The success of any program relies heavily on the favorable perceptions of the stakeholders involved in the process. In order to build and grow a program that meets the needs of the end users, soliciting input from a variety of stakeholders along the way is critical. Various perspectives are required to have a well-rounded and responsive FIEP program. A broad group of internal and external stakeholders should be involved in planning, promotion, evaluation, and improvement activities.

Critical Considerations for Internal or External Stakeholder Involvement

A number of successful programs have a variety of approaches to engaging stakeholders in the process. Determining the correct mode and frequency for soliciting input depends on the desired outcomes of the stakeholder group, including the level of participation the stakeholders will have.

All programs should consider gathering input from internal stakeholders not directly involved with the project, as well as a multifaceted group of external stakeholders.

Considerations for internal stakeholder involvement:

  • Who should be included on the internal team? Do your team members have diverse perspectives and skill sets that can help move the work forward?
  • Could your legal department contribute to the discussions?
  • How will you tackle the work? Will you divide the tasks among team members, or work jointly on all items?
  • What workflow will allow you to accomplish the best quality in the shortest amount of time? 

Considerations for external stakeholder involvement:

  • What level of participation is expected from committee members, and how much of a commitment is required?
  • Who has been included/excluded on the committee?
  • Did you include a representative with a dissenting opinion?
  • Are there representatives who can help promote the program when it launches? 
Lessons Learned
  • Effective and “happy” internal stakeholder committee is crucial (baked goods help!)
  • Finding and keeping external stakeholder committee members can be challenging.
  • Expect to lose stakeholder committee members over time, and keep a list of potential alternates.
  • Your greatest opponents can become your greatest allies. Include them in stakeholder groups and discussions.
  • Show value for stakeholder’s time investment by running efficient meetings and explaining exactly how input will be used.

Resources

Voices from the Field: Patricia Williams

Patricia Williams is a consultant with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction who works in the area of special education procedural compliance. She is the coordinator for the State IDEA complaint process and is the liaison to the Due Process Hearing System. Patricia is a former WDPI liaison...Learn more