Presentation on theme: "Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) Introduction to Special Education Mediation."— Presentation transcript:
Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) Introduction to Special Education Mediation
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)
Why Does the BSEA Exist? 603 CMR 28 (Mass Law) – Mediation 603 CMR CFR 300(Federal Law, IDEA) – Mediation 34 CFR Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Federal Law)
Who We Are Director Hearing Officers Mediators Administrators Supervisor of Mediation
Mediator Backgrounds Attorneys (3) and Dispute Resolution Backgrounds (4) In-depth Special Education knowledge
Mediation Nuts & Bolts Collaborative Problem-Solving Process Voluntary Confidential No cost to participants
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)
How Massachusetts is Split Up 7 Mediators 1 Supervisor
Benefits of Mediation Collaborative Problem-Solving Control of Process and Outcome Relationships 85% Settlement Rate Timeliness
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”
What can you Mediate? Issues that can be mediated: – Eligibility – Level of Service – Placement – Compensatory services – Communication Issues – Others?
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
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)
Mediation process Introduction Joint Session Private Session Resolution Average of 2-4 hours – Second Session – Follow Up Session
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 ?
Private Sessions Optional Confidential Place for brainstorming Time to weigh out options and consider outcomes
Required Mediation Participants Parent/guardian Decision-maker for District
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
‘Best Practice’ for Advocates
Advocate: Do’s and Don’ts Do 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
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
Prepare Your Client Explain All Options – (Hearing, Mediation, SpedEx, etc.) Reality Checking Give them Hope Room for Movement Humanize Staff Bring a Snack/Drinks Talk Parents Off the Cliff
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.
The Beauty of Mediation
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 3 rd 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.
Questions Marc Sevigny, Coordinator of Mediation, FIEPs – – Katherine Bures, Mediator South Shore – – Susan Singleton, Mediator Western Mass – – Steve Lilly-Weber, Mediator Boston and South Shore – – Myrto Flessas, Mediator Metro Boston Suburbs – – Matthew Flynn, Mediator Central Mass – – Rebecca Stone, Mediator North Shore – – Leslie Bock, Mediator Middlesex and Metro North/South – –