The Maine Department of Education is currently seeking prospective, impartial individuals to be assigned to facilitate IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings. Facilitators are assigned to cases on a rotating basis, where there is no conflict of interest. These individuals are neither members of the IEP team, nor involved in the determinations of a meeting. In mid-December, facilitators will participate in training provided by the Department.
In early 2022, interested parties (parents/care givers and school administrative units) will be able to make a request for an IEP Facilitator. Both parties need to agree to the facilitation. Forms and handbooks will be made available soon.
The implementation of the Facilitated IEP meeting (FIEP) program allows the Maine Department of Education to provide another cost-free mechanism for stakeholders to utilize in the effective dispute resolution process. In states that offer Facilitated IEP meetings, data suggests that there is a positive impact on IEP team member communication, and increased levels of trust and collaboration among stakeholders (Mueller and Vick, 2019).
During a typical IEP meeting, even with the best of intentions, breakdowns in communication and disagreements may occur among participants. During a facilitated IEP meeting, the focus is on conflict resolution in place of contentious debate and discussion. Meetings are kept on track to ensure equal opportunity for input by all participants. Determinations and outcomes are more child focused. Districts are responsible for following MUSER regulations and IDEA as is the case for any IEP meeting.
For more information about the facilitator qualifications and application process, please contact:
Leigh Lardieri, PhD
Dispute Resolution Coordinator, Office of Special Services
Maine Department of Education
(207) 624-6849 Leigh.Lardieri@maine.gov
In the next few weeks, the Office of Special Services will release important informational videos to gather feedback from stakeholders on Maine’s State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (APR).
Maine Department of Education (DOE) Office of Special Services has been awarded a State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). State Personnel Development Grants are awarded to state run agencies with the aim of improving and increasing professional development for “individuals providing early intervention, educational, and transition services to improve results for children with disabilities.”*
The Maine DOE has been awarded $3.39 million over five years for special educator, educational technician and administrator professional development. The funds will be directed to two key areas of special education work- math interventions (Math4ME) and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS).
“The grant provides the resources to support the development of intensive remote math professional development for special educators in rural areas in Maine,” said Maine DOE Special Projects Coordinator Tracy Whitlock. “The funds will also be used to build state-wide capacity for PBIS training, coaching and the development of external coaches training. This grant will help the Office of Special Services continue to meet the diverse needs of Maine students.”
The two-day training covers all federal requirements for establishing strong SAU policies and procedures. Attendees begin the workshop with a customizable template that is customized over the two-days to be district specific.
Day One: Training
Federal Financial Management
Overview of grants accounting system and fiscal controls
Cash management procedures, including period of availability and carryover