- What is SERC?
- New! Behavior and Discipline Guidance (IDEA and 504)
- Effective IEP Team Meetings and Communication Guidelines
- Two Questions to Ask When Making a Manifestation Determination
- Introducing the IEP Team Relationship Reset
- Virtual/In-Person Mediation and IEP Facilitation in Oklahoma
- Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue Training Virtual and In-Person
- 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?
- Training on communication and collaboration skills to help prevent conflict.
- An IEP Facilitator to manage conflict during contentious IEP meetings.
- A Mediator to guide a structured process in which parents and personnel can resolve specific issues related to special education.
- A Due Process Hearing Officer at an administrative hearing to resolve, what could not be resolved at an earlier stage. During the resolution time of the process, SERC can provide a facilitator to help the parties discuss the hearing issues in a safe and structured setting and try to resolve them if possible.
New! Behavior and Discipline Guidance (IDEA and 504)
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) released guidance documents relating to addressing behavior, discipline, program services, and use of funding. OSEP encourages schools to use Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) for children to enhance a positive learning school environment and then provide more targeted support for the approximately 15% of student likely to require it.
Districts must reconsider their use of exclusionary discipline and aversive practices. Exclusionary discipline is not appropriate for non-violent offenses, like tardiness, absenteeism, or subjective offenses, like defiance or disrespect. Instead, OSEP urged districts to implement culturally and linguistically responsive MTSS, including UDL or PBIS, to create a positive school environment. Districts can use Title II, ESSER, GEER, and IDEA funds to help educators create positive learning environments, obtain professional development and training, and implement coordinated early intervening services.
Effective IEP Team Meetings and Communication Guidelines
With school now being in session, parents and school staff are thinking about IEP meetings and communication skills. Attached are two helpful articles to consider. One is Effective IEP Team Meetings. This documents contains helpful tips on how to conduct an appropriate IEP meeting – highlighting that the goal of a meeting is to reach consensus on the student’s needs. Consensus is the most complicated form of decision making as it call upon participants to really listen to each other and try to resolve the underlying concerns of each parties position. The hallmark is to keep the discussion about the needs of the student and really brainstorm and push to come to some decisions that address the student’s needs (as viewed by the parent, student and by school personnel).
The second is a Communication Guideline for developing a simple rule format on structuring the conversation around the student’s needs. This guide helps the parties focus on the needs of any student who is the subject of a deep discussion. This guide can be used for any IEP meeting or about any discussion that takes place about the student.
Two Questions to Ask When Making a Manifestation Determination.
During the last few months of the school year, calls to SERC increase about issues surrounding discipline. Under the IDEA, which is a federal law, the manifestation determination is made answering only two questions. The following steps should be followed during this process:
1. Review All relevant information in the student’s file and information from the parent, AND
2. Determine if :
a. The conduct in question was caused by or had a direct and substantial relationship to the Student’s disability;
b. The conduct in question was a direct result of the LEA’s failure to implement the IEP.
3. If the answer is Yes to either question, the behavior is a manifestation of the Student’s Disability:
a. Conduct or review an FBA
b. Implement (or review and revise ) a BIP; AND
c. Return the Student to the pre disciplinary placement.
4. If the answer is No to either question, the behavior is not a manifestation of the Student’s Disability:
a. Discipline without regard to disability; AND
b. Provide FAPE in the disciplinary setting.
The disciplinary placement is the stay put if Challenged. 34 CFR 300.5333
Introducing the IEP Team Relationship Reset
Implementation of the IDEA requires collaboration between, families, educators, other professionals, and community resources. In the ideal environment, IEP team members listen to each member’s point of view and work together to develop a high-quality IEP. We’ve all been in IEP meetings where it didn’t take long to realize that the biggest Issue in the meeting wasn’t the “issues” that were being discussed, but rather the interpersonal dynamics and interactions between the team members. When using technology, sometimes we need to do a “reset” to get things to work again. Is it possible to reset a team when it’s stuck? Maybe it’s time to have a conversation around how we might go about resetting team relationships when and where collaboration is being sabotaged by the interactions between team members. Is this possible? If so, what might it look like? Stay tuned for more on this important conversation.
Virtual/In-Person Mediation and IEP facilitation in Oklahoma
While IEP facilitations and mediations will continue to be offered through online-video format with Zoom, in-person meetings will also be 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 Training Virtual and In-Person
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
- 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
While we will continue to offer a virtual training format for this course, we are now able to schedule in-person classes. Both formats include five 2.5-hour sessions. The in-person format will take place over two consecutive days. The virtual format can be scheduled over two to five days. We have a lot of flexibility regarding scheduling and only suggest that the sessions not be spread apart too far in order to maintain momentum and maximize learning.
Crucial Conversations 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, please contact Rob Keiter at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (405) 569-3105.
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.
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 currently scheduled through November, 2022. For more information about the ABLE Tech monthly workshops, visit the ABLE Tech calendar here.
Jo Anne Pool Blades, Program Manager
Special Education Resolution Center (SERC)
Oklahoma State University Sponsored Program. 9726 E. 42nd Street, Suite 203 | Tulsa, OK 74146
- June 2022
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