2015 Mini-Courses:

8:00 AM
Registration opens

8:00-9:00 AM
Continental Breakfast

9:00-11:00 AM – Morning Mini-Courses

A Mediation and Dispute Resolution under IDEA
Carlos Chavez, Attorney at Law, Pacifica Law Group, Seattle, Washington

This mini-course is intended to provide an overview of the IDEA’s dispute resolution procedures, including resolution meetings, mediation and, when all else fails, due process procedures. Common and practical issues within these procedures will be addressed, including: the confidentiality of resolution meetings and/or settlement discussions; helpful preparatory strategies for trying to resolve, rather than litigate, disputes; tips on documenting partial or full resolutions, including important considerations for reaching agreements that are durable; and enforcement of resolution agreements and due process decisions.

B Protecting Students with Disabilities under Section 504
Dave Richards, Attorney at Law, Richards Lindsay & Martin, LLP, Austin, TexasThis lively session by veteran school lawyer Dave Richards will examine both the Section 504 obligations to provide a FAPE to disabled students (including how to use evaluation data to determine appropriate services for the 504 Plan), as well as the nondiscrimination protections extended by the law to both Section 504 and IDEA-eligible students. Dave will discuss OCR and federal court expectations for compliance as well as best practices. Questions are encouraged.
C Transition to Post Secondary Education and Career for Students with Learning Disabilities
Vincent Varrassi, Varrassi Educational Associates, Ho Ho Kurs, New JerseyFederal and state regulations mandate what has to be done in order to provide postsecondary transition services to students with disabilities. But they don’t tell school professionals, parents and students how to provide them successfully. What’s more, the college completion rate among students with disabilities such as learning disabilities, Dyslexia, ADHD and Asperger Syndrome suggests schools need to better provide adequate instruction on postsecondary skills that equate to success for such students.

Varrassi will identify key factors that result in college failure for students with disabilities and provide strategies and practical ways to better prepare students to succeed at the next level. This program is designed for parents, students and school professionals.  Participants will take away sample counseling strategies, readings and sample lessons that teachers, parents and students can start using immediately. Sample IEP team goals that address the transition needs of students who hope to attend post-secondary education will be discussed.

D Common Core and Special Education- Supporting Special Education Student Success in the Rigor of 21st Century Core Standards
Mary Schillinger, Assistant Superintendent, Las Virgenes Unified School District, Calabasas, CaliforniaCommon Core State Standards and instructional shifts represent new challenges and opportunities and accountability for Special Education students. Mary Schillinger, Assistant Superintendent, special education practitioner, and author of the new publications; Common Core and the Special Education Student: Your Guide to Instructional Shifts and Implementing Services and Supports, and Successfully Implementing Core Standards for Students with Disabilities; A Professional Development Guide, will present strategies and guidelines for success for Special Education students in the rigorous core standards. An overview of the instructional and support structures for special education students, as well as specific strategies, checklists, sample 21st Century core Standards aligned IEP goals, and more will be presented.Information related to the identification of learning targets in the Core Standards will show you how to align all portions of IEP development including; goals, supports, placement, and services. User friendly technology integration tools as well as specific strategic tools for academic support will show you how to maintain content rigor while accommodating the unique needs of your special education learners. Techniques for the alignment of functional skills curriculum to the Common Core will also be shared. You will leave this workshop filled with ideas, a needs assessment tool, sample professional development agendas, as well as ready to use forms and specific learning strategies.


Lunch on your own

12:45-2:45 PM – Afternoon Mini-Courses

E Hot Topics in Special Education Law
Julie Weatherly, Attorney at Law/Owner, Resolutions in Special Education, Inc., Mobile, AlabamaWhat a litigious time it is in the area of special education under both IDEA and Section 504! There are a number of “hot topics” in special education law worthy of more detailed discussion. This session will cover several “hot topic” areas that are currently the source of special education legal disputes and apparently increasing litigation.
F IEP and Section 504 Plan Fundamentals
Jose Martin, Attorney at Law, Richards Lindsay & Martin, LLP, Austin, Texas

What are the key factors that make for appropriate and defensible IEPs and 504 Plans? This session addresses that question, focusing on practical guidance on fundamental contents of IEPs, including drafting effective statements of present levels of performance, writing measurable annual goals, setting forth special education and related services with specificity, and setting forth classroom accommodations that are both appropriate and feasibly implemented, among others. In addition, the session will cover techniques for developing appropriate 504 plans that minimize disputes with parents and avoid common problems in setting forth needed accommodations.

