Agenda

Monday, October 5, 2015

8:00 AM Registration Desk Opens
8:00 – 9:00 AM Continental Breakfast
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Optional Pre-Institute Mini-Courses

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

7:30 AM
Registration Desk Opens
7:30 – 8:30 AM
Continental Breakfast
8:30 – 10:00 AM
First General Session
Year in Review: Select Cases & Guidance Letters
Dave Richards, Attorney at Law, Richards Lindsay & Martin, LLP, Austin, Texas

Every year the courts and the U.S. Department of Education issue decisions and guidance that impacts the field. Veteran school lawyer Dave Richards will provide a focused update on new cases of interest and guidance letters that answer lingering questions or mark “course corrections” for schools as they contemplate federal compliance. We’ll not spend time on a case simply because it’s new— the session’s focus is on learning from others’ mistakes and victories to improve outcomes for students as well as legal compliance.

10:00 – 10:20 AM
Refreshment Break
10:20 – 11:50 AM
Tuesday Morning Workshops
1 Ninth Circuit Decisions: What You Need to Know
Art Cernosia, Attorney at Law/Education Consultant, Williston, Vermont

This session will provide an overview and analysis of the latest and significant decisions issued by the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit interpreting the IDEA. The Ninth Circuit covers the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

2 Avoiding the Pitfalls in the IEP Process
Julie Weatherly, Attorney at Law/Owner, Resolutions in Special Education, Inc., Mobile, Alabama

The U.S. Supreme Court has referred to the IEP as the “modus operandi” for the provision of FAPE to students with disabilities.  In accordance with the Court’s two-pronged test for determining whether an IEP is appropriate, due process hearing officers and courts will look to both the procedural and substantive components of the IEP.  This presentation will examine many common pitfalls that IEP Teams should avoid in order to ensure that IEPs developed and implemented are legally defensible.

3 The IDEA Procedural Safeguards: Legal Framework for the Partnership of Parents & Schools
Dave Richards, Attorney at Law, Richards Lindsay & Martin, LLP, Austin, Texas

The success of the IDEA is premised on a cooperative relationship between parents of students with disabilities and the schools that owe the FAPE duty. As parents and schools bring different motivations and skill sets to the relationship, the IDEA statute and regulations seek to distribute rights and duties to encourage the partners to effectively work together. In this lively session, veteran school lawyer Dave Richards will look at key pieces of the procedural safeguards and illustrate through cases and examples how a successful partnership between parent and school can be fostered by compliance with the rules and mutual respect for the purpose behind the rules.

4 School’s Right to Choose
Jose Martin, Attorney at Law, Richards Lindsay & Martin, LLP, Austin, Texas

Since the Supreme Court issued its opinion in the Rowley case, it has been clear that schools choose educational methodologies to be used in implementing IDEA students’ IEPs. This choice comes with responsibility, however, as the schools’ chosen methodologies must enable a student to benefit from their IEP. This session addresses schools’ right to choose methodologies, and illustrates the concept with caselaw reviews that examine the limits of that right, including in the controversial area of methodologies for students with autism spectrum disorders.

5 RTI Based Best Practices: Specific Learning Disabilities
Eric Hartwig, Administrator/Psychologist, Marathon County Special Education, Wausau, Wisconsin

The dual system of general and special education has created confusing and conflicting discussions at the level of philosophy, policy, and curriculum. Many educational professionals perceive a dilemma created by conflicting mandates and are confronted with the challenge to assure access to the general curriculum, while at the same time providing instruction that is responsive to highly individualized needs.Response to Intervention (RtI) now often referred to as Multi-Tiered Systems of Support is an integrated approach to academic and behavioral concerns that is steeped in general education. Much of the success of this process hinges on the ability and willingness of general education teachers to implement interventions reliably and effectively. This session will focus on the integrity and efficacy of the instructional priorities and process, particularly as it relates to learning disabilities.

