Starbridge advocate Gretchen Jackson explains that, whether a meeting is held in person or virtually, the technology is the only thing changing for virtual meetings; the content of the meeting is the same. Here are Gretchen’s tips for your annual review meeting:

Keep in mind your vision for your child’s future.

Prepare yourself emotionally for the meeting. Be aware of what your emotional triggers are and how you will handle yourself if those buttons are pushed.

Think outside of the box and help your team do so as well. Ask “What if?” questions. For example, what if we approach a problem from the student’s point of view?

Be as informed as possible before the meeting. You may want to ask for a pre-CSE meeting to review the draft IEP, updated evaluations, and what supports your child currently receives. Ask the teacher what supports they recommend to help your child. No one wants any surprises at the annual review.

Be assertive in your communications with the IEP team, rather than passive or aggressive.

Go into the meeting with a positive attitude and a collaborative spirit. Be open minded.

Write your questions and concerns down ahead of time and take it with you to the meeting so you’re sure to cover everything you wanted to discuss. Try using a template like the one provided by Wrightslaw if you need guiding questions. See Additional Resources below for the Wrightslaw checklist.

Learn from past experiences.

Your child should be represented at the meeting either in person or through written statements from your child or dictated to you by your child. Discuss what was challenging for your child at school, what helped, and what worked well.

At the end of the meeting, have the recommendations read back so everyone knows what they are, and there won’t be any misunderstandings.

You can always ask for more time or reconvene the meeting if you have more to discuss. If you know ahead of the meeting that you need extra time, you can request that.

After the meeting, follow up with a thank you letter highlighting the agreed upon action items.

Understand your due process rights.

Continue the conversation with your child’s team throughout the year. Building trust takes time and multiple interactions.

Join Gretchen in one of two upcoming webinars on Preparing for Your Virtual Annual Review. Just click on the link provided to register:

March 11th, 2021, 6:30-7:30pm

March 17th, 2021, 12-1pm