Lehigh University's Summer Offerings

Spring 2015

Lehigh University's 43rd Special Education Law Conference
The 40th Birthday of the IDEA: Miles to Go and Promises to Keep
Friday, May 8, 2015 at Lehigh University's Mountaintop Campus

The 43rd Special Education Law Conference is now filled and no additional registrations can be accepted.
Please save the date for next year and be sure to register early: Friday, May 13, 2016.

This conference is intended for:
Assistant Principals; Applied Behavior Analysts; Counselors; Hearing Officers/ Administrative Law Judges; Higher Education Personnel; Mental Health Caseworkers;  Parents; Parent and School Attorneys; Principals; Pupil Personnel Directors; School Psychologists; Special Education Directors; Superintendents; School Board Members; Social Workers; Teacher-Leaders; and Teachers and other members of the educational communities.

7:30 am 8:30 am

Registration and Refreshments

8:30 am 9:50 am

Special Education Case Law: Year in Review This general session (via videotape) will provide an update of the published court decisions under the IDEA and § 504/ADA from across the nation, with special emphasis on those in the Third Circuit, since last year's program.  As a special supplement in light of the special anniversary of the IDEA, registrants will receive a cumulative compilation that covers the past 20 years.

Keynote Presenter:

Perry Zirkel, Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA


10:00 am 11:10 am

A. The Top Ten Legal Developments Under the IDEA for the Past 40 Years This session will identify what experienced attorneys from the respective perspectives consider to be the most significant developments—whether legislation, court decisions, or other primary legal sources—that have arisen from 1975, when the original version of the IDEA passed, to the present year.


Staci Greenwald, Esq., Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler - Cranberry, NJ


Eric L. Harrison, Esq., Methfessel & Werbel, Esqs. - Edison, NJ
Caryl Andrea Oberman, Esq., The Law Offices of Caryl Oberman - Willow Grove, PA

Due Process 101: A Step-By-Step Approach This session will take you through the sequence of the due process hearing procedures under the IDEA, starting with the preparation of the complaint. The practical focus will be on what you need to know for each step of the process, including mistakes to avoid and best practices to succeed.


Timothy Gilsbach, Esq., King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul, LLC- Bethlehem, PA


Sandra Lascari, Esq., Law Offices of Sandra L. Lascari, LLC - Madison and Morristown, NJ

C. Legally Sound 504 Practices in Charter Schools This session will explore legally appropriate practices for determining eligibility and providing FAPE for students who qualify under Section 504, but not the IDEA, in both brick-and-mortar and on-line charter schools. It will also show where health plans and other interventions fit in relation to Section 504. Finally, applicable case law under Section 504 and the ADA will be included as illustrative support.

Moderator: York Williams, Ph.D., West Chester University - West Chester, PA

Nicole Snyder, Esq., Latsha Davis & McKenna, P.C. - Exton, PA
Jennifer Y. Sang, Esq., Law Offices of David J. Berney, PA - Philadelphia, PA

The Juxtaposition Between Mental Health and FAPE This session will explore key issues in successfully navigating the tricky intersection between mental health needs and the IDEA’s obligation for “free appropriate public education.” For example, when does a mental health need become an educational need as well? What are the implications for IEP development and placement? Who has the financial responsibility for private placements that address mental health issues?


Bridget O'Connell, Ed.D., Palisades School District - Kitnersville, PA


Lorrie McKinley, Esq., McKinley & Ryan, LLC - West Chester, PA
Claudia Huot, Esq., Wisler, Pearlstine, Talone, Craig, Garrity & Potash, LLP - Blue Bell, PA

Everything You Need to Know About the Transition to College This session will explore the IDEA regulations and case law specific to providing appropriate transition assessment and services for the transition from high school to postsecondary education. The coverage will extend to the obligations of postsecondary institutions to identify and accommodate students with disabilities.


Clare K. Papay, Ph.D., Arcadia University - Glenside, PA


Dennis McAndrews, Esq., McAndrews Law Firm - Wayne, PA
Nathanya Simon, Esq., Schwartz Simon Edelstein & Celso, LLC - Whippany, NJ

F. Service Animals in Schools: Techniques & Training Allowed for Youth This session will review the Department of Justice’s Americans with Disabilities Act regulations, the Office for Civil Rights rulings, and the court decisions specific to service animals in public schools. Thanks to Oscar Project at the Epilepsy Foundation of Western and Central Pennsylvania, it will also include a live demonstration of what a service animal can do for a person with seizure disorders.

