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Dispute Resolution in Special Education ~ Exemplar Collection

“Resources and guidance that illuminate and promote exemplary approaches to the design, implementation and improvement of dispute resolution systems.”

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CADRE's Exemplar Initiative: Identifying, Profiling & Showcasing State Resources from High-Performing Special Education & Early Intervention Dispute Resolution Systems

State System Profiles

Between Fall 2008 and Summer 2010, CADRE undertook a process to identify state special education and early intervention dispute resolution systems that are particularly effective and to characterize those systems and their components in ways that would be useful to other states that are considering improvement activities.  Four state systems - Iowa, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - were identified as exemplary following the application of a broad array of criteria to their systems. Profiles were developed so that these states’ dispute resolution systems could be viewed in their entirety and used as potential models.

Resource Showcase

CADRE worked with representatives from the exemplar states to identify and document the processes and features of their dispute resolution systems that are effective and contribute to those states’ success.  In order to simplify access to this information, CADRE developed an online Resource Showcase so that they are available for states who wish to implement practices or utilize materials that are being successfully used elsewhere.

The framework of the Resource Showcase is based on two conceptual models, the CADRE Continuum and DR SIPE, both of which have evolved over the last decade and represent CADRE’s best thinking about the organization of capable special education and early intervention dispute resolution systems and the delivery of effective dispute resolution processes.

The CADRE Continuum, a model which organizes dispute prevention and resolution processes from the earliest stages of conflict management (preventive processes) all the way through early facilitative processes to more formal procedural or legal actions, runs across the top axis of the Resource Showcase. States typically deliver some non-required processes in addition to the processes that are required by IDEA, but no single state offers all the processes that are found in the continuum.

DR SIPE (Dispute Resolution System Integration and Performance Enhancement), an assessment and improvement tool that CADRE has used in the delivery of intensive technical assistance to states, runs along the left side of the Resource Showcase.  DR SIPE identifies four system functions that are critical to the successful operation of a dispute resolution system: Oversight; Professional Standards Training, and Technical Assistance; Awareness and Outreach; and, Evaluation.

By combining these two models, the Resource Showcase captures critical aspects of state systems and catalogues their underlying resources. Users of the Resource Showcase will find:

  • For each cell (the junction of a Continuum Process and a DR SIPE function), resources are available for download specific to that cell (e.g., “Training and Technical Assistance Resources” for the “Mediation” process).
  • In densely populated cells, item groupings have been created to facilitate access to resources that match the user’s interests.
  • For each Continuum process and each DR SIPE function, definitions that include features and elements related to effectiveness are available by clicking on the colored topic name.
  • Filters are available in the upper left corner of the Resource Showcase that allow resources to be sorted by State, Part B/C, English/Spanish, and for newly posted items.  The default sorting includes all states, both Part B and Part C, and all languages. Many Part B resources were developed to address both Part B and Part C dispute resolution processes in these states.

Descriptions of the Resource Showcase and how it works are no substitute for users experimenting with the application. CADRE welcomes feedback on the Resource Showcase and suggestions on ways that it can be improved.  We appreciate recommendations of resources for inclusion that have proven useful to states and may benefit other states that are interested in improvement. Search on!

Video Resources

CADRE’s Director, Marshall Peter, had the opportunity to interview system managers from each of the four exemplar states.  Interviews were conducted with Dee Ann Wilson (Iowa), Patricia Williams (Wisconsin), Kerry Smith (Pennsylvania) and JoAnne Blades (Oklahoma).  Those interviews are viewable either as individual responses to distinct questions or in their entirety.

Other Resources

In addition to this Introduction, CADRE will be posting other related resources on the Other Resources page (link to Other Resources page).  Currently available is “TOP TIPS for State Dispute Resolution System Managers.  In September 2009, CADRE brought together Dee Ann Wilson of Iowa, Jo Anne Pool Blades of Oklahoma, Kerry Smith of Pennsylvania, and Jack Marker of Wisconsin. This document captures a rich discussion in which these seasoned veterans compiled their most valuable advice for other state dispute resolution system managers.

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