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BREAKOUT V – SUNDAY, 3/11/18, 10:00 AM –11:15 AM
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5.1 Fostering Connections in Pursuit of FAPE: Special Education Advocacy for Youth in Foster Care

Katherine Gladson
LAF (Legal Assistance Foundation)
Staff Attorney
120 S. LaSalle St., Suite 900
Chicago, Illinois 60603
312.229.6389
kgladson@lafchicago.org

 

Matthew Hiltibran
LAF (Legal Assistance Foundation)
Staff Attorney
120 S. LaSalle St., Suite 900
Chicago, Illinois 60603
312.229.6322
mhiltibran@lafchicago.org

 

Jamie Schulte
LAF (Legal Assistance Foundation
Skadden Fellow
120 S. LaSalle St., Suite 900
Chicago, Illinois 60603
312.229.6323
jschulte@lafchicago.org

 Audience category: Attorney/Law Student

Audience level of expertise: Novice/Intermediate

 Brief Session Description:

Youth in foster care are one of the most vulnerable student populations nationwide.  Students with disabilities who are also in foster care face significant challenges trying to obtain appropriate educational services.  This presentation provides an overview of federal law and guidance regarding the educational rights of youth in care and strategies for attorneys and advocates who represent youth in care. 

 Presenter(s) Biography(ies):

Katherine Gladson is staff attorney at LAF, and represents foster youth and other children in state care in special education, school discipline, and other education matters.  Before becoming a staff attorney, Kate completed a two-year fellowship at LAF through Equal Justice Works.  Her fellowship project aimed to protect the educational rights of students who were adversely affected by the 2013 Chicago school closings.  Before law school, Katherine taught middle school math in the Kansas City, Missouri School District.  Katherine graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Law magna cum laude and is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu.  While in law school she was a Civitas ChildLaw Fellow and represented children in education matters, family law cases, and in abuse and neglect proceedings through the Loyola ChildLaw Clinic.

 

Matthew Hiltibran is staff attorney at LAF, and represents foster youth and other children in state care in special education, school discipline, and other education matters. He also manages LAF’s Juvenile Expungement Help Desk in Cook County Juvenile Court in Chicago.  Before becoming a staff attorney, Matt worked at the Cook County Public Defender through a Catalyst Fellowship.  Before law school, Matt worked as a foster care caseworker in Cook County, IL and at a hospice in Washington, DC.  Matt graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School magna cum laude.  He has a B.A. in International Relations and a certificate in Urban Studies from Wheaton College, Illinois.

 

Jamie Schulte is a Skadden Fellow at LAF where she tackles issues incurred by the informal “push out” of high school students, especially those students with a history of behavior issues, poor attendance, or low achievement. Specifically, Jamie represents students who attend, or are being encouraged to attend, Chicago Public Schools’ alternative or “Options Schools” in special education, school discipline, and enrollment disputes. Jamie previously clerked for the Honorable Gregg Costa of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit after graduating from the University of Chicago Law School.  Prior to becoming an attorney, Jamie taught middle school English for two years in Houston, Texas through the Teach for America program.



5.2 Resilient Advocacy: Strategies for Addressing Students Trauma and Our Own (Secondary) Trauma

Cari Carson
Legal Aid of North Carolina – Advocates for Children’s Services
Skadden Fellow | Attorney
P.O. Box 2101, Durham, NC 27702 (Mailing address)
201 W. Main St., Ste. 400, Durham, NC 27701 (Physical address)
(919) 226-5903
caric@legalaidnc.org

 

 Audience category: All

Audience level of expertise: Novice/Intermediate

 Brief Session Description:

Participants learn strategies for addressing trauma in student advocacy. The session dives into how trauma manifests in classrooms and effective strategies for addressing trauma through IEPs or other means. Participants  then discuss often-overlooked secondary trauma. Learn to identify trauma inherent in advocating for students in crisis, and strategies to address the trauma; making one's advocacy more resilient.

 Presenter(s) Biography(ies):

Cari Carson is a Skadden Fellow and attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Advocates for Children’s Services project. In this role, she practices exclusively education law, with a focus on trauma-informed special education advocacy for court-involved youth. Cari graduated summa cum laude from Yale University with her B.A. in 2008 and, in 2016, with her J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan, where she published a note on the IDEA’s least restrictive environment requirements in the Michigan Law Review. She also holds an M.S.W. from the University of Michigan and endeavors to practice holistic, social work-informed legal advocacy. Prior to her role as a Skadden Fellow, Cari gained education advocacy experience with the Education Rights Project of the Metropolitan Nashville Public Defender’s Office; the Guardian ad Litem Special Education Project of the DC Children’s Law Center; the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan; and the Lucas County (Toledo, OH) Juvenile Court – with a focus on the intersections of trauma, delinquency, education, and foster care. Cari is also a former special education teacher at a middle school in a rural, low-income Louisiana community. She attended her first COPAA conference in 2016, thanks to the generosity of the Beth Goodman Scholarship Program. Outside of education advocacy, Cari has many interests including in: refugee law, diversity pipeline efforts, mental health advocacy, and cheering on the Michigan Wolverines.