6 Discipline of Special Education Students
Jan Tomsky, Attorney at Law, Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, Oakland, California

What constitutes a “pattern” of short-term removals resulting in a change of placement? Do in-school suspensions and bus suspensions count as a day of removal? What options are available to schools when a student with a disability commits a serious crime? This presentation takes you on a legally driven but practical-based tour through the thorniest of special education discipline issues, answering those questions and many more by explaining the essential rules and providing factual, feasible and functional solutions to the discipline topics that pose the most difficulties for special education administrators and staff.

7 LRE and Placement under the IDEA
David Hodgins, Attorney at Law, Partner, Thompson & Horton LLP, Houston, Texas

Serving students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment (LRE) and in an appropriate placement are fundamental legal obligations under the IDEA. Yet, from a legal and practical perspective, what do those terms really mean and how are they properly applied? In this session, David Hodgins, an experienced special education attorney, will outline and discuss the key legal requirements regarding LRE and placement of students as well as provide practical advice and illustrations regarding how you can stay legally complaint and meet your responsibilities to students with disabilities under the IDEA.

11:50 – Noon
Recess
Noon-1:30 PM
Second General Session and hosted luncheon
Promoting Collaboration Between Families and Schools
Art Cernosia, Attorney at Law/Education Consultant, Williston, Vermont and Julie Weatherly, Attorney at Law/Owner, Resolutions in Special Education, Inc., Mobile, Alabama

As Congress stated in the findings of the IDEA in 2004: “Congress finds….almost 30 years of research and experience has demonstrated that the education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by strengthening the role and responsibility of parents and ensuring that families of such children have meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children at school and at home.” This luncheon address will provide participants with practical tips for both supporting collaboration between families and schools and maintaining compliance with IDEA’s requirements.

1:40 – 3:10 PM
Tuesday Afternoon Workshops
8 Legal Considerations In Implementing Behavior Interventions: Restraint, Seclusion and Aversives
Art Cernosia, Attorney at Law/Education Consultant, Williston, Vermont

Data released by the United States Department of Education concludes that restraint, seclusion and aversive interventions are disproportionately used with students with disabilities. This workshop will cover the legal and practice considerations in the implementation of these specific behavioral interventions.

2 Avoiding the Pitfalls in the IEP Process
Julie Weatherly, Attorney at Law/Owner, Resolutions in Special Education, Inc., Mobile, Alabama

The U.S. Supreme Court has referred to the IEP as the “modus operandi” for the provision of FAPE to students with disabilities.  In accordance with the Court’s two-pronged test for determining whether an IEP is appropriate, due process hearing officers and courts will look to both the procedural and substantive components of the IEP.  This presentation will examine many common pitfalls that IEP Teams should avoid in order to ensure that IEPs developed and implemented are legally defensible.

3 The IDEA Procedural Safeguards: Legal Framework for the Partnership of Parents & Schools
Dave Richards, Attorney at Law, Richards Lindsay & Martin, LLP, Austin, Texas

The success of the IDEA is premised on a cooperative relationship between parents of students with disabilities and the schools that owe the FAPE duty. As parents and schools bring different motivations and skill sets to the relationship, the IDEA statute and regulations seek to distribute rights and duties to encourage the partners to effectively work together. In this lively session, veteran school lawyer Dave Richards will look at key pieces of the procedural safeguards and illustrate through cases and examples how a successful partnership between parent and school can be fostered by compliance with the rules and mutual respect for the purpose behind the rules.

4 School’s Right to Choose
Jose Martin, Attorney at Law, Richards Lindsay & Martin, LLP, Austin, Texas

Since the Supreme Court issued its opinion in the Rowley case, it has been clear that schools choose educational methodologies to be used in implementing IDEA students’ IEPs. This choice comes with responsibility, however, as the schools’ chosen methodologies must enable a student to benefit from their IEP. This session addresses schools’ right to choose methodologies, and illustrates the concept with caselaw reviews that examine the limits of that right, including in the controversial area of methodologies for students with autism spectrum disorders.

