Facilitated IEP Process and Procedure Marcus E. Hayes Exceptional Education Teacher Institute June 21-25, 2010 Hunters Lane High School
Historically, humans have found meaning in work, family, community, and shared faith. They have drawn upon collective resources to do what they could not do alone. United efforts – raising a barn, shoring a levee, rescuing earthquake victims, or singing a hymn – have brought people together, created enduring bonds, and exemplified the possibilities of collective spirit. - Bolman and Deal, Leading with Soul: An Uncommon Journey of Sprit (p.6)
What is IEP Facilitation? A facilitated individual education program (IEP) meeting is one in which: • An IEP is developed by a collaborative team whose members share responsibility for the meeting process and results. • Decision-making is managed through the use of essential facilitations skills.
Shared Responsibility • Collaborative Attitude • Strategic Thinking • Facilitative Behaviors
Shared Responsibility Through the principle of shared responsibility everyone in an IEP meeting can plan an active and positive role in producing meaningful results.
Collaborative Attitude By developing a collaborative attitude with the team, the mind set guides individuals to act in a cooperative and impactful manner.
Strategic Thinking The use of strategic thinking allows the team to select an appropriate course of action to achieve desired results.
Facilitative Behaviors Facilitative behaviors utilizes practical tools, techniques and actions to help the individual team members build understanding and agreement.
The process of Facilitation for IEP meetings enables the team to: • Build and improve strong relationships among team members by bringing out the best in all group members. • Reach true consensus by assisting people in building understanding and agreement. • Focus the IEP content and process on the needs of the student by guiding the IEP team toward their objectives. • Bring out the best in all group members by exercising an efficient, guided meeting process where effective communication and reflective listening are practiced.
Guide the Process • Broker Communication • Build Agreement • Resolve Conflict
Guide the Process build effective desired outcome statements for meetings or parts of meetings, design an agenda that can guide a group towards its desired outcomes, draw out participation, energy and creativity, behave neutrally and contribute to content only when appropriate, facilitate discussions in a way that encourages an open exchange of ideas, generates useful information and keeps a group focused and on track
Broker Communication listen in a way that validates the speaker and confirms your reception of the speaker’s words, uncover the reasoning or feelings that lie beneath a speaker’s assertions or concerns, assess the meaning of body language and other non-verbal communication, assist others in understanding a speaker’s meaning, reasoning, feelings or intentions, record speakers’ ideas legibly on the group memory
Build Agreement build an atmosphere of openness, informality and collaboration, identify and highlight areas of agreement, navigate the group through a variety of strategic moments, help the group build the appropriate sequence of agreements, apply several tools for reaching consensus
Resolve Conflict protect individuals and their ideas from attack, handle difficult or argumentative behavior with directness and respect, enroll disputing parties in a process for reconciling differences, distinguish between issues, interests, and positions, tailor confidence-building measures and negotiate small agreements
Facilitation? If you as a school team member or as a family member find yourself doing any of the following, then it may be time to consider this option. • Spending more time putting out fires than working on activities that promote student achievement and success • Sensing that the discussions and/or interactions at IEP meetings are creating an acrimonious climate that might lead to a formal complaint • Attending multiple IEP meetings for the same student to address persistent issues with little or no resolution or a completed quality plan
Facilitating an IEP Meeting “Conducting a team meeting and documenting its’ actions and decisions has become increasingly important in respect to student success, allocation of resources such as; staff, utilization, materials, and funds. In this litigant minded society, leafing and documenting this process has also become extremely critical in regard to ensuring that due process is adhered to and thereby protecting school/district against legal actions.” John C. Beardsley, How to Conduct and Document IEP Team Meetings, 1998.
Pre-Planning for an IEP Meeting Prior to holding an IEP meeting, several tasks need to be completed to ensure that the required team members are in attendance and that the information presented is organized. If possible, begin planning for IEP meetings three to four weeks prior to the anticipated meeting time. This will give all team members ample time to prepare and ensure availability for them to attend the meeting.
