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2015 Webinar Series Schedule
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Webinar Series 1: Parent Rights and Advocacy Strategies for IEP Meetings (7 Sessions)


Register NOW (for the entire series or individual sessions). This is a (7) seven session series of webinars training providing valuable information needed to achieve success at the IEP table. Add tools to your tool box and sharpen your skills by attending this training presented by some of our nation's best and brightest special education attorneys and advocates. 


S.1  Keeping the “I” in IEE

Thursday, 7/2/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Alexis Casillas, Esq. and Roberta Savage, Esq.

Description:  While the law contemplates some restrictions on independent evaluations, school districts seem to be limiting IEE criteria to the point that such evaluations no longer seem independent. This session discusses which criteria are valid, and how to push back when faced with unreasonable limitations.


S.2 Impact of ADHD and Executive Functioning Deficits on Learning Behaviors


Thursday, 7/9/2015, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Susan Bruce and Mary Eaddy

Description: This session focuses on understanding ADD and executive functioning deficits and their impact on education and implications for academic strategies, supports, and accommodations. The session also focuses on understanding the impact of ADD and executive functioning deficits on behavior, including information on advocating on behalf of a student diagnosed with ADD/ADHD during manifestation determination meetings along with developing behavior intervention plans, addressing school discipline policies, and implications for school-based intervention and supports.  Responsibilities of the LEA under IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the ADA are also presented. 

S.3 Eligibility Checklist: A Simple Assessment Tool

Tuesday, 7/14/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Danielle Tenner and Jill Rowland

Description: This session prepares parents and advocates to argue for eligibility at an initial IEP.  We will provide tips for reading assessments and collecting evidence, and explains how to evaluate likely eligibilities using a simple checklist.


S.4 The “Adversely Affects Educational Performance” Standard In The Determination of Student Eligibility For Children Who Make Passing Grades 

Tuesday, 7/21/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenter: Mandy Leigh, Esq.

Description: This session reviews the cases, federal guidance, and the split among the courts about the “adversely affects educational performance” standard. The IDEA and many state special education laws require that a child “need special education” in order to be deemed IEP eligible. In order to prove that a child needs special education based on a number of factors that are proven primarily through assessment and observation, the child’s disability must adversely affect his or her educational performance. As school districts look for ways to reduce or limit the costs of special education, they are advocating at IEP meetings more and more often - especially in the context of gifted or higher-functioning children - that the child does not need special education because he/she is making passing grades.  In the face of this exclusion, this session discusses what tools parents and advocates can bring to the IEP table to advocate for eligibility when faced with proving the “adversely affects educational performance” standard. This presentation is geared towards parents with some experience with the IEP process. Advocates and attorneys might also benefit, given the failure of the IDEA to address this issue and the lack of conformity in the legal system.


S.5 Issue-Spotting for Advocates:  An Overview of How to Analyze a Client's Case for Effective Advocacy

Tuesday, 7/28/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Mandy Favaloro, Esq. and Carrie Watts, J.D.

Description: Because issue-spotting is closely tied with understanding laws and regulations, it may be assumed that it is a skill left only to attorneys.  However, advocates must understand how to issue-spot in order to be effective in their advocacy.  Advocates are charged with helping parents make informed decisions and with articulating their clients’ concerns and desires.  By learning how to review data and documents - not just for facts and information about a student’s needs, but also for spotting potential issues that may exist - advocates will be better able to assist their clients with formulating sound positions for what they are seeking and to effectively communicate on behalf of their clients.


S.6 IDEA’ s “Placement” Decision: More than Just Location

Date: Thursday, 8/13/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Jon Zimring, Esq. and Janet Haury, Esq.

Description: Placement under IDEA is more than location.  The concepts of change of “location” vs. change of “placement -as well as parent rights and participation - are defined and assessed in this session.  School districts often consider “location” to be solely an administrative decision, and they take it upon themselves to dictate the “location” of services to parents without allowing IEP teams to participate in this aspect of placement.  Participants will better understand when location is an IEP issue under the guiding case law and other authorities. 


S.7 When Is the School Evaluation Appropriate?

Date:  RESCHEDULED: NEW DATE: TBA Tuesday, 8/25/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Caroline Heller, Esq. and Andrew Feinstein, Esq

Description: The regulations authorizing Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE) permits a school district to avoid having to pay for an IEE where it can “show that its evaluation is appropriate.”  34 CFR §300.502(b)(2)(i).  What does “appropriate” mean in this context?  Is it the same rather low bar that the Supreme Court established in Rowley for determining the appropriateness of an educational program?  Is it a mechanistic test, looking at whether the requirements of 20 U.S.C. §1414(b)(2) and §1414(b)(3) have been met?  Or do the words in Shaffer v. Weast that an IEE “ensures parent access to an expert who can evaluate all the materials that the school must make available, and who can give an independent opinion” mean that appropriate is a very high standard making any sort of second opinion unnecessary?


Webinar Series 2:  Trauma ( 2 sessions)

Register Now This is a (2) two session mini series. Learn more about how to better represent student who have experienced trauma. This topic is so important and rare to find this level of training on the subject matter.


