Building Engagement with Distance Learning

2) Collaboration


Gail Ghere, Ph.D.

Jennifer Sommerness, Ed.S.

Terri Vandercook, Ph.D

This graphic shows the key questions that families and teams discuss to determine how IEP goals will be implemented at school and home. The key questions are:

  • How? 
  • Where? 
  • When?

Families and teams asking these questions when considering how to incorporate the three overarching learning components into an IEP. The three overarching learning components are:

  • Participating in Routines and Transitions
  • Engaging in Grade Level Academics and Other Essential Skills
  • Interacting with Others

Once the vision, priorities, and IEP goal areas are established within the three components, it is critical to continue collaboration with families. With families, the team can review how the IEP goals would be achieved and address how the goals might be supported at home and school. These collaborative conversations determine what is reasonable and doable for the family. They also address what can be supported via online instruction with or without home support for the student. Finally, they examine the goals that might need to be modified during distance learning. Sometimes it is not feasible for the family to support a specific IEP goal at home in the same way it is addressed at school. In this case, one option is for the team and family to choose a different way to address the overall IEP goal area in the same learning component. The Learning Matrix Tool can be used to support this collaboration and planning. The team should also consider safety concerns or individualized supports for a student while instruction is occurring in a school building.  

Key Questions to Consider

Discuss the following key questions with the student and family to align the instructional plan between school and home:

  • What does the family’s typical day look like? What are their traditions and routines?
  • Is there a natural time during the day to prioritize each IEP goal?
  • If an IEP goal cannot be easily addressed at home, is there a modified goal to focus on in the same learning component that could be substituted?
  • Beyond what the school is doing to protect the safety of all students and staff during this time of the pandemic, are there any additional needs that the team needs to consider in terms of safety concerns for the student when instruction is happening at school?

View an example that illustrates what responses to the questions in Step 2 might entail