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SPARC Mediation is a voluntary and confidential way for families and schools to resolve special education disputes. Mediation is a process that empowers parties to find mutually agreeable solutions in an informed, non-adversarial setting with the help of a neutral third party.
Prior to the mediation, a SPARC mediator listens to the concerns and needs of those involved in the dispute to identify the issues to be mediated. They also explain the mediation process and the role of the mediator. If the parties agree to mediation, it is scheduled in a timely manner, at a neutral location, and with a select list of participants.
During mediation, SPARC's trained, neutral mediators guide participants through a process that encourages dialogue and joint problem solving. Mediation helps participants gain a holistic view of the problem and the solution that will best meet the needs of the student. The participants determine the outcome of the mediation, and any agreement reached is documented and legally binding.
If an agreement is not reached, the parties are free to pursue other avenues, such as proceeding with an administrative complaint or a due-process complaint. Participating in SPARC mediation will not delay or deny any rights under IDEA, including the deadline of an existing due process or administrative complaint.
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mediator was quite supportive and demonstrated a level of understanding
of the complex issues presented in this case. The mediation process
appears to have us on a good track."
"The mediator did a great job making sure everyone was heard, everything was understood, and made people feel at ease during the meeting."
In response to the COVID 19 health and safety regulations, SPARC will be offering virtual special education mediation through video conferencing. Review this document for what to expect when participating in a SPARC virtual mediation session. If you have other questions or concerns, please contact Jessica Velez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about SPARC Mediation, contact Kathy Murphy or visit the SPARC Mediation FAQ page.