9 Positive Intervention for Serious Behavior Problems: Shaping Emotional and Behavioral Competence
Eric Hartwig, Administrator/Psychologist, Marathon County Special Education, Wausau, Wisconsin

One of the greatest professional challenges facing educators today is to provide educational opportunities in a safe and welcoming environment. Clinically significant, challenging behaviors reflect “repeated patterns of behavior that interfere with or is at the risk of interfering with optimal learning or engagement in pro-social interactions with peers and adults.” Although there are many factors that could explain a child’s behavioral difficulties in school, most are related in some fashion to the fact that schools are intensely rulegoverned, culturally determined settings that require specific behaviors and a particular type of engagement that may not have been learned by all children. This workshop will focus on serious behavioral concerns, offer practical, functional options to use in the development of positive educational practice for all students by shaping emotional and behavioral competence.

10 Untangling Manifestation Determinations
Jan Tomsky, Attorney at Law, Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, Oakland, California

The IDEA’s complex discipline rules present numerous challenges to school districts to conducting legally compliant manifestation determination reviews. This session provides a thorough overview of all the requirements for an appropriate manifestation determination, including how to convene a meeting and who should participate, what questions need to be asked and answered, what to do if the student’s behavior is – or isn’t—found to be a manifestation of his or her disability, how to document the meeting, the appeal options available to parents if they disagree with the team’s decision, and much more.

11 Student Records: Rights and Responsibilities Under FERPA and the IDEA
David Hodgins, Attorney at Law, Partner, Thompson & Horton LLP, Houston, Texas

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and related regulations as well as the IDEA contain provisions governing the confidentiality of student records. In this session, experienced attorney David Hodgins will review the key provisions of FERPA including who has FERPA rights , what constitutes an “educational record,”, and who is considered a school official with a “legitimate educational interest” in a student’s information. He will also discuss exceptions to the consent requirement, the confidentiality provisions of the IDEA as well as provide practical advice and recommendations.

3:10 – 3:30 PM
Refreshment Break
3:30 – 5:00 PM
Third General Session
THE ADA/504 EXPANSION: Mt. St. Helens is Erupting

Jeanne Kincaid, Attorney at Law, Drummond Woodsum, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Long gone are the days when special education administrators could breathe a sigh of relief that compliance with IEPs would satisfy any attendant responsibilities Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) might impose. Over the past several years, the federal government and now some courts have been interpreting both of these laws in ways seasoned administrators and attorneys could not have predicted. In this session, Attorney Jeanne Kincaid will address the impact of these laws in both the special education context as well as for students and others protected by Section 504 and the ADA. These topics include service animals, access to information including websites, digital media and virtual education, effective communication which may entitle students to more than a free appropriate public education, and the increasing responsibility owed to parents and others with disabilities wishing to access information or participate in school activities.

5:15 – 6:30 PM
Hosted Reception

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

7:30 AM
Registration Opens
7:30 – 8:15 AM
Continental Breakfast
8:15 – 9:45 AM
Wednesday Early Morning Workshops
5 RTI Based Best Practices: Specific Learning Disabilities
Eric Hartwig, Administrator/Psychologist, Marathon County Special Education, Wausau, Wisconsin

The dual system of general and special education has created confusing and conflicting discussions at the level of philosophy, policy, and curriculum. Many educational professionals perceive a dilemma created by conflicting mandates and are confronted with the challenge to assure access to the general curriculum, while at the same time providing instruction that is responsive to highly individualized needs.Response to Intervention (RtI) now often referred to as Multi-Tiered Systems of Support is an integrated approach to academic and behavioral concerns that is steeped in general education. Much of the success of this process hinges on the ability and willingness of general education teachers to implement interventions reliably and effectively. This session will focus on the integrity and efficacy of the instructional priorities and process, particularly as it relates to learning disabilities.

