From August 17, 1998 – June 30, 2018
In 2016, CADRE (Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education) released the average national agreement rate in special education mediation over the last nine years to be 69%. The WSEMS agreement rate for the same time is much higher at 89%.
WSEMS statistics and research are based on:
From 2000-2017, 2,609 participant surveys and 939 mediator surveys were returned to our office and the results indicated:
Agreements are in writing and may be reviewed by a lawyer prior to signing. These agreements are contracts between the parties (signers) and should be as specific as possible regarding who, what, when, where and how the terms should be performed. If any party fails to follow through with the agreement, the parties can ask the system to reopen the mediation. In addition, when the agreement is prepared, the parties may include a provision that they will return to mediation if a dispute arises or there is a need for a need for clarification in their agreement. One benefit of the mediation process is to help the parties establish better communication. Sometimes issues that arise after mediation can be settled through direct contact between the parties, either in person or by telephone.
The WSEMS, as a neutral administrator of the mediation system, is not an enforcement agency. The parties must enforce the agreement they have signed. If the WSEMS were to accept one party’s position that the agreement was not being enforced, the WSEMS would become an advocate for either parents or school districts. This could compromise the WSEMS’ position as a neutral administrator. As a result, the WSEMS’ role in the mediation concludes with an analysis of the surveys completed by the mediation participants following the session. Advocacy is the role of parents’ organizations or school district personnel, and their attorneys and advocates.
The WSEMS began the IEP facilitation service in 2004. The WSEMS sought input from our stakeholder group with members from the special education community on how to best implement the service.
A neutral, trained professional facilitator helps the student’s IEP team with the process of the meeting. The service may be used for any IEP team meeting, including:
In the screening process with our intake specialist, districts and families identify meeting process concerns that the facilitator can help with, for example: keeping the focus on the student, time management, and keeping the meeting moving forward.
All participants, including the facilitator, are asked to complete surveys after the facilitated IEP meeting. A research methods expert analyzes the survey information which provides the WSEMS continuing feedback on the question: How are we doing?
From 2004-2017, 1,557 participant surveys were returned to our office and the results indicated: