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The National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education

"Encouraging the use of mediation and other collaborative strategies to resolve disagreements about special
education and early intervention programs."

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Facilitated IEP Meetings - North Carolina

Parents or school systems have the right to request the Department of Public Instruction to provide facilitation services to assist the IEP team in making determinations regarding identification, evaluation, educational program, placement or the provision of a free appropriate public education for students with disabilities. Facilitation is a process utilizing an impartial, neutral facilitator to guide the process of the meeting and to assist members of the IEP team in communicating effectively. An IEP is developed by a collaborative team whose required members share responsibility for the process, content, and the results. Facilitation is the process of helping the IEP team complete a task, solve a problem, or come to agreement to the mutual satisfaction of the participants. There does not need to be a conflict between the parties. A facilitator may be useful when the school personnel want to concentrate on the IEP issues to be determined rather than on the meeting process; if communication between parents and school personnel is becoming tense; or if parents and school personnel are becoming apprehensive about the next IEP meeting. A facilitator may also be used for any transition IEP meeting when there are typically more people at the table.

Settings & Use
    Practice Setting(s): State wide
Has It Been Replicated?: Yes, see Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania.
Annual Use: Total Requests for 2005-06 year: 124 In 20006-2007, the SEA received 217 requests for IEP facilitators and 162 facilitated IEP meetings were conducted.

Resources Involved
    Personnel: The facilitated IEP meeting will be conducted by a qualified and impartial facilitator. Facilitators have training and experience in helping clarify points of view, communicating more effectively, and resolving conflict.

Materials: The Facilitation Request Forms can be downloaded from the state website.


Cost
    System(annual): No cost to the parent or the school.


Process Steps
    A request for facilitation can be made by completing a Mediation/Facilitation Request Form. A staff person from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will contact the other party to provide notice of the request and to explain the process. As the LEA is legally responsible for convening IEP team meetings, the LEA must agree to have a DPI facilitator present. Conversely, the LEA may decide to use a neutral facilitator upon giving notice to the parent. The facilitator will contact both parties to determine the desired outcomes and to develop the agenda for the meeting. Facilitation Request Forms may be obtained from DPI, the local exceptional children program office, or from most parent support organizations. The form can also be downloaded by clicking the web site address: www.nc.publicschools.org/ec/

Research, Literature and Experience
    Total Requests for 2005-06 year: 124 Reached full consensus: 76 Reached partial consensus: 18 No consensus: 3 Request withdrawn: 19 Other party declined: 7 (1 scheduled for 2nd meeting) Feedback Data (from 81 cases) Total number of responses: 410 Was the facilitator neutral and impartial? 399 Yes 3 No 4 Unsure 4 No response 97% found the facilitator neutral and impartial. Were you encouraged and able to participate in an open exchange of ideas? 348 Completely able 56 Mostly able 6 Mostly unable 0 Completely unable 99% reported being completely or mostly able to participate in the discussions. To what extent was the facilitation process successful? 256 Very successful 116 Successful 29 Somewhat successful 8 Not successful 91% found the facilitation process successful or very successful. Did you reach consensus? 299 Yes 89 Partially 20 No 1 Unsure 1 No response 73% reported complete consensus 95% reported complete or partial consensus Do you feel the facilitation process has improved communication between you and other party? 343 Yes 45 No 20 Unsure 2 No response 84% reported feeling that the facilitation process improved communication.

Practice Author
    North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Division of Exceptional Children
Leigh Mobley
DPI Div. of Exceptional Children
301 North Wilmington St.
Raleigh, NC 27601
Leigh.Mobley@dpi.nc.gov
ec.ncpublicschools.gov/parent-resources/dispute-resolution

Practice Continuum Placement
Relative to other practices in the CADRE Continuum, how might the above practice be comparatively considered from several vantage points? Placement of a practice on the continua that follow is approximate and subjective. For example, how "easy" or "hard" any practice is to implement would depend on the interplay of many (i.e., procedural, political, personal, systemic, resource, etc.) variables.
easy to implement hard to implement
- - 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=easy to implement and 7=hard to implement) 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=easy to implement and 7=hard to implement) 5 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=easy to implement and 7=hard to implement) - -
limited cooperation needed significant cooperation needed
- - 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=limited cooperation needed and 7=significant cooperation needed) 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=limited cooperation needed and 7=significant cooperation needed) 5 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=limited cooperation needed and 7=significant cooperation needed) - -
least cost highest cost
- - 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=least cost and 7=highest cost) 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=least cost and 7=highest cost) 5 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=least cost and 7=highest cost) - -
immediate benefit future benefit
- 2 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=immediate benefit and 7=future benefit) 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=immediate benefit and 7=future benefit) 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=immediate benefit and 7=future benefit) 5 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=immediate benefit and 7=future benefit) - -
most effective least effective
1 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=most effective and 7=least effective) 2 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=most effective and 7=least effective) 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=most effective and 7=least effective) 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=most effective and 7=least effective) - - -
most satisfactory least satisfactory
1 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=most satisfactory and 7=least satisfactory) 2 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=most satisfactory and 7=least satisfactory) - - - - -
time efficient time consuming
- 2 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=time efficient and 7=time consuming) 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=time efficient and 7=time consuming) 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=time efficient and 7=time consuming) - - -
limited training needed significant training needed
- - 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=limited training needed and 7=significant training needed) 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=limited training needed and 7=significant training needed) 5 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=limited training needed and 7=significant training needed) - -