Special Education Mediation
News & Announcements
In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and direct exposure risks in the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) building, VDOE employees have been ordered to refrain from working onsite and have extremely limited access to the building. To the extent possible, VDOE employees are working remotely and will make reasonable efforts to check U.S. mail, deliveries, and fax correspondence when access is permitted. However, there is likely to be an unavoidable delay in the receipt and processing of U.S. mail, deliveries, and fax correspondence sent to VDOE. Please be reminded that you may seek technical assistance regarding special education as well as file State Complaints, Due Process Complaints, and Mediation via email to ODRAS@doe.virginia.gov. Please visit our COVID-19 and Virginia Public Schools page for additional resources and guidance regarding the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency on Special Education in Virginia.
A neutral, impartial, trained mediator may be sought voluntarily by parents and school staff to assist in their negotiations with each other. That assistance to convene and conduct a meeting to clarify issues, focus on the needs of a child, and to explore and evaluate possible solutions in a confidential setting is mediation.
Mediators are trained neutrals, skilled in helping people to hear and understand each other and to work jointly to find solutions to difficult issues in special education. Mediators do not take the role of anyone's advocate, but support and assist everyone in the negotiation process.
- Overview of Mediation brochure (PDF)
- Comparison of Mediation and Hearings (PDF)
- Administration of the Virginia Special Education Mediation System (PDF)
- Frequently Asked Questions About Mediation-This is a Word document.
- Frequently Asked Questions - Confidentiality-This is a Word document.
Preparing for Mediation
As individuals prepare for a mediation, typically they have many questions. To facilitate preparation activities, the Virginia Department of Education requested Art Stewart, a coordinator for many years of a statewide special education mediation system, to identify those questions asked frequently by disputants and to formulate responses to them.
- Preparing for a Special Education Mediation (PDF)
- Approaching Negotiations (What should I think about...) (PDF)
- List of Practicing Mediators
- Mediation Services Request Form (PDF) | (Word)
- Mediation Services Request Form (Espanol)-This is a Word document.
- What Can You Expect When You Mediate? (PDF)