What is the format of a mediation session?

A mediation session looks like a meeting with the participants sitting around a table. There is no written, audio, or video recording of the session. The atmosphere is informal and conversational. The mediator explains the Agreement to Mediate and asks the parties to sign it. The mediator explains the mediation process and the mediator’s role. The mediator asks each participant to explain why they are in the mediation and what they would like to see happen in mediation.  The mediator may ask questions to clarify, brainstorm, or create options. Anyone may ask the mediator for a break at any time, or the mediator may decide to call for a break. Any participant, or the mediator,may ask for a private meeting (a caucus) with the mediator or with certain participants. The parents and school district representatives work together to write down how they have decided to resolve their dispute. They both sign this written statement, which is called the mediation agreement. A participant may, at his or her own cost, have a lawyer review the agreement.