December 2023
SERC Scoop Newsletter

  • What is SERC?
  • Goodbye – Hello!
  • 5 Actions to Reduce Exclusionary Discipline –  OSEP Launches 200+Resource Database to support reducing exclusionary discipline.
  • Policy Statement: Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs (November, 28, 2023)
  • SERC’s “Facilitation Training” – New Training Open for Registration!
  • SERC’s Wisdom Wednesday Update
  • Virtual/In-Person Mediation and IEP Facilitation in Oklahoma
  • Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue Update
  • Which Dispute Resolution Process is best for me?
  • Upcoming Events

What is SERC? 

The Special Education Resolution Center of OSU (SERC) has been collaborating with the Oklahoma State Department of Education for over 16 years to help families and school districts resolve conflicts at the earliest stage possible. SERC provides services for children from birth to 3 in SoonerStart and for students 3 through 21 in public schools.

What does SERC provide to schools, SoonerStart, and families at no cost?


Goodbye – Hello!

Jo Anne Blades

Allison Fennell-Conch

After 18 years, the Special Education Resolution Center is saying “Goodbye” to Jo Anne Blades as the long-time Assistant Director/Program Manager. We appreciate all the years of service and expertise Jo Anne dedicated to building SERC. Jo Anne has positively impacted students and families, schools, organizations, and agencies statewide. She has been a constant on the other end of the phone for individuals facing challenges and needing to understand a situation related to a child’s educational supports and services. She has been quick to give an encouraging word. Jo Anne was, and is, a teacher and mentor to many. Her passion for helping people coupled with her clear communication style has been, and will continue to be, effective in building and sustaining productive, collaborative relationships. Jo Anne will assist the program in a part-time capacity as she transitions into retirement from Oklahoma State University.  

Now we would like to say “Hello!” as we warmly welcome the energetic Dr. Allison Fennell-Conch as the new SERC Program Manager. Allison brings 12 years of experience in special education. Originally credentialed as a speech-language pathologist, Allison has broadened her expertise in working with school teams and families to provide services to children with special needs and learning differences. In Allison’s new role, she will train stakeholders, work collaboratively on projects with partners across the state, and assist families and schools in accessing programs of alternative dispute resolution.  

We are so appreciative of Jo Anne and are excited to have Allison on the team!   


5 Actions to Reduce Exclusionary Discipline –  OSEP Launches 200+Resource Database to Support Reducing Exclusionary Discipline.

Valerie C. Williams, Director, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), has released the Discipline Discussions blog series over the last seven months. The series highlights many of the most pressing issues in school discipline practices and behavioral supports for children with disabilities: informal removals, discipline disparities, suspensions and expulsion in early childhood programs, to name a few.

OSEP is sharing information from the technical assistance centers to provide concrete, actionable, and turnkey resources for educators, families, early childhood programs, and administrators at the state and local levels to reduce exclusionary discipline.

Click here to view the blog.


POLICY STATEMENT: Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs (Nov. 28, 2023)

This policy statement, released jointly by the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, states that all young children with disabilities should have access to high-quality inclusive early childhood programs that provide individualized and appropriate support so they can fully participate alongside their peers without disabilities, meet high expectations, and achieve their full potential. The policy statement is included below.

Click here to view Policy statement (PDF)


SERC’s “Facilitation Training” – New Training Open for Registration!

SERC began offering a new training as a one-day course to districts beginning in the fall of 2023. The training will provide an overview of facilitation to include facilitator qualities and skills, key functions of a facilitator, the facilitator’s role before, during, and after a meeting, along with a toolbox of practical facilitator strategies and techniques to use during a meeting. This training will provide helpful resources to those who want to sharpen their skills and tools when facilitating difficult meetings. It will also benefit districts wanting to develop in-house facilitators for IEP meetings.

The training will be offered in-person with regional classes in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The course will be from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. This training is available at no cost to those attending through our partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Registration is made online. Course dates and locations with registration links are below. For more information, contact SERC’s Program Coordinator, Rob Keiter at rob.keiter@okstate.edu or (405) 569-3105.


FY24 Facilitation Training Schedule and Registration

Monday, Jan 8, 2024 – Tulsa Regional
The Sharp Center, Jenks PS

Click here to register

Monday, Feb 5, 2024 – OKC Regional
Mid-Del Tech Center, Midwest City

Click here to register

Monday, March 4, 2024 – Tulsa Regional
The Sharp Center, Jenks PS

Click here to register

Monday, May 6, 2024 – Tulsa Regional
The Sharp Center, Jenks PS

Click here to register

Monday, June 3, 2024 – OKC Regional
Mid-Del Tech Center, Midwest City

Click here to register


SERC’s Wisdom Wednesday Webinars Update

SERC’s monthly Wisdom Wednesday Webinars will be resuming soon. These free and informative webinars take place live on Zoom the third Wednesday of each month from Noon to 1:30 pm. Stay tuned for more information about upcoming webinars!


Virtual/In-Person Mediation and IEP facilitation in Oklahoma

While IEP facilitations and mediations continue to be offered through online-video format with Zoom, in-person meetings are also available. Virtual meetings will be the default unless an in-person meeting is requested. To participate in a virtual meeting, you will need a computer/iPad/smartphone with WIFI and a place to meet without interruptions. Participants can also access by phone. An iPad with hot spot can be provided for use at no cost for those without access to a computer and/or WIFI. Contact SERC for more information about scheduling a virtual or in-person meeting.


Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue Update

Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue is a nationally recognized training that helps people have difficult conversations that they are afraid to have or that aren’t going well. And the focus of the training is not just about communication – it’s about helping people get the results they want and need.

Crucial Conversations can help you in your conversations with:

  • School administrators
  • Special Education Directors and staff
  • School Staff and personnel including general ed teachers
  • Service resource providers
  • IEP team members
  • Parents and their advocates
  • Organizations and family support personnel that work with children with disabilities

We offer in-person classes as well as a virtual format using Zoom that is very effective. The in-person format consists of two days, and the virtual format consists of five 2.5-hour long sessions that can be scheduled over three days or one session at a time.

Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue is available at no cost to those attending through our partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Education. If you are interested in scheduling a future training for your district during the fall or spring, please contact SERC’s Program Coordinator, Rob Keiter, at  rob.keiter@okstate.edu or (405) 569-3105.

FY 24 Crucial Conversations Regional Classes Open for Registration – Stay tuned for new regional course dates


Which Dispute Resolution Process is best for me?

You may be wondering which dispute resolution process would be the best for you when dealing with special education-related disputes. This dispute chart will help you understand the differences between the three processes offered in Oklahoma. Each of these processes is offered at no cost to schools or parents. Please contact us with any questions related to our dispute resolution processes. We can help you decide which process will work the best for your situation.

View the English version of the dispute resolution chart here:

View the Spanish version of the dispute resolution chart here:


Upcoming Events

ABLE Tech Monthly AT Workshops

ABLE Tech has successfully completed several series of virtual workshops for special education and related service providers. The feedback was outstanding and focused on planning positive systemic improvements and changes.

Monthly workshops are scheduled for January-March, 2024. For more information about the ABLE Tech monthly workshops, visit the ABLE Tech calendar here.

Dr. Allison Fennell-Conch, Program Manager
Special Education Resolution Center (SERC)
Oklahoma State University Sponsored Program. 9726 E. 42nd Street, Suite 203 | Tulsa, OK  74146
Phone: 
918.270.1849, 888.267.0028

Email: allison.conch@okstate.edu

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