We offer a variety of services for schools and other educational institutions. Dispute resolution can help by providing tools to teachers, administrators, staff, parents, and students to address a wide range of issues without adding cost. Empowered Pathways has a long history of providing innovative, evidence-based services for schools and youth in our community.
These individual services are available at our offices, at the school building, or can even be incorporated into an integrated school-wide program with training, peer programming, and other wraparound services.
Special Education Mediation is for families that disagree with their school regarding their child's Individual Education Plan (IEP). Issues that can be addressed include eligibility, disability category, placement, service provision, communication, and more. Decisions reached by the parents and the school are binding and enforceable, and students may participate where appropriate. These families have the right to request mediation instead of, or in addition to, an Impartial Hearing. There is no cost to the family. NYSDRA is contracted with the NYS Department of Education to mediate these conflicts through the local dispute resolution center, ensuring that these conflicts are addressed quickly and conveniently.
Attendance Mediation (also known as Truancy Mediation) provides an opportunity to address a student's continued difficulty in regularly attending school. Students do not need to meet the legal or formal definition of truancy in order to use this service. Instead, any student whose attendance (or lack thereof) presents a problem can benefit. Chronic lateness, missed classes, and actual truancy are all issues that can be addressed in an environment where the needs of the student, the family, and the school are discussed and met equally. These meetings involve an administrator, academic teacher, parent, and usually the student, as well as anyone else who might be appropriate to build a plan for academic, social, and general support. There is no cost to the family or to the school.
Re-Entry Mediation is used to address students who have been removed from the school environment, and will now be returning. This often means students who have been suspended as the result of a disciplinary action, but could be students who have been removed from the school setting for any number of reasons. The focus is on ensuring that the student, family, and school community are all properly prepared for the student's return. In the case of a suspension, for example, there are several factors to consider. Have behavioral changes been put into place to avoid a repeat of the triggering incident? Have other students and staff involved been given the support that they need? Are suitable academic supports in place? Is the school certain that safety needs and concerns have been addressed? Have all parties concerned been held accountable? Re-entry sessions can help to answer these and other questions clearly, at no cost to families or to schools.
Student Intervention Mediation (also known as Bullying or DASA Mediation) is for cases where there is a systematic, negative, interpersonal interaction between students over time showing signs of mental, emotional, or social violence. These kinds of behaviors can lead to serious consequences both for the individual students and for the larger school community. Student intervention mediation seeks to address the root causes of these behaviors, involving as many parties as needed to reach a resolution that satisfies everyone's needs. With no cost to the school district or to families, the mediator represents a highly-trained, neutral party that can help to create an agreement to produce real behavioral change and hold all parties accountable.