Facilitated Team Meetings

What is a Facilitated Team Meeting?

If you and the school are having trouble writing your child’s special education plan, a neutral third person, a facilitator, will work through the process with your child’s individualized education program (IEP), individualized family service plan (IFSP), or multi-agency team and help solve any disagreements along the way.

The facilitator leads a team meeting to promote effective communication and assist a team in developing an IEP. The facilitator helps to keep members of the team focused on the student while addressing conflicts and disagreements that may arise during the meeting.

Where Should You Start?

Prepare Yourself
The process is easier if you do some preparation ahead of time.
  • Organize your child’s documents (IEP/IFSP, evaluation report, progress reports, etc.)
  • Define the problem(s) as you see them.
  • Prioritize your issues.
  • Think about practical solutions. 
Talk to an Advocate
Advocates are trained in special education processes. They can help families solve problems and understand what to expect in each process.
Talk to Your District
Some problems can be quickly resolved at the school your child attends.
  • Talk to your district’s special education director about your concerns.
  • Request a team meeting to talk about your concerns and develop ideas.
  • If you disagree with a proposed education program, the district must hold a conciliation conference with you within 10 days of your objection to discuss concerns about your child’s education program.

What if You Still Have Concerns?

Talk to the Minnesota Department of Education
The Minnesota Department provides special education facilitation services, free of charge. Download and complete a Request for Facilitated Team Meeting form and return it to us. 

Who Participates in a Facilitated Team Meeting?
The entire IEP team participates in the facilitated team meeting. The facilitator is present but not as a member of the team. The same requirements for attendance at an IEP meeting apply when the parties are attending a facilitated IEP meeting. We recommend that a parent advocate participate as well. 

What is the Facilitator’s Role?
The facilitator is impartial and does not make decisions or provide legal advice. 

The facilitator models and helps maintain open and respectful communication among team members as well as offering ways to address and resolve conflicts that may arise in the meeting. The facilitator keeps the IEP team focused the student’s needs while developing or revising an IEP.

How Long Does the Facilitated Team Meeting Process Take?
Once MDE receives a completed request form, the process takes approximately three weeks to complete. If agreement on the IEP is reached, the district will propose a new IEP based on the agreements reached at the facilitated meeting.
 
Resources
The National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE) provides a series of videos designed to support effective collaboration between parents, schools, and early childhood programs. View CADRE’s Working Together web page to see the videos.

PACER Center has created A Guide for Minnesota Parents to the Individualized Education Program to help parents work with schools to address each child's special needs through understanding the required components of the IEP.

 
  • Request for Facilitated Team Meeting Form - 9/19/18
    To request a facilitated education planning meeting, complete this form electronically and return to MDE as directed.
  •  - 8/23/18
    Suggestions of steps to take before facilitated planning meeting and a brief overview of the meeting process.
  •  - 9/22/16
    Frequently asked questions about the facilitated education planning process.

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