Since 2009, the Special Education Resolution Center (SERC) has been offering stakeholder training and support to educators and parents so they can productively manage conflict to best meet the needs of students with disabilities. A key goal of the SERC is “to help schools and families resolve issues at the earliest stage possible.” To further this goal, SERC utilizes several mechanisms to build local-level capacity, including in person and online stakeholder trainings, a monthly webinar series, SERC newsletter, and more. SERC provides various options for stakeholder training on communication and conflict resolution, such as “Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue”, “Essential Skills for Engaging in Conflict”, and the “SERC Professional Development Series.”

System Oversight, Infrastructure and Organization: 

SERC provides in person and virtual trainings on “Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue”, a nationally recognized training that can help people step into disagreement—rather than over or around it—and turn disagreement into dialogue for improved relationships and results.  

In addition, SERC provides an online professional development series written by Greg Abell, Principal at Sound Options Group, LLC, titled "Essential Skills for Engaging in Conflict." This series is designed for Oklahoma schools and staff to improve their ability to work together and achieve a range of goals and objectives in improving student learning. 

SERC provides another six-part online “Professional Development Series” with Tracy Gershwin, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Professor at the University of Northern Colorado, that addresses important issues related to fostering family-professional partnerships, including conflict prevention and dispute resolution.

SERC also hosts a webinar series in which experts offer helpful information, tips, and techniques to help participants navigate through difficult decisions.

Program Access & Delivery: 

There is no cost to those attending “Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue” through SERC’s partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Contact information is provided for districts to schedule a training. The in-person format consists of two days, and the virtual format consists of five 2.5-hour long sessions that can be scheduled over three days or one session at a time.

Both online professional development series are archived on the SERC website and available at no cost. Each module includes a video and supplemental resources to help facilitate groups who may use the series in professional development settings.

Webinars occur on Wednesdays once a month and are promoted through the SERC website and newsletter. Webinars are archived and posted to their website along with accompanying presentation materials and transcripts.

Public Awareness & Outreach Activities: 

Essential Skills for Engaging in Conflict Modules:


Module 1: Conflict and Collaboration: Explores the role of collaboration and conflict in the Special Education Collaborative Process of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Module 2: Starting with Self-Preparation: Explains how understanding your own style and preparing yourself for the process leads to meaningful choices as one engages in the Special Education Collaborative Process of the IDEA.

Module 3: Listening and Understanding: Explores the value of listening to understand and responding in a meaningful way during the Special Education Collaborative Process of the IDEA.

Module 4: Sharing your Perspective: Presents the value of creating safety and sharing your perspective in a way that can be understood and responded to in the Special Education Collaborative Process of the IDEA.

Module 5: Exploring Issues to Understand Interests: Looks at how to explore "the issues presented" in the Special Education Collaborative Process of the IDEA to understand the "underlying interests" that are driving positions of the participant.

Module 6: Solutions and Mutual Purpose: Explores a variety of methods to find solutions to issues that also serve the mutual purposes of the parties during the Special Education Collaborative Process of the IDEA.

Series Guide

Professional Development Series Modules:

Module 1: What Does the Law Have to Do With It? Understanding the Letter and Intent of Partnering with Families through Federal Laws: This module describes the letter and intent of federal educational laws related to partnering with families in a clear and understandable way.

Module 1 - presentation (pdf)

Module 1 - related materials (pdf)

Watch the Module 1 Video (YouTube)

Module 2: Just Keep Meeting: Individualized Education Program Meeting Strategies: This module will present guidelines to successfully participate in an IEP meeting through all stages, before, during and after the meeting.

Module 2 - presentation (pdf)

Module 2 - related materials (pdf)

Watch the Module 2 Video (YouTube) 

Module 3: Why Use IEP Facilitation: Understanding the Usability, Credibility, and Versatility of the Process: This module provides an overview on IEP facilitation, including the research about the usability and versatility of the process.

Module 3 - presentation (pdf)

Module 3 - related materials (pdf)

Watch the Module 3 Video (YouTube)

Module 4: Moving Research to Practice: Lessons Learned and Applied for Building Equitable and Trusting Family-Professional Partnerships: This module defines equitable and trusting family-professional partnerships and reviews research about barriers and strategies used to address them and promote meaningful partnerships.

Module 4 - presentation (pdf)

Module 4 - related materials (pdf)

Watch the Module 4 Video (YouTube)

Module 5: One Size Does Not Fit All: Understanding and Applying Culturally Responsive Considerations for Families: This module presents culturally responsive strategies aimed to actively include families and students to participate throughout the educational process, including IEP meetings.

Module 5 - presentation (pdf)

Module 5 - related materials (pdf)

Watch the Module 5 Video (YouTube)

Module 6: Ally Versus Adversary Behaviors: The Utility of a Special Education Advocate During Conflict Between Families and Professionals: This module presents research about the utility of an advocate during conflict and the describes the differences between ally and adversary behaviors of advocates.

Module 6 - presentation (pdf)

Module 6 - related materials (pdf)

Watch the Module 6 Video (YouTube)

Other Resources:

Online Resource: Good Meeting Management

Program Contact: 

For questions or details on training opportunities, please contact SERC at 918.270.1849 or 888.267.0028 (toll-free).