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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a process for resolving conflicts or disagreements which may arise during the IEP process.  ADR uses communication, collaboration, negotiation, and mediation to produce an agreement that meets the interests of the parties involved by finding a creative and mutually-agreeable outcome.
All ADR activities are voluntary and mutually agreed to by the parents/guardians and the school district.  The goal is to reach local resolution of disputes, maintain positive relationships, and ensure an appropriate education for the student.
Why use ADR strategies?
ADR is designed for families and school districts who want to work together to preserve their relationship for the benefit of the child.
CONFIDENTIAL - All information shared through the ADR process remains confidential unless all parties agree otherwise.
NO COST - ADR strategies are provided at no cost to families.
LEGAL PROTECTIONS - Parties choosing to engage in ADR strategies do not give up their rights to Due Process.
RESULTS ORIENTED - The ADR process is focused on the student with the goal to establish mutually agreeable solutions.
Four Levels of Conflict Management
Level I: Prevention Stage
The foundation of the ADR process is to avoid conflict at the family and district level.  Through training, staff and parents learn communication skills and how to conduct productive meetings which can prevent conflict from arising.
Level II: Disagreement Stage
When an IEP team disagrees, ADR interventions can head off further conflict or damage to relationships.
Level III: Conflict Stage
When the IEP team is "STUCK" or you find your and other team members keep having the same conversations, more intensive interventions are available.
Level IV: Due Process
This level of intervention is a final attempt to resolve conflict.
Components of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Level I: Prevention Stage
STAFF DEVELOPMENT - SELPA offers Facilitated IEP and Conflict Resolution trainings throughout the school year.
PARENT TRAINING/WORKSHOPS - A variety of opportunities are available to families for team and relationship building.  Parents are offered Facilitated IEP stakeholder trainings and conflict resolution trainings.
CONFERENCING - The SELPA staff is available to conference with parents or district staff to intervene early, offer suggestions, and resolve concerns.
FACILITATED IEP MEETINGS - A facilitated IEP meeting enables the IEP team to build relationships, focus on the student and the contents of the IEP, honor time limits and the IEP process, and work towards a resolution by the IEP team.
Level II: Disagreement Stage
FACILITATED IEP MEETINGS - A facilitated IEP meeting enables the IEP team to build relationships, focus on the student and the contents of the IEP, honor time limits and the IEP process, and work towards a resolution by the IEP team.
CONFLICT COACHING - Staff is available to meet with teams or parents to coach on helpful resolution strategies, effective communication techniques and options for resolving conflicts.
Level III: Conflict Stage
INFORMAL RESOLUTION MEETING - A problem-solving method that brings disputing parties together to reach a student-centered agreement with the guidance of a trained, impartial mediator.  The session allows both parties to listen and express their point of view.
Level IV: Due Process
MEDIATION - Provides formal mediated resolution sessions with the school district following a filing of Due Process.  Mediation is a way of settling a disagreement through facilitated discussion.  The mediator will help the parties try to find a solution that is acceptable to both parties.
DUE PROCESS - Both parents and school districts have the right to request an impartial due process hearing regarding the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of a free, appropriate public education for a child.  ADR is in place to alleviate this option and to encourage parents and districts to come to agreement before the issues escalate to this level.  
Solving Problems
The Santa Clarita Valley SELPA is committed to helping families and schools solve problems and conflicts in the fastest and easiest way.
To find out more information about Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), please contact your School District's Representative or the Santa Clarita Valley SELPA.  
  • Castaic Union School District, 661-257-4500
  • Newhall School District, 661-291-4000
  • Saugus Union School District, 661-294-5300
  • Sulphur Springs Union School District, 661-252-5131
  • Wm. S. Hart Union High School District, 661-259-0033
  • Santa Clarita Valley SELPA, 661-259-0033, ext. 742