States frequently engage in activities to facilitate learning and improve the capacity of educators and parents to work together and resolve disputes early. But how do States know their efforts are effective? And, with finite resources available, are there more efficient and effective ways to build local-level capacity? CADRE has outlined some key considerations for designing local-level capacity building supports.

Getting Started
  1. Determine current local-level capacity. Use dispute resolution, indicator 8, and other relevant data to inform your assessment.

    Ask questions such as:

    • What is the current capacity of educators and parents to work together?
    • What is the current capacity of LEAs to resolve conflicts early?
    • What is the current capacity of LEAs to align policies and practices with federal and state special education regulations?
    • Who needs to increase their capacity and in what area?
      • Do people have the necessary knowledge and skills?
    • What conditions in the environment might impact current capacity?
      • What else is going on when families and educators are attempting to work together and through conflict?
      • Are there any incentives reinforcing current behaviors?
  2. Determine if any assumptions have been made in your assessment of local-level capacity.

    Ask questions such as:

    • What evidence supports our understanding of local-level capacity?
    • How strong is this evidence?
    • Are there multiple data sources supporting our understanding?
    • Is there any contradictory evidence?
    • Are there any exceptions?
    • How valid and reliable is the data?
    • Are there any gaps in information?
      • What else do we need to know?
      • How can we get this information? 
  3. Determine desired results and identify the target audience(s).

    Ask questions such as:

    • What behaviors do we want to see at the local level?
    • Who do we want to behave in this way?
      • What motivates the target audience(s)?
      • Who influences the target audience(s)?
      • What challenges might the target audience(s) face in implementing the desired behaviors??
    • Why are these desired behaviors important?
    • What would success look like?
  4. Identify priorities.

    Ask questions such as:

    • Do we have leadership and stakeholder interest in the implementation of these desired behaviors?
    • How do these priorities align with other priorities in our department/organization?
    • What do we have the capacity to work on?
    • Are there current opportunities and organizational assets that can be leveraged?
  5. Identify what needs to happen in order for local-level capacity to improve.

    Ask questions such as:

    • What support does the target audience(s) need most in order to implement desired behaviors?
    • What strategies or activities will have the greatest impact?
    • What resources are needed to implement these strategies or activities?
      • Are there existing resources that can be used or modified?
      • Does CADRE have a resource that we can leverage to help meet the needs of our target audience? Check out CADRE Resources listed on this webpage.
    • Who will we partner or coordinate with?
    • What existing infrastructure can be leveraged?
    • Who will be responsible for individual activities and general oversight?
    • When will activities be completed?
  6. Create an action plan.
Understand and Utilize Learning and Development Best Practices

It is critical for States to utilize learning and development best practices when designing and implementing local-level capacity building supports.

For more information, visit:

Continue to Build Your Own Capacity

Visit Contact CADRE for individual technical assistance at

Partner with Parent Center(s)

A number of SEAs have partnered with Parent Centers on many initiatives to help build the local-level capacity of both educators and families.  We have highlighted below resources showcasing SEA-Parent Center partnerships: