IEPs: A Handbook. The Handbook outlines tips and tools for creating collaborative IEPs, shares stories from families and educators, and provides a "legal corner" that includes explanations of IDEA regulations relating to IEP development. This project was coordinated by the Partnership for People with Disabilities (Virginia's UCEDD & LEND) and supported with funding by the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities (Virginia's DD Council).

Soon after the Handbook was disseminated, requests were received for training that was based on a collaborative model for developing IEPs. "Creating Collaborative IEPs: A Training for Parents and Educators" was developed to meet this need. This training product focuses on teaching IEP teams collaborative skills and a process for IEP development that employs two easy-to-use products, "Preparing for My IEP" and "Charting the Course." "Preparing for My IEP" is a booklet that is distributed to IEP team members prior to an IEP meeting and includes information that the student and other team members complete prior to the IEP meeting. It provides an opportunity for team members to understand the dreams and hopes of the student and to keep this in focus as the IEP is developed. "Charting the Course" is a graphic wall chart (and a mini-version is also included in the booklet) walks teams through the components of an IEP, gathering comments from all team members (the wall chart is laminated and can be re-used). The products promote a student-focused, futures-directed process of IEP development. Our experiences indicate that this approach invests team members in promoting strategies that ensure successful outcomes for students.

Creating Collaborative IEPs: A Handbook and Preparing for My IEP are popular with parents and educators. "Creating Collaborative IEP: A Training for Parents and Educators" is helpful for anyone who is either providing training on IEP development or providing technical assistance to IEP teams. Information on these products can be found on the Partnership's website at or you can call or email me if you want more information. "Preparing for My IEP" is relatively new so I will mail a copy of the booklet to you so that you can examine the contents. We sent copies of Creating Collaborative IEPs: A Handbook to all UCEs a couple of years ago, thus someone at your center probably has a copy. The curriculum, "Creating Collaborative IEP's: A Training and the "Charting the Course" wall chart are available for purchase.

Take care and I look forward to seeing you in the fall,

Tera Yoder
Partnership for People with Disabilities
P.O. Box 843020
Richmond, VA 23284-3020