Using A Team Approach To Writing IEP Goals

Create a more cohesive IEP and plan for students by using a team approach to writing goals for students.

In the past 19 years that I have been teaching in a self-contained classroom, there have been many different guidelines and approaches for writing an IEP. The one I have found to be the most effective for students is a team approach. My program seems more cohesive when everyone is working towards a common goal.

For this approach, we set aside a time to meet for each student. We print out and use this form to guide the conversation. You can download this form for FREE in my TPT store by clicking HERE.

Using this form and approach gets us to look at the big picture and not just in our area. We discuss what is the top global needs. Here is an example of what the form will look like at the end of the meeting:

When thinking about priorities, it is important to look at the child's global needs. What is holding the child back across settings? With a team approach, you need to think broad. Once you have figured out a priority, then start brainstorming ideas to help the student make progress in that area. For example, one of my students is very prompt dependent and stims off of verbal prompts. Verbal prompts are so reinforcing to him that he will set up situations to get an adult or peer to give him a verbal prompt. That is a priority for him across settings of his day (including home.)

 Next, discuss things that are happening in all of different settings that may be contributing to the problem or lack of skill. Taking that same student in the last paragraph, his vision has been diminishing. As a result, he needs more verbal prompts when he is in the hall, P.E, PT, etc. As a team we needed to come up with strategies and a plan for addressing the limited vision while reducing prompt dependency. 

The last step is looking at what level of therapies are needed to support and address the identified priorities. That may mean reducing one therapy while increasing another one. It might mean coming up with a specific list of strategies to use or a list of prompts that can/can not be used. Each student's therapy frequencies and plan should look different. That being said, there may be commonalities if the group of students you service are similar.

When all of the adults working with a student are working towards common goals using the same approach, I believe the student benefits greatly. 

Don't forget, this form is a free download in my store. I would love to hear how it works for you!


  1. This looks great! I would totally use this if I had more IEPs to write! ;)

    What are MTX and TVI? Oh sped and it's acronyms...

    1. Sorry about that! MTX is music therapy and TVI is Teacher of the Visually Impaired.