From NICHCY’s series of model letters…because sometimes
you need to communicate with the school
about your child’s education.
3rd edition, January 2011
This short publication comes from a much longer Parent’s Guide that focuses on communicating with your child’s school via letter writing. There are times when you, as a parent, may want to communicate in writing with your child’s school about some problem or concern with your child’s education or well-being. Because the Parent’s Guide is so long, we decided it would be more convenient to our readers if each of the letters discussed in the guide was also available separately, to make reading and printing individual letters easier.
This page presents a model letter or email you might write the school to request a meeting to review and/or revise your child’s IEP.
If your child is receiving special education services, he or she must have a written plan known as an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP lists, among other things, annual goals for your child and the special education services that he or she will receive.
You are a member of the team that writes your child’s IEP. As an IEP team member, you can ask that your child’s IEP be reviewed and revised, if needed. This part of the Parent’s Guide looks at writing a letter to request that your child’s IEP be reviewed.
Why might I ask for a review of my child’s IEP?
Some reasons for requesting an IEP review include:
- Your child has met one, or several, of the goals written in the IEP.
- Your child does not seem to be making enough progress toward one, or several, of the goals written in IEP.
- You feel your child needs more services or other services in order to make progress.
- You feel that your child no longer needs a service he or she is currently receiving.
- Your child has experienced a major change, such as illness, injury, or surgery.
General letter-writing tips
When writing any business letter, it is important to keep it short and to the point. First, start by asking yourself the following questions and state the answers in your letter:
- Why am I writing?
- What are my specific concerns?
- What are my questions?
- What would I like the person to do about this situation?
- What sort of response do I want: a letter, a meeting, a phone call, or something else?
Each letter you write should include the following basic information:
- Put the date on your letter.
- Give your child’s full name and the name of your child’s main teacher or current class placement.
- Say what you want, rather than what you don’t want. Keep it simple.
- Give your address and a daytime phone number where you can be reached.
- Always end your letter with a “thank you.”
What are some other tips to keep in mind?
You want to make a good impression so that the person reading your letter will understand your request and say “yes.” Remember, this person may not know you, your child, or your child’s situation. Keep the tone of your letter pleasant and businesslike. Give the facts without letting anger, frustration, blame, or other negative emotions creep in. Some letter-writing tips include:
- After you write your first draft, put the letter aside for a day or two. Then look at it again and revise it with fresh eyes.
- Read your letter as though you are the person receiving it. Is your request clear? Have you included the important facts? Does your letter ramble on and on? Is it likely to offend, or is the tone businesslike?
- Have someone else read your letter for you. Is your reason for writing clear? Can the reader tell what you are asking for? Would the reader say “yes” if he or she received this letter? Can your letter be improved?
- Use spell check and grammar check on the computer. Or ask someone reliable to edit your letter before you send it.
- Keep a copy for your records.
Today’s Date (include month, day, and year)
City, State, Zip Code
Daytime telephone number
Name of Your Child’s Teacher
Name of School
City, State, Zip Code
Dear (Teacher’s name),
I am writing to request an IEP review meeting. I would like to discuss making some changes in (child’s name)’s IEP. I am concerned about (state your reasons, but don’t go into detail about the specific changes you want to make—save those for the meeting).
I would also like to have (names of specialists or other staff) attend. I think his/her/their ideas about the changes we may need to make will be valuable.
I can arrange to meet with you and the other members of the IEP team on (days) between (give a range of time, such as between 2:00 and 4:00). Please let me know what time would be best for you.
I look forward to hearing from you soon. My daytime telephone number is (give your phone number). Thank you for your help.
cc: specialists or other staff
Note: The “cc:” at the bottom of the letter means you are sending a copy of your letter to the people listed after the cc.
Would you like to read another letter?
Discussing a problem
Requesting a copy of your child’s records
Requesting an evaluation for special education services
Requesting an independent evaluation
Requesting a meeting to review your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP)
Requesting a change in your child’s placement
Informing the school that you intend to place your child in a private school at public expense
Requesting prior written notice
Requesting mediation to resolve a conflict
Requesting a due process hearing to resolve a conflict
Filing a complaint with the State to resolve a conflict