Attend the premier education event for parent and child attorneys, school district attorneys, hearing officers and advocates
Connect: learn, exchange, and share the passion with other special education professionals and create exceptional education opportunities for exceptional children!
More than a dozen workshops, exposure to leading counsel, and phenomenal networking!
Today’s most critical issues are explored by attorneys and professionals who practice in this area every day. Bring your questions and your business cards—there is no better way to meet and connect with others who also practice in this area!
Are you a parent of a child with exceptionalities?
The ECC offers you first rate instruction for advocating for your child, contact with some of the state’s most experienced legal practitioners, and exceptional opportunities to meet and compare notes with other parents.
Gain a balanced perspective on all issues
Most of the sessions are team-taught by a balanced panel of school district and parent/child attorneys. Gain the competitive advantage by hearing how a case is handled from both sides of the “v”!
What’s in it for you?
Gathering ground for:
Advocates representing children, families, and school districts
School administrators and teachers
Anyone who wants to learn more about educational rights for children
This event puts you in the hot seat: learn, network, exchange, debate!
9:40 – 10:40
Special Education and Charter Schools
Deborah G. DeLauro, Nicole D. Snyder
It is well-established that charter schools are responsible for complying with applicable federal and state special education laws and regulations, but what are the responsibilities of and recourse for parents and the Pennsylvania Department of Education when a charter school ceases to exist? For over two years, the federal courts, the Office of Dispute Resolution, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education have been working to answer this question. During this session, the panelists will discuss the developing case law and practices related to a closed charter school’s outstanding FAPE and attorney fee obligations, who is responsible for what and to what extent. The panelists will then go over the steps that parents can take when their child’s charter school closes without fulfilling FAPE obligations so that parents can ensure their child receives the FAPE to which he or she is entitled in an efficient, non-adversarial, and cost-effective manner. This session will also cover recent developments in special education law as it applies to charter schools and cyber charter schools.
Introduction to Special Education Law
Hallam Roth Harper, Pamela L. Peltzman
An overview of special education law for parents, advocates, attorneys, and school personnel, this panel will decipher the “alphabet soup” of IDEA terms and highlight the basics of child find, evaluations, eligibility, the IEP process, FAPE and LRE, compensatory education, and resolving disagreements.
Effective Advocacy in Federal Courts
Featuring the Honorable Matthew W. Brann, the panel will discuss effective advocacy in federal court. From modest beginnings, the federal judiciary’s role in shaping the nation’s laws regarding the individual rights of students has grown substantially, particularly in the disability context. While experts at reconciling tensions between policy development, individual rights, and governmental obligations, some judges are reluctant to intervene in the special education context. With a working premise that special education lawyers must be lawyers foremost and special education experts secondarily, our federal practice experts will offer insights and suggestions regarding how to best structure and present your case to the federal courts (including the notion of ipse dixit), from complaint to appellate ruling
Special Education Series:
Identification and Evaluation Process
A certified school psychologist and a private practice/neuropsychologist/independent evaluator, will share their expertise regarding the evaluation process as viewed from their respective specialties. The presenters will cover relevant processes and timelines leading up to the identification of students in need of special education programming/services. They will present a review of the assessment measures used in the evaluation process. There will be time for questions and answers at the end of the presentation.
10:50 – 11:50
Comprehensive Review of Notice Requirements
Jake McElligott (M), Jacqueline C. Lembeck, Shannon R. Pierce
Join this panel for a comprehensive review of notice requirements including when to send Prior Written Notice (“PWN”)/Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (“NOREP”), necessary information to include, and how and when parents should respond. This session will also include a discussion of PWN/NOREPs as they relate to Knew or Should Have Known dates for statute of limitations purposes, notice in disciplinary situations, and notice before unilateral placements.
Endrew F. and Fry – A Review of the Supreme Court’s 2017 Special Education Rulings
Charles W. Jelley (M), Timothy E. Gilsbach, Heidi B. Konkler-Goldsmith
The 2017 Supreme Court term was a busy one in terms of addressing special education issues. This session will take you beyond the headlines and review what the Court said in Endrew F. and Fry and how subsequent decisions in Pennsylvania have applied these two cases related to the issue of what a FAPE requires and when exhaustion is required. In addition, this session will review the practical and strategical issues both cases may implicate in you next due process complaint or federal court filing.
Special Education Series:
Developing the IEP: Tips and Effective Collaboration
Heather Bungard; Andrea Dinsmore, Michele Ford
The second session in the Special EducationSeries, this workshop will offer strategies for running an effective IEP, including tips for developing agendas and suggestions for collaboration between all members of the team. The panel will also provide helpful resources such as checklists for developing an appropriate IEP.
