Thoughts & News

SXSW EDU Presentation - IEP&Me Needs Your Vote!SXSW EDU Presentation - IEP&Me Needs Your Vote!

SXSW EDU Presentation - IEP&Me Needs Your Vote!

Aug 19, 2021DisabilitiesIEPsTeachersWho We Are

IEP&Me has submitted a proposal to present at SXSW EDU in March 2022. We need your vote to show the panel that student voice is needed in the IEP Process!

We’ve submitted a proposal to help participants Increase Student Voice and Transparency in Special Education. Learn more about our session by clicking here.

Session Objectives

Participants will be able to understand the IEP document and use it as a foundation for conversations with students & families.

Participants will learn strategies to provide, or advocate for, ways for the whole IEP team to have easy access to student accommodations & goals.

Participants will understand the purpose of student-led IEP meetings and know how to differentiate implementation by age & ability levels.

How to Vote

Click this link. Create an account and then vote “up” our session! Share this link on your social media page and ask your friends and family to vote as well! VOTING ENDS AUGUST 26TH!

How Did We Get Here?How Did We Get Here?

How Did We Get Here?

Jul 1, 2020Who We Are

Five years ago, I worked with a 7th grade student to lead his own Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting. We prepped by going through what his disability was, what that meant for him, how he was doing in his classes, and what supports his teachers could do to help him in class. 

Did he want to lead his own IEP? Of course not, no student wants to be front and center of a parent-teacher conference, let alone a full blown, hour-long meeting to discuss an IEP and their special education services. Did he lead it? Yes, and the pride on his parents’ faces, the smile on his face at the end, and the simple awareness of his disability and accommodations has shifted the course of his schooling. As a rising senior, he is able to advocate for himself by clearly communicating his disability and accommodation needs and make sure he gets the support he needs from general education teachers. 

In working with this student, and several others, I dug through the internet to find kid-friendly resources and lessons I could implement to teach kids about their disabilities and how they can lead their own IEP meetings. 

I never found any.

The data for special education is abysmal: almost 15% fewer students with special education graduate from high school compared to their neurotypical peers, students of color (boys especially) are over-identified, students with IEPs are suspended and expelled at a higher rate than their peers, millions of dollars of the special education budget are lost in litigation each year, and parents notoriously hate attending IEP meetings and feel as though their students are forgotten, or worse, targeted, at school. 

In the 10 years that I have worked in education, specifically special education, there has always been a consistent gap between general and special educators. I have always wondered why special education teachers were the only ones with access to online information about students and their IEPs. 

Currently, school staff access IEP information one of three ways: special education teachers printing out ‘IEP-at-a-Glance’ notes and distributing them across teachers, combing through student schedules and sending emails with PDF attachments for each student, or spending hours creating a comprehensive spreadsheet with all the special education student information. 

Students can go for almost their entire school career without knowing what accommodations they are afforded, how to talk to their teachers about them - or that they can, or  even - not know they have an IEP or learning disability. 

I am here to create what we found to be lacking in education -- specifically, in special education. 

IEP & Me is a special education technology company dedicated to empowering students in the classroom by closing the gap of knowledge and providing transparent access to resources for students, general education teachers and parents.  Our company offers: 

  • An online, personalized learning curriculum of animated, interactive videos that will teach students all about special education. From the IEP process and legalities, to their specific learning disabilities, to ways to advocate for themselves by providing feedback on their individual goals and lead their IEP meetings.

  • A revolutionary IEP creation software platform that provides access points to every IEP team member. Parents, students, general education teachers, and - of course - special education teachers can access student IEP information, search by class period, disability, accommodation, and more. Each user is provided specific access to information without unnecessary extras, maintaining appropriate student privacy. 

  • Professional development and training for school staff and parents so that no adult on the IEP team feels ‘in the dark’ about what student rights are, how to work with students or specific disabilities, and easily provide accommodations or modifications. 

After a decade working as educators across demographics, special education settings, and grade levels, it was clear to myself that these two issues—lack of knowledge and access—were consistent no matter who we were working with or where. 

I love working directly with students more than any other part of my job in education. However, I realize that right now, efforts and voices are needed most in this effort to create a systemic change to how special education functions in schools. I know the system, we know what is wanted and needed by all stakeholders on the IEP team, and we are here to create it.

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