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Introduction to Special Education Mediation

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1 Introduction to Special Education Mediation
Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) Introduction to Special Education Mediation

2 Bureau of Special Education Appeals
Due Process for Special Education Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) Access to Education for All Students Despite Disability Individualized Education Program (IEP) Myrto

3 Why Does the BSEA Exist? 603 CMR 28 (Mass Law)
Mediation 603 CMR 28.08 34 CFR 300(Federal Law, IDEA) Mediation 34 CFR Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Federal Law) Myrto

4 Supervisor of Mediation
Who We Are Director Hearing Officers Mediators Administrators Supervisor of Mediation Becca

5 Mediator Backgrounds Attorneys (3) and Dispute Resolution Backgrounds (4) In-depth Special Education knowledge Becca – we all bring something different to the table, we all have our own styles, but all have #2, 3, 4

6 Mediation Nuts & Bolts Collaborative Problem-Solving Process Voluntary
Confidential No cost to participants

7 Role of Mediators Neutral No decision making authority
Do not interpret laws Do not tell parties what to do, who is right or who is wrong BSEA is Within the Division of Administrative Law Appeals (NOT DESE)

8 How Massachusetts is Split Up
Becca 7 Mediators 1 Supervisor

9 FY2012 Statistics 52 Hearing Decisions 582 Hearing Requests Becca

10 Mediation Hearings Team Meetings Evaluations Student Input Evaluations
Facilitations Student Progress Team Meetings Hearings Team Meetings Student Progress Student Input Facilitations Facilitations Student Input Evaluations Evaluations Student Progress Student Progress Team Meetings Hearings Bec Facilitations Mediation Student Progress Evaluations Team Meetings Team Meetings Evaluations Facilitations Hearings

11 Benefits of Mediation Collaborative Problem-Solving
Control of Process and Outcome Relationships 85% Settlement Rate Timeliness

12 Mediation Myths Just for simple issues
Parents need an attorney or advocate Only useful when there is a “bad” relationship A process of splitting the middle Getting the Mediator “on your side” Time to give the other side a “piece of your mind”

13 What can you Mediate? Issues that can be mediated: Eligibility
Level of Service Placement Compensatory services Communication Issues Others?

14 Requesting Mediation Districts notify BSEA (no action, full or partial reject) BSEA sends form letters to Parents & Districts Parents/Districts make request directly to mediator Advocate can request BUT Parent can and should talk to Mediator Parents/Districts can request mediation at any time (do not need the letter!) Mutually agreeable date, time, and location Random mediators

15 Before You Call to Request Mediation
Make sure that you have had all necessary IEP/TEAM Meetings Reviewing evaluations Reviewing proposed IEP An attempt to resolve issues What do you want from Mediation? Be specific but not exhaustive Do not send Mediator any paperwork, etc. OR Phone Call Should be able to sum up in two minutes or less what you are looking for (i.e. placement, level of service, eligibility)

16 Mediation process Introduction Joint Session Private Session
Resolution Average of 2-4 hours Second Session Follow Up Session

17 Introduction & Joint Session
Brief History Statement of Desired Outcome Listening Patiently Body Language Questions, Comments, Clarifications Room for Movement WHAT CAN BE DONE TODAY TO MOVE FORWARD?

18 Private Sessions Optional Confidential Place for brainstorming
Time to weigh out options and consider outcomes

19 Required Mediation Participants
Parent/guardian Decision-maker for District

20 Optional Mediation Participants
Student Advocates School Team Members Administrators Specialists Attorneys Supporters Each side chooses who they will bring Be thoughtful with your clients: Money Time Relationships Stress Emotions - Future

21 ‘Best Practice’ for Advocates

22 Advocate: Do’s and Don’ts
Be a bridge Support parents Empower parents to make decisions Use supportive & productive language Focus on the student’s individual situation Don’t Exacerbate the situation Add emotion into the situation Lecture school staff Focus on minor error and typos Interrupt

23 Develop Collaborative (Not Contentious) Relationships
Remember the LONG lasting relationship between parents and school districts Create deeper understanding Find Allies on the TEAM Create a vocabulary of resolution Solve future problems Make space for hope

24 Prepare Your Client Explain All Options Reality Checking
(Hearing, Mediation, SpedEx, etc.) Reality Checking Give them Hope Room for Movement Humanize Staff Bring a Snack/Drinks Talk Parents Off the Cliff


26 At the End of the Day… Parents are the ultimate decision makers
It’s their life. It’s their child. It’s their family. It’s their relationship with the school. They are the ones who will live with the decision.

27 The Beauty of Mediation

28 Facilitated IEP Meetings…
Support the Team Meeting from start to finish Ensure everyone listens, hears, and is respectful Keep the meeting moving forward Have time accountability May be quite active…or just a presence We do not run the meeting…the person who runs the meetings (typically Team Chair) still runs the meeting 3rd Party Neutral A Facilitated Team Meeting will not become a mediation Call the Marc Sevigny, Coordinator of Mediation & Facilitations to request a Facilitated Team Meeting.

29 Questions Myrto Flessas, Mediator
Metro Boston Suburbs Matthew Flynn, Mediator Central Mass Rebecca Stone, Mediator North Shore Leslie Bock, Mediator Middlesex and Metro North/South Marc Sevigny, Coordinator of Mediation, FIEPs Katherine Bures, Mediator South Shore Susan Singleton, Mediator Western Mass Steve Lilly-Weber, Mediator Boston and South Shore

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