5.3 Put It on Paper: Draft a Solid Settlement Agreement with No Regrets

Helen Ghio, Esq.
1220 Rosecrans Street # 123
San Diego, CA  92106
(619) 222-8300
helenghio@gmail.com
helenghio.com

 

Cara Lucier, Esq.
The Law Offices of Cara Lucier
701 Palomar Airport Road # 300
Carlsbad, CA  92011
(760) 717-3451
caralucier@mac.com
caralucier.com 

 Audience category: Attorney

Audience level of expertise: Intermediate/Advanced

 Brief Session Description:

Once the parties decide on the substance of a settlement it needs to be put it in writing. Learn from transactional and special education attorneys how not to get tricked by the school district's settlement agreement template. Discussion includes real life cases, releases, logistics of remedies, enforceability, conditions, confidentiality, general provisions, and more.

 Presenter(s) Biography(ies):

Helen Ghio, Esq. began her law career in real estate litigation and transactions and moved on to handling complex, large scale multi-state commercial real estate transactions. Since 2002 when her son was born with multiple mild disabilities due to a viral brain injury, she has been advocating for him and has continuously mentored and advocated for numerous families of children with disabilities. Helen officially transitioned into special education law in 2015 working alongside Cara Lucier, who has represented Helen’s son in special education matters for over ten years.  Helen has been dedicated to the Autism Tree Project Foundation since its inception in 2003, previously served on several nonprofit boards of directors, and currently is involved with various other nonprofit organizations. Helen is based in San Diego, California.

 

Cara Lucier, Esq. is an education and civil rights attorney. She began her law career representing school districts throughout California in the areas of special education law, charter schools, and litigation.  She represented school districts at IEP team meetings, mediations, due process hearings, and in federal and state courts.  When Cara’s son was diagnosed with Autism, Cara switched to assisting families with special needs. Cara is on the faculty at the University of San Diego, where she teaches Special Education Advocacy, Fundamental Legal Studies, Introduction to Law, and the Practice of Law.  She is a Board Member of Autism Tree Project Foundation and past Co-Chair of the Early Intervention Committee for the California State Senate Autism Task Force for South Counties.   Cara is frequently asked to teach legal trainings and seminars in the area of education and disabilities law.  Cara is based in San Diego County, California.



5.4 More than Just a Number: Myths, Facts, and Effective Uses of Cognitive Testing

Ann Simun, PsyD
Licensed Psychologist (PSY20113)
Simun Psychological Assessment Services, PC/Neuropsychology Partners
2001 S. Barrington Avenue, Suite 214
Los Angeles, CA 90025
ph: 310-478-8888
fax: 310-478-8890
drsimun@drsimun.com         

 

Sandra Dixon Shove
Non-attorney Special Education Advocate
EPIC Advocacy and Consulting
7 West Figueroa St., Suite 300
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
ph: 805-252-1807
sdshove@cox.net       

 

 Audience category: All
A
udience level of expertise: Intermediate/Advanced

 

 Brief Session Description:

When considering a student's academic and functional needs, accurate cognitive assessment is essential. However, misinterpretation and misuse of IQ tests and other cognitive measures, combined with fear of having low scores recorded in a student's permanent educational record, often leads decision-makers to limit cognitive testing.  This session explores the information teams need to plan effectively.

 Presenter(s) Biography(ies):

Ann Simun, PsyD, has been working professionally with children with learning and behavioral challenges since 1989. She is a licensed psychologist (PSY20113), with a specialization in neuropsychology. She is also a credentialed and experienced School Counselor, School Psychologist, and Licensed Educational Psychologist, making her eligible to conduct IEEs for school district matters. Dr. Simun is a member of the American Psychological Association, National Academy of Neuropsychology, and International Neuropsychological Society. She regularly presents at conferences nationwide and provides training for school districts, parents, advocates, and nonprofit disability agencies. Dr. Simun conducts neuropsychological and psychoeducational assessments, provides expert witness and consultation services, conducts formal observations, and teaches psychoeducational assessment at the graduate level.

 

Sandra Dixon Shove is a former elementary educator, a non-attorney special education advocate in private practice, and a longtime Autism Society affiliate leader. She has 12 years of experience teaching, 12 years advocating for children with a variety of disabilities, and more than 13 years supporting and mentoring parents, as well as developing and presenting community awareness programs countywide as an Autism Society leader. She is the mother of three adolescents/young adults (one with autism), Vice President of Autism Society of Santa Barbara, First Vice President of Autism Society of California, and a member of the Alliance of California Autism Organizations, Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys, and Women’s Organization for Special Education Professionals. Sandy draws from this broad background and shares lessons learned while helping other parents become empowered members of their children’s planning teams.



