10 Tips for Ending the School Year

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Did your child have a great school year? Did your child make progress this year? Will your child make a major transition next year?

Here are some great tips for wrapping up the school year, reviewing your child’s program and services, and steps you can take to plan for a successful year next fall.

1. Visit the new school or classroom.

Will your child make a major transition next fall? Will your child be moving from preschool to kindergarten, from elementary to middle school, or from middle school to high school? Plan to take your child to visit the new school or classroom before the first day of school.

2. Review your child’s IEP and progress.

Did your child make progress this school year? Did the school properly implement the IEP? Does the IEP adequately address your child’s needs? Do your child’s Goals prepare your child for further education, employment, and independent living?

3. Ask for an IEP Team Meeting if necessary.

Did you answer “No” to any of the questions above? Ask for an IEP Team Meeting to resolve these concerns. Do not let another year go by with an inappropriate IEP.

4. Prepare for the IEP Team Meeting.

Prepare a list of your child’s present levels of performance. The list includes you child’s strengths and the areas that are challenging. Look carefully at this list and you will better understand what your child needs. Add these needs to your list of present levels of performance. You can also add Goals, Related Services, Assistive Technology, and anything else that your list justifies as an educational need.

5. Say “Thank You” to those who helped.

Did your child have a great school year? Was this success due to a wonderful teacher, a helpful classroom aide, or a thoughtful bus driver? Say “thank you” to those who helped your child succeed. Look at what made this a good year for your child. Add that information to the list of your child’s present levels of performance.

6. Give your information list to the IEP Team before the meeting.

Do not surprise other members of the IEP Team. At least one week before the meeting, give a copy of your list to each member of the IEP Team. Take extra copies to the meeting for anyone who forgets to bring their copy. Your IEP Team Meeting will go faster and smoother if everyone has your list ahead of time.

7. Ask for a copy of any information that has been given to other members of the IEP Team.

You do not want to be surprised. Ask for copies of all information the IEP Team will discuss. You cannot be a full team member if you are left out of the loop. Ask for things like copies of teacher reports, evaluation reports, and group achievement testing.

8. Ask the IEP Team to address Extended School Year (ESY).

ESY Ask the IEP Team to address ESY early in the second semester. If there is disagreement about whether your child needs an ESY, you will need enough time to resolve this with one of the due process procedures available.

9. Find out what summer educational resources are available for your child.

An ESY is not the same as summer school. Summer School is usually a generic program that is not designed to meet your child’s individual needs. An ESY program is intended to meet the specific educational needs of your child as identified in his or her IEP. Make sure you know what services the school is offering!

10. Determine whether your child needs a new evaluation.

Does your child need new evaluations? Are you unsure whether your child has made adequate progress? Achievement testing at the beginning and end of every year will give objective answers about your child’s progress. (See Chapter 8, Your Child’s Evaluation, in Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition).

Want more tips? Check out the Ask the Advocate series by Indiana Advocate Pat Howey at https://www.wrightslaw.com/howey/ask.htm

  1. I love your book’s . If my son has all these rights! why do I have to fight so hard to get what is his right to have? ..While they the school system is bullying me , my son is missing out on what should be rightfully his..I’m a single Mother and monies are not growing on trees in my back yard!!
    Why do we as Parents have to go through all this mess when the law says our children have the right to good education but not getting it !! I have not given up yet and I’m preparing for a State Complaint ..

  2. This is very nice .. BUT ..
    I have not signed an IEP for 3 years !! The one I signed in 2010 was not followed . My son is listed as other and I have not been able to have his label changed even tho He has been found to be Autistic high functioning by 3 prominent Dr´s from EVMS .. Nobody reads his IEP. I have been told so both by the AP and teachers. He is in the 11th grade now and has been stagnate for years and going down. He gets written up for just being him self. I´m sick of it !!! I have your books but that has not helped.

  3. I think it is awesome, the information you put out for parents in regards to advocacy for their special needs children. However, speaking from experience, it doesn’t matter how fantastic of an IEP you have set in place- it’s how well it is executed by all those involved with your child. That is exactly the problem we had. A well ‘written’ IEP means nothing unless it is implemented, period. Good luck trying to force (yes, force) public school staff/teachers into actually doing their job. There are plenty of stories in the news that reflect my point. So I’m not sure why the big push on making sure you have a magnificent IEP- if it’s just going to be completely ignored.

  4. How do you deal when an IEE assessor report that the school miss calculate a test? Which result a fault information on the Tri Annual Educational report, and past consent I.E.P. Goal progress report?

  5. I am an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher and I commend all the parents who are researching ways to improve the educational lives of their children. One thing I do to help my students transition to a new placement, program or school is to create a “social story.” I take pictures of their new school, classroom, teacher, service providers, etc. and add simple repetitive text to help ease anxiety of their new setting. This book is sent home to be read prior to transitioning and a copy is place in the classroom for students to view. I am also involved with our Extended School Year Program in my parish and I am currently teaching a group of students transitioning from home to a preschool program. This has been a great opportunity for the students to ease transition and provides a continuation of services.

  6. Jayme: Despite clear evidence that retention does not work – and that it damages children – many school districts continue to use this outmoded policy.
    To deal with a retention problem, you must educate yourself before you can advocate for your children. Please go to this page:


    and read the articles about retention..

    Read and make copies of the Position paper from the National Association of School Psychologists and the American Federation of Teachers. They support the position that retention is not an appropriate intervention.

  7. Jayme-The school tried to do this with my daughter in 1st grade, she was making all passing grades and I had been pushing for an eval, as her older brothers (twins) are LD. I knew not to allow this, as I had retained the twins the year before and it was the biggest mistake I have made yet. You may be able to use the fact that the school is proposing retention as a tool to get a more appropriate IEP in place. If the girls are not progressing in the general education curriculum (the mention of retention would certainly indicate that), then you need to know why and what can be done to make that happen. You also may want to research “retention” on the wrightslaw website. There are a couple of really good articles there. Good Luck!

  8. I have twin girls 7yrs old. Their birthdays are in Sept. They are in second grade.They both have IEPs. They are going to a learning center after school for one/ two days a week.This last week the school sent home a letter stating they want to retain both girls. They would like to get together and review all of the reasons. My husband and I are not sure If that is a great idea. What kind of questions would be good to ask ?Thank you for your time.

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