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2016 Breakout Session I
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Breakout Session I - (Saturday, March 12th, 10:45-12:00) 

Ø 1.1 Myths and Legends of IDEA and Strategies to Counteract

Matthew D. Cohen, Esq.

Audience Category: All Attendees

Audience Level:  All Levels, Particularly Novice / Intermediate

 This session identifies common myths and legends surrounding IDEA and the conflicts that arise when they conflict with legal and functional realities. Areas in which the law sets parents, educators and kids up for failure will be reviewed, including confusion as to how the IEP process works, the FAPE Standard, LRE and other key elements of special education. Strategies for addressing these problems will be provided, including ideas for more effective interaction at the IEP level, as well as legal and legislative action at the local, state and federal level.


Ø 1.2 Representing Highly Mobile Students

Presenters: Ashley Fretthold, Esq., Verity Sandell,Esq., and Katherine Gladson, Esq.

Audience Category: Attorney, Advocate and Related Professional

Audience Level: Novice / Intermediate

Description: This session discusses the unique challenges facing children who are highly mobile. This subset of students faces obstacles above and beyond those of the typical student with disabilities. This group frequently includes homeless children, wards of the state, and children living in poverty. Interruptions in instruction, lost records, changes in IEP services, incomplete assessments, and more. Legal protections advocates can rely on and strategies to use in advocacy under The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act, McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act, and the Fostering Connections Act are all reviewed.


Ø 1.3 IDEA Class Actions: When and How to Bring Them

Presenter: Sonja D. Kerr, Esq.

Audience Category: Attorneys, Advocates and Related Professionals

Audience Level: Advanced

Description: This session reviews the requirements to bring a class action pursuant to the IDEA. The focus is on proving up the elements of a Rule 23(b) class for certification following Wal- Mart v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011). The IDEA, 20 U.S.C. §1400, et. seq., was born as the result of class actions. But in today’s federal courts, bringing a class is challenging. Participants learn problems to avoid and keys to successfully bringing such claims. Participants also learn how to determine whether a class action should be brought (as opposed to alternatives), will learn Rule 23(b)(2) elements, including numerosity, questions of law and fact common to the class, typicality, common injunctive relief.


Ø 1.4 Out of School Time Matters: Intersection of Disability & Racial Equity

Presenter: Pat Halle, Paralegal 
Audience Category: All Attendees

Audience Level: All Levels

Description: This session is about cultivating equity and justice through an Out of School Time (OST) and Inclusion Project in Baltimore City. Due to shrinking resources in public schools, activities beyond the school day, known as out of school time (OST) now provide opportunities for many young people to enjoy enrichment activities that were formerly part of the school day. Under the law, children with disabilities generally have the right to take part in programs occurring before and after school and in the summer. However, for a variety of reasons, data show that children with disabilities are under-represented in OST programs. By making OST programs more accessible to youth with disabilities, we create cultures that are inclusive, we extend benefits of OST programs to all youth and we may be able to interrupt the cycles of chronic absence, school failure and the school to prison pipeline that disproportionately and impact students with disabilities. Thus, including youth with disabilities in OST is about more than just recreation, it is about civil rights, human decency and equality.


Ø 1.5 The Intersection of IDEA, School Discipline and Juvenile Delinquency

Presenters: Michael D. Raffaele,Esq., John C. Bogan, Esq

Audience Category: Attorney, Advocate and Related Professional

Audience Level: Novice / Intermediate

Description: The prevalence of "zero tolerance' policies has led to an increasing number of school initiated referrals of students to the juvenile justice system. Students with disabilities are more likely than their peers without disabilities to be disciplined and arrested for conduct in school. Statistics show that students eligible for specially designed instruction represent a quarter of students involved in school-related arrests; despite making up only 12 percent of the overall student population. This session discusses the relationship between IDEA, School Discipline, and the Juvenile Justice System.  It provides strategies for navigating the juvenile delinquency and school discipline processes for students who are eligible or thought-to-be eligible for special education and related services.


Ø 1.6 Autopsy of an IEP: Finding & Filling Holes to Obtain Educational Goals

Presenter:  Lisa A. Fagan, Esq.

Audience Category: Parent, Advocate, and Related Professional

Audience Level: Novice / Intermediate

Description: One of the single most important documents a parent can help develop during their child’s education is their individualized education program (IEP). However, often this document is a loosely written set of guidelines that does not fully convey a child’s needs. This session helps parents and advocates “dissect” an IEP by examining the “sections” of an IEP and discuss what each section means, why it is important and what needs to be included. In addition, participants learn how to create IEPs that obtain the educational goals for the individual child and allow anyone working with the child to understand their needs and goals just by reading the document.


Ø 1.7 Life Planning for Families of Children with Disabilities

Presenter: Adrienne Arkontaky, Esq.

Audience Category: All Attendees

Audience Level: All Levels

Description: This workshop includes a discussion of the steps necessary to plan for the future of a loved one with disabilities including information on special needs estate planning, special needs trusts and how to protect assets in medical malpractice and personal injury settlements, guardianship alternatives, access to government benefits and a discussion of how to plan for children with special needs in matrimonial actions.


Ø 1.8 Effective Communication: Schools' Obligations under the ADA

Presenter: Tawny Holmes, Esq.

Audience Category: All Attendees

Audience Experience Level: Intermediate (but all will benefit due to the new ADA guidelines from USDOE and USDOJ)

: Schools often overlook the “effective communication” requirements of the ADA, but with the newly released guidelines and FAQ from the USDOE and USDOJ, there is no longer an excuse. This session will include a walkthrough of the guidelines, case history, reallife scenarios and readytouse resources for assuring schools fulfill obligations regarding communication for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf Blind, Blind and VisuallyImpaired students. For many years, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act has reigned supreme in the land of special education, but in November 2014, that changed with the release of the ADA guidelines and FAQ on effective communication by U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice. The guidelines, triggered by several federal district and circuit court cases involving Deaf and Blind students, are extremely comprehensive and discuss the need for schools to go beyond the Rowley standard (special education services must be “reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive educational benefit”) by ensuring the child has a level of communication access comparable to his/her (hearing or sighted) peers.

more Calendar

6/1/2016 » 6/1/2017
Webinar Subscription for Organizations

6/1/2016 » 6/1/2017
Webinar Subscription for Individuals

7/14/2016 » 7/14/2017
2016 Webinar Series 1: IEP's and Their Components, What You Should Know

8/11/2016 » 7/25/2017
2016 Webinar Series 2: Access to FAPE

9/1/2016 » 12/1/2016
2016 New Attorney: Educational Rights Online Training

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