T.1 Impact of Trauma on Learning


Date: Tuesday, 8/4/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenter: Dr. Sally Herschman

Description: PENDING


T.2 Recognizing Childhood Trauma: Identification, Implementation, & Advocacy


Date: Tuesday, 8/11/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Sande S. Shamash, Esq. & Marissa J. LaVette, Esq.

Description: This presentation focuses on issues involving the identification of childhood trauma as a source of disability needs in special education, as well as implementing appropriate treatment and advocating for children with trauma histories that may be impacting their education.



Webinar Series 3: Addressing Behavioral and Emotional Needs of Students

Looking for a few more CLE credits?   We are thrilled to announce that this COPAA webinar series can meet that need.   Each session listed below has been approved for 1.25 credit hours of instruction by the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Continuing Legal Education (a total of 8.7.5 if you attend all 7sessions).  You must attend the entire session, complete an evaluation and a simple online test to receive a certificate of completion indicating the credits earned and activity code.  (Most States have reciprocity with Ohio, check your Bar to be sure).

Register Now (for the entire series or individual sessions). This is a multiple session series of webinar training on behavioral and emotional needs of students. Presenters share their expertises and in-depth knowledge on the wide range of topics.


B.1 Succeeding in Manifestation Determination Reviews: A Step-by-Step Approach for Obtaining the Best Result 


Date: Tuesday, 8/18/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Michele Savongelli, Esq. and Marlies Spanjaard, Esq.

Description: Special education students are disproportionately disciplined and excluded from school. Usually the basis for the disciplinary action is behavior that is a manifestation of the student’s disability.  In this session, we present a step-by-step approach to effectively challenge these exclusions at the Manifestation Determination Review.


B.2 Representing the Non-Attending Student


Date: Thursday, 8/27, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Charles Fox, Esq. and Julie Welsh, Esq.

Description: This session explores the issue of school refusal and non-attendance.  They examine the wide variety of case law on the topic of obtaining special education services for the non-attending student with a focus on emotional disorders and school accountability and responsibility for student attendance.  They will also provide practical practice tips throughout the advocacy process. 


B.3 Advocacy for Children who Exhibit Challenging Behaviors


Date: Wednesday, 9/9/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenter: Mark Kamleiter, Esq.

Description: This presentation will demonstrate how to proactively develop positive behavioral and educational plans which will allow children with disabilities to succeed both behaviorally and educationally.  The interactive workshop is designed to develop effective behavioral problem-solving skills, covering Functional Behavior Assessments and other evaluations, Positive Behavior Support Plans, and other important behavioral issues.


B.4 When Residential Placement is Necessary for FAPE:  Understanding the Standard to Win at Hearing

Date: Tuesday, 9/15/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Marlies Spanjaard, Esq. and Michele Scanongeli, Esq.

Description: For some children, the least restrictive environment in which they can access their education is a residential placement.  These placements are expensive, and it is often difficult to get a school district to agree to place a child in a residential setting without a due process hearing.  This session will discuss the standard for residential placements and discuss advocacy strategies to win at a due process hearing. 


B.5 The Impact of Emotional Disturbances on Academic Functioning: A Review of the Risk and Protective Factors

Date: Wednesday, 9/30/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenter: Dr. Lauren Stevenson

Description: This presentation reviews the types of mental health and behavior problems most commonly observed in schools, and identifies which specific problems and combination of problems most strongly predict academic achievement. We also review the risk and protective factors that mediate the relationship between mental health and behavior problems and academic achievement.


B.6 Advocating for Effective School Discipline


Date: Thursday, 10/15/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Lisa Sryon and Stefanie Shabman. Esq.

Description: “Disciplinary problems” are often the tip of an iceberg that encompasses a child’s need for behavioral or social skills training, inadequate or inappropriate special education services, the need for community services, and/or a school climate that focuses on suspensions rather than problem solving. In this session, we will present individual and policy advocacy strategies to move from discipline to solutions.


B.7 Evaluating FBAs and BIPs for Legal Compliance and Components to Support Behavior Change

Date: Thursday, 10/22/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Dr. Anne McLaulin and Cheryl Steedman, Esq.

Description: Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) have long been required for students whose behavior results in disciplinary changes in educational placement; developments in law and policy have helped to expand their application and purpose to other instances where behavior adversely impacts learning. Participants will learn how the IDEA addresses—and fails to address—efficacious use of these tools for students with disabilities, and explore the gap between legal guidelines and professional standards applied to their administration and implementation. Participants will examine actual FBAs and BIPs in order to demonstrate understanding of necessary components to support behavior change, and will explore how components of the student’s IEP can document the need for on-going behavioral intervention and support. Participants will also learn practical ways to evaluate the appropriateness of the FBA and the effectiveness of the BIP in order to ensure the provision of appropriate services, accommodations, and placement and to protect the legal rights of the student.

Webinar Series 4: Legal Issues that Impact Special Education 

Register Now (for the entire series or individual sessions). This legal series is important training for attorneys and advocates wanting to tune up for another school year. It includes; 2 session of case law review, fee shifting, tips on running your own practice, and more!

