Rhode Island Department of Education Launches Facilitated Individualized Education Program Plan Service to Support Students, Families and School Districts

Published on Monday, March 18, 2024

PROVIDENCE, RI — Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green today announced that the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (RIDE) has launched its Facilitated Individualized Education Program (FIEP)/504 Plan Service to further support the needs of students and assist families and school districts in reaching mutually agreed upon outcomes. Staffed by three experienced and respected FIEP professionals, the new service will provide neutral facilitation where disagreements may exist and reduce schools’ reliance on formal dispute resolution.  

“The launch of this service is not only a significant step towards enhancing support for differently-abled students, but also a pivotal component of Rhode Island’s broader education strategy,” said Governor Dan McKee. “By prioritizing collaboration, communication, and consensus-building, we are furthering our commitment to improving education outcomes statewide. My administration commends RIDE for the development and launch of this service and remains committed to working with state partners to build a more equitable future for all Rhode Islanders.” 

The program, which will provide facilitated Individualized Education Program (IEP) and 504 Plan meetings, is supported by $450,000 in state funding. A 504 plan is geared toward ensuring a student has equitable access, while an IEP focuses on individualized specially designed instruction and services. 

“Neutral facilitation of IEP/504 meetings will improve school and family partnership, allow meeting participants to feel valued and heard, and most importantly, keep the dialogue focused on the strengths and needs of the student,” said Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “As a parent of a differently-abled child, I fully understand the enormous stress that a parent may feel during the IEP process. RIDE is committed to centering and being responsive to the needs of families, and strengthening the collaborative relationships amongst parents and guardians, schools, and communities.”  

As part of the FIEP/504 initiative, RIDE has completed orientation sessions for school superintendents, special education directors, legislators, community organizations, and other stakeholders; offered extensive training for selected districts and RIDE staff; and the developed and implemented a Community of Practice for trained school districts to ensure the success of program. The Community of Practice will continue to meet monthly. 

Parents/guardians, adult students, and school district personnel with the approval of their Special Education Director or 504 Coordinator may request IEP/504 Facilitation.  

RIDE has developed a dedicated FIEP page on the RIDE website that provides information and procedures for schools and families to access the new service.