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ADR and the Collaborative Conference

The SFUSD and The Bar Association of San Francisco Partnership to Keep Moving Your Child's Learning Forward

The Special Education Services Department of the San Francisco Unified School District has partnered with The Bar Association of San Francisco to offer a new way to resolve complaints with the school district regarding the learning needs of your child.   Professional facilitators through the Bar Association's Alternative Dispute Resolution Program offer skilled mediation for the prevention and resolution of complaints between parents and school district personnel in a cooperative forum of problem solving called the 'Collaborative Conference'.  This process has been shown in other school districts to reduce the level of tension and conflict between parents and district personnel who must work together effectively to advance a child's learning at school.

What is the Collaborative Conference?

The 2-hour 'Collaborative Conference' is a no-attorney zone for the confidential discussion of complaints needing resoltuion.  A skilled, experienced facilitator certified in mediation proactice and trained in the policies, procedures and law of special education, facilitates the informal meeting.  The goal is to create a positive, peaceable approach to finding student-centered resolutions.  There is no requirement that parents choosed this alternative.  The Collaborative Confernce is voluntary, optional and completely confidential.  Additionally, the content of what is discussed during a Collaborative Conference, including any information exchanged regarding any provided materials, is to remain confidential, and shall not be repeated in a future forum.

Who attends the Collaborative Conference?

Parents, educational reights holders, non-legal support persons and school district personnel with the greatest understanding of the child's situation attend the Collaborative Confrence.  A trained facilitator assists with communication and discussion at the Conference and renders in writing any agreements reached.

Who are the Collaborative Conference Facilitators?

The Bar Association of San Francisco's Panel of Special Education Facilitators (SEF Panel) are certified mediators with the Bar Association's Bay Area Mediation Program who have received 15 hours of specialized training in special educaiton law and the culture of parental and school district relations.  In addition, the facilitatators who serve on the SEF Panel have received specific training in the kinds of complaints parents have brought in the special education context, and the frustrations, tensions and culture that can bring about difficulties and complaint.