How to Write a Letter to School
You will definitely want to bookmark or pin this post. I have often said that one of the biggest IEP mistakes that parents make is not doing everything in writing. The worst case scenario is that you end up in a Due Process Hearing. And then, what will matter is your paper trail. It won’t matter that you verbally asked for something ten times. What will win the hearing is how well documented everything is.
Writing to your IEP team is a way to get documentation. And, it is permissible and acceptable for both parents and IEP teams to use email as a form of communication.
Even if you think it is the most mundane or harmless conversation, follow it up with an email. I can’t even count how many times this practice, of doing everything in writing, has saved the day for some of my clients.
As this blog has evolved, I have delved into the various letter-writing topics in great detail. This was originally published in 2014 and it was time for an overhaul. While I will still provide templates, I hope that if I did write about your concerns, that you take the time to read the post.
Sometimes reading background information and tips can help you craft a more powerful letter, rather than just following a template.
I treat the IEP process as a business transaction. I am in the business of getting my child’s needs met. And business transactions require lots of letters. Luckily, we don’t really have to reinvent the wheel.
Reasons to Write to your IEP Team
There are many reasons you would need to write to your IEP team. Always, always, always make sure you are following Email Etiquette when writing to your IEP team! Your paper trail will follow you whether you want it to or not.
A Letter to the Teacher about your Child
Most of the reasons that you would send a note to a teacher has to do with your child, right?
- Ask for an IEP Meeting
- Request a 504 plan
- Submit your parental concerns for your IEP meeting
- Submit your re-evaluation concerns at IEP re-eval time
- new diagnosis or information about a student’s disability
- frequent suspensions, wish to request Manifestation Hearing
- academic struggles, need an IEP not 504 plan
- lack of meaningful progress toward IEP goals
- the behavior plan isn’t working
- IEP placement isn’t working
- discuss further evaluation by the school or an IEE
This post is getting almost a complete makeover. First, many of the links to outside sites were dead or 404. Second, my philosophy has changed since then. I used to do a lot of “Here, go copy this and you’ll be fine.” And many parents still need that, so I am including templates. But, if you’re in this for the long haul and want to be a better IEP advocate for your child, you need to learn the “why” behind what we do. And why letter writing is such an important part of IEP advocacy.
Documentation in IEP Process
As stated above, documentation is everything in the IEP process. As a parent advocate, you have to know your own strengths and weaknesses. If letter writing or writing in general is not your strong area, get assistance. Parent training centers can assist with this. As an advocate, I ghostwrite many letters for parents.
I tried to find a few special education letters for each category. Such as requesting an IEP meeting, requesting special education evaluations, Gebser letters or other discrimination letters, and requesting educational records. If you ever need help with something that isn’t here, please ask in our Facebook group.
How to Request IEP IEE Evaluations
- How to Request IEP Evaluations
- IEE Independent Education Evaluations | When, Why and How to Request One.
Remember that you don’t write and ask for an IEP. You ask that your child is evaluated. Per Child Find, a school is required to evaluate in all areas of suspected disability. So if they don’t suspect an area and you do, bring it to their attention. List what you are seeing both in your request letter and the Permission to Evaluate form.
Sample Letters Requesting IEP Meeting
Letter Templates for Special Education
- Printable IEP Planner and other Templates
- How to Write your Best Ever Parent Concerns Letter for an IEP
- Request Homebound Placement
- The After IEP Meeting Letter
- How to Ask for Comp Ed
- How to Ask for a No Meet Addendum to the IEP
Sample Gebser letters (Bullying, Sexual Harassment)
Read more on Bullying and Harrassment first!
- Sample Gebser Letter
Sample Letters Requesting FERPA Records
It would be irresponsible of me not to tell you this: Some schools view a Records Request as a hostile act. Read that post to find out why.sample-FERPA-letter.doc