Why do I need an IEP Coach?
At Education Team Allies we coach you through the IEP process, start to finish. Think of us as navigators through the IEP (or 504) process from the very beginning throughout the entirety of your child's educational journey. We are here to take your thoughts, concerns, goals, and overall vision for your child and assist you in incorporating them into your child's IEP. We want you to feel confident and empowered so that you can find your voice at the table and become not only an active member of your child's IEP team, but your child's best advocate. Did you know that you are the only person on the IEP team (aside from your child) who will be at every IEP meeting from the beginning to the end of your child's educational journey? It's true! We want you to understand your rights and to have meaningful and purposeful input at each and every meeting. We can help you get there!
What value does Education Team Allies bring to the IEP process?
Beth has 20 years of experience in the education arena, part of which has been spent as an administrator working to ensure that students’ academic needs were met. She has also worked with multiple schools to ensure a focus on the needs of the school community. Lauren has spent her career in the medical field working to ensure the highest level of care for the youngest of patients; she also holds a Masters in Nursing Education and therefore understands the needs of adult learners. Both women are fiercely passionate about meeting the unique educational needs of every child. Both women are also moms, first and foremost, and have been seated at the IEP table for well over seven years as advocates for their own children. We know the multiple roles that every individual at the table plays and, because of a wealth of both personal and professional knowledge and experience, we can coach families toward fulfilling their vision for their child.
I can Google about this information, why should I hire Education Team Allies?
We’re so glad you asked. Yes, you can certainly Google about the needs of your child and the IEP process in general, which will always result in an overwhelming amount of information, some of which may not be factual. We can help by filtering this information and bringing what’s relevant and pertinent to the center of the conversation. We can also assist you in decoding the language of the special education process, while giving you the exact tools and phrases that are needed to create a truly collaborative team for your child. We encourage you to view our relationship and coaching as an investment.
Are the coaches at Education Team Allies advocates or attorneys?
While some may consider us to be advocates, we like to refer to ourselves as "coaches" or navigators of the special education system and IEP process; we are certainly not attorneys. Our goal is to coach YOU to be your child's best advocate. We are working to change the paradigm so that teams working to educate every child are working toward a common vision. To do that we believe in collaborative non-adversarial communication and conflict management, where grace, understanding, and gratitude are always fundamental elements of the team’s relationship. While we may join you at the IEP table, our position is purely non-adversarial in nature. We want to instead act as mediators and allies to ensure that the team is working collaboratively in an effort to best support the student at the center of the IEP process. We can help you to understand your rights, however, we do not offer legal advice, as we are not trained attorneys. It is our mission to capture families and assist in the process long before they are ever in need of legal council. We can certainly assist families in navigating a crisis, however, what if we were working together long before a crisis ever occurred? That is our goal. We strongly believe in a grace-filled, collaborative, team-based, and student-centered approach to the educational process and prefer to assist in resolving conflicts long-before they ever present themselves.
Can you help me in understanding the alphabet soup of special education acronyms, organize mounds of paperwork, and the utterly confusing IEP process which is clear as mud?
Yes! This is so much of what we do. The special education jargon, endless amounts of documents, and IEP process that is completely overwhelming for every parent, can often lead to feelings of isolation and hopelessness. We often explain that ignorance breeds fear and fear can initiate that fight or flight response, which furthers the aforementioned feelings and can lead to a very hostile relationship between the parent and the rest of the IEP team. We instead want parents to feel knowledgeable, empowered, and confident in their role as an IEP team member, to ensure that the team can truly work together in a collaborative fashion. No need to go into an IEP meeting with boxing gloves or "guns a blazing" (as many parents are conditioned to do), because you know your rights and know how to effectively advocate for your child. Instead of "you versus them," a truly team-based approach would be the hallmark of your relationship with your child's team. Isn't this what all parents (and IEP team members from the school) want? Allow us to help you understand the entire process from start to finish.
Do you only work with parents?
No. While our main focus is certainly on coaching families, we also believe in coaching other members of the IEP team as well, including, but not limited to, special educators, general educators, specialists, community school coordinators, and administrative staff. At Education Team Allies we are a team of former educators, administrators, and special education parents. Having that perspective from both sides of the table gives us a unique opportunity to fully understand and coach IEP team members through every angle of the process. We can help school staff to better understand a parent or family’s perspective and while also helping a parent or family to better understand a school’s position; this mutual understanding leads to empathy, grace, and compassion – three things that our world needs much more of. We believe in educating and empowering all involved team members so that they may effectively advocate for the best interest of the student at the center of the IEP process.
I am not a Maryland resident but am very interested in your services. Do you work with parents and educators from other states?
Absolutely! While we are obviously most familiar with Maryland state laws, much of the IEP process does not vastly differ from state to state. We have helped parents all across the country via conference calls and live video technology (such as Zoom and Facetime). We can dig into the laws and statutes of any state to best coach you on your rights and again, the IEP process itself is very much the same in every state. If you live outside of Maryland, we are eager to help you to and through the IEP process, every step of the way!
Will you attend a meeting with me?
We will gladly attend meetings, however, we hope to coach you prior to the meeting to ensure that you feel fully prepared to attend independently. We also recognize that some may feel more comfortable in having at their side and we are happy to fill that role. In order to attend any meeting, we would simply need to be added to your meeting invitation with prior written notice. Following the meeting, we will provide you with notes, follow up questions, and thoughts on the meeting. We will provide feedback both on how we think the general meeting went as well as things we would want for you to think about moving forward.
How do I pay for your services?
Great question! You may pay us via check, cash, credit card, or PayPal. Due to a non-negotiable processing fee, if using a credit card or PayPal is your preferred method of payment, please note that you will incur a 3% processing charge fee on top of the agreed upon payment for service.
Do you accept payment plans?
We will consider payment plans on a case by case basis.
Do you have additional questions about what we do at Education Team Allies?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via the button below.
We understand that each student's situation and needs are unique to them and that no two students are alike! Tell us more about how we can help you create a meaningful educational plan for your child. We view our services as an investment in your child's education and future.
Severna Park, Maryland, United States