An AEA mediator may be used to help settle difference between parties. This person may be someone who is considered neutral to the disagreement, from within the AEA or from another AEA. This person is not assigned by the state, as in the other options.
The AEA Mediation Process involves a Mediator who assists in resolving differences by talking them out. The AEA Mediator is an impartial person who is not involved in the situation. The AEA Mediation process helps to clarify the problem and helps everyone involved work together to find an agreement which is acceptable to all.
The conflict or concerns may involve general education, Section 504, special education, Early ACCESS, or any school-related issue. The conflict may be between educators and parents, educators and educators, or any other employee hired by the district or AEA. There are several reasons a Mediator may be involved:
- To explore the dispute resolution options, including AEA mediation, due to a conflict.
- To act as an IEP Facilitator at an IEP meeting if there is potential for an adversarial meeting;
- To facilitate a “resolution meeting” to resolve issues following a parent filing of a due process hearing notice to the district and AEA; or
- To assist at any other type of meeting to serve as a facilitator when conflict may be anticipated.
Program Access & Delivery
In order to access a resolution facilitator, a parent or school district could fill out a form or call the AEA in which the child attends school.
The AEA Mediator’s job is to make it easier for you to talk with others involved in the situation that has brought you together. The AEA Mediator will:
- Explain the process and answer questions.
- Assist in establishing basic communication guidelines.
- Help clarify issues of concern.
- Assist in coversation about how to improve the situation.
- Make no judgement, but instead focus the responsibility for resolving the issue on those present.
Generally, the AEA Mediation Process will take less than half a day.
This cadre is made up of people who have successfully completed both Introductory and Advanced Mediation training. AEA staff have received 8 days of mediation training. Iowa Department will provide mentoring and coaching for the AEA Mediators.
The service is exchanged without cost, although the agency using the service may reimburse the sending AEA expenses such as mileage, meals, and motel. When the State mediators are used, the State will cover the costs.