How I Started Tackling the End of My School Year as an IEP Case Manager

It's the same feeling every year - I put on my Halloween top to go to work, come home, go to bed, and wake up the next day realizing it's MAY.  OK - A slight exaggeration, but I know my fellow teachers get what I'm saying. No matter how long the school year feels at any given time, then end is here before we even know it.

It never fails.  Around mid-May I find myself scrambling to collect data on my students to share with their upcoming case managers.  I also find myself receiving information, on students who will be joining my roster next year, and then having to remember where I placed it come August.



At the beginning of this current school year I decided I was going to end this year differently than I have been the past 9 year.  I created IEP Flip Books at the beginning of this current school year thats coming quickly to an end, so I knew what information I wanted and needed to know for my new roster students next year.  Yes - I can just look at their IEPs, but I like to have a physical copy of information about my students kept at my finger tips, for whenever I am planning over my summer months.

These "flip books" aren't like the "at a glance" sheets I keep at my desk, or IEP information sheets I send to the regular education teachers.  These are detailed flip books filled out by special education teachers, to then be used by special education teachers. It's an easy to use resource that allows the previous case manager a chance to introduce special education students that were previously on their rosters, to you!  I'd like to think of these as a way to eliminate hundreds of email and phone calls asking about a particular student.  Please Note:  I said hundreds of emails and phone calls - not ALL of them, haha!


Before I get started, there are two different flip book options: upper grades flip book and lower grades flip book. But I'll get more into detail about the two as I go on. Each flip book comes in color or in black & white.  Print in black & white on color paper or on plain white paper.  When printed in color on white paper, the tabs really pop out!  The lower grades flip book comes with two cover options - 1 boy cover and 1 girl cover.


This flip book is made up of 7 pages (tabs)...
Student Info 

For this page I fill in student information I find to be incredibly important to know about the student within a school year.  The page is made up of information found in the student's IEP that's important, as well as information I feel should be passed along to the next case manager - based on the past year(s) of experience I've had with the student.

IEP Notes

When receiving this page from a previous case manager, I know it will be full of ALL important IEP information I can keep with me as a planning guide for the next school year.  Case Managers are able to fill out the most current IEP meeting date, the student's diagnosis, special considerations to be aware of, present levels of academic achievement, present levels of functional performance, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Nearly all pages in the flip book include an "Additional Notes" box, in the chance I have left something out.

Inside the Classroom

This page is probably my favorite, only because it eliminates SO MUCH stress for myself for next year.  I can read a student's IEP until I'm blue in the face. I can even take notes about what I read. But sometimes I still ask myself after just finishing reading an IEP, "is this student pull-out or fully included?" SO much information to take in.  However, now I have all of this information at my finger tips before the start of the next school year.  This page informs me of a student's educational placement, grades for the year, classroom accommodations & modifications, and any related services they might have received. I have also created this page to include two options for use - by quarters and by trimesters.


14 Years and Older/Tracking Academic Levels


This is where the slight difference between the upper grades flip book and the lower grades flip book happens.  I consider upper grades 6th - 12th, due to students turning 14.  The upper grades flip book comes with transition information.  If a student will be turing 14 years old sometime during the duration of the current IEP, the new case manager will be well aware.  The new case manager will also be aware of transition goals and services that have been going on, or have just started.

Those students 13 years old and younger fall in to the lower grades flip book.  This page is designed to track the students most current academic levels, to help with planning and preparing for the upcoming year. Academic levels that are tracking include letters, sight words, numbers, math facts, etc. There is also a place to record ability levels and grade equivalencies for certain academic areas.

Goals

I like knowing my students goals a decent amount of time before the school year begins.  I like being able to prepare for how I plan on measuring and collecting data, well before I actually begin doing it.  There are two different options for goal pages included.  The first option lets you write the goal, take notes on progress toward the goal, describe how progress was previously measured, as well as when progress was reported to the parent(s)/guardian(s).  The second option allows you to so all of that again, but you can also write and record objectives to go with each goal.




Student Survey

I really wanted to personalize each students' flip book so their next year's case manager would really get to know them.  I created these student surveys to do just that. Upper grades flip book has a different survey than the lower grades flip book.  This is only because of the different ages/grade levels.  Some of the information is the same, while other information is geared more towards their levels.









Extra Info

This is it - the last page! And guess what, it's TOTALLY blank.  This is where I can add any additional notes I want the case manager next year to know, that might have been missed in the pages before.  I have also included this page as an editable Powerpoint slide, for if you decide you want to customize a page in your flip book to better fit your own personal needs.

For ONCE it's nearing mid-May and I'm not stressed at all.  I have my flip books nearly all filled out and ready to give to next year's case managers.  I hope my newest method of tackling the end of the school year provides you with some help for tackling yours as well!  You can find both flip books in my TpT shop - Charley's Classroom. I hope everyone who is coming to the end of their school year, like I am, has a street free one! Or as stress free ending as one can get!






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Sneak a Peek at What's Inside My IEP Meetings Binder


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.
After my list of when IEPs are due, I have calendar pages directly behind to show when the IEP meetings are taking place, as well as other important dates pertaining to the meeting.  A few things I like to mark on the calendar pages include:
- 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...
STUDENT INFORMATION


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!



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A Post: To The New Year!



What joy there is in starting a new year! New resolutions, new goals, new beginnings... and a new amount of times to write the year wrong.  I had only written it wrong 4 times today - and might I add I'm incredibly impressed with that low of a number.  BUT, with the joy of starting the new year, comes the sad end to another holiday break and having to get back into a routine again. *sigh* When I taught at the elementary level, I loved coming back and celebrating the new year with my students.  I loved hearing about what goals they had for themselves.  I think I've heard just about everything from - scoring 100% on all spelling tests to - not getting in trouble and having to miss recess.  Moving to the middle school last year changed that a bit, and it's not because they don't have spelling tests or recess anymore.  Now, they are "big kids."  Their goals and resolutions go beyond spelling tests and playing at recess.  I decided that over my holiday break I had to make something more "big kid" appropriate for my students to complete as a welcome back pack.  Luckily, being snowed in one morning allowed me plenty of time to do just that!  I decided to create a New Year "Welcome Back" Pack!


In this pack my students can review their last year's goals and achievements, as all as set new goals for the upcoming year.  My students can also write a note to their future self.  AND - because I finished and was STILL snowed in, I had extra time to make this for the 2018 and 2019 new years as well! Now, it's not like me to work THAT far in advance, but I just couldn't help myself. This resource, as well as other resources to get you ready for the new year, can be found in my TPT STORE!

I can't believe the first school day back from break is over already. I hope everyone has had a great start to their 2017 new year so far, and I wish for nothing but the best for the days in 2017 yet to come!



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