Transition Plan Assessment - Informal Parent Interview Meeting
Updated: Jul 21, 2021
I have never been to an IEP meeting with an unlimited amount of time and I’ve been to over 100. IEP meetings are designed to create a legal document, so they are incredibly important for the student, but they often have time limits. Unfortunately, this doesn’t lend itself to organic conversation, mainly because you are required to cover a variety of specific topics in detail (plus parents/guardians may be surrounded by numerous related service, LEA, and/or outside agency personnel they barely know or have never met). However, an IEP meeting is meant to prepare a student for their future and we as educators are served with guiding families through the overwhelming process of future planning. This is exactly why a transition plan assessment parent interview meeting is so important to the success of the individual and their family post exit.
Real Conversation Time
With that said, I found it hard to have real conversations with parents/guardians with so many ears listening. I had to find another way.
For the past few years I have chosen to meet with the families on my caseload, prior to the Annual Review meeting, to have an Informal Transition Meeting. There is no Notification of Conference, no one signs-in or initials anything, we just start chatting about their student’s future as openly and honestly as we can. I quickly found that this is the time where I gain the most insight into the family’s future goals and hopes and it has greatly impacted how I write the Transition Plan (which we all know is the ringleader for the rest of the IEP).
I take this time (typically 45 to 75 minutes) to ask the uncomfortable questions, like finances, and to share options, like day programs or semi-independent living. I do my best to use layman’s terms and to share all that I know so that the families can make the best decision for them and their child long before they formally exit the school setting.
I come ready with my laptop and will send emails in real time to get the ball rolling on important tasks. I’m honest when I don’t have the answer they are looking for. I identify when I need to follow-up on a question. I do this to show that I am committed to helping make their (the parent and the student’s) transition from public education to ‘real life’ as smooth as possible.
Yes, I have met with parents four times for the same meeting and, based on my experience, the families are better prepared for the future and have a much more concrete vision for their child at meeting four than meeting one.
Since I have found such value in these conversations I’ve developed an Informal Parent Transition Meeting conversation template. You can find it HERE (Google Friendly) or HERE (PDF). Since each state and school is different, I’ve left a whole page blank for you to fill in your own questions.
This transition plan assessment parent interview meeting conversation guide will give you the structure for informing parent/guardians and supporting your students in the best way possible! If you’ve ever had an Informal Transition Meeting or used the template, please comment below with your experience.