You are here

Facilitated IEP Meeting Information


The information contained on this webpage is also available on a printable one-page document. Available in English: Facilitated IEP Meetings Brochure (PDF). Available in Spanish/Disponible en español: Reuniones IEP con facilitación (PDF)

 Promoting productive student-centered Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings conducted in a respectful and collaborative manner

About Facilitated meetings

What is facilitation?

Facilitation is an option for using an impartial third party to promote effective communication and assist the IEP team in developing an IEP based on the student's needs. State-sponsored facilitation is a voluntary process; both the parent and the district need to agree to facilitation.

What is the cost?

State-sponsored facilitation is a free service provided by the Colorado Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Unit (ESSU). However, the ESSU will not pay for any attorney or advocate fees or any other costs to the parties associated with the Facilitated meeting (e.g. mileage, meals, wage loss, etc.).

How long does a Facilitated meeting take?

A Facilitated meeting may or may not take longer than other IEP meetings, depending on the needs presented.

Who attends a Facilitated meeting?

  • All required IEP team members must be pre- sent to complete the IEP process, including the parent, and when appropriate, the student; and
  • It may also include other relevant parties who have knowledge of the student.

What can the team expect from a Facilitated Meeting?

All team members participating in the Facilitated meeting can expect that:

  • All parties have agreed to be receptive and respectful of the facilitated meeting process;
  • Norms that provide structure and focus for the meeting will be established;
  • The meeting will be collaborative and solution- focused with all presented ideas carefully considered;
  • The facilitator treats all parties fairly and with respect, and helps the parties do the same;
  • There is a focus on listening for the purpose of understanding by all parties; and
  • The primary goal is to develop an IEP that meets the student’s needs.

Is a Facilitated meeting confidential?

The IEP parameters of confidentiality apply to all IEP meetings, including Facilitated meetings.

About Facilitators

The facilitator keeps the focus of the meeting on a productive student-centered IEP process conducted in a respectful and collaborative manner, as well as on developing an effective and appropriate IEP in a timely manner.

Does the facilitator make the decisions about the outcome?

No. The facilitator is not an IEP team member and his or her role is to focus on the IEP process and to facilitate discussion, which supports the team in developing the IEP.

Who are the facilitators?

The state-sponsored facilitator is a person specifically trained to promote effective listening and discussion between all IEP participants. The facilitator focuses on collaborative efforts, is not an employee of the district, and has no role in advocating for any of the involved parties.

Requesting a Facilitated meeting

State-Sponsored IEP facilitation is a voluntary service offered at no cost to districts and parents of students with disabilities. A parent or school district representative may make the request for a state sponsored facilitator. Both the parent and school district need to agree prior to a facilitator being assigned.

How soon can a Facilitated meeting be scheduled?

The school schedules the IEP meeting and sends out the notice to the parent. If the district and/or parent is interested in facilitation, the request for an FIEP meeting should be made as soon as possible to allow enough time for CDE to reach both parties, and assign a facilitator if one is available in the appropriate time frame. The FIEP meetings should be conducted in a timely manner

Rights and Responsibilities

  1. Facilitation does not relieve the district of the responsibility to meet regulatory obligations, including timelines.
  2. If an agreement is reached on the IEP, the school district is required to complete the IEP document and provide a copy to the parent or adult student, as well as send notice regarding the components of the IEP.
  3. The only record kept of the Facilitated session includes the date, time and location of the session, surveys, and the result. Neither the ESSU nor the facilitator will keep the IEP document.

Dispute Resolution

Disputes regarding the IEP or the provision of services may be resolved through mediation, due process hearing or the state complaint process. Dispute resolution information may be accessed on the Colorado Department of Education Dispute Resolution webpage. 


If you have questions about the Facilitated Process, please contact: 

Katherine Rains
Dispute Prevention and Assisted Resolution Supervisor
Email Katherine Rains

Having trouble with this webpage?


If you have problems with broken links or accessing the content on this page, please contact the Exceptional Student Services Unit at Please copy the URL link for this page into the email when referencing the problem you are experiencing.