Seeking Collaboration Through ADR Practices

Seeking Collaboration Through ADR Practices

Seeking Collaboration Through ADR Practices

November 2021 | Issue #26

The research is clear that when parents and schools work together, students experience greater academic achievement and school engagement, dropout rates decline, retention is less utilized, and special education referrals decrease. Equally, research shows that parental involvement can reduce the number of years needed in special education. Parental engagement raises the standards under which schools operate, which will subsequently result in an increase in quality of education.

Because communication between parents and school staff is so important in the development of a child’s educational program, the Desert/Mountain SELPA has embraced the concept of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and employs its principles to attempt to resolve conflict and disagreements prior to moving to more formal levels of complaints. Under most circumstances, the disagreement may be resolved at the local level by contacting the child’s teacher, principal, or special education administrator.

If both parties are not able to come to a resolution of the disagreement, the Desert/Mountain SELPA’s ADR process can be accessed by either the parent or the school. ADR activities are voluntary and mutually agreed to by the parent and school.

ADR is a no-cost process for resolving conflicts that respects the dignity of individuals while creating mutually satisfying solutions. ADR uses communication, collaboration, negotiation, and mediation strategies to bring both parties to an agreement that meets the interests of all involved. ADR efforts can include coaching, conferencing, facilitated IEPs, or local resolution meetings, where a SELPA representative can help provide a fresh look at the parties’ positions.

The Desert/Mountain SELPA is committed to assisting families and schools solve problems and conflict in the fastest and easiest way. Reaching an early resolution saves both parents and districts a great deal of time, effort, resources, and can help preserve relationships. If you would like to learn more about ADR and participate in the various professional development opportunities around this topic, please visit our website and join us for upcoming workshops around collaborative IEPs, facilitating IEPs effectively, and ensuring meaningful parent participation. And if you are a parent wishing to access our ADR services, please contact your school principal, special education director, or our office at (760) 552-6700. We would be honored to walk alongside you to help secure an appropriate educational program for your child.