C.T. asks from Pasadena, CA on February 09, 2011
IEP Who Should Attend/ Who Is the "Boss of Teachers" the Principal?
HI Mammas... thank you in advance for your help! I have a special needs child 10 who has an IEPand a behavior plan. I am not convinced his plan is being followed by his teacher and I get mixed messages from her often. I spoke to the principal a few months ago and verbalized my concerns, but nothing has changed. His last IEP was in May... he has the same SDC teacher as last year ( that I am not overly happy with) but everyone else at his IEP meeting is now gone... so new principle, new homeroom teacher etc. so I wanted to call an IEP to make sure everyone is following his IEP and behaviour plan for the remainder of the year. i have been told 4 different dates so far that keep changing. I requested the IEP 1/20 so I understand they have 30 days to set up a meeting. I requested his SDC (special Day Class for special ed kids)teacher/ homeroom teacher/ school psychologist and principal to be at the meeting. I just received word they have now set a meetign by the principal will not be there. Should I require the principal to be there??? I really wanted them there b/c I question this teachers teaching ability and follow through and have many examples of confusing notes/ conflicting messages etc regarding my son from her. Is the principal the teacher's boss? If so I would like them there as I want to express my concern regarding this teacher. Thoughts? Should I require the principle there or let it slide??? Thanks in advance! C.
D.H. answers from Los Angeles on February 15, 2011
Yes it can be done without the Principal being there, but if you want the Principal there then you need to request that a new date be chosen. The Principal is the boss over the school site and is over that teacher. Set a new date to have the Principal there.
K.H. answers from Los Angeles on February 14, 2011
You must have an administrator at the IEP meeting. So unless they are having someone from the district office special education department attend in the prinicipal's place, then the prinicipal must attend.
A.S. answers from Spokane on February 10, 2011
I wouldn't push it on the principal. They don't really have much power to inforce a teachers classroom behavior. It's certainly your right to request their presence but it wouldn't be guaranteed they could attend anyway. My son has been getting IEP's for years and for almost as long I have called a quarterly meeting with EVERYONE involved with him, in what I call his "support staff". So that would include his teachers, aids that worked with him regularly, therapists, psr workers, service coordinators, etc. I always hold this meeting at the school and as many people that were able to attended. I love these meetings because it really helps me see where my son is at, it lets each of his staff see what the other is working on with him and even lets them coordinate a bit. It gives us a heads up if there is an item on the IEP that needs to be reevaluated. There have been times where the principal was there and other times he/she wasn't.
If your son's plan really isn't being followed, you have to right to insist that it is. You may need to find an advocate for your son to make sure it's followed. Several years ago I upset the secretary at my sons school before it had even started for the season and she made things really difficult for me the rest of the year bu tit had to be done. My sons IEP specifically stated that he was to be in p.m. K and we had written it months previously. She called to tell me that there was no room in p.m. K and he had to be in a.m. K. She was very snippy with me when I reminded her the school was required to follow it and she very pointedly reminded me that it wasn't fair to the families of the two students she would have to drop from the p.m. class to make room for a special needs child. Well, if she had done her job properly in the first place, then it wouldn't have happened. But if I hadn't stepped forward and made sure he got what his IEP stated, then my son wouldn't not have gotten the best start possible.
Obviously, I have no idea what your IEP states, or requires. When you call your meeting, have the teacher prepare a progress report showing you where your son is at with his goals and if he's showing progress or even meeting/exceeding the goals. If he's showing actual progress, I really wouldn't worry too much about the teacher. But, if this far in, he's showing little to no progress then you certainly need to look into the teachers methods as well as reevaluate his IEP; the goals may be too high. When you have your meeting, document before what you expect to accomplish and so you can keep yourself on track. Document everything that has given you cause for concern and make sure it's all resolved to YOUR satisfaction.
