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Professor Stephanie Blondell Presents Keynote Address for 2022 California SELPA ADR Conference

Professor Stephanie Blondell presented the keynote address, titled “Interest Identification: The Secret Vocabulary of Conflict Resolution,” for the 2022 California Special Education Local Area Plan (SELPA) ADR Conference. The address was attended by over 500 special education administrators, teachers, school psychologists, attorneys, parents, parent advocates and general education teachers. 

Dr. Sukhsimranjit Singh, who serves as the Judge Danny Weinstein Managing Director of the Straus Institute opened the conference with remarks and introduced Professor Blondell. Dr. Singh stated, “We are in the business of hard work,” emphasizing that conflicts take time and willingness to resolve, and highlighting the role that each participant plays to deliver services to children and families throughout California. 

The Straus Institute has had a partnership with California State SELPA since December 2021 and has trained hundreds of special education professionals in conflict resolution strategies. More information about the collaboration may be found at Straus Partners with SELPA. Aparna Gupta, Director of External Relations and Deborah Jasmin, Assistant Director, attended the conference to share upcoming Straus training with participants and learn timely issues in special education. 

Professor Blondell’s presentation focused on the conflict resolution competencies that dispute resolvers rely on as the building blocks of their practice interest.

From the conference program:

Conflict resolution competencies rely on the building block of interest identification. Most interventions, tricks, and techniques lead back to this fundamental concept. Interest Identification is often taught in a cursory fashion without a roadmap for how to practice or implement the skill. This plenary session is a deep dive into interest identification. Many of you may not have realized what a fascinating and useful skill it is! Participants will leave with a paradigm for identifying interests, an understanding of the top ten interests in the special education context, and an introduction to the skill of reframing. Interest Identification skills-building supports not only parent-school partnerships, but ultimately positive outcomes for students, teachers, and parents in their professional, educational and personal lives. 

Additional information on the conference may be found at 2022 ADR Conference

SELPA group photoPictured are Aparna Gupta, Dr. Singh, and Professor Blondell, with Emily Mostovoy-Luna and Patty Methany, State Director for California SELPA.

 Jeanine Murphy and Deborah JasminPictured are Jeanine Murphy, Assistant Director of Ventura County SELPA, and Deborah Jasmin of the Straus Institute.