Pre-Planning for an IEP Meeting • Plan the date and location of the meeting. • Verify the time and date with parents/guardians first. Inform parents of who will be attending the meeting as well as the purpose of the meeting. You may also want to provide parents with information about how they can contribute to the meeting. • Coordinate the agreed upon time with the required team members. • All students should be encouraged to attend their IEP meeting.
Pre-Planning for an IEP Meeting • Send a prior written notice and an invitation to the meeting to the parents/guardians and enclose a copy of the procedural safeguards booklet. • If it is an annual IEP, begin to compile data on the previous years goals and objectives. Data should be presented in a manner that reflects the criteria statements in the objectives. • Prepare statements on the strengths of the student as well as concerns that need to be addressed.
Before the IEP Meeting The physical set up of the room can lend to a positive and effective IEP meeting. Note the following: • A room free from outside distractions. • Ample room for all team members to sit and space to take notes or chart notes. • Water or beverages if the meeting will run over an hour. • Alert office personnel to expect parents and make them feel welcome. • Hold phone calls/silence cellular phones. • Have copies of reports you will be reviewing, the student’s cumulative record, and organizational materials available for team members. • Pre-set technology (computer/laptop, projector, EasyIEP). • Position team members. The facilitator should sit next to the parents.
Beginning the IEP Meeting When conducting an IEP meeting, as case manager, it’s important to set the tone and purpose of the meeting. Note the following: • Introduce yourself and invite the other team members to do the same having them state their relationship to the student. • Welcome the parent/guardians and review the procedural safeguards booklet with them.
Beginning the IEP Meeting • Explain the purpose of the meeting. Set the agenda and ask if there are any additions to the agenda. Sample Agenda for IEP’s • Start-Up • Welcome • Participation/Introductions • Agenda Overview • Procedural Safeguards • Parental Concerns
Beginning the IEP Meeting • Present Levels of Performance (What is it that the child knows, understands, and is able to do now?) • Personal Information • Assessment Information • Domain Skills • Review Progress on Previous Year’s Goals/Objectives • Strength/Weaknesses • Eligibility • Team Member Concerns • Transitions Plans/Services
Beginning the IEP Meeting • Goals and Objectives (What is it that we want the child to know, understand, and be able to do a year from now?) • Develop/Revise goals and objectives (Do any of these goals and objectives need to be revised, based upon concerns reviewed?)
Beginning the IEP Meeting • Services Recommendations (In what placement in the least restrictive environment can these goals and objectives be implemented appropriately?) • Percent of time NOT in general education settings • Related Services • Supplemental aids and services needed to support the placement • Participation in state and district assessments • Transition plans/services
Beginning the IEP Meeting • Wind-Up • Confirm agreements (including signatures) • Action plan for follow-up activities • Determine schedule for review of progress • Prior Written Notice • De-brief
Beginning the IEP Meeting • Set time parameters. Communicate with the team that if all agenda items are not addressed, another meeting may need to be held. This motivates all members to stay on task. • Inform parents that notes will be taken and incorporated in the Prior Written Notice.
Meeting Etiquette for All Members “Successful, productive meetings do not just happen. They depend on the behaviors of both the meeting leader and the meeting participants.” Marlene Caroselli, Ed.D., Meetings that Work, 1992
Meeting Etiquette for All Members Meeting Facilitator • Be open and encouraging • Serve as a catalyst by posing questions • Maintain harmony; remind participants of shared goals and appropriate meeting behaviors • Don’t ramble (stick to the agenda)
Meeting Etiquette for All Members • Gather support for ideas before the meeting • Don’t control or dominate the discussion • Take notes on all that occurs (notify the team that you are shredding the notes after the PWN is documented) • Use and elicit “We” behaviors • Exercise follow-up questions • If consensus can’t be reached on an issue, discuss follow up options.
