The Wisconsin Statewide Parent-Educator Initiative (WSPEI) is a service for parents, educators, and others interested in parent-educator partnerships for children with disabilities. Its goal is to help parents and school districts find or create the resources that will help them build positive working relationships that lead to shared decision making and children's learning; It supports increased sharing of information among parents, schools, projects, organizations and agencies through networking meetings, conferences, person-to-person contact, and media. Parent liaison services assist parents who are concerned about the design and delivery of special education services for their children. They may take the form of assisting the parent before, during, or after the IEP meeting. Liaison services may be more general as well by providing training, networking opportunities, or written information. Two important principles include building the capacity of individual school districts to involve and communicate with parents, and promoting a nonadversarial approach to conflict resolution that builds trust between school staff and parents.

System Oversight, Infrastructure and Organization: 

System Design/Management

Since 2000, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (WDPI) has funded WSPEI as a resource for families and educators. The District Family Engagement (DFE) Liaison Program is a core component of WSPEI’s efforts to provide districts with a structured framework to train and mentor a district selected DFE Liaison. The Wisconsin Statewide Parent-Educator Initiative is a federally-funded grant program through WDPI.


The Wisconsin Statewide Parent-Educator Initiative (WSPEI) supports: 

WSPEI is an organization that strives to provide the necessary resources and information in order to keep a positive partnership between parents and school districts.

  • Meaningful parent participation on IEP teams and other decision-making groups
  • Collaboration among general education, special education and other programs that support family engagement
  • Increased sharing of information among parents, schools, projects, organizations and agencies through networking meetings, conferences, person-to-person contact, and media
  • Collaboration with the twelve Regional Cooperative Education Service Agencies (CESAs)
  • Alignment with and access to state and federal initiatives


A WSPEI trained liaison facilitates the district’s ability to offer local support. The trained liaison also has the capacity to assist districts in developing and refining family engagement activities. WSPEI’s DFE Liaison program has been purposely aligned with SPP Indicator 8 to assist districts in fostering positive working relationships with families.

Practitioner Standards & Professional Development: 

Training/Professional Development

WSPEI offers families and educators opportunities that will expand the knowledge and skills needed to develop positive and collaborative relationships. WSPEI recognizes that families and educators in a school district have unique training needs. The scope and  format of educational services that WSPEI provides reflects these needs. WSPEI can help families and school districts connect with local, state and national conferences and training opportunities.

Educational/training topics parents and school districts may request are:

  • Effective Communication and Parent-Professional Partnerships
  • Navigating the Special Education Maze
  • Individual Education Plan (IEP) Process and Product
  • Transition Planning for Students and Families
  • Creating Agreement: Dispute Resolution Options
  • RTI and Family Engagement

An opportunity for families to participate in more intensive training is also available through the Parents in Partnership (PIP) and Youth in Partnership with Parents for Empowerment (YiPPE) programs.

Public Awareness & Outreach Activities: 


District Family Engagement Liaison Recruitment Flier


Program Contact

Mary Skadahl
Wisconsin Statewide Parent-Educator Initiative