Illinois System of Dispute Resolution (Draft) IEP Facilitation (Under Consideration) Early Complaint Resolution Parent Mentor Program
Interest-Based Negotiation Training (Idaho) Idaho Department of Education, school districts state-wide, Idaho Parents Unlimited and Comprehensive Advocacy, Inc. jointly sponsor 40- hour training in interest-based negotiation.
Sharing The Commitment (Exceptional Student Education Department/District School Board of Collier County, Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resource System, and Family Network on Disabilities) Collaborative project created to foster effective partnerships between parents, schools, and the community Advisory Committee meets bi-monthly during school year Provides guidance, information, training and support to educators, parents, and agencies on services and programs for students with disabilities Sponsors workshops for all persons interested in services for students with disabilities Specially trained parents and teachers called Parent Educator Exceptional Resources (PEERs) available to provide parents of students with disabilities with up-to-date information, resources and support.
IEP Support Parent Sonoma County, SELPA, CA Provided training for IEP Support Parents Role is to accompany families to IEP meetings Not functioning as an advocate, can help in understanding what is happening during the meeting and in educating with regard to rights and responsibilities
Family Service Coordinator Lane County, OR Schools and other community funders support Family Service Coordinators at Direction Service Family Service Coordinators facilitate family-centered interagency collaboration support families and schools in preventing and resolving disagreements work to preserve positive working relationships between families and schools and to engage nonschool community resources that can contribute to educational programs
First Call Project Washington, DC FIRST CALL Project offers parents an opportunity to voice concerns regarding special education services before they seek outside assistance or file a due process action Project is managed by an independent lawyer – the Concern Manager Concern Manager listens to concerns, enhances communication between parents and school staff, guides parents through the evaluation process, and advocates for resources to address student needs
Parent Hotline Kansas School district in Kansas established parent hotline specifically for families of children with special needs Coordinator of service assists parents and acts as an ombudsperson or liaison between the parent and the school district
Outside Resolution Facilitators Iowa Iowa employs a system of Resolution Facilitators at the local level Facilitators are used outside of the IEP meeting Facilitators may be either an individual from within the school district who is considered neutral to the conflict or an individual selected from outside the district in which the conflict has occurred
Solution Teams/Panels Sonoma County SELPA, CA/Two Intermediate Units, PA Co-mediation model composed of a parent of a child with disabilities and an educator or administrator Strategy builds safe, collaborative working relationships by fostering communication between families and school personnel Models effective interactions by having a parent and district staff person collaborate to provide facilitation
Independent Child Advocate Program Sonoma County SELPA, CA Resource available to parents and school districts when disagreements arise regarding the provision of special education services to a child with disabilities Similar to ombudsperson, Independent Child Advocate does whatever is needed to resolve the dispute early; may include: a review of the students file, interviews, observations, meetings Develop a report of findings and recommendations All parties meet and receive report of findings within weeks of referral
TESTED TIPS FOR IEP MEETINGS: What IEP Conveners Can Do (Pre-Meeting) Explain crucial nature of parents involvement and what will happen at the meeting Invite parents to bring anyone they wish Explain who will be there from the school and why. Ask the parents if anyone has been left out Schedule convenient time and location, and ample time for meeting Establish if parents need help with transportation or childcare Invite parents to review relevant documents prior to meeting, encourage classroom visits Keep parents advised of progress on an ongoing basis
TESTED TIPS FOR IEP MEETINGS: What IEP Conveners Can Do (During Meeting) Make parents feel welcome Greet at door Cup of coffee or beverage? Same size chairs for everyone Brief pre-meeting chit-chat and acclimatization Everyone introduce themselves and explain why they are there Everyone addressed with the same degree of formality Speak in clear, plain language – avoid jargon and discipline-specific terminology Have specific materials available that are referred to
TESTED TIPS FOR IEP MEETINGS: What IEP Conveners Can Do (During Meeting) Focus on the childs individualized needs – not your program, classroom, or resource limitations Listen carefully Maintain confidentiality – dont discuss other students Dont hurry Be honest and trust that the parent is also Be willing to say I dont know Involve student for at least a portion of the meeting if they can contribute and always if 18 or over
TESTED TIPS FOR IEP MEETINGS: What IEP Conveners Can Do (Post-Meeting) Review and evaluate What worked What didnt Incorporate into future meetings Consider building meeting tip file for each child – sources of anger, joy etc. Send home thank you note Write down specific suggestions about things parents can do at home to help
Resolution Meeting Process Considerations Preparation Flexible scheduling, location, seating, refreshments Clarifying participation, purpose, setting a collaborative tone Reviewing student records Convening Agree on agenda, clarity in purpose, confidentiality, ground rules, breaks Remove distractions, communicate effectively, manage time Fully examine issues, ensuring equity in participation If dynamics are at issue do something different (e.g. change representation, rethink offer/demand, etc.) Clarify the LEAs offer to resolve (in writing) Implementation Clear agreement components (e.g., SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-accountable; and legally enforceable in court) Legal review, withdrawal of DP complaint, follow-up
Resolution Meeting & Mediation: Components of Durable Agreements Clarify the issues and available options to resolve them Identify what participants will do, not what they wont do Be specific: names, places, dates, times, amounts, actions Use impartial, non-judgmental language that is future oriented Avoid reference to past problems or blame Avoid contingencies (e.g., "The school will do xyz if the parents do abc). Each discrete activity should stand on its own Create conditions to monitor implementation of the agreement and modify together if needed Review for legal enforceability in the state
Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Stephen Covey, Habit 5 Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Publications Beyond Mediation: Strategies for Appropriate Early Dispute Resolution in Special Education Keys to Access: Encouraging the Use of Mediation by Families from Diverse Backgrounds Families and Schools: Resolving Disputes Through Mediation (Case Studies) Special Education Mediation: A Guide for Parents Considering Mediation for Special Education Disputes: A School Administrators Perspective Educating Our Children Together: A Sourcebook for Effective Family-School-Community Partnerships (CD) Resolution Meetings: A Guide for Parents
The Involvement of Students in Their Special Education Mediations Parents and Educators Working Toward Mutual Solutions (Video) Facilitated IEP Meetings An Emerging Practice Considerations for Mediating with People Who Are Culturally Deaf The Role of Attorneys in Special Education Mediation Using Participant Feedback to Evaluate and Improve Quality in Mediation Steps to Success: Communicating with Your Childs School Publications
Web-Based Resources www.directionservice.org/cadre Database of Professionals and Trainers/Consultants News, Articles & Training Materials Mediation Under IDEA 04 Dispute Resolution Processes and Practices Continuum State Mediation Program Information Español Video
Listening is probably the most cost effective element of a conflict management system. Mary Rowe
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