The research is clear on parent involvement: when parents are involved in their children’s education, students have higher grades/test scores/graduation rates, better school attendance, increased motivation, better self-esteem, lower rates of suspension, decreased use of drugs/alcohol, and fewer instances of violent behavior. The Exceptional Children Division works diligently to collaborate with parents, provide information to parents, provide information on parent involvement to LEAs, and support parent involvement in their children’s education. The information within the parent resources pages are available to assist you in supporting your child.
Informational Documents for Families
These documents are intended to help families understand various aspects of Special Education in North Carolina. If you have questions, please reach out to the EC Director in your district or contact the Parent Liaison with the EC Division. List of EC Directors.
Parent Rights & Responsibilities in Special Education: NC Notice of Procedural Safeguards
It is important that you understand the Procedural Safeguards (legal rights) provided for you and your child with a disability. In this document, you will find a new section in more user-friendly language that summarizes the rights and responsibilities of parents in the special education process. Acronyms and terms often used in special education and resources for parents are found in the appendices.
ECAC is a private, nonprofit parent organization committed to improving the lives and education of ALL children, through a special emphasis on children with disabilities and special healthcare needs. ECAC serves as North Carolina’s Parent Training & Information Center or PTI, which is a federally funded program through the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). ECAC's parent educators help NC families navigate systems such as early intervention, special education and the transition to adulthood and provide families with information and resources to help them make informed decisions, to communicate effectively and to become their child’s best advocate in school, the community and in life. All services to families are provided at no cost.
Any person who has a concern about the education of a student with a disability can raise the issue in one of several ways. For example, it is always appropriate to discuss the matter with the student's teacher or principal at the local school, or it is also helpful to contact the Director of Exceptional Children Program in the central office of the school system, charter school, or state operated program.
The Exceptional Children Division's consultants for dispute resolution and consultants for instructional support and related services are also able to offer consultation to assist parents, advocates, or school system, charter school, or state operated programs personnel who request help with problem-solving.
Consultants at the Department of Public Instruction are neutral and refrain from taking sides when there is a disagreement, but consistently advocate for appropriate services for children with disabilities. They are committed to the protection of rights for children with disabilities and their parents.
An informal means of problem solving is provided through the Exceptional Children Division's Facilitated IEP Program for school systems, charter schools, state operated programs, and parents.
Formal means for dispute resolution are also available through the Department of Public Instruction, Exceptional Children Division. These options are requirements of federal and state laws governing special education - Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), and Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities.
When there is an unresolved disagreement over identification, evaluation or educational placement of a child with a disability or the provision of free appropriate public education, the options for dispute resolution are mediation, formal written complaint, and due process hearing. A formal complaint filed on the same issue(s) as contained in a petition for a due process hearing will not be investigated. These options are also available to the adult student who has reached the age of majority (18), unless legally deemed incompetent or unable to make educational decisions.
Dispute Resolution Consultants
The consultants for dispute resolution work with parents, traditional local educational agencies, charter schools, state operated programs and other individuals to resolve disputes. They provide information about facilitated IEP meetings, mediation, formal written complaints and due process hearings. They also investigate formal written complaints.
State Complaints - Corrective Action
|State Complaint Investigator||Leigh Mobley||984.236.2571|
|State Complaint Investigator||Deborah Throm||984.236.2572|
|State Complaint Investigator||Polly Lilly||984.236.2567|
|State Complaint Investigator||Cathy Boshamer||984.236.2646|
Due Process Hearings
If requesting a facilitated IEP Team meeting, please email requests to Facilitation@dpi.nc.gov. Staff will monitor this email address during the Governor's State of Emergency.
If requesting FIEP, please submit the following signed documents: (1) a FIEP request form; (2) a FERPA form for Parent; and (3) FIEP Agreement Form (Parent) for the approval process. If only agreeing to FIEP, sign and return (1) FERPA form and (2) FIEP Agreement Form.
