The Toolbox is an all-day training program aimed at campus administrators and special education staff. The Toolbox holds ten “tools” that are designed to empower you to provide appropriate services to every student, while maintaining safety for all. Today, a few words on Tool #9—Leadership at the Non-Consensus ARD Meeting.
You have to be very skillful to use this tool well. When the ARD Committee is not coming to consensus, the situation is fraught with the possibility for a breakdown in communications. Emotions rise. Tensions rise. Perhaps we don’t have much experience in this situation.
Let’s remember the basics about ARD meetings. First, there are only two parties at the meeting. There might be a dozen people, but there are only two “parties.” There is the school; and there is the parent or adult student. Second, the meeting is run by the school. Federal law tells us that the school district is responsible for initiating and conducting these meetings. So it’s not the student’s meeting and it’s not the diagnostician’s meeting. It’s the school district’s meeting.
Put that together and I think you will conclude, as I have, that the “administrative representative” of the school district is the logical person to provide leadership at a fraught meeting. He or she should be the one to communicate clearly to the parent that the team does not appear to be in consensus. The meeting cannot go on forever. There comes a time when someone needs to steer the conversation to closure, with a clear road map of what happens next.
In the Toolbox training we talk about what this leadership looks like and how it should be exercised.
Interested in a Toolbox training? Just let me hear from you!
DAWG BONE: OUR MEETING, BUT LET’S NOT BE OBNOXIOUS ABOUT THAT.
File this one under: SPECIAL EDUCATION