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T.S. answers from Sacramento on February 09, 2011
You can ask to have it reschedule for a time the principal CAN be there... however, be aware that you can't actually REQUIRE anyone in particular attend... the whole IEP team will be invited, and certain folks are required to give input, but they CAN submit a written report instead. An administrator does need to be there, but she can "designate" anyone else to take her place in the meeting (ie another special ed teacher, special ed supervisor, etc.)
If it were me, I'd contact the principal, let her know you really want to have the meeting when she can attend and ask her when she can do it.
T.B. answers from Bloomington on February 09, 2011
I taught middle school in a private school the past 6 years, took this year off. I have been to many IEP meetings/case conferences. My principal was only there is there was something she wanted to address. In other words, she only went if there was a problem. Usually it was me (classroom teacher), behavior consultant (if applicable), special ed. teacher, and a lady from the special ed office (don't know her title) who did all the paperwork. So, in my school, it was not normal that my Principal was there. But, she did debrief with the teacher after the conferences were over.
If a parent requests that certain people are in the meeting, then they should be there. If the Principal can't be there, maybe you should schedule a meeting with her, with our without the classroom, after the IEP meeting to debrief. Legally they have to fulfill his IEP accomodations and time requirements. If anyone is not, you need to be very proactive!
E.B. answers from San Diego on February 12, 2011
As a public school teacher for 10 years I have learned that the principal is not necessarily the boss of teachers. The principal can try telling the teachers what to and not to do; can even report/ write up the teacher. However in our current system, it takes a lot to fire a teacher (usually as a result of a teacher's gross misconduct). I would request the principal to be at the meeting, but if he/ she cannot, then meet with them separately. If you feel that your child is not getting the education he should be, request for a new teacher or transfer to another school (as I have found those options give better/ faster results than arguing/ ultimately fighting with poor teachers). Good luck!
S.R. answers from Los Angeles on February 10, 2011
By law there has to be an administrator OR an administrator's designee at the meeting. If the principal is not going to be there, ask who the administrator present is going to be. Sometimes when our principal can't make it, we have the District's Special Ed Director come in her place. I'm a counselor and we used to be able to sign off as the administrator's designee, but our district decided that was not appropriate anymore, and only administrators can sign off as the administrator. So there has to be SOMEONE there in that role. Find out who they were planning to have in that role.
K.T. answers from Los Angeles on February 11, 2011
The IEP team is supposed to provide you a firm date in writing within 10 days of your request, and while that date can be changed, it cannot be pushed past the 30 days without your written consent.
You have the right to insist that the principal be there, although I doubt that it will make much of a difference. While the principal is technically the teacher's boss, most principals have very little special ed experience and will often keep a "hands off" approach. If the principal can't make it to the meeting (and you choose not to pursue it) I would insist that you be able to meet with him/her prior to the IEP to reiterate your concerns. You can also request that a representative from the school district attend if the principal is unavailable. Usually someone from the Special Ed office has a little more clout, and will certainly keep the teacher on their toes.
That said, please try to voice your concerns in a calm and courteous manner. Things can quickly be misconstrued and I have seen all too often what happens when things become contentious. Try to back up your concerns with facts and evidence, and expect the teacher to do the same. It also helps if you can come prepared with reasonable suggestions to improve communication such as a daily log or weekly emails.
L.M. answers from Los Angeles on February 10, 2011
Yes, the principal should be there. First of all, an adminstrator is required to be at the meeting (per IDEA). Second, she really is the one untimately responsible for teachers and to be sure the IEP is being implemented. Even higher up is the Director or Coordinator of Special Education. You could request that they be there as well.
L.M. answers from Dover on February 09, 2011
Most teachers have a department head and then may report to an assistant principle too. Ultimately, the principal is in charge of the whole school.
You should be able to just have a parent teacher conference and include the assistant princpal if necessary (but first you should address it with the teacher). You shouldn't need to schedule an IEP unless you are looking to change what is ordered.