- FIEP Request Form revised January 2023 (Spanish form link here)
- Parent FIEP (FERPA) (Spanish form link here)
- FIEP Agreement for Parent (Spanish form link here)
If requesting FIEP, please submit the following signed documents: (1) a FIEP request form; (2) a FERPA form for LEA; and (3) FIEP Agreement Form (LEA) for the approval process. If only agreeing to FIEP, sign and return the (1) FERPA form and (2) FIEP Agreement Form.
- FIEP Request Form revised September 9, 2021 (Spanish form link here)
- FIEP Agreement for LEA (Spanish form link here)
- LEA (FERPA) (Spanish form link here)
- Facilitation Feedback Form revised July 1, 2013
- Results and Reflection from the Facilitated IEP Meeting revised July 1, 2015 (Spanish form link here)
Requests for mediation should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mediation Questions & Answers - revised July 2007
- Mediation Request Form - revised January 19, 2023(Spanish form link here)
- Agreement to Mediate Form - revised July 1, 2015 (Spanish form link here)
- Mediation Feedback from Parties Form - revised July 1, 2015 (Spanish form link here)
- Mediation Results Form B - revised June 3, 2021 (Spanish form link here)
Model Form for Filing a Complaint, revised July 1, 2021
If filing a formal complaint, please email to email@example.com.
State Advisory Council
The Council on Educational Services for Exceptional Children (Council) is established as an Advisory Council to the State Board of Education. Its establishment is set forth in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) federal regulations in §§ 300.167-300.169 and the North Carolina General Statutes in §115C-121.
The Council advises the State Board of Education with respect to the unmet needs of children with special needs and in the development and implementation of policies related to the coordination of services for students with disabilities. The Council also advises the State Board of Education with respect to developing evaluations, reporting on data, and developing corrective action plans to address findings in federal monitoring reports.
- Advise the State Board of Education with respect to unmet needs within the State in the education of children with disabilities;
- Comment publicly on rules and policies proposed by the State Board of Education regarding the education of children with disabilities;
- Advise the State Board of Education in developing evaluations and reporting on data to the Secretary of Education;
- Advise the State Board or Education in developing corrective action plans to address findings identified in Federal monitoring reports;
- Advise the State Board of Education in developing and implementing policies relating to the coordination of services for children with disabilities;
- Carry out any other responsibility as designated by federal law or the State Board of Education.
The Council shall consist of a minimum of 24 members. Currently, the Council consists of 25 members - 20 appointees and 5 ex-officio. Members are appointed by the Governor, President Pro Tem of the Senate, Speaker of the House, and the State Board of Education. Appointees represent individuals with disabilities from the ranks of parents, teachers, higher education, public and private schools, business/vocational community, and charter schools. A majority of representatives shall be persons with disabilities or parents of children with disabilities
Terms of Service
- State Board of Education appointees serve 4 years
- All other appointees serve 2 years
- Council members serve without pay
- Council members receive travel allowances
- Council members serve not more than two consecutive four-year terms
Council Members updated 08/01/2022
The Council on Educational Services for Exceptional Children (CESEC)
As a diverse representation of stakeholders, the CESEC informs and advises the State Board of Education (SBE) on policies and matters relating to improving the educational outcomes for students with disabilities in NC.
Public Comment Procedure
Public comments are an essential and necessary part of CESEC fulfilling its role to advise the State Board of Education with respect to the unmet needs of children with special needs in the state of North Carolina. Stakeholders are encouraged to submit written comments at any time or attend the CESEC’s quarterly meetings and register for public comment. Thirty minutes will be reserved on the CESEC agenda for public input at each meeting. Additional time may be added at the discretion of the Chairperson.
General guidelines for public input:
- Public comment may be made verbally (in person) or in written form including email to CESEC. Priority will be given to in person comments. Written comments will be read by the Chairperson in the order they are received. All written comments will be documented.
