What are some of the primary (highlights) discussions that should be discussed in an IEP meeting?
An IEP is an Individualized Education Plan. This document insures that the needs of the student are being met by the school and the teachers. Schools must insure, given they are required by law, that they follow the IEP of each and every student in the special education program.
There are around seven (7) primary sections to the IEP which must be discussed when creating, reviewing, and/or changing a student's IEP.
Current Performance-- This section explains how the student is currently doing in school.
Annual Goals--This section lays out what goals the student should meet by the end of the school year. These can include both behavioral and educational goals.
Services--In some cases, a student with disabilities may require a personal aide or special accommodations in the classroom (for example: specialized desk, computer, listening devices).
Inclusion--In some cases, students with special needs may have classes which are taken with general education students. In some cases, students with disabilities may not be able to attend certain school functions. Any restrictions must be laid out in this section.
Testing (state and district)--Modifications to testing must be defined in this section. In some cases, the student may qualify for special circumstances under his or her IEP. In other cases, the student may not be able to comply with the testing rules and another test must be administered.
Date and Location--All dates of service must be listed on the IEP. Any reviews, beginning of year, or end of year examinations of the IEP must be written out.
Transition Services-- All students must have a transition meeting to discuss plans after graduation.
On a side note, any student with an IEP must have a parent present if he or she is under the age of 18.
This answer is long after your question, but I must add something to the first answer which is terrific. HOWEVER, as both a teacher and a mother of a son who is ADHD, OCD, Tourettes and Autistic and a terrific challenge for any teacher as his IQ is 145, one thing is forgotten in the above answer. Teachers need to ASK the parent for input. I would go to IEP meetings and the goals would be to write down his assignments, pay attention in class, bring completed work when required, to sit quietly etc. etc. All the usual things would be there in his IEP. The problem was that MY goals for him included such things as actually getting up in the morning to the alarm, ride the Special Ed bus to school to actually get there, to try not to leave the class and go to the nurse, to quiet his impulse to leave the building and head for the middle of the highway, All of which had nothing to do with writing in his assignment book. He had to BE there to write. In middle school he went to school all day with a para beside him. In high school he went to school half days, had a quiet room where he could calm down his sensory overload, had a control blanket which was used by two people to hold onto him without touching him which would escalate him enormously and the para was still beside him each moment he was in school.
I realize that this is an extreme case, but with autism on the rise and schools responsible for their education, more IEP's will be written with different goals than the traditional. Be sensitive to the parent in the meeting and don't ignore their thoughts or suggestions. My son is what the future sometimes looks like.
If you look at answer one, the program is all laid out for you. I tend to think in specifics which means what do you want to tell the parents and what do you want to know from them. Is the student being successful in school with both academics or behavior? If not, which teacher and the techniques they use seem to be most successful? Does he or she require adaptive devices or a para which works with a small group of students to conceal that he is the one needing services. No one likes to be pointed out in a mainstream class. Does he or she have any friends? What social skills seem to be lacking and is there a way for parents to work on them at home? How can teachers assist in this effort? Where should the student sit in class to best allow for their disabilities? Testing is a huge anxiety producer. Find out which teachers are having success and bring up those strategies in the meeting. Stay in touch with the parents to find out how he or she is doing at home. As for transition, some parents may have to delay their child's graduation and continue in school until age 21. Discuss this with parents because many don't realize it is an option. You will have to walk a fine line between advocating for the student and being realistic about how much the school can actually do. Good luck as this is a hard job.