Facilitated IEP/504 Meetings

An Alternative to Formal Dispute Resolution

Facilitated IEP/504 Meetings Brochure (Spanish) (Portuguese)
Facilitated IEP/504 Program Procedures (Spanish) (Portuguese)

What is Facilitation?

Facilitation takes place in a regular team meeting, such as an IEP Team meeting or 504 planning meeting.  The impartial facilitator keeps the focus of the Team and meeting on the best interests of the student.  The facilitator is a skilled individual who has received specialized training in conflict prevention and resolution through the Facilitated IEP/504 meeting process.  IEP/504 Team meeting facilitation is voluntary.  Both parties must agree to invite an external facilitator to the IEP/504 Team meeting.  The facilitator’s main goal is to help team members construct an IEP/504 in the best interest of the student.   This is achieved by encouraging and directing communication specific to the IEP/504 and assuring that the members of the IEP/504 Team are empowered in their participation and invested in the IEP/504.  The facilitator is not a member of the IEP/504 Team and cannot provide legal advice to a Team member.  The facilitator will help the IEP/504 Team to create an agenda, ground rules, and desired outcomes.  The facilitator will also guide discussions during the IEP/504 Team meeting by asking student-focused questions. 

What is the cost? 

State-sponsored facilitation is a free service provided by the Rhode Island Department of Education’s Office of Student, Community, and Academic Supports.  

What is the role of the facilitator? 

  • Helps IEP/504 Team members develop group norms, an agenda, and desired outcomes for the meeting 

  • Guides discussions by asking student-focused questions 

  • Keeps the IEP/504 Team on task and the meeting on schedule 

  • Asks questions to clarify points of agreement and disagreement and assists parties in identifying workable solutions 

  • Does NOT make decisions and is NOT a member of the IEP/504 Team 

  • Does NOT address issues unrelated to the IEP/504 and does NOT draft the IEP/504 

What are some of the benefits of IEP/504 Team Meeting Facilitation? 

  • May build and improve relationships among IEP/504 Team members 

  • Promotes open communication and collaboration among all team members 

  • Allows all members of the IEP/504 Team to participate fully 

  • The IEP/504 Team may work together more effectively and efficiently to create an IEP that benefits the student and is supported by all IEP/504 Team members 

  • Keeps decision-making with the IEP/504 Team members who know the student best 

  • May help resolve disagreements more quickly than other dispute resolution processes 

How do you request a Facilitated IEP/504 Team Meeting? 

Facilitated IEP/504 Team Meetings are a voluntary service, offered at no cost to parents and schools. It is not required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Parents, adult students with an IEP/504, district personnel with the approval of their Special Education Director or 504 Coordinator (or their designees) may initiate a request by completing the Facilitated IEP/504 Request Form. Both parties (district and parents or student if 18 years or older) must agree to participate. 

Online Facilitated IEP/504 Meeting Request Form

Spanish and Portuguese versions of the Facilitated IEP/504 Request Forms are accessible via the above link.

For a Printable PDF version of the Facilitated IEP/504 Request Form, which must be scanned and emailed to RIDE at Facilitation@ride.ri.gov, click here. For Spanish click here and for Portuguese click here

Rights and Responsibilities: 

  • IEP/504 Facilitation does not relieve the district of the responsibility to meet regulatory obligations, including timelines. 

  • If an agreement is reached on the IEP/504, the school district is required to complete the IEP/504 document and provide a copy to the parent or adult student, as well as send notice regarding the components of the IEP/504. 

  • The only record kept of the facilitated session includes the date, time and location of the session, Agreement Form, surveys, and the result. Neither RIDE nor the facilitator will keep the IEP/504 document. 

Dispute Resolution 

IEP/504 Facilitation does not prevent a parent or district from exercising the right to resolve disagreements through additional meetings or formal dispute resolution processes. The formal options for dispute resolution are outlined on the RIDE Dispute Resolution webpage. 


For questions, contact the Facilitation team at Facilitation@ride.ri.gov or the Program Coordinator directly at:

Jane Slade 


(401) 222-8350 

Additional Contact

OSCAS Special Education Call Center at (401) 222-8999 or  RIDECallCenter@ride.ri.gov.  

El Centro de Llamadas al (401) 222-8999.