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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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This document does not offer formal policy guidance from the Office of Special Education Programs at the United States Department of Education.

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Facilitation of Special Education Team Meetings - New Hampshire

To assist school districts and parents to have discussions and make decisions during a Special Education Team meeting when school people and parents are feeling “stuck” or unproductive, a trained facilitator is sent by the Bureau of Special Education to attend and conduct a regular Special Education Team meeting scheduled and arranged by the district. The facilitator has no “interest” in the content or the outcome of the meeting; he/she is there to conduct the meeting and keep it moving forward. Facilitators are available for any customary topic of a Team meeting, such as disposition of referral, evaluation planning, determination of eligibility, development or revision the IEP including transition planning and ESY services, and selection of placement.

Settings & Use
    Practice Setting(s): State-wide
Annual Use: About 25 to 30 cases a year.

Resources Involved
    Personnel: Facilitators are volunteers from various fields who receive training through the Department of Education.

Time: Available any time of the year(including summer) and for any function of the Team in the “special education process.” The Bureau requires that the district request a facilitator at least 10 days before the scheduled date of the Team meeting to give the Bureau time to locate an available facilitator. Occasionally, no facilitator is available and the Bureau works with the district regarding other options. The average number of hours for a facilitation is 1-1 1/2 hours.

Other: A free service upon request by a district or parent.

Cost
    System(annual): IEP facilitations are funded 100% by the state.


Process Steps
    The director of special education or the parent contacts the Bureau of Special Education to request a facilitator at least 10 days before the scheduled date of the Team meeting. The Bureau needs specific information about the scheduled meeting including the usual “parent notice information” such as date, time, place, topic, participants, etc., and some additional information. Both parties must agree to have the facilitator attend the meeting. The facilitator will go to the building where the district has scheduled the meeting to be held. Facilitators may be provided for out-of-district team meetings which are held within the state.

Practice Author
    McKenzie Harrington
Bureau of Special Education, NH Department of Education
www.ed.state.nh.us/education/doe/organization/instruction/documents/
mharrington@ed.state.nh.us

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
1 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=least cost and 7=highest cost) 2 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=least cost and 7=highest cost) 3 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=least cost and 7=highest cost) - - - -
immediate benefit 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
- 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) 5 (on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1=most effective and 7=least effective) - -
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) - -