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Tele-Facilitation within Alternative Dispute Resolution

Photo of hand holding a cell banner for Tele-Facilitation within ADR page

The CDE continues to offer Special Education Facilitation during this time.  During COVID-19 we have moved our facilitation services online using a tele-facilitation model. This model continues to encourage the same principles of traditional Special Education Facilitation to promote effective communication and assist an IEP team in developing an IEP based on the student’s needs. During this time our neutral facilitators are following tele-facilitation guidelines and utilizing a variety of communication strategies throughout a meeting.

If you are interested in obtaining a facilitator for your virtual IEP meeting, please complete the facilitator request (Smartsheet form).  After gaining agreement from the other party, a facilitator will be in touch to develop an agenda.




What Is Special Education Facilitation?

FAQs about Facilitation

What platform does the facilitator use for Tele-Facilitation?

The facilitator participates in the platform that the district uses (i.e. Google, Zoom, etc.).

How will the facilitator know when I have a question?

The facilitator will make sure that all participants can be seen, and will read body language as best as possible. The facilitator will also ask more questions about understanding, and whether there is anything else that has not yet been stated. 

Who can request a facilitator?

Parents, Districts and Schools can request a facilitator.

How do I request a facilitator?

Either, Parent(s) or District/School need to complete the IEP Facilitator Request (Smartsheet Form) to request facilitation. 

Is agreement obtained prior to the facilitation?

Yes, agreement by both the parent and the school or district. If both do not agree on use of a facilitator during a meeting, then an ADR Facilitator will not be used. 

What happens after I request a facilitator?

Once agreement for a Facilitation between the school districts/parents or guardians is obtained, the facilitator contacts both the parent and the school/district with next steps. 

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Tele-Facilitation Approach

Setting the Stage for Collaboration

  • Be student-focused.
  • Assume positive intent of all team members - Everyone is here with the child in mind.
  • Respect and listen to all perspectives - Everyone here has a role and a perspective for creating this plan of support.
  • Be solution-oriented and contribute to problem solving.

 Meeting Guidelines

Outlined below are the guidelines the Alternative Dispute Resolution Facilitators will follow during a tele-facilitated IEP meeting. 

  • Agenda items need to be sent to the facilitator in advance. The facilitator will develop the agenda and email it to the parents and the school contact prior to the meeting. Adjustments needed may be made during the meeting.
  • If capabilities exist, the agenda will be displayed during the meeting.
  • Cameras will be turned on for the duration of the meeting.
  • Microphones need to be muted when you are not talking.
  • During breaks, all microphones will be muted and cameras covered/turned off.
  • Any use of recording devices will be announced at the beginning of meeting and paused or turned off during breaks and at the conclusion for the meeting.

  • The facilitator will begin the meeting by asking all participants to introduce themselves, the role they have on the team, and anyone else who is in the room with them.
  • All reports and drafts need to be sent to participants, including facilitator, prior to the meeting. Each will be thoroughly explained during the meeting. Using visuals, such as graphs and charts, to show data supports the understanding of all participants. This is especially helpful when internet connections are not stable.
  • The facilitator will ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate in discussions and contribute to the process. To minimize interruptions, please have paper and pencil available to jot down ideas and questions so each team member is given the space to complete their thoughts.

Communication Strategies

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Effective Questions

Steer towards open-ended questions when needing more information, then move towards problem-solving questions when needing solutions. Asking questions is an excellent way to gain information, as well as preventing defensiveness.

Open Ended Questions

What does that look like?

Can you tell me what you are thinking?

What is your main concern?

Can you tell me more about that?

What is your experience with ________?

What are some other ways of looking at this?

What is most important to you?

What do you think a solution to that might be?

Problem Solving Questions

Help me see why this is important.

I’m not sure I understand _______. Can you explain?

Why is it that you want ________?

What might happen if _________?

How do you see ________ helping the student?

What is the down side of trying ________?

Directing Traffic Questions

Can I hear from someone who hasn’t spoken on ________?

You seem to want to say something. Are you willing to share?

I’d like to hear from __________.

Can we reserve that issue for ________ more minutes?

Who else has an idea?

Is now a good time to take a break?

Have we reached consensus on this _________?

​Parent Input to the IEP

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Additional Resources


Seven Habits of Highly Effective IEP Teams from LD Online

Other Webpages

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Special Education Facilitation Information

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Questions? Contact

Katherine Rains, J.D.
Dispute Prevention and Assisted Resolution Supervisor
Phone: 720-990-1464

Email Katherine Rains

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