The minute-taker holds a lot of responsibility for accurately expressing the flow and content of the meeting in writing. It can be very difficult for the IEP team lead to conduct the meeting and take minutes at the same time. Therefore, I have recommended to teams to designate a minute-taker other than the person leading the meeting. Here a few tips that might be helpful to the minute-taker:
1. Get a head start! Before the meeting begins, complete the top section of the minutes with identifying information and the purpose of the meeting. Make sure the purpose written on the minutes matches the purpose noted on the meeting invitation letter. If minutes are taken by hand, have several copies of blank pages so the meeting won't have to be stopped to get more pages in the event the meeting goes long.
2. If parents ask to record the meeting and bring their own recording device, explain they are able to record the meeting but the school must also record.
3. At the beginning of the meeting, account for additional members invited by the parents that are not on the invitation letter or invited members that could not attend. For example, if a parent brings someone to the meeting, who was not in the invitation letter, note the name of that person and indicate they were invited by the parent as someone knowledgeable about the child’s special needs. If an invited team member is unable to attend, note the name of that person and note a substitute member (if applicable). Note: team member excusal paperwork must be completed when applicable!
4. Note that a Procedural Safeguards Notice was offered.
5. Do your best to include parent comments and concerns as this verifies we provided the parents an opportunity to participate as an equal member in team decisions.
6. You don’t need to write every word each team member says. It may be helpful to summarize the outcome of discussions of topics. For example, if the team discusses whether or not a student needs oral administration as an accommodation for several minutes, you may want to write the final outcome of the team decision and the supporting comments for why it is or isn’t appropriate. Content in the IEP (IEP goals, minutes of service, etc.) doesn’t need to be repeated in the minutes.
7. As the minute taker, you can always interrupt the meeting to ask for clarification of what someone said if you get behind. Accuracy is vital.
8. If a mistake or correction is made in the minutes during the meeting, the minute taker should draw a line through what was written and initial the mistake or correction and date.
9. At the conclusion of the meeting, the minute taker should read the minutes aloud to the team. This will give the team an opportunity to review what was discussed and the services that will be put in place for the student. It will also allow an opportunity to check for accuracy as incorrect notations can be corrected.
10. All IEP team members should sign in their designated areas. If team members sign as “other” please remember to have them write their position/title on the designated line.
11. Always provide a copy of the minutes to parents before they leave the meeting.