G Role of the Special Education Director – Handling Rigorous Demands and Challenging Issues
Mary Schillinger, Assistant Superintendent, Las Virgenes Unified School District, Calabasas, CaliforniaIn this challenging time of higher accountability for educational achievement for all students, rigorous 21st Century Core Standards, increased litigation challenges, and the ongoing issues of hiring and retaining highly qualified special education staff, the role of Special Education Director can be overwhelming and daunting.  Mary Schillinger, Assistant Superintendent and former Special Education Director will provide guidance, tips, guidelines, and sage advice for handling the daily tsunami of issues that cross a Special Education Director’s desk.  Author of Special Education publications in the areas of; Comprehensive programs for students with Autism, Special Education Compliance and Documentation, Supporting Special Education student success in the Common Core, as well as a professional development guide for accessing the rigor of Common Core, Mary will provide strategies, guidelines, checklists, and helpful hints to help you stay focused on the priorities for your district program.  From maintaining compliance, making critical decisions relating to litigation, to planning the professional development necessary to prepare staff for ensuring Special Education student achievement in the rigor of the core state standards, you will walk away from this session with a renewed ability to strategically identify gaps and plan for the needed professional development in your district.  Critical information shared with humor and practical solutions will be the focus for this session.

2:45 PM
Refreshment Break

3:00-5:00 PM – Late Afternoon Mini-Courses

H Documentation Under the IDEA—How Much is Enough?
Art Cernosia, Attorney at Law/Education Consultant, Williston, VermontThe last reauthorization of the IDEA included a goal to reduce unnecessary paperwork. This session will address whether that goal was achieved and what documentation is legally required to comply with the IDEA. The session will also include best practice recommendations. Areas to be covered include documenting referrals for evaluation, eligibility decisions, IEP services and placement, IEP progress reports, disciplinary actions and procedural safeguards
I RTI and Special Education Law
Jose Martin, Attorney at Law, Richards Lindsay & Martin, LLP, Austin, Texas

Since emerging esponse-to-intervention (RtI) practices were first reflected in IDEA 2004, many questions have arisen about its impact on special education law. This session will address those areas, including RtI and the IDEA child-find requirements, parent requests for evaluations amidst RtI implementation, common misconceptions about RtI, the use of RtI data in LD evaluations, the modernization of LD assessment practices, and the reform of state models for LD eligibility.

J Making the Grade: Developing IEPs and 504 Plans That Enhance Successful Post-Secondary Education Planning
Jeanne Kincaid, Attorney at Law, Drummond Woodsum, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

In this age of accountability, how can school districts best ensure that the transition services and accommodations they are providing for students intending to pursue post-secondary education are aligned with success? In this session, Attorney Jeanne Kincaid, who specializes in disability law in the K-12 and higher education settings, will share her expertise in assisting schools, and college/university personnel in understanding the key differences between the rights of students on IEPs and 504 plans vs. the rights of adult students with disabilities attending postsecondary institutions. Too often, the rights enjoyed by high school students can serve to handicap them as they move to independence. Administrators and staff who serve high school students will benefit from understanding how they might fashion planning to align with the student’s transition to higher education. University/college faculty and staff will better understand the framework with which many of the students with disabilities they serve have experienced. Faculty in Departments of Education will have better insight in working with students with disabilities who are studying to become teachers themselves.

K Ethics Seminar: Ethics and Professional Responsibility in the Practice of Special Education Law
Diane Wiscarson, Attorney at Law, Wiscarson Law, Portland, Oregon and Graham Hicks, Attorney at Law, Graham M. Hicks, P.C., Beaverton, OregonAn interactive ethics seminar specially designed for attorneys to meet State Bar Association CLE program standards; includes problems and hypotheticals with ethical considerations based on real life school law practice; issue identification, participant discussion; and recommended professional practices.