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Communicating, communicating, communicating!
It goes almost without saying that breakdowns in SES implementation are often the result of breakdowns in communication between districts and providers. With this in mind, it is imperative that districts and providers establish clear lines of communication, communicate with each other on an ongoing basis, and strongly consider setting up regular meetings for the purpose of discussing topics related to SES implementation. In doing so, both parties should recognize and convey to one another that successful implementation is a mutual benefit.
Making it work
Some providers serve many districts, and some serve in multiple states. To ensure that there is effective communication at the local level, districts and providers should work together to establish a designated contact for each district a provider serves who is knowledgeable of SES implementation in the district and can respond quickly to inquiries from the district.
Clarifying policies and expectations up front. Disputes that may arise between a provider and district are often attributable to a lack of clarity from the outset about local SES policies (i.e., policies on the administrative and logistical issues discussed above such as access to school facilities as well as other issues including payment). To prevent such occurrences, districts are well advised to inform providers of local SES policies and expectations prior to the start of services. In doing so, a district should be sure to discuss the procedures through which complaints or grievances by providers may be addressed.
To help providers get acquainted with the various local aspects of SES, some districts have developed SES handbooks or manuals that compile in one source local policies, practices, and timelines for SES implementation. Such handbooks can also be useful tools for other district and school staff involved in SES, including SES site coordinators.
Involving providers in decision making. While districts are expected to set local expectations for SES implementation and convey these to providers, implementation is generally more effective when districts do not make decisions on SES issues unilaterally. Rather, SES works more smoothly in districts that actively seek the input of providers when developing policies affecting SES and give providers equal opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns.