The success of a facilitation program will depend largely on the policies and operational procedures put in place. Policies and procedures should be clearly recorded and easily accessible to internal staff as well as parents and educators. The content should be consistent with relevant regulations and easy for implementers and users to understand.
When generating policies and procedures for a facilitation program, you may be able to draw significant insight from reviewing your current policies and procedures in place for IDEA mandated DR options. Modeling the policies and procedures after your current mediation policies for example may prove very helpful and save you time in the end. Consider the following when developing policies and procedures:
- How involved will your stakeholders be in the development of policies and procedures?
- Do you need separate manuals for users and implementers?
- Will intake procedures be vastly different from that of a mediation intake process?
- How will you manage confidentiality of information?
- Will facilitators have access to IEP team members/documents prior to the scheduled meeting?
- Involve stakeholders in the creation of policies, but be careful not to end up with policies that may be too limiting (i.e., requiring facilitators to be selected by both parties).
- Consider the needs of both parties in developing procedures. For example, “How would other school staff react knowing that the principal/case manager/teacher committed the team to facilitation?” or “How would a parent interpret a procedure that would allow a facilitator who used to work at the district to be the facilitator in her child’s IEP meeting?”
- What are your state’s regulations regarding third-party facilitators? Do they have the same, if any, reporting requirements as mediators? Would facilitators be protected from testifying in a due process hearing for a case they facilitated?