Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)


What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, is a process for resolving conflicts in a manner that respects the dignity of individuals while creating mutually satisfying solutions. ADR uses communication, collaboration, negotiations, and mediations to produce an agreement that meets the interests of parties involved. When participating in Alternative Dispute Resolution, parents and district maintain the right to seek state-level due process.

The Sacramento City Unified School District SELPA will facilitate an Alternative Dispute Resolution process to help resolve conflicts between schools and families with children in special education. The program serves the families of all children in special education with the Sacramento City Unified School District boundaries.

Contact the Independent Dispute Resolution Specialist

Elaine Talley, an Independent Dispute Resolution Specialist is available to assist parents of students with disabilities to resolve disputes and address parent complaints related to the special education services they receive from the school district. 

Please contact her at (916) 549-6899 or via e-mail at

A brief description of strategies used in SCUSD:

IEP Facilitation  

Parents or school staff may request that an ADR-trained Program Specialist/Supervisor facilitate an IEP meeting if the meeting is expected to be difficult. The facilitator uses specific technique designed to assist the parties in completing the IEP while maintaining good relationships.

ADR Resource Parent

Resource Parents are Sacramento City Unified School District parents who have been trained in special education law and practices and have learned skills necessary to help resolve conflicts between families and schools. They can help parents understand the law and special education system, as well as assist them in identifying and clarifying concerns and interests. Parents may request support from an ADR Resource Parent at any time during the IEP process. While the ADR Resource Parent is not an advocate, he or she can help parents understand what is happening in the meeting and educate them about their rights and responsibilities.

Local Mediation/Solution Panel

Both Local Mediation and Solution Panels use an effective problem solving method that allows parties in dispute to reach a mutually agreeable solution.  It is a safe, low-pressure process guided by a single mediator (Local Mediation) or a team of two mediators (solution Team).  A Solution Team is typically composed of one parent of a child with disabilities and one educator.

For more information contact the Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Director:

 Becky Bryant
5735 47th Avenue
Sacramento, CA  95824
Phone:  916-643-9163
Fax:  916-399-2019