T2T Conversations: Supporting Students with IEPs

by | 04.21.20

Megan Gross is a special education teacher and inclusion specialist. Follow her on Twitter @MegNGross.

With COVID-19 causing so many disruptions, all of us educators are having to adapt so quickly. And for those of us who support students with IEPs, the challenges can feel especially daunting.

That’s why I was so excited to participate in a live conversation with educators Kellie Holm May, Kareem Neal and Sarah Brown Wessling about how special ed teachers, gen ed teachers, paraeducators and administrators alike can work together to make sure we’re meeting the needs of all our students. 

I want to share three of my favorite takeaways from our conversation, and then I hope you’ll watch for yourself and share your thoughts in the comments!

  1. This is a time for all of us to lean on each other – and that includes connecting with all support teachers and paraprofessionals. Under normal circumstances, we all work with a network of educators to support kids – and now shouldn’t be any different! If you are a paraprofessional and you’re not feeling plugged in, email the classroom teacher and ask to participate in their video calls. If you’re a teacher using Google Classroom or Canvas or Schoology, make sure you’ve added the paraprofessionals and other co-teachers to your page. We can all support our students better together. 
  2. Know what you don’t know. Each week, we’ll learn. We’ll find new things that don’t work, and different ways that work better. Week by week, we can make little tweaks and changes. By making little improvements every week, we can move closer to what works without feeling like we’re reinventing our approach every day. We can trust that we’re all going to figure this out together.
  3. Streamline communication with families and let them know what to expect. We’re all getting inundated with information right now – and that includes our students’ family members. We can support our families, and each other, by collaborating and sending joint communications, such as team emails or team video calls.  By sharing with families how you’re going to be communicating with them, and providing support to use new technology platforms, you can help all of this feel less overwhelming.

We covered a lot of topics, but one more thing – one of the most important things – we discussed that I want to share with you is this: There’s no blueprint for what we’re doing now. It’s OK to be vulnerable and it’s OK to ask for help. 

We’re building something new, and we have to do it together by collaborating, supporting each other, acknowledging areas for improvement and celebrating every single victory, no matter how small. That’s why I’m so grateful that we all have each other to lean on – here and in our closed Facebook group for educators supporting students with IEPs.

I hope you’ll take some time to watch the recording of our discussion and engage in conversation with us in the comments. Remember, we’re going to get through this – together!

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