5.5 But Can't Their Parents Afford Tutors? Protecting and Accessing Education Rights for Children Adopted Internationally

Anna Caudill
Post Adoption Learning Services
Executive Director/Advocate
amcarts@gmail.com

 

Cheryl Cheffins
Attorney
cheryl.cheffins@gmail.com

 Audience category: All

Audience level of expertise: Intermediate/Advanced

 Brief Session Description:

Children adopted internationally have a complex intersectionality of behavioral, language, and learning needs. Protecting their education rights is often complicated by lack of familiarity with their individual needs, persistent misconceptions, and unfulfilled legislative work. This presentation details this underidentified population's common needs; analyzes misconceptions; reviews judicial decisions and legislation; and, proposes recommendations for accessing appropriate evaluations, special education, and related services.

 Presenter(s) Biography(ies):

Anna Caudill is a Tennessee based Advocate and parent of two boys adopted internationally. A graduate of Vanderbilt University Kennedy Center’s Volunteer Advocacy Project, she is the Executive Director of Post Adoption Learning Services (PALS). Anna founded PALS in 2016 to address the growing need of adoptive families for education support. She has spoken on behalf of adoptees and children with disabilities at the Center for American Progress, Show Hope, the Christian Alliance for Orphans, and with numerous Members of Congress and the Tennessee General Assembly, HELP Committee staffers, and family support groups. Anna was named a 2013 Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. Prior to becoming a Mother and Advocate, Anna taught high school art for 10 years, conducted summer art camps and teacher training in co-ed schools in Iraq, and volunteered with World Relief in Nashville in support of Iraqi and Sudanese refugee communities. Anna has a Bachelor’s degree from University of the Cumberlands. 

 

Cheryl Cheffins has dedicated her legal career to pursuing the rights of adults and children with disabilities. At the Special Needs Law Center, she concentrates her practice in Social Security Disability, special education and related civil matters in the administrative process and in federal court. She has successfully obtained appropriate educational programs, inclusion of children in the least restrictive environment, tuition reimbursement for private school placements, payment for independent educational evaluations and compensatory education. Cheryl graduated from Nashville School of Law, where she ranked fifth in her graduating class. She is an active member of several disability rights group including Tennessee Disability Coalition on Education, Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services’ Special Ed and Juvenile Justice Taskforce, and the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives among others. She also recently served on the Board of Directors for Autism Tennessee.



5.6 Navigating the Growing and Evolving Charter Sector

Lauren Morando Rhim. Ph.D.
Executive Director and Co-Founder
National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools
420 Lexington Avenue
Suite 300
New York NY 10170
w (802)649-3000 w; c (301)655-1992
Lmrhim@ncsecs.org

 

Robert Garda, J.D.
Professor, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
7214 St. Charles Ave.,
Campus Box 901
New Orleans, LA 70118
(503)861-5994
Rgarda@loyno.edu

 Audience category: All 

Audience level of expertise: Intermediate

 Brief Session Description:

Nearly three million students attend charter schools and their numbers are projected to increase under the current administration. However, questions remain regarding whether charter schools are fulfilling their obligations to students with disabilities, and parents frequently struggle to access adequate information. This session presents current data; explores key legal issues; discusses barriers to access; and, highlights emerging practices in select cities.

 Presenter(s) Biography(ies):

Dr. Lauren Morando Rhim is a researcher, consultant, and advocate for children. She has spent the last 20 years striving to identify strategies to create and sustain high quality public schools for all students. As a consultant, Rhim's practice specialized in pressing education reform issues pertaining to school restructuring and turnaround, charter schools, special education, and state and district support for school improvement. A significant portion of her work has been devoted to studying and providing technical assistance focused on supporting students with disabilities’ access to and success in charter schools. Building on this experience, she Co-Founded and serves as Executive Director of the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools, which advocates for students with disabilities in the charter sector through focus on collaboration, policy advocacy, technical assistance, and research. Rhim has a Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of Maryland and has published extensively about school reform and specifically, issues related to equity in the charter sector. She regularly consults with federal, state and local policy leaders as well as practitioners.

