IEP Meeting Carts are a simple, effective way to have a mobile IEP meeting room on wheels while making sure the meeting space is inviting for all IEP team members.
One of my passions as an educator and IEP coach is helping IEP teams work collaboratively and cohesively. And one day I was thinking about all of the IEP meeting rooms I’ve ever sat in as a teacher.
Think about how most IEP meeting rooms are. They’re often in conference rooms that are stagnant and stale. They’re uninviting and it can make the emotions in an IEP meeting heightened.
That’s when my idea for the IEP meeting room bulletin boards was given life, which led me to think about how and where I would display them if the IEP meeting room changed all the time – like many do depending upon room availability.
In my 10+ years in education, I have never seen or heard of what I was envisioning, so I built it.
Enter the IEP Meeting Cart.
When I debuted my IEP Meeting Cart on social media, so many of you – well 1. absolutely loved it and 2. had allllll the questions – but many of you had also never heard of or seen one. There were a few of ya’ll that had, which made my heart so happy!
But I wanted to bring this to fruition for so many of you and show you just how easy it can be to put together and use. I asked on social media what questions you have and today I am here to share my answers to alllllll of your questions. So let’s go!
What is an IEP Meeting Cart?
An IEP Meeting Cart is essentially an IEP meeting on wheels.
Every person on the IEP team is busy and we all have a ton on our plates. Often the last thing on our minds is making sure that the IEP meeting room has blue pens, the right data sheets, copies of meeting minutes, and all the other things we need during the meeting. Maybe when we need them, someone on the IEP team runs out quick to grab them or we say “I’ll get that to you by the end of the day/week!”
The IEP Meeting Cart is your solution to all of those problems, in one convenient, mobile spot.
What are the benefits of having an IEP Meeting Cart?
Make the meeting room or space more inviting, while also having all of the IEP meeting supplies and necessary documents you’ll need in one spot… that’s mobile and you can take with you anywhere in the school!
This works for in-person IEP meetings, and maybe not so much virtual IEP meetings – although you could certainly adapt the idea to have all of your virtual IEP documents in one place.
How many IEP Meeting Carts do you need? And who maintains them?
The thought 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 floor levels, maybe one per floor (depending upon where the IEP meetings are held).
The responsibility for maintaining the cart would be the IEP teams… as IEP writing and successes are a team effort, so is the cart.
What goes on the IEP Meeting Cart?
What goes on your IEP Meeting Cart will really depend on your district or school needs.
I will admit that when I come up with an idea like this, I go all out – so I tried to think above and beyond, outside the box. I thought back to all of the hundreds of IEP meetings I’ve ever run and attended as a teacher. And I thought about what I would want on this mobile IEP Meeting Cart as an educator that would help make the entire team’s meeting experience more positive and less overwhelming.
With that being said, I am going to share what is on my IEP Meeting Cart. You can take it all in and then adapt it to fit your needs. At the bottom of this post you can grab a PDF download that is a shopping list of what’s on my cart, so you can grab what you want/need with ease.
How to set up an 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 sturdy carts in general (see them all here).
But you can use any cart you’d like. 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 cart I did?
I wanted a cart that had storage for the IEP Meeting Room Bulletin Boards (because the idea for the cart originated with the idea for those bulletin boards) and the need for a locked shelf or cabinet.
Again – when choosing your IEP Meeting Cart, the first thing you want to think about before purchasing a cart is what all you want and need on it. Then research for a cart that will fit your needs.
Here’s what I currently have inside the locked cabinet:
In the locked cabinet is where you’d keep any confidential information or technology that stays with the IEP Meeting Cart, like a document camera or projector.
- You might also need a laptop presentation clicker. Great for student led IEPs or quickly moving through documents.
Who would keep the key for the locked cabinet?
I’d probably give the key to the school secretary if we’re storing school technology in the cabinet, or admin. Or the ARD Facilitator, diagnostician, Special Ed Department Chair, or caseload manager.
- Inside the acrylic photo frame, you can put a photo of the child and have that displayed on the IEP meeting table during the meeting. It’s a great reminder of why everyone is at the meeting… the student.
So what else is inside or on the IEP Meeting Cart?
On the side of the cabinet I used Command strips to adhere the acrylic hanging folder holders. I also put a chord organizer on 3 of the 4 cart sides and magnetic hooks on the one side.
Like I said earlier, I chose this specific cart because it had the storage for the IEP Meeting Bulletin Boards. You can read more about them and using them here.
What documents or paperwork do you keep in the hanging folder holders?
I printed most of the IEP Toolkit paperwork and put multiple copies of the individual sheets inside file folders that will stay on the IEP Meeting Cart in the folder holders. You could color code the folders, but I like to color code the papers. Here’s a free mini training on that.
But here is a quick list of paperwork you’d want to keep on the IEP Meeting Cart:
- Procedural Safeguards
- Meeting minute note taker (for all team members)
- Parent, Teacher, and Student questionnaires
- IEP meeting ground rules (unless you’ll use the bulletin board version)
Again, most of those documents are included inside the IEP Toolkit (except the Procedural Safeguards).
On the shelves is where you can keep A LOT of stuff!
Tissues… because IEP meetings are emotionally charged. I myself have even needed to use tissues during a meeting, so it’s important to always have them on hand.
Books, puzzles, fidgets, and small toys are a great option to keep on the cart for when a family brings a student’s siblings to the IEP meeting. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does you’ll be prepared and the parent will feel rest assured that you care about their student and their family.
- Check yard sales, the Goodwill, second hand stores, Facebook groups, and ask parents for donations to fill up this part of your IEP Meeting Cart!
- I stored these in clear acrylic bins, but you can use any style bins.
You’ll want a quality, wireless printer on your cart that you can plug in in any room. This one is similar to the one on my IEP Meeting Cart, but you can find less expensive options too.
You can also have a snack section with little candies or mints! I didn’t put them on the cart because… well, I ate them all beforehand. 🙂
I put the IEP Student Self Advocacy readers on the IEP Meeting Cart for a couple of reasons:
- If students are involved in their own IEP meetings (like a student led IEP meeting), 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, they’re great to have on hand to share with parents.
- They’re also digital, so you could show them during the meeting and then send a digital copy for parents to read with the student at home.
You’ll want a cart that has a larger empty top space to use for your laptop or computer, a projector (if needed), or your document camera (if needed).
>> Download the PDF shopping list to build your own IEP Meeting Cart here. <<
How do you make IEP meeting rooms more inviting for IEP teams? Tell us in the comments below!