We are half way through the third quarter, and my IEP binder is about to burst! Literally. I open it now and pray the rings don't pop open. I posted the photo above on Instagram, about two weeks ago, to share my nearly bursting binder with my Instagram friends. I couldn't believe the comments and emails I received asking about what I have inside that thing - aside from a ton of papers. I was SO excited to share with everyone. But then... my gallbladder decided to bite the dust and I was in surgery the next day. Ugh. Now, finally feeling myself again, I'm ready to share a little peek into mine with you all! And please, don't be jealous of my lovely carpet background.
Let's get started. In the front pocket of all my binders, I keep note pages. I like to have these readily available to me incase I need to jot something down super quick. My first official page in my binder is my Dates at a Glance page. I like to have my IEP meeting due dates in the very front. Mostly because they're easy to find if a teacher should ask me when a student's IEP is up, but also because I probably look at this section the most.
For confidentiality reasons I printed out a blank copy of my IEP Due Dates sheet. I list all of my students' names from my caseload, when their IEP is due, and circle if they also have a re-evaluation due. After each IEP meeting I cross the student's name off my list.
To the right of this page, I have a similar page for my re-evaluations that are due. If I had circled "YES" on the IEP Due Dates page that a re-evaluation is indeed due, on the Re-Evaluation Due Dates page I list the student name and the date the re-evaluation needs to be completed by.
- when to send invitations home by
- when I sent invitations to the meeting home
- when I need to collect teacher input by
- when I sent the re-evaluation home
...and so on. I am currently in the middle of my tenth year being a special education teacher, and I learned very early on to write and record EVERYTHING.
Now for the reason my binder is stuffed full of papers and ready to burst open...
I guess you could say that the number of students on my caseload determines how large my binder is by the end of the year, haha! This year I have quite a few students, so this section is loaded. On the opposite side of the Student Information cover sheet I like to keep a student roster. I list all of the students on my caseload, their grade, and their homeroom teacher.
After that it's ALL the info. In the past I've typically sectioned off my students' information by using fancy plastic dividers - keeping it nice & neat, as well as cute. When it looks good I just feel good!:) BUT - this year was different. I had too many students and I needed all the room I could. So instead of cute dividers, I used just plain colored paper with each student's name typed up on it. I list my students in alphabetical order, making it easier for me to find them should I need to look up their reading level, their class schedule, etc. I fill out a brief at a glance profile sheet for each student, and put it directly behind their divider sheet. After their profile sheet, I also include state and local assessments, transition surveys, teacher input, observations, report cards, parent input, etc. Basically, anything that I think is needed and important when developing their upcoming IEP.
I'd also like to add that it feels SO good to know it's all kept in one spot. Because let's be honest... sometimes my desk looks like it threw up papers, and other times papers go missing making me wonder if my desk actually ate them.
I guess my last peek for you all would be what I keep in my Extra Notes. When creating this binder, I specifically only made it as an "IEP Meetings Binder" for a reason. I wanted everything I needed for developing my IEPs to be in one spot - ok, I realize everything is kind of impossible, but you catch my drift. My Extra Notes are basically everything else I need, but have nowhere to put. This is where I keep my daily schedule for meeting planning, list of important phone extensions, my contact log, student logins & passwords for taking online assessments, scoring guides, as well as much more.
Over the years, I've found that this is the best fit for how I feel I should have my binder set up, although I know there are many other ways it can be used/arranged! For instance, the sections don't need to be in my order. You don't even need to use some of the pages included in it. I don't, but I do still like knowing I have those pages if I should ever need them down the road. Maybe you don't like what I call the sections in my binder - like "Extra Notes." That's fine! I've included the option of creating your own cover pages. There are so many possibilities to play around with and test out.
Oops... one last thing. I switch up my binder themes at the beginning of each school year. I like a fresh start. If flowers aren't your thing, check out my other IEP Meetings Binder themes in my TPT shop!