It is easy to understand why conflict between parents and school district members has become a national topic of concern.  The financial, emotional, and physical tolls that due process can have on all parties involved are extensive.  Because of these limitations, districts are beginning to recognize the need to promote positive relations with parents and to address conflict at the pre-mediation level.  Some districts are currently experimenting with trust building changes, as well as alternative dispute resolution practices.  

Because many of these practices have not been instituted at the national level, and are currently practiced by local districts and regional cooperatives; there is an overall lack of research on what these practices look like when they are instituted at the district level and what the overall effect is on the district climate.  This session will present a multiple case-study analysis of two school districts that were able to overcome highly litigious climates (i.e., decreased their due process hearing request rates) by implementing system-wide changes that led to building trust, preventing conflict, and practicing alternative dispute resolution.

In this presentation you will:
•    Learn about the districts' problems that led to a high number of hearing requests and formal complaints.
•    Learn about the system-wide changes that led to the decrease in hearing request rates and overall increase in parent satisfaction
•    Gain a better insight on trust building, conflict prevention, and alternative dispute resolution practices that can foster the home-school partnership
•    Learn and understand the role of the administration and parents during the implementation and maintenance of the system-wide changes
•    Hear interview excerpts from the parent and district members about the system-wide problems, changes, and their perceptions of the districts' current climate
•    Develop a sense of understanding about how two school districts were able to overcome litigious climates by implementing system-wide changes that have since institutionalized after five years.