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What school-related services does the Center for Accord provide?
What training programs are offered?
Who would arrange for these services?
What fees are involved and who usually pays for school services?
Previous audiences and comments from participants
School-related published works

What school-related services does the Center for Accord provide?

School-related services include the design and implementation of specialized training in such areas as collaboration and team building, effective communication, negotiation and consensus building, conflict prevention and resolution, facilitation techniques, and effective meeting management. Programs can be tailored as required and submitted for approval by endorsing agencies when necessary. Training for parent groups is also offered, in both English and Spanish. For information about training programs for parents, click here.

Additional school services include dispute mediation, perhaps to resolve parent or staff conflicts, avoid unnecessary staff turnover, reduce the likelihood of a lawsuit, or provide early resolution of a suit already in progress.

The Center also offers facilitation services, which can be an approach to conflict prevention/resolution or may be independent of any conflict at all, such as assisting with team decision-making and goal setting, or facilitating response to specific trauma or change. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, facilitation is offered for specific IEP meetings and for the resolution meetings now required under the IDEIA. For more information about services related to resolution meetings, click here. For more information about the facilitation process, click here.

The Center also offers consultation related to specific projects, such as improving school climate to reduce conflict and turnover, establishing an IEP facilitation program, or fine-tuning a grievance procedure. This consultation may be at the school, district, regional, or state level.

What training programs are offered?

COLLABORATION IN THE IEP ENVIRONMENT, designed for those who participate in special education conferences, especially those for the development of individualized education plans (IEPs) for children with special needs. This practical and skills-based training includes the two broad subdivisions of Effective Meeting Management and Conflict Prevention and Resolution. It has been presented for thousands of school personnel in numerous states, and the material has been developed into Nicholas Martin's book, A Guide to Collaboration for IEP Teams. For further information about this training, click here. For details about the Guide to Collaboration, click here.

ADVANCED FACILITATION SKILLS FOR THE IEP ENVIRONMENT is designed for school professionals and others who will assist struggling IEP teams to succeed. In this context, the facilitator is not a member of the team and is not a decision maker or advisor. Rather, the facilitator offers the process expertise required to help teams collaborate effectively, work through strong emotions and disagreements, and achieve consensus for the benefit of the student. This three-day program is skills-oriented, with an emphasis on "transformative" and "facilitative" styles, in contrast to evaluative or directive. Completion of "Collaboration in the IEP Environment" (above) is recommended but not required. For a short video demonstrating the facilitation process, click here. It has been developed into the book, Supporting the IEP Process, A Facilitator's Guide, a release of Brookes publishing. For more information, click here.

SUCCESSFUL "RESOLUTION MEETINGS" UNDER IDEIA, covers several key topics including: the recent requirements pertaining to conflict resolution under the most recent reauthorization of IDEA, due process hearing issues and trends, potential pitfalls within the new law, making the best use of attorneys, handling impasse, writing durable agreements, and more. Time frames vary with the degree of skill-building desired (in three, six, and twelve-hour formats).

21 BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFECTIVE IEP TEAMS   The best prevention of conflict in special education is a well-run meeting. This fast-paced program shows school personnel exactly how to collaborate effectively with parents so as to live the dream of IDEA: working together in decision-making partnership for the benefit of children with special needs. Among the highlights are: characteristics of great committee members; what makes for good and bad meetings; and the "dirty dozen" concerns of parents that lead to trouble if left unchecked (in one- to three-hour formats).

TEAM BUILDING FOR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS AND THEIR STAFF, in three, four, or six-hour format. This program provides practical techniques for strengthening team spirit and effectiveness while enhancing school climate. It is designed for existing teams who will actually be working together once the training is completed. Experiential exercises maximize group participation, strengthen communication and mutual awareness, and provide practical skills that participants will take back to their day-to-day work environment.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION FOR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS, in six-hour format. This program covers the nature and sources of conflict, the role of emotions as obstacles or allies, typical scenarios in the school administrators' arena, and specific techniques for conflict prevention and resolution.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION IN SPECIAL EDUCATION TODAY is a one- to two-hour overview covering the formal and informal indicators of conflict, state and national statistics and trends, and how to know how your own school, state, or district is doing in this important area. Specific recommendations for building strong teams while minimizing conflict also are presented. A similar program tailored for parents is available in both English and Spanish.

DIPLOMACY FOR SCHOOL PROFESSIONALS. "It's not what you say but how you say it," and the ability to communicate effectively in often challenging circumstances is a skill all professionals must have. This program covers: communicating so as to be well-received; responding as opposed to keeping silent; saying "no" in a way that preserves positive relationships; and knowing what to say when we don't know what to say. This workshop is offered in a variety of time frames depending on the degree of participant involvement and skill-building desired (one to four hours).

"I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL" AND OTHER BLUNDERS is an overview of some of the common communication pitfalls to which school personnel are too often prone despite the best of intentions. This light-hearted yet frightfully serious program brings into focus some of the ways we inadvertently get ourselves into trouble. More importantly, it provides clear and simple alternatives that can often save the day. Presented as a one-hour overview for raising awareness or as a skills-based and experiential workshop in three or four-hour lengths.

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Programs for Parents
The Center also provides training for parents of children with special needs, in both English and Spanish. For information about training programs in English, please click here. For information about training programs in Spanish, please click here.

Who would arrange for these services?
There are a variety of ways by which the Center for Accord may assist educational systems, depending on the decision-making and budgeting policies of the particular locale. Host agencies might include individual schools (e.g., a principal decides to sponsor a workshop in effective communication skills), parent organizations (perhaps to host a speaker on the subject of how to negotiate effectively), conference planners looking for keynote or breakout presenters, and most commonly, when a school district or broader educational agency wishes to provide specialized training open to the professionals and/or parents in its area.

Who usually pays for school services and what fees are involved?
Schools usually have a variety of potential funding sources, and procedures vary from state to state. In most states, consultants such as The Center for Accord may be funded by the school district, a multi-district educational cooperative, a parent organization, an individual school, or a professional organization such as the state association of school administrators, the state's council of administrators of special education, the state middle school association, etc. Specific grants may be sought to fund state or district initiatives, such as establishing a centralized facilitation program. Grants or other funding may be sought for specific projects, such as a program for conflict reduction at the local level or a one-time training for staff and/or parents. Other examples might be training for advocates who support parents at IEP meetings or a day of training for parents in Spanish.

Fees vary according to whether single or multiple engagements are contracted, what travel and accommodations may be involved, and whether financial assistance will be required. Please write for an individualized quote.

Previous audiences and comments from participants
For a list of previous audiences and comments from participants about The Center for Accord's school-related training,
click here.

School-related published works
For a description of Nick Martin's very popular professional books and articles,
click here. Nick has been featured in Brookes Publishing's email newsletter, where he discussed collaboration in the IEP environment (see The Secrets to Collaborative IEP Meetings). In fact, a number of professional articles for school personnel (and/or for parents) have been published. To see some of his recent articles, click here.

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