10 Untangling Manifestation Determinations
Jan Tomsky, Attorney at Law, Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, Oakland, California

The IDEA’s complex discipline rules present numerous challenges to school districts to conducting legally compliant manifestation determination reviews. This session provides a thorough overview of all the requirements for an appropriate manifestation determination, including how to convene a meeting and who should participate, what questions need to be asked and answered, what to do if the student’s behavior is – or isn’t—found to be a manifestation of his or her disability, how to document the meeting, the appeal options available to parents if they disagree with the team’s decision, and much more.

11 Student Records: Rights and Responsibilities Under FERPA and the IDEA
David Hodgins, Attorney at Law, Partner, Thompson & Horton LLP, Houston, Texas

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and related regulations as well as the IDEA contain provisions governing the confidentiality of student records. In this session, experienced attorney David Hodgins will review the key provisions of FERPA including who has FERPA rights , what constitutes an “educational record,”, and who is considered a school official with a “legitimate educational interest” in a student’s information. He will also discuss exceptions to the consent requirement, the confidentiality provisions of the IDEA as well as provide practical advice and recommendations.

12 Revisiting the Meaning of Free Appropriate Public Education panel
Carlos Chavez, Attorney at Law, Pacifica Law Group, Seattle, Washington; Lynette Baisch, Attorney at Law, Porter Foster Rorick LLP, Seattle, Washington; Donald Austin, Attorney at Law, Patterson Buchanan Fobes & Leitch, Inc., P.S., Seattle, Washington; moderated by: Sharan Brown, Research Professor, College of Education, University of Washington and adjunct Research Professor, School of Law, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 
13 The Benefits of Upstream Conflict Resolution Options in Special Education
Amy Whitehorne, Policy Analyst, The National Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE), Eugene, Oregon

During this session, we will discuss the numerous benefits to using “upstream” conflict resolution options to resolve disagreements between schools and families as early as possible. National dispute resolution data collected between 2004-05 and 2012-13 show that the rise in such programs over the past 10 years correlates generally with a decline in the use of more adversarial dispute resolution options (i.e., IDEA Due Process Complaints/Hearing Requests). Participants will learn about examples of successful early conflict resolution programs across the country (such as facilitation services for IEP and other special education-related meetings), the importance of authentic stakeholder involvement in their development and implementation, and early data suggesting the value of these programs for schools and families of children with disabilities. From the Idaho State Department of Education, Melanie Reese, Dispute Resolution Coordinator, and Lily Robb, Dispute Resolution Program Specialist, will share their experiences in building Idaho’s statewide meeting facilitation program.

14 Universal Design Learning (UDL)
Vincent Varrassi, Varrassi Educational Associates, Ho Ho Kurs, New Jersey

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a research-based set of principles to guide the design of learning environments that are accessible and effective for all. (CAST) This workshop is an introduction to the philosophy and implementation of the concepts of Universal Design for Learning. Universal Design is taken from the field of architecture. It emanates from a belief that the better we plan our buildings, airports or classrooms and lesson plans to provide for the widest range of abilities and disabilities, the less we will need to individualize for those students, for whom the curriculum itself may pose a barrier to their learning.

In a time where general education teachers are faced with increased demands for lessons that are suitable and flexible for all learners in their classrooms, UDL holds the promise of achiving that goal with the incorporation of strategies and technology into their short term and long term planning.

The presenter will provide an introduction to the topic, and particpants will take away an understanding of the principles, some examples of lesson ideas and online resources that teachers can use to increase the accessibility of their classes for all students.

9:45 – 10:00 AM
Refreshment Break
10:00 – 11:30 AM
Wednesday Late Morning Workshops
6 Discipline of Special Education Students
Jan Tomsky, Attorney at Law, Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, Oakland, California

What constitutes a “pattern” of short-term removals resulting in a change of placement?  Do in-school suspensions and bus suspensions count as a day of removal?  What options are available to schools when a student with a disability commits a serious crime?  This presentation takes you on a legally driven but practical-based tour through the thorniest of special education discipline issues, answering those questions and many more by explaining the essential rules and providing factual, feasible and functional solutions to the discipline topics that pose the most difficulties for special education administrators and staff.

