Court cases and hearings bring accountability to an education system and ensure individual rights; however, they are also costly, time-consuming, and can reduce the flexibility of schools and parents to respond to individual needs. A broad range of alternatives to formal legal proceedings at all stages of conflict is necessary for a robust special education system. SchoolTalk works with District of Columbia schools, families, related government agencies, and community organizations, to improve the communication and dispute resolution processes associated with the delivery of special education services. We were founded by some of the area’s leading experts in law, special education, and alternative dispute resolution to address the lack of dispute prevention and early intervention opportunities that permit parents and school personnel to resolve issues before they escalate. SchoolTalk serves as a neutral resource for all stakeholders.
- Technical assistance in a wide range of conflict resolution process including Restorative Justice & Practices, Mediation, Facilitation, and Negotiation.Training of parents, school personnel, and other special education stakeholders in dispute resolution skills and techniques;
Facilitation of meetings between parents and school staff;
Conflict prevention and resolution coaching; and
Forums for multiple stakeholders to come together to identify issues and work toward solutions.
To provide a way for DC youth with disabilities, IEPs, and 504 plans (ages 12-25) to connect to opportunities in their communities to be leaders and build the skills needed to succeed. The DC Youth Leaders Network provides opportunities to: (1) Speak to policy makers in government; (2) Connect with employers; (3) Work with your peers and build self-advocacy skills; (4) Participate in local transition conferences in DC, VA, PA, DE, etc.; (5) Facilitate and lead local trainings and workshops for youth, schools, service providers, parents, etc.; (6) Network with local and national experts; and (7) Participate in self-expression through the arts.