Why do Facilitated IEP meetings generate better student results?

ARD/IEP meetings benefit from skilled and capable facilitators who can assist the team in crafting agreements that lead to better educational programs for students with disabilities. Facilitation makes the meeting process easier and helps team members communicate and solve problems more effectively. Every team member, parent, and school personnel can use facilitation to improve the process and outcome.

Watch this video of an IEP meeting demonstrating the use of facilitation skills and techniques to learn how you too can implement these valuable and effective skills/techniques. Free tools and resources have been developed to help ensure your next IEP meeting is the best one yet.

Guiding Questions

We have created a set of guiding questions to help guide your thinking while watching the video. Each chapter has its own list of guiding questions and is unique to the situation and phase of the IEP meeting. Use a downloadable copy for personal or training/workshop use.

Download Guiding Questions

English and Spanish captions are available from the CC button in the video player.

Resources

Feel free to download sample materials to help during your next IEP meeting. Most documents are in Word format allowing you to customize the document to better suit you and how you faciliate an IEP meeting.

1. IEP Satisfaction

Use the IEP Satisfaction model as a frame of reference for your work with teams before, during and after the meeting. Facilitators have been shown to improve team processes and outcomes by promoting procedural, psychological and substantive satisfaction among team members.

2. Facilitation Continuum

Use the Facilitation Continuum as a reminder that all team members have a responsibility to use facilitation skills proactively so that conflicts can be prevented or reduced at the lowest level without formal, legal intervention when possible.

3. IEP Checklist

Use the IEP Checklist to get school-wide systems in place that support the IEP process as a whole and also assist in preparing for individual meetings.

4. Jargon Poster

Use the Jargon Poster to provide a guide to special education terms to assist communication during the IEP meeting process.

5. Discussion Guidelines

Use the list of Discussion Guidelines to clarify expectations for how the team will communicate and interact with each other.

6. Procedural Ground Rules

Use the Ground Rules document to help establish procedures and logistics for the meeting. These include breaks, following the agenda, start time, and other important components.

7. Questioning

Knowing what type of question might be most effective for your desired outcome can save a lot of time and help open the lines of communication. All types of questions are useful: some encourage discussion; others seek facts and short answers; and some could inhibit communication. This document will help you develop your questioning techniques.

8. Summarizing

Knowing which form of summarizing to use to meet your purpose of acknowledging another’s perspective or confirming understanding, or reframing comments, or moving to the next stage of the process, will make it a little easier for the other person to hear the message and engage in discussion.

9. Interests Based Problem Solving

This strategy will help to broaden the discussion and provide several possible solutions for the team to consider when seeking underlying interests when using a problem solving process.

10. Consensus Gradients

Use the Gradients Poster and range of numbers as a method for team members to show their varying level of enthusiasm or support for a recommendation.

11. Consensus Language

Use the Consensus Language tool to assist in using specific language when testing for group consensus which allows for varying levels of enthusiasm and does not force a yes-no response.

12. Commitments

Use this fill-in-the-blank template to gather promises or commitments in one place for better follow-through and monitoring.

13. Meeting Evaluation

Use the Meeting Evaluation survey to solicit feedback about how effective your meetings are from all team members to foster communication and build trust in the process.

14. Facilitation Tips Booklet

The Facilitation Tips: Discussions, Decisions, and Challenges is intended as a resource for facilitators who assist teams, especially special education teams, in their work.


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