Meeting Etiquette for All Members Meeting Participant • Decide to make the meeting worthwhile • Attempt to answer the leader’s questions, especially if there is long silence • Defend your ideas, but exercise appropriate meeting behavior • Don’t ramble (stick to the agenda) • Study the agenda; assemble your information to share. Don’t wing it.
Meeting Etiquette for All Members • Practice listening skills; don’t engage in side discussions • Take notes and ask questions (note errors that occur, so they can be corrected) • Demonstrate a “We” attitude • Suggest closure for items that aren’t resolved within allotted time (Parking Lot) • Volunteer for follow up tasks that are assigned
Conducting the Meeting Facilitative Behaviors are actions anyone can take to make meetings run smoothly. • Preventions are facilitative behaviors used before or during the meeting to prevent the meeting from getting off track with respect to either content or process.
Conducting the Meeting Facilitative Behaviors are actions anyone can take to make meetings run smoothly. • Interventions are facilitative behaviors used during the meeting to help people get back on track with respect to either content or process.
Preventions • Get agreement on desired outcomes, agenda, roles, decision making method, ground rules. • Make a process suggestion (on how the group could proceed). • Get a process agreement (on how the group will proceed). • Educate the group (process commercials). • Ask open-ended questions to generate participation. • Request that participants reserve judgment.
Preventions Sample IEP Meeting Ground Rules • Communicate clearly and listen carefully. • Respect the views of others. • Share your views willingly. • Ask and welcom questions for clarification. • Be open to the ideas and views presented. • Honor time limits and stay on task.
Interventions • Return a question to the person who asked it or to the group so that the leader or facilitator does not take all the responsibility for answering questions or resolving problems. • Regain focus by making sure everyone is working on the same content, using the same process, at the same time. • Ask “What’s going on”? Naming something that isn’t working and getting it out in the open so the group can deal with it.
Interventions • Enforce process agreements. • Accept/Legitimize/Deal with, or Defer. • Use congruent body language to reinforce words. • Use humor to relieve the tension. Be sensitive not to joke at someone else’s expense.
Communication Listening to the ideas and opinions of others is a foundation for building agreement and taking concerted action. However; people often fail to listen to each other. As a consequence, they create antagonism instead of alignment. There is an alternative: even when one feels defensive or aggressive, it is possible to make a conscious choice to listen as an ally.
Listening as an Ally • Internally acknowledge and set aside your own advocacy, argument, point of view or judgment and become curious about the speaker’s point of view. • Confirm understanding by repeating the speaker’s exact words. • Rephrase using your own words to confirm the speaker’s meaning.
Listening as an Ally • Deepen your ability to support and empathize by checking out “your belief” about what the speaker feels or thinks (“It sounds like…”) • Probe for further information by asking a question that requires more than a one-word or two-word answer. • Increase the comfort level of the speaker by using your body in a way that is congruent with your words.
Conducting the Meeting • Stay student focused. • Stick to the agenda; ignore irrelevant comments. • Watch body language and voice tone. Sandwich problematic issues with positive statements. Disgruntled parents walk away upset because of poor communication. • Meet with staff in advance to make sure they are familiar with the needs of the student.
Conducting the Meeting • Avoid taking parent complaints personally, however; adjourn the meeting if members become verbally abusive and reconvene at a later time. • Steer awa from past problems and focus on the student’s future needs. • Give consideration to all the parent requests. • Make recommendations based on data and professional expertise. • Try to have staff members at the meeting with whom the parent has developed a level of trust.
Ending the Meeting Following through is a process for concluding a meeting in a way that acknowledges what happened during the meeting, sets in motion actions to implement decisions, and carries forward key learning to future meetings.
Ending the Meeting • Review what happened at the meeting. • Establish a path of next steps. • Produce a written memory of participant agreements, action steps, and outstanding issues (Prior Written Notice). • Debrief (list what worked and what could have been improved in the meeting process). • Thank participants for their contributions.
Just remember, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything and the wrong way is to keep trying to make everybody else do it the right way. M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter