The Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting facilitation services program was created by the Special Education Partnership for the Amicable Resolution of Conflict (SPARC) mediation program, SPARC was formally created in 1997 between the Delaware Department of Education and the Conflict Resolution Program at the University of Delaware's Institute for more/less Public Administration. It has grown from focused solely on offering mediation to parties who file due process requests to a multi-pronged program that also offers non-due process mediation, IEP meeting facilitation and a variety of special-education trainings for parents, mentors, advocates, and educators. It is an expansive alternative dispute resolution resource dedicated to supporting government, organizations, agencies, and individuals by designing programs and services that meet their respective goals.
The facilitator functions as a neutral third party who has the expertise and skills to enhance the team’s ability to listen to all points of view and work together to develop an appropriate IEP for the student. A facilitator’s responsibility is to the entire team process rather than to an individual. He/she does not offer advice, suggestions, solutions, or legal interpretation. A facilitator provides expert guidance through the implementation of a compliant IEP meeting while focusing attention on the process of the meeting. An IEP meeting facilitator can not only help a team resolve differences more immediately but where they originate. The role of the facilitator is to assist team members in communicating effectively in order to reach decisions that are in the best interest of the student. The facilitator is not a member of the IEP team or an advocate for any person on the team.
The Conflict Resolution Program offers a two-day training.
- During this two-day training, participants? will learn the role and responsibilities of a facilitator and how to:
- Prepare for an IEP meeting.
- Design a collaborative meeting agenda.
- Facilitate a meeting process that encourages full participation and effective communication.
- Build agreement and gain consensus.
- Manage challenging meeting dynamics.
This service is free-of-charge and is available upon request by either parents or school districts, however both parties must agree to the participation of a facilitator.