Moderator: Gina Scala, Ed.D., East Stroudsburg University - Stroudsburg, PA

Charles Jelley, Esq., Tremba & Jelley – Greensburg, PA
Jane Williams, Esq., Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams, L.L.P. - New Britain, and Pittston, PA

11:20 am - 12:30 pm

Repeat of session A, B, C, D, E, and F

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm



1:40 pm - 2:40 pm

G. A Life Saved: Suicide Prevention and FAPE Obligations This session will discuss court decisions and best practices for combining suicide prevention with school connectedness. According to the CDC, suicide is the third leading cause of death among persons aged 15–24, and approximately 1 of every 15 high school students attempts suicide each year. Schools have not only a legal but also an ethical responsibility to ensure a safe school environment for all students, including effective suicide prevention.

Moderator: Julie B. Fogt, Ed.D., Centennial School of Lehigh University - Bethlehem, PA

Sarah B. Dragotta, Esq., Law Office of Sarah B. Dragotta - Glenside, PA
Peter Maher, Esq., Shipman & Goodwin, L.L.P. - Hartford, Ct

Related Services Often Overlooked in IEPs This session will focus on related services under the IDEA that are often overlooked as part of the obligation to provide a free appropriate public education ("FAPE") The presenters will explore when these often- overlooked services, such as assistive technology, social skills services, personal aides, transportation accommodations, parent training and counseling, are both necessary and appropriate.


Katrina M. Homel, Esq., Freeman Law Offices, LLC - Princeton, Haddonfield, and Freehold, NJ

Cameron R. Morgan, Esq., Parker McCay, P.A. - Mount Laurel, Lawrenceville, and Atlantic City, NJ
Catherine Merino Reisman, Esq., Reisman Corolla Gran, LLP - Haddonfield, NJ

Special Ed 101 This session will provide a primer snapshot of the basic legal building blocks under the IDEA. For example, this session will provide a practical understanding of child find, evaluation, eligibility, FAPE, LRE, discipline, remedies, and dispute resolution.


Gina MacFalls, Ed.D., Bellefonte Area School District - Bellefonte, PA


Suzanne Pontious, Esq., Rudolph Clarke, LLC - Trevose, P
Hillary Freeman, Esq., Freeman Law Offices, LLC - Freeman Law Offices, LLC - Princeton, Haddonfield, and Freehold, NJ

504 Plans with Competence and Confidence This session will provide helpful guidance on the defensible development and implementation of 504 plans, including court decisions that illustrate current legal issues and interpretations.


Sarah Jane DeHaas, Ph.D., Juniata College- Huntingdon, PA


Ira M. Fingles, Esq., Hinkle, Fingles, & Prior - Lawrenceville, NJ; Plymouth Meeting and Bala Cynwyd, PA
Carl P. Beard, Esq., Andrews & Beard - Altoona, PA

How to Make Friends and Influence Agreement This session will identify and explain dispute resolution mechanisms alternative to impartial hearings under the IDEA. Examples include IEP Facilitation, Evaluative Conciliation Conference, and Resolution Meeting Facilitation.


AJ Kise, Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts - Bethlehem, PA


Cathy A. Skidmore, Esq., Office for Dispute Resolution - Harrisburg, PA
Frances M. Fletcher, University of Delaware - Newark, DE

High Stakes Testing for Students with Disabilities Looking through the lenses of IDEA, § 504, and other applicable laws, this session will address accommodations and exemptions for state high-stakes testing for students with disabilities. The discussion will focus on application of these legal sources to the content and delivery methods of Pennsylvania’s PSSA and Keystone assessments and New Jersey’s new PARCC assessments.


Beth Godett, Ed.D., Retired School Administrator - Langhorne, PA

Isabel Machado, Esq., Machado Law Group - Clark, NJ
Stephen J. Jacobson, Esq., Psy.D., Connolly, Jacobson & John

Legal Ethics and Special Education Disputes
In this session, participants will explore various ethical questions that might arise in representing parents or schools in special education disputes. This session will be a problem-based, interactive discussion based on hypotheticals drawn from reported cases. Part I will focus on sanctions for assertion of bad faith claims and defenses under the IDEA, state and federal rules of civil procedure, and the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Part II will focus on ethical considerations associated with problematic evidentiary issues, such as evidence from social media, expert testimony and opinions, surveillance of opposing parties, and various claims of privilege.

(PLEASE NOTE: This session is set up as a double session. If you select this session, and only select one session in the afternoon, you will be scheduled for a double session which will satisfy the requirement for 2 credit hours for PA CLE and one-half of the NJ requirement of 4 credit hours.)




Thomas A. Mayes, Esq., Iowa Department of Education - Des Moines, IA

2:50 pm - 3:50 pm

Repeat of sessions G, H, I, J, K, L, M

(Pending approval for Pennsylvania Continuinging Legal Education Credits - 5.5 credits. The Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board has approved the conference for 5.5 credits. Many states have reciprocal agreements for CLE credits, please check with your state's CLE Board to determine if credits will be accepted.)

(Pending approval for Act 48 - 5.5 credit hours.)