IEP… I Do’s Building a Viable Home-School Relationship – It’s like a Marriage
My friend, Carmen, put it best: “Working to build a school relationship is a lot like a marriage. It takes work. You have to communicate. You will not always agree with each other. For heaven sakes, do you always agree with your spouse? Do you do what they say? And do you often have unmatched expectations? Of course you do! But you find a way to make it work for the benefit of your family and your children. The same is true in building a strong home-school support family to nurture your child’s success.
I am well aware that this will strike a nerve with parents. I have to say that Carmen has a point. When I reflect on the past seven years of my child’s path, from 3 years old until almost 10, she is on spot!
I don’t have all the answers but I do believe that there are “best practices” that help parents and educators to better communicate and support students. It truly is a marriage that often starts at age 3 when a child enters the ESE program and extends until they age out at 22. So, here is what I have learned from some of the best professionals and most successful parents:
The Contract Dreams for the Future:
First, I have to confess that I am a fan of public education. I shake a big pom-pom because I believe in an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for our son. The plan is mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Here is the “real deal” on it – it’s only as good as the home-school bond. You have got to walk down the aisle as equal partners and be willing to work together to bring the IEP to fruition. The signatures on the IEP symbolize the verbal, “I Do’s” of a marriage.
In order to build a viable Plan, the IEP family needs to identify realistic goals.
One Plan for All – Marriages Made in Heaven?:
Not!!! They’re an earthbound “work in progress!” This remains the same for the IEP process. What “fits” well for one, may require alterations for another. For example, just because another student requires 1-1 assistance doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for your child.
The Dating Game: Sport or Good Planning?
Compatibility can make or break a marriage! That’s the role of dating! Don’t wait until your meeting at the IEP altar to touch base and monitor your child’s progress with the other members of your IEP Family. Two way communication works! (i.e., daily/weekly planner notes, email, conferences, phone calls, etc.).
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