NATIONAL IEP WRITING DAY | First Monday in April
The first Monday in April is National IEP Writing Day to honor all special education teachers and team members who write Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students with disabilities.
On National IEP Writing Day, let’s pay it forward by thanking the team of professionals that write and implement IEPs that lead to the success of every student they work with on a daily basis.
What is an IEP? An IEP, or Individualized Education Program, is a compilation of legal documents that are the layout of special education instruction and services needed for student with disabilities to thrive while in school, at home, and in the community.
Writing an IEP is an under-appreciated job requirement special education teachers and teams provide each year. Statistically, almost 65% of teachers don’t like writing IEPs, and an additional 80% dislike writing Present Levels and the Goals/Objectives of an IEP. The amount of paperwork that needs to be submitted per student is extremely time consuming.
Special education teachers and their teams go to great lengths writing and providing IEPs. In fact, no two IEPs are alike because no two students are alike. The professionals that create these IEPs and implement them are managers of legal documents, medical documents, and educational documents. According to school districts across the country, the average time it takes to write an IEP is between 1 to 2.5 hours per student. However, special education teachers and teams say they actually spend nearly 4 hours writing one IEP. Can you imagine the time it takes to write an IEP for nearly 50 students?
On average, a special education teacher will write 16 IEPs in one school year. For some, it can be over 100 in a school year. In the Spring many schools have what they call an “IEP Season.” Even though most school districts have teachers writing IEPs year-round, the IEP season is 4-6 weeks in length. During this time teachers will write all IEPs in this short time frame, plus hold IEP meetings with teams and families.
SPECIAL EDUCATION CELEBRATIONS
- Write quick note or email to your fellow IEP team members thanking them for helping.
- Praise your special education students for being a part of your teaching life.
- Send in a little treat, a handwritten card, gift card, or flowers to show appreciation to your child’s special education teacher and the rest of the IEP team.
- Visit The Intentional IEP website and watch videos on the best practices for IEP writing.
- Use #iepwritingday and #NationalIEPWritingDay to share yourself writing an IEP for a student without giving away confidential information.
- Give a public shoutout to the special education teachers and their teams at your school and share on social media using #makingpositivewaves.
BEHIND NATIONAL IEP WRITING DAY
National Day Calendar and The Intentional IEP collaborated to form National IEP Writing Day in 2022. Each year during the first Monday in April, we will celebrate special education teachers and their teams for making positive waves in the lives of students.
The Intentional IEP is a website that helps special education teachers write IEPs more effectively and efficiently. Unsurprisingly, The Intentional IEP celebrates special education teachers and all IEP team members by working together to complete IEPs more collaboratively as a team. This collaboration helps to further facilitate the positive waves in education. The organization offers both free training using blog posts and videos. In addition, they offer paid services that includes video training, a searchable IEP goal bank, and an IEP writing course for teachers.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
On November 29, 1975, the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law giving disabled students access to services through an IEP. The intent was to help them access the same curriculum as their same-aged, neurotypical peers.
The IDEA law states public schools must write IEPs for each student with disabilities who qualify for special education services. These IEPs are intended to help students and families:
- Access the same-aged general education curriculum as their classmates.
- Provide individualized and specific accommodations based on the student’s needs.
- Allow special education teachers and teams to modify, adapt and make support changes based on individual IEP details.