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Does Your Child’s Teacher See the IEP?

by Pat Howey

You’ve just returned from your child’s IEP Meeting. You gave the team your Parent Report or Parent Agenda. You and the Team agreed on an IEP for your child. Whew! That was a lot of work and you are tired! You deserve a rest.

Your work is finished, right? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is, “No!”

Do you know that your child’s teacher may never see the IEP into which you and the other team members put so much time and effort?Sometimes, school administrators decide not everyone needs to see the full IEP, including your child’s teacher! Substitute teachers, paraprofessionals, and other school staff almost never get to see the full IEP. Your child’s special education teacher may reduce the IEP into a one-page summary. This is what your child’s teachers and other school staff get.

IEP Summaries

The summary may only include the modifications, adaptations, and accommodations for your child. It may include a health care plan. It may not include goals or benchmarks. It almost never gives information about your child’s present levels of academic and functional performance.

Your school administrator may think your child’s teacher will not read a longer document. This may be true. Sometimes, middle and high school level general education teachers think the teacher of record does all of the “special ed stuff.”

This means it is even more important for you to provide them with information about your child. If the staff at your child’s school does not understand why the IEP Team decided what it did about your child, they cannot possibly understand the value of the IEP.

IEP Confidentiality

Your school administrators may incorrectly believe the IEP is “confidential.” If so, the administrator thinks s/he cannot release it to teachers and other staff members. This is not true. If it were true, a nurse who takes your blood pressure would not be able to give that information to your doctor, because that information is confidential, too!

Schools can release confidential information about your child to anyone at school who has a genuine need for that information. Certainly teachers, substitute teachers, and many other school staff members need information about your child. It is the only way we can expect them to understand your child’s unique needs!

IEP Copies

You must make sure your child’s teacher has a full copy of the IEP. One way you can do this is to ask for a short meeting with each of your child’s teachers. When you go to the meeting, take a copy of the IEP and give it to your child’s teacher. Print your telephone number on the IEP and tell the teacher to call you anytime with questions.

Tip: If a teacher does not know your child, give a picture of your child to the teacher. This way, the teacher is able to put a face to the information you are providing.

If you took a Parent Report or a Parent Agenda to the IEP Meeting, give a copy of this to the teacher, too. If the teacher did not attend the meeting, he will have the same information, as did those who were there.

If you properly prepare for IEP Meetings by taking a Parent Report or Parent Agenda and you give your Report and a full copy of the IEP to each teacher, you may be surprised to find that:

  • Your child’s teachers understand your child much better.
  • Your child’s teacher is grateful for the extra information they have.

She may even tell you that that the information in your Parent Report or Parent Agenda makes more sense than the information they receive in the administrator’s one-page summary!

Yes, this is a lot of work. But, nobody ever said that having kids would be easy.

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15 Comments on "Does Your Child’s Teacher See the IEP?"


My son is on an IEP for all subjects yet his reading group is always led by àn assistant not the classroom teacher. It seems to me a student on an IEP would benefit from instruction from a professionally certified teacher rather than the assistant. Should he be working with the teacher for direct instruction? isnt the roll of the assistant for instructional support not direct instruction?


This recently came up at a workshop I was at where someone said educators are not legally required to receive IEPs.
Isn’t it breaking the law to NOT observe the IEP and therefore you’d need to receive and read it (even if condensed) to do be able to do so? This is what I have been told in my school system. If I am teaching a student and I do not provide the accommodations, we are vulnerable to being sued for violating an IEP. My school system requires us to read and sign a document saying we both received and read these documents (I’m a specialist, and I have 60+ to read through each year). Is this indeed how the law works? If so, aren’t all teachers that work directly with a student required to read the IEP, or does the law only require a special ed teacher to receive it? Thanks for the clarification.


It is not that easy when the child goes to middle school where they have all different teachers per subjects and IEP goals were written to be implemented in regular education classes as well. Once I gave out side evaluations and IEP goals to my son’s English teacher to understand what our son’s needs are. Next thing I know I got a call from LEA, commended me to explain to him what my intention was to do so. I had to asked the principal to come to the meeting. Ever since I just can not make things move forward with this LEA and he blocks every each step and make me go marygoaround. Be involve special education to me seems a curse. I wish I can hire you, Mr. Peter Wright, but it will be only dream.


JackieK- I have also attended training and professional development session when we have been presented with a child’s IEP to use as an example however, in our trainings they always blacked out the child’s name and other personal information to protect the identity of the child. I think it is wrong to view the IEP of a child whom you will not be working with or need information. If your district used the IEP as an example they should have blacked out the child’s name so you weren’t able to see who it was written for. I agree with you and feel like the parents and the child’s rights were violated by the school district


It is more important that the teachers follow my child’s program and collaborate with the case manager. I think that they should get a copy of the IEP–if they do not–that is fine. In larger school districts, I have seen a few, not all teachers, put the IEPs aside and put out fires with the students instead of following the IEP. Are my child program’s being implemented with fidelity and progressed monitored? That is my emphasis. Does the teacher or aide utilize the AT with my child learns the AT instead of it sitting around in a corner. Hopefully, the case manager is working closely with each teacher, including art, gym, etc. as I have seen these teachers excluded from the team and knowing the child’s information. I do educate each teacher, but I do not give them the IEPs. I meet with them and educate them.