- Public comment is limited to no more than five minutes per person in the first thirty minutes of the afternoon session. Sign-in must occur by 12:30 pm.
- Written comments should be sent to CESEC@dpi.nc.gov or Danyelle Sanders, EC Division, 6356 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-6356 by 4pm, 10 business days prior to the regularly scheduled CESEC meeting. See the Upcoming Meetings link below.
- Comments should be focused on relevant topics to the mission of CESEC. No solicitation is allowed. The public comment opportunity is not a forum for vendors to market goods or services. It is for individuals to share concerns and successes that could help shape future direction in the accomplishment of the Council’s mission which is stated below:
The CESEC is established as an Advisory Council to the State Board of Education. Its establishment is set forth in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) federal regulations in §§ 300.167-300.169 and the North Carolina General Statutes in §115C-121. The mission of CESEC is to advise the State Board of Education with respect to the unmet needs of children with special needs and in development and implementation of policies related to the coordination of services for disabled students; advise the SBE with respect to development of evaluations and reporting on data, and developing corrective action plans to address findings in federal monitoring comments.
- All public comments will be taken under advisement by CESEC but will not receive verbal or written response.
- Public comments will be summarized in the minutes of the meeting.
- The Council will review public comments and decide on appropriate action, if any, according to the Council’s mission.
Making Public Comment in Person:
- A sign-in sheet will be available at the registration table. All those wishing to speak must sign-in. The Chairperson will call on individuals based on the order of sign-in.
- When called upon please state your name, county of residence and subject matter.
- Comments should be factual, objective and related to the mission of CESEC.
- Maintain confidentiality and privacy standards: Do not mention the personal names of students or school staff.
- Members of CESEC shall not interrupt the speaker during the allotted five minutes of time. The Chairperson may interrupt the speaker if there is a concern that public comment procedure and/or privacy or other laws are being violated.
Submitting Written Public Comment
- Any individual may submit a written comment via written letter or email to be signed in and read by the Chairperson and/or distributed at the quarterly CESEC meeting during the public comment period. Written comments may be up to 600 words.
- All written comments must be received by at CESEC@dpi.nc.gov or Danyelle Sanders, Exceptional Children Division, 6356 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-6356 by 4 pm, 10 business days prior to the quarterly CESEC meeting. Any comments submitted after that time will be read and/or distributed at a later date.
- Written comment must include the name, address, email address if available, and county of residence of the individual submitting the comment.
- Written comments should be factual, objective and related to the mission of the CESEC.
- Written comments must maintain confidentiality and privacy standards.
If special assistance is needed to participate in the public comment period, every effort will be made to provide the appropriate accommodation. When requesting accommodations for public comment, please allow no less than 10 business days’ notice prior to the scheduled meeting. Contact the CESEC at CESEC@dpi.nc.gov or Danyelle Sanders, Exceptional Children Division, 6356 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-6356 or (984) 236-2574
Council meetings are held four times a year and are open to the public.
State Board of Education Room, 7th Floor
Department of Public Instruction
301 North Wilmington Street
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Upcoming meetings 2022
Meeting Number: 2420 569 9662
Password: Council (C must be capitalized)
Join by Phone: 415-655-0003 US Toll
904-900-2303 US Toll (Jacksonville)
December 14, 2022 - Agenda
March 8, 2023
June 14, 2023
September 13, 2023
December 13, 2023
- March 10, 2021
- June 9, 2021
- September 8, 2021
- December 8, 2021
- March 11, 2020
- June 10, 2020
- September 9, 2020
- December 9, 2020
Special Education Parent Advisory Councils
A local Special Education Parent Advisory Council is a district-level, parent-driven group that provides input to the local school district on system-level challenges in special education and related services. There are any names for this group throughout the state, but the purpose is the same; advise, advocate, and offer guidance to the district. Local Special Education Parent Advisory Councils are not required under IDEA or NC law; however, many districts have established councils.