Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an informal process for resolving conflicts early. It is a process that uses communication, collaboration, negotiation and mediation to produce an agreement that meets the needs of the student. ADR encourages all parties to keep the student's needs first and foremost throughout the process.

ADR is a voluntary process and does not remove the rights of the parent or the Local Education Agency (LEA) to pursue state-level due process. It does provide a proactive means to resolve issues and differences with respect and cooperation.

All information shared through the ADR process remains confidential unless all parties agree otherwise.

ADR does not have costs tied to its processes, unlike due process and are free of cost to families and LEAs.

The goal of ADR is to establish mutually agreeable solutions resulting in written agreements.


For Parents: How to Prepare

Parents may ask the LEA to resolve disputes through mediation or alternative dispute resolution, which is less adversarial than a due process hearing. The ADR and mediation are voluntary methods of resolving a dispute and may not be used to delay a parent's right to a due process hearing. Parents should,

  1. Talk to the LEA Director of Special Education Services about what to expect in the meeting or in the phone call.
  2. Bring a written list of issues you want to discuss and questions to ask.
  3. Organize your documents. Make copies if there is anything you wish to share with the team.
  4. Be willing to listen carefully, have an open mind so you may consider possible solutions and options.
  5. Ask four important questions: What is the educational performance of the student today? Where do we want the student to be in a year? What ways can the team help the student meet the expectations? What concerns do you have regarding reaching the expectation?