The Wisconsin Special Education Mediation System helps parents and schools work together to resolve disputes about special education.
We do not provide legal advice or advocacy for either parents or districts, and we do not mediate 504 plan disputes.

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Who are the mediators?

WSEMS has a list of well-trained mediators. The mediators come from a wide range of professional backgrounds, including psychology, social work, business, education and law.

Each mediator has completed a five-day training on special education mediation. Each is also required to complete one day of training each year in order to remain active on the mediator roster

People often ask whether a mediator should be an expert in the subject of the dispute. For example, should the mediator in a special education dispute be an expert in special education? In some cases, the parties may prefer a mediator with no special knowledge of the subject. Benefits of this approach include avoiding a mediator’s preconceived notions of what an agreement should look like and letting the parties come up with unique or creative ideas.

In other cases, where the subject of the dispute is highly technical or complex, a mediator who comes to the table with some substantive knowledge could help the parties focus on the key issues in the dispute. Or parties may want someone who understands a cultural issue or other issues in the dispute.

Ask a friend, other parents, parents’ organizations, your attorney, your therapist, another special education administrator / teacher about their experiences with different mediators.

After the parties agree to participate in mediation, they can nominate a mediator or WSEMS can work with the parties to nominate a mediator. Remember, Jane Burns, our WSEMS Intake Coordinator/Administrator can help you select a mediator.  She has worked with the mediators for many years and has observed most of them in person. Burns will ask both parties screening questions about their case, matching the needs of the individual case to the training, education experience and personality of mediators on the roster and share that information with the parties.  Mediators who are not on the WSEMS roster list may be used, but at the parties’ expense.

Each of our mediators are listed on our website under  Mediators/Facilitators.  We encourage you to read their bios, view their videos, and listen to their views on the mediation process.

    Contact WSEMS

    Email: diana@wsems.us
    888-298-3857 (Toll Free Voice)
    608-283-9106 (Fax)

    WSEMS
    PO Box 829
    Madison WI 53701-0829