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Preparing IEP Documents for Remote, Hybrid, or In-Person Learning

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Foxit Software

Digital transformation has taken the education sector by storm, and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) in particular have had to adapt to a much more digital friendly environment. Digital documents can streamline the way schools work with IEP plans.

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) supports students with special needs and enables them to thrive in the right learning environment. Covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), this program is a written-out plan that is carefully developed to meet a student's individual learning needs. An IEP plan is very document heavy and includes many IEP records that parents, teachers, and school administrators are required to have on hand to ensure students succeed under the program.

Foxit Software works to provide school administrators and teachers with the right digital solutions to make their IEP records easily editable, manageable, and accessible at all times. Here are some ways that schools can use Foxit's PDF technology to meet their IEP needs:

Stay Prepared for Annual IEP Update Meetings

IEP records consist of all of the documents related to the individual student's education plan. As a student grows from year to year, all of their records need to be kept and updated to ensure that the student is properly educated. That's why IEP plans are thoroughly reviewed at least once a year through the process of an IEP meeting. During an IEP meeting, parents and school administrators go over how the individual student is responding to their educational plan.

Keeping track of documents and updating them annually is difficult with traditional paper documents. However, with a PDF editor like Foxit PDF Editor Pro, teachers can convert their IEP records into digital documents to keep their information up-to-date and ready for IEP meetings. Teachers can combine all of the plans, progress reports, grades, and medical records into a PDF portfolio. Teachers can also update student progress, develop a finalized IEP plan, and turn it into a PDF document that can be easily and securely shared with parents.

Digital Parent Consent Forms

With every IEP plan, parents are involved in the process to make sure their child is on the right track. As IEP plans are constantly being updated on a yearly basis, parents are required to give their consent for the program. With a PDF editor, teachers can prepare a digital form that can easily be edited and updated every year for parents to sign, making it more convenient for both parties to approve. Instead of printing out parent forms for ink signatures, teachers can create secure PDF forms for parental consent during annual IEP meetings.

Keep Up with IEP Record Changes

IEP records consist of many different documents, such as student identification, health records, restrictions, 504 accommodation plans, etc. Schools and teachers are required to have these documents on hand when working with students with special needs. They are also required to update IEP documents, such as progress reports, consistently. Due to the nature of IEP plans, schools must make daily, monthly, and yearly updates to student progress reports. With a PDF editor, teachers and school administrators can easily make edits to documents and save them properly for easy retrieval. With digital PDF copies, teachers can access their students' IEP records whenever and wherever they are on campus, making it easier and more efficient to work with students. With document-management integrations, teachers can also pull out their PDF documents and edit them on the same platform. Digital documents enable teachers to spend less time on inefficient workflows and more time on educating their students properly.

Share IEP Documents Securely and Convert Them from Paper to Digital

Keeping IEP documents secure and in the right hands is crucial for schools. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), schools must protect the private information of their students, and with IEP records that include detailed student information, schools must ensure that only qualified personnel can view those documents. Not only are digital IEP records easier to use, they also provide a number of additional benefits. Teachers can protect PDF documents with password protection and document restrictions. They can redact confidential information, restrict digital files from being printed, and give document access to certain individuals such as qualified teachers and parents. Filing paper documents in locked cabinets is less secure and more impractical as teachers must constantly retrieve them while working with the student.

Maintain and Archive IEP Documents

IEP records need to be stored and archived for the student even after the student graduates. Having these records saved and properly archived is essential for school administrators. Foxit PDF Editor Pro can compress every student record into a smaller file size without degrading or ruining the content of the document, making it ideal for storage. School administrators can also add headers, footers, Bates numbering, and timestamps to their records to make them easier to retrieve when needed, thus making the IEP update process faster and much more efficient. This way, schools can make sure their documents won't get lost for the next school year.

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Nancy Gao is the Product Marketing Manager, Education Business Unit, at Foxit Software.

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