 

Professor Rob Garda graduated from Duke University Law School, where he served as Articles Editor on the Duke Law Journal, in 1994. After eight years of private practice focusing primarily in the areas of education law, commercial litigation, and employment law, he joined the Loyola Law School faculty in 2002. Professor Garda is the author of numerous articles and reports on education law. His recent articles appear in the North Carolina Law Review, Florida Law Review and Journal of Law & Education. His legal scholarship covers a variety of topics including: the rights of disabled students, affirmative action, integration in K-12 education, special education spending and legal issues surrounding charter schools. Professor Garda was the past national Chair of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Education Law and currently serves on its Executive Committee. He also serves as a member of the Louisiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the Board of Directors for the Louisiana Mental Health Advocacy Services. He has worked on projects with the Louisiana Bar Foundation and Louisiana Appleseed. He, works with national and local public interest groups on education and disability issues, is on the board of the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools, and is a frequent commentator in the media on education issues.



5.7 The "Thought to Be" Standard: Manifestation Determinations for the Unidentified Student

Michael Raffaele
Frankel & Kershenbaum, LLC
1230 County Line Road
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
(610) 922-4200
Michael@mykidslawyer.com

 

Andrew Wollaston
Frankel & Kershenbaum, LLC
1230 County Line Road
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
(610) 922-4200
Andrew@mykidslawyer.com

 Audience category: Attorney/Advocate/Law Student

Audience level of expertise: Novice/Intermediate

 Brief Session Description:

A parent calls your office for assistance. Their child is in trouble and about to be suspended/expelled for bringing a weapon or drugs to school or for fighting. The child has struggled recently, both behaviorally and academically, but doesn't have an IEP.  Learn how how IDEA can protect the student, even when she/he does not (yet) have an IEP.

 Presenter(s) Biography(ies):

Michael Raffaele is dedicated to vindicating the rights of children and families in matters of school discipline & truancy, juvenile delinquency, and criminal justice.  He collaborates with families to guide them through those difficult and often frightening processes.  Michael also understands that children with special educational needs and mental & behavioral health conditions are more frequently -- and unjustly -- caught up in the justice system.  He therefore works with families and children to ensure access to needed services and treatments before, during, and after juvenile and criminal proceedings.  Finally, Michael is knowledgeable about child mental health and substance dependency.  He represents families who undertake the challenging effort to secure appropriate treatment for children with such issues. Michael's practice at Frankel & Kershenbaum includes: Counseling families on the best responses to allegations of misbehavior or criminal conduct; Negotiating with prosecutors, probation officers and school officials; and Defending children and their families in criminal trials and appeals, juvenile delinquency proceedings and due process hearings.

 

Andrew James Wollaston is a native of Lancaster County Pennsylvania with a background in education. He graduated from Temple University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education – Social Studies. In 2016, Andrew graduated from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. During his time in law school, Andrew interned with the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division and the School District of Philadelphia’s General Counsel in the Labor/Employment Division. Andrew additionally interned with Philadelphia Legal Assistance, performing Unemployment Compensation services for indigent clients. These various experiences with students and parents drove Andrew to a career in Special Education Law. He has a dedication and desire to help those experiencing issues within both public and private school systems. As a former teacher in the Philadelphia School District, Andrew has the experience to understand and relate to the difficulties faced by those in a challenging educational environment. Andrew looks to focus his practice on the needs of Gifted Students. Andrew is an avid Philadelphia sports fan with interests ranging from motorcycle riding to visiting historical sites. He resides in Lancaster County with his wife and their Brittany, Riker.



5.8 What Has Made The Difference In the Meaning and Application of Special Education Law for Students with Disabilities: An Historical Analysis

Valerie Vanaman
Newman Aaronson Vanaman
14001 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, California 91423
(818) 990-7722
vvanaman@navlaw.net

 Audience category: All

Audience level of expertise: All

 Brief Session Description:

The session addresses the question of what it has meant to make a difference in the law of special education. Included is an historical analysis and review of the actions, and inactions, which resulted in differences in the law of special education across domains and for various subsets of the practice.

 Presenter(s) Biography(ies):

For four decades, Valerie Vanaman has represented people who need help obtaining services from private and governmental agencies, providing knowledgeable and compassionate legal representation to families with special situations. Since entering private practice in 1980, Valerie has become an acknowledged leader in providing representation for individuals challenged with disabilities and for their families, securing for her clients a basic education, as well as their rights under such programs as Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Social Security Act, Supplemental Security Income Act, Americans With Disabilities Act and the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act. In addition to an impressive track record (with an overwhelming number of her cases falling into the “win” column), Ms. Vanaman’s credentials are equally strong. She is a member of the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal and the Federal District Courts for the Central, Northern and Southern Districts of California, as well as the California, Ohio and Massachusetts State Bars. Valerie received her undergraduate and law school education at Ohio State University. She served as a teaching fellow at Harvard Law School and as an attorney for such public interest organizations as the Children’s Defense Fund. School can be a rocky ride for many kids. Parents who find they need help getting their children’s needs met anytime during the elementary through secondary school years can rest assured that Valerie Vanaman is in their corner.


 

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