Looking for a few more CLE credits?   We are thrilled to announce that this COPAA webinar series can meet that need.   Each session listed below has been approved for 1.25 credit hours of instruction by the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Continuing Legal Education (a total of 8.7.5 if you attend all 7sessions).  You must attend the entire session, complete an evaluation and a simple online test to receive a certificate of completion indicating the credits earned and activity code.  (Most States have reciprocity with Ohio, check your Bar to be sure).


L.1 The Top 40 Chart-Topping District Court Decisions of 2014

Date: Wednesday, 9/23/15, 2:00-3:15

Presenters: Richard O’Meara, Esq. and Stacey Neumann, Esq.

Description: IDEA hearing decisions that are challenged initially undergo review by the federal district courts, and U.S. district court judges also handle most cases that raise discrimination or retaliation claims under section 504, the ADA, or the First Amendment.  So it is only right that we focus on how the district courts have been addressing the issues of most importance to our practices.  For this reason, the presenters will offer a somewhat lighthearted, but seriously important, survey of the district courts’ “hit parade” of decisions since our last conference in March 2014.  We will focus on what we believe to be the 40 best district court decisions that should be cited and quoted by attorneys and advocates representing children with disabilities (with fingers crossed that Judith Gran’s 2016 review of decisions from the courts of appeal does not include any reversals of the great cases on our list!)


L.2 Running Your Own Special Education Practice

Date: Wednesday, 10/7/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenter: James Baron, Esq.

Description: As an attorney starting your own special education practice, you probably have many questions. This session will focus on the business and practical aspects of your practice, such as discussing the “typical” day, handling difficult clients and opposing counsel, and setting fees.


L.3 2014 Annual Case Law Review


Date: Tuesday, 10/20/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenter: Judith Gran, Esq.

Description: Judith Gran, Esq. has presented the Year in Review for the Court of Appeals for COPAA each year, starting with the very first COPAA Conference.  Since her graduation from Temple Law School in 1983, Attorney Gran has represented children and adults with disabilities in fifteen states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Ms. Gran has brought a number of class action and system change lawsuits designed to improve special education and community services and secure the right of persons with disabilities to inclusion and full participation in schools and communities. Many of her cases have resulted in the closure of state institutions and the creation of high-quality community services for former institutional residents. These cases include the landmark class action case, Halderman v. Pennhurst, in which Ms. Gran served as lead counsel for the Arc of Pennsylvania during the last twelve years of implementation. As a result, Ms. Gran played a major role in improving community services for individuals with disabilities nationwide. Prior to joining Freeman Reisman Carolla Gran LLP, she worked for 25 years at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, the last 11 years as Director of its Disability Law Project. Ms. Gran is also one of the founding members of COPAA and a former Board Chair.


L.4 Fee Shifting Under the IDEA: How to Get Fees and How to Avoid Having to Pay Them


Date: Tuesday, 10/27/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenter: Aimee Gilman, Esq.

Description: This session covers how, when, and under what circumstances attorneys can file for their fees after a due process, as well as how to avoid having a fee action filed against them, and what to do if they do get sued for fees.   Attendees should have an understanding of the basics of how due process works and familiarity with the law.


L.5 Making Up is Hard to Do: A Look at Compensatory Education


Date:  Tuesday, 11/11/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: Michele Kule-Korgood, Esq. and Tracey Walsh, Esq.

Description: For some children, compensatory education is a critical remedy for the deprivation of a free, appropriate public education, especially when the deprivation has cost the child educational opportunities during a critical window of development.   Courts continue to grapple with when, how, and if this remedy is available to students with disabilities.   This session provides a review of the development of the compensatory education remedy, the current state of the law, and future trends in jurisprudence with respect to compensatory education. This session focuses on the trends of the various federal courts in analyzing compensatory education claims. Attendees with prior experience in litigating compensatory education cases, particularly in the federal courts, will get the most out of this session.


L.6  What Are They Hiding? Using FOIA Laws to Level the Playing Field


Date: Tuesday, 11/3/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenters: David Jefferson, and Alexi Casillas, Esq.

Description: Have you ever requested educational records from your state education agency, local education agency, or local school and felt like information was missing?  Does your local school system use initials or pseudo names to avoid producing records related to your child or your client?  Have you identified systemic violations in your local school system but struggled to find evidence to support your concerns?  Are you ready to learn what they are hiding?  The federal government and all 50 states have enacted open records laws which allow members of the public (including non-residents) to obtain documents and other public records from state and local governmental bodies.  Join us as we review tools and resources you can use to obtain public records that will further your advocacy and let you know what they are hiding. 


L.7 Civil Rights Damages in Special Education Cases


Date: Tuesday, 11/17/15, 2:00-3:15 ET

Presenter: Marcy Tiffany, Esq.

Description:  Learn how to identify potential civil rights issues in special education cases, as well as the legal and procedural requirements for pursuing damages under the various civil rights statutes.  This presentation is intended for more experienced special education attorneys who have at least some basic familiarity with federal court litigation.


 Speaker Bios Click Here

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