ECC was launched as a pilot project in Pennsylvania in Fall 2012, in response to requests for an additional and different form of dispute resolution, and following consultation with key personnel in other states, stakeholder input, and training for hearing officers and staff.  It is available to individuals seeking to resolve a dispute related to the provision of a free appropriate public education to a child with a disability or thought to have disabilities or to the provision of gifted education or thought to be gifted education to a gifted student, or to the provision of aids, services and accommodations to a protected handicapped student under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
System Oversight, Infrastructure and Organization: 

System Design/Management

The Pennsylvania Office for Dispute Resolution provides the resources for parents and educational agencies to resolve disputes concerning the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of a free appropriate public education for students with disabilities or thought to have disabilities, students who are gifted or thought to be gifted and children with disabilities served by the early intervention system.

Policy/Procedures

Once the ECC request has been received, a designated individual from ODR will contact the parties to notify them of the request for ECC, provide them with information about the process and ascertain if both parties are interested in participating. The ECC process is voluntary and each party has the option to reject participation. Upon receipt of both parties’ agreement to submit their dispute to ECC, the ECC consultant will contact them and initiate the conciliation conference process.

ECC is a three-step process:
Step 1: Confidential Position Paper and Exhibits
Step 2: Assessment of Case
Step 3: Settlement Negotiations 

See the attached ECC Procedures document for an explanation of the three-step process.

PA - Evaluation Conciliation Conference Procedures10_03_13.pdf

Personnel

Rosemary E. Mullaly, Esq. is the ECC Consultant. From 2007-2009 Ms. Mullaly was a member of the Pennsylvania Department of Education Office of Chief Counsel where she advised the Department on special education and pupil personnel matters. From 2003-2007 and again in 2010, Ms. Mullaly served as a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Special Education Hearing Officer.

Forms/Letter Templates

PA - ECC Request Form October 2013.pdf

Miscellaneous

There is a fee for Evaluative Conciliation Conferences for issues pertaining solely to gifted education or aids, services and accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These fees are the responsibility of the LEA.

process test

Public Awareness & Outreach Activities: 

Availability/Accessing Services

For individuals seeking to access the ECC process for a dispute related to the provision of a free appropriate public education to a child with a disability they should go to the ODR website (http://odr-pa.org/alternative-dispute-resolution/evaluative-conciliation...), download and complete the ECC request document. If individuals do not have access to the Internet, they should contact the Special Education ConsultLine (In Pennsylvania: 800-879-2301 (Toll-Free); Outside Pennsylvania: 717-901-2146) and request a copy of the form.

PA - ECC-Brochure-English-November-2013

PA - ECC-Brochure_Spanish_November2013.pdf

Evaluation & Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI): 

EVALUATION

The ECC Pilot completed its inaugural year; participant feedback and dispute resolution data support ODR’s continuation of this cutting-edge program. As with other pilot programs assessment and revision are integral to the process.

Additional Information: 

"Evaluative Conciliation Conference: A New Option for Helping To Resolve Special Education Disputes" by Cathy A. Skidmore

PA Administrator Article ECC 9-13.pdf

Program Contact

Kerry Smith
Office for Dispute Resolution