Great Expectations: Steps to Maximizing Transitional Success
Cathy A. Skidmore, Michael J. Stoehr
Secondary transition is the process of preparing students for life after they leave high school, including participation in post-secondary education or training, employment, and community living. Transition planning involves a partnership between the student, the family, school-age services and program providers, post-secondary services and program providers, and local community members. Effective transition involves purposeful planning among all these entities. It entails recognizing the student’s current strengths, interests, preferences, and needs, and then identifying what services and supports he or she will need to achieve future success. In this session the presenters will emphasize the importance of family and caregiver engagement and will share information regarding current Pennsylvania specific effective practices and resources.
11:50 – 12:35 Luncheon
12:35 – 2:05
Year in Review
Andrew E. Faust, Caryl Andrea Oberman
An annual favorite, this plenary session offers a fast-paced look at the significant cases that have shaped special education law over the past year, delivered by two highly experienced practitioners from either side of the aisle who have been disagreeing with each other in this forum for more than fifteen years.
2:20 – 3:20
Social Skills for Children with Disabilities
Sarah DiMarino, Alyssa Marton
Social skills are among one of the most important skills that need to be taught to students with deficits in this area. Join two educational practitioners who have worked directly in the field to guide the development of social skills in children, teaching social skills in a classroom and supporting teams with planning, instructional delivery, and assessment. This program will actively involve participants in gaining an understanding of the assessment tools, instructional knowledge, consultation models, direct instruction, parent collaboration and generalization of social skills.
Calculating Comp Ed: A Legal Analysis of Calculation History, Trends, and Strategies
Charles W. Jelley (M), Joy Waters Fleming, Erin D. Gilsbach
While an hour-for-hour approach to calculating the worth of a denial of FAPE has become the norm, it is certainly not the only method hearing officers and courts may use to calculate compensatory education awards. In G.L. v. Ligonier, the 3rd Circuit stated that compensatory education may be awarded to the "extent necessary to make up for the child’s lost progress and to restore the child to the educational path he or she would have traveled but for the deprivation." Join this panel as they discuss how compensatory education awards have historically been calculated by the courts and new trends in comp. ed. calculation. They will also address litigation strategies for attorneys to meet the evidentiary standards for the various calculation methods, including necessary witness testimony and potential expert testimony.
Michael J. Connolly, Sharon Wolff Montanye
Among one of the most litigated issues in special education, this program will highlight the federal and state laws and regulations regarding discipline, as well as discuss a school district’s obligation concerning issues of bullying and harassment and school refusal behaviors.
Special Education Series:
Linda J. Heller, Brooke E. Say
Designed as a “soup to nuts” examination of placement concerns, from the statutory and case law standards, to the practical implications of looking outside public school programs, this session is focusing on the continuum of placement options and issues, including LRE, changes to existing programs and services, vo tech, aides, and private tuition reimbursement. The emphasis is on creative and collaborative solutions for the student.
3:30 – 4:30
Ethical Issues in Special Education Settlement and Due Process Hearings
Brian Jason Ford (M), Amy T. Brooks, Joshua M. Kershenbaum
Truth or dare? This session will use hypotheticals, breakout groups, whole group discussion and attempts at humor to explore the ethical issues that arise in the context of resolving and, if that fails, litigating special education due process hearings. Come with your ethical and not so ethical stories as this session thrives on the real life experiences of the participants.
Custody in Special Education
Craig D. Becker, Amy P. De Shong, Hon. Gail A. Weilheimer
When family and education law collide, difficult and emotionally charged issues arise. A parent moves out of the child’s district, parents disagree about a child’s IEP, parents separate and/or divorce during your representation, parents lose custody to grandparents and other third parties. In an interactive and fast paced format, hear how a trial judge, an education law attorney, and a family law attorney handle and resolve these and other problems.
Special Education Series:
William F. Culleton, Jr. (M), Arthur D. Feldman, Jocelyn P. Kramer
This session will explore the intricacies of potential relief and remedies, including compensatory education, tuition reimbursement and placement, that may be available in special education disputes. The presentation will include a discussion of both retrospective and prospective relief at different points in the dispute resolution process, including pre-hearing negotiated remedies, hearing officer remedies and court remedies. The presenters will also touch upon some practical applications of the statute of limitations in our post-G.L. world and discuss the remedies and relief awarded in recent cases.
Pro Se Parents Session
Liliana Yazno-Bartle (M), Thomas C. Warner (M), Kati Clendenin, Dr. Linda M. Valentini
A special session especially for parents and those unfamiliar with dispute resolution in special education. In a moderated forum where participation is encouraged, the panel will focus on an overview of the options for resolving disagreements between parents and local education agencies, and answer your general questions about due process in Pennsylvania.
Workshop choices will determine whether credits are in substantive law, practice and procedure or ethics.
Course Planners: Liliana Yazno-Bartle, Esq., Thomas C. Warner, Esq.