7 LRE and Placement under the IDEA
David Hodgins, Attorney at Law, Partner, Thompson & Horton LLP, Houston, Texas

Serving students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment (LRE) and in an appropriate placement are fundamental legal obligations under the IDEA. Yet, from a legal and practical perspective, what do those terms really mean and how are they properly applied? In this session, David Hodgins, an experienced special education attorney, will outline and discuss the key legal requirements regarding LRE and placement of students as well as provide practical advice and illustrations regarding how you can stay legally complaint and meet your responsibilities to students with disabilities under the IDEA.

9 Positive Intervention for Serious Behavior Problems: Shaping Emotional and Behavioral Competence
Eric Hartwig, Administrator/Psychologist, Marathon County Special Education, Wausau, Wisconsin

One of the greatest professional challenges facing educators today is to provide educational opportunities in a safe and welcoming environment. Clinically significant, challenging behaviors reflect “repeated patterns of behavior that interfere with or is at the risk of interfering with optimal learning or engagement in pro-social interactions with peers and adults.” Although there are many factors that could explain a child’s behavioral difficulties in school, most are related in some fashion to the fact that schools are intensely rulegoverned, culturally determined settings that require specific behaviors and a particular type of engagement that may not have been learned by all children. This workshop will focus on serious behavioral concerns, offer practical, functional options to use in the development of positive educational practice for all students by shaping emotional and behavioral competence.

12 Revisiting the Meaning of Free Appropriate Public Education panel
Carlos Chavez, Attorney at Law, Pacifica Law Group, Seattle, Washington; Lynette Baisch, Attorney at Law, Porter Foster Rorick LLP, Seattle, Washington; Donald Austin, Attorney at Law, Patterson Buchanan Fobes & Leitch, Inc., P.S., Seattle, Washington; moderated by: Sharan Brown, Research Professor, College of Education, University of Washington and adjunct Research Professor, School of Law, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 
13 The Benefits of Upstream Conflict Resolution Options in Special Education
Amy Whitehorne, Policy Analyst, The National Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE), Eugene, Oregon

During this session, we will discuss the numerous benefits to using “upstream” conflict resolution options to resolve disagreements between schools and families as early as possible. National dispute resolution data collected between 2004-05 and 2012-13 show that the rise in such programs over the past 10 years correlates generally with a decline in the use of more adversarial dispute resolution options (i.e., IDEA Due Process Complaints/Hearing Requests). Participants will learn about examples of successful early conflict resolution programs across the country (such as facilitation services for IEP and other special education-related meetings), the importance of authentic stakeholder involvement in their development and implementation, and early data suggesting the value of these programs for schools and families of children with disabilities. From the Idaho State Department of Education, Melanie Reese, Dispute Resolution Coordinator, and Lily Robb, Dispute Resolution Program Specialist, will share their experiences in building Idaho’s statewide meeting facilitation program.

14 Universal Design Learning
Vincent Varrassi, Varrassi Educational Associates, Ho Ho Kurs, New Jersey

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a research-based set of principles to guide the design of learning environments that are accessible and effective for all. (CAST) This workshop is an introduction to the philosophy and implementation of the concepts of Universal Design for Learning. Universal Design is taken from the field of architecture. It emanates from a belief that the better we plan our buildings, airports or classrooms and lesson plans to provide for the widest range of abilities and disabilities, the less we will need to individualize for those students, for whom the curriculum itself may pose a barrier to their learning.

In a time where general education teachers are faced with increased demands for lessons that are suitable and flexible for all learners in their classrooms, UDL holds the promise of achiving that goal with the incorporation of strategies and technology into their short term and long term planning.

The presenter will provide an introduction to the topic, and particpants will take away an understanding of the principles, some examples of lesson ideas and online resources that teachers can use to increase the accessibility of their classes for all students.

11:30 AM
2015 Institute Adjourns