IEP Meeting Carts are a simple and effective way to have a mobile IEP meeting room on wheels while ensuring that the meeting space is enjoyable for all members of the IEP team.
One of my passions as an IEP educator and coach is helping IEP teams collaborate and work cohesively. And one day I was thinking about all the IEP meeting rooms I’ve ever sat in as a teacher.
Think about what most IEP meeting rooms are like. They are often in conference rooms that are stagnant and musty. They are uninvited and it can heighten the emotions of the IEP meeting.
That’s when my idea for IEP meeting room bulletin boards came to life, leading me to think about how and where I would display them if the IEP meeting room kept changing – as many do depending on room availability.
In my 10+ years in education, I had never seen or heard of what I envisioned, so I built it.
Enter the IEP Meeting Cart.
When I introduced my IEP Meeting Cart on social media, so many of you – 1. absolutely loved it and 2. had all the questions – but many of you had never heard of or seen it. There were a few of you who had which made my heart so happy!
But I wanted to bring it to life for so many of you and show you how easy it can be to build and use. I took to social media to ask what questions you have, and today I’m here to share my answers to all your questions. So let’s go!
What is the IEP Meeting Cart?
The IEP Meeting Cart is basically an IEP meeting on wheels.
Every person on the IEP team is busy and we all have a lot on our plates. Often the last thing on our mind is making sure the IEP meeting room has blue pens, the correct data sheets, copies of meeting minutes, and all the other things we need during the meeting. Maybe when we need them, someone from the IEP team will quickly run out to grab them, or we’ll say, “I’ll give it to you by the end of the day/week!”
The IEP Meeting Cart is your solution to all these problems in one convenient mobile location.
What are the benefits of having an IEP Meeting Cart?
Make a meeting room or space more inviting while keeping all the IEP meeting supplies and necessary documents you need in one place…it’s mobile and you can take it anywhere in the school!
This works for in-person IEP meetings and maybe not so much for a virtual IEP meeting – although you could certainly modify this idea to have all your virtual IEP documents in one place.
How many IEP Meeting Cars do you need? And who maintains them?
The idea is to have one cart per building or school. If you have a larger school with thousands of students, it may be beneficial to have two carts – or if you have multiple floors, maybe one per floor (depending on where the IEP meetings are held).
The IEP teams should be responsible for maintaining the cart… as IEP writing and achievement is a team effort, so is the cart.
What happens in the IEP meeting basket?
What happens at your IEP Basket meeting will really depend on your district or school needs.
I’ll admit that when I come up with an idea like that, I go all in – so I tried to think beyond the box, outside the box. I thought back to all the hundreds of IEP meetings I had ever led and attended as a teacher. And I thought about what I would like about this mobile IEP Meeting Cart as an educator to help make the entire team meeting experience more positive and less overwhelming.
With that being said, I will share what is on my IEP Meeting Cart. You can take it all in and then adapt it to your needs. At the bottom of this post you can download a PDF which is a shopping list of what’s in my cart so you can easily grab what you want/need.
How to set up the IEP Meeting Cart
The first part of setting up an IEP meeting cart is determining which cart you want. My cart is from Uline (find it here ) and Uline has a lot of options for rugged carts in general (find them all here ).
But you can use any cart you want. Other options I researched before deciding on my cart were this craft cart , something like this drawer cart , and this utility cart .
Why did I choose the basket I did?
I wanted a cart that had storage for the IEP Meeting Room Bulletin Boards (since the idea for the cart came with the idea for those bulletin boards) and the need for a locked shelf or cabinet.
Again – when choosing an IEP Meeting Cart, the first thing you should think about before buying a cart is what you want and need in it. Then find a cart that will suit your needs.
Here’s what I currently have inside the locked cabinet:
You may store any confidential information or technology that remains in the IEP Meeting Cart, such as a document camera or projector, in a locked cabinet.
Who would keep a key to a locked cabinet?
I would probably give the key to the school secretary if we store school equipment in the cabinet, or to the admin. Or ARD Facilitator, Diagnostician, Special Unit Chair or Case Management Manager.
- You can put a photo of your child in an acrylic photo frame and have it displayed on the IEP meeting table during the meeting. It’s a great reminder of why everyone in the meeting is… a student.
So what else is inside or on the IEP Meeting Cart?
On the side of the cabinet, I used Command strips to glue the acrylic holders for the hanging folders. I also put a chord organizer on 3 of the 4 sides of the cart and magnetic hooks on one side.
As I said earlier, I chose this particular cart because it had storage space for the IEP Meeting Bulletin Boards. You can read more about them and their use here.
What documents or papers do you keep in hanging file holders?
I printed out most of the IEP Toolkit papers and put several copies of each sheet in the file folders that will stay on the IEP Meeting Cart in the folder holders. You can color code the folders, but I like to color code the papers. Here’s a free mini-training for that.
But here’s a quick list of the paperwork you’ll want to keep on the IEP Meeting Cart:
- Procedural safeguards
- Minutes of the meeting (for all team members)
- Questionnaires for parents, teachers and students
- Basic Rules for Completing an IEP (If You’re Not Using the Board Version)
Again, most of these documents are part of the IEP toolkit (except the Procedural Safeguards).
You can have a lot of things on the shelves!
Tissues… because IEP meetings are emotionally charged. I’ve even needed to use tissues myself during a meeting, so it’s important to always have them handy.
Books, puzzles, trinkets, and small toys are great options to keep in the cart when a family brings a student’s sibling to an IEP meeting. It won’t always happen, but when it does, you’ll be prepared and the parent will know you care about their student and their family.
- Check yard sales, Goodwill, thrift stores, Facebook groups and ask parents for donations to fill this section of your IEP Meeting Cart!
- I stored them in clear acrylic bins, but you can use any style of bins.
You’ll want a quality wireless printer on the cart that you can plug into any room. This one is similar to the one on my IEP Meeting Cart, but you can find cheaper options.
You can also snack on small candies or mints! I didn’t put them on the cart because… well, I ate them all before. 🙂
I put the IEP Student Self Advocacy readers in the IEP Meeting Cart for several reasons:
- If students are attending their own IEP meetings (like student-led IEP meetings), these readers are great to have on hand to share with families.
- If a parent or caregiver asks for resources to help their child understand the IEP process, it’s great to have them on hand to share with parents.
- They are also digital so you can show them during a meeting and then send a digital copy to parents to read with the student at home.
You’ll want a cart that has more empty overhead space for your laptop or computer, projector (if needed), or document camera (if needed).
>> Download the PDF shopping list to create your own IEP Meeting Cart here. <
How do you make IEP meeting rooms more inviting for IEP teams? Tell us in the comments below!