Lehigh University's Summer Offerings

Spring 2017

Lehigh University's 45th Special Education Law Conference

Friday, May 12, 2017 at Lehigh University's Mountaintop Campus

***Registration Deadline April 1, 2017***

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; 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 will provide an update of the latest significant published court decisions under the IDEA and § 504 across the country during the past year, with a special emphasis on the Third Circuit. It will also include an overview of a sampling of recent and emerging statutory and regulatory trends at the federal and state levels regarding students with disabilities. 

Keynote Presenter:

Perry Zirkel, Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA


10:00 am - 11:10 am

A. Effective IEP Meetings: How to Avoid the Prevailing Pitfalls
Did you ever analyze the reasons why an IEP meeting fell apart?  Why did the parent storm out of the IEP meeting?  Why did district staff feel angry, fed up or overwhelmed?  This session will take you through the steps of an effective IEP meeting, while highlighting key, relevant case law in the Third Circuit.  Learn practical legal lessons from the respective perspectives of experienced attorneys..


Gina Scala, Ed.D., East Stroudsburg University – Stroudsburg, PA


Jane Williams, Esq. Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams, L.L.P. – New Britain, and Pittston, PA
Liliana Yazno-Bartle, Esq., Law Offices of Caryl Andrea Oberman – Willow Grove, PA

Foster Children: What Does the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Resulting New State Laws Say? This session will identify school districts’ new responsibilities to educate foster care children under the ESSA, effective as of December 1, 2016. This informative seminar on a brand-new, evolving area of the law will address key questions. For example,what are the obligations of the district of origin, the district where the child attends school, and the Children & Youth agencies in these districts’ counties? Who is responsible for FAPE? How about transportation? When does these respective responsibilities change? Where do state laws come into play?


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


Heather Hulse, Esq., McAndrews Law Firm - Scanton & Wayne, PA
Peter C. Amuso, Esq., Rudolph Clarke, L.L.C. – Blue Bell, PA

C. Transition: Making It Work from Early Intervention to “Aging Out”
Transition is the collaboration between home and school both to afford early intervention when appropriate and to plan for and provide necessary skills and resources for students identified with disabilities become self-sufficient adults.  What will the Supreme Court’s impending decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District mean for  the enforcement of effective transition planning?   What does the case law say about the procedural and substantive requirements for transition services?  Join us to learn more about not only the legal imperatives for transition planning but also its effective use as a meaningful  tool for a child’s future.

Moderator: Beth Godett, Ed.D., J.D., Consultant, PA

Nicole Snyder, Esq., Latsha Davis & McKenna, P.C.– PA
Morgen Black-Smith, Esq., Law Offices of David J. Berney - NJ

High Functioning Students on the Autism Spectrum: Appropriate Identification and Services
High functioning students on the autism spectrum frequently display significantly disparate needs between the home and school settings. These differences are a frequent source of dispute between parents and school districts. This session will explore the relevant case law specific to effective evaluation and the provision of FAPE to this challenging student population.


Katharine Reilly, Ph.D., Easton Area School District - PA


Carl P. Beard, Esq., Andrews & Beard - PA
Angela J. Uliana-Murphy, Esq., Murphy & Murphy, P.C. - PA

The Policies of OSEP, OCR, and DOJ for Students with Disabilities: The Current Status and the New Direction
This session will review (a) recent trends in policy guidance and enforcement from these three agencies in relation to students with disabilities and (b) how the change in the federal administration may impact the content and contours of these policies.


Clare K. Papay, Ph.D., PA

Co-Presenters: Selene A. Almazan, Esq. Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc., - Towson, MD
Peter Maher, Esq., Shipman & Goodwin, L.L.P. - Hartford, Ct

F. Compensatory Education: Everything You Need to Know
This session will address the key developments for the remedy of compensatory education under the IDEA, including its purposes, its prerequisite, its calculation, and its implementation. The session will also cover the parties’ evaluation of compensatory education claims in the context of resolution discussions and provide practice tips and suggestions for how to craft settlement language addressing these claims.

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

Michael Stafford, Esq., Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP - Wilmington, DE
Megan D. Halter, Esq.,
Reger Rizzo & Darnall, LLP - West Chester, PA

G. Legal Ethics of Special Education: Pointers and Pitfalls from IEP Meeting to Due Process Hearing
This session, intended for attorneys, mediators, hearing officers and law office staff, will provide a nuts-and-bolts discussion of ethical challenges faced by special education attorneys advising families and school districts. Among the various vexing questions that it will address are: Who is the client? What are counsel’s obligations to adverse or unrepresented parties?


York Williams, Ph.D., West Chester University – West Chester, PA


David B. Rubin, Esq., David B. Rubin, P.C. - Metuchen, NJ

11:20 am - 12:30 pm

Repeat of session A, B, C, D, E, F, & G

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm



1:40 pm - 2:40 pm

H. ESSA Update: The Impact on Students with Disabilities
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes significant provisions for public schools generally but special education specifically. After a brief overview of the legislation and the status of the related federal and state regulations, our lively presenters will identify and discuss the specific provisions that will have the most significant impact on students with disabilities.

Moderator: Diane B. Funsten, M.Ed. BCBA, Pennsylvania Training and Techincal Assistance - Malvern, PA

Erin Gilsbach, Esq., King Spry Herman Freund & Faul - Bethlehem, PA
Robert B. Gidding, Esq., Law Offices of Robert B. Gidding - Bala Cynwyd, PA

Mental Health, Including Therapeutic Placements: Balancing the Law and Family Support
Students that require therapeutic placements or other mental health services continue to increase at a significant rate. Now more than ever, school districts must be aware of the legal requirements for educating students with mental health issues under the IDEA and Section 504. This session will provide an in-depth examination of these obligations and their effective implementation.


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

Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq., Capehart | Scatchard - Mount Laurel, NJ & PA
Jeni Hergenreder, Esq., Disability Rights - PA

Parental Participation: Can Schools and Families Work Together?
This session will explore the role of parents in educational decision-making under the IDEA. Presenters will address legal requirements and practical strategies to ensure meaningful parental participation for effective collaboration. Coverage will include recent administrative guidance and judicial decisions that address notice, predetermination, and language/cultural considerations.


Diane Holben, Ed.D., North Penn School District - PA

Co-Presenters: Jason Fortenberry, Esq., Frankel & Kershenbaum - Bryn Mawr, PA
Kyle Somers, Esq., Dischell Bartle Dooley, P.C. - PA

The Thin Blue Line In School: The Role of Law Enforcement Personnel in Relation to Students with Disabilities
Within public education, outside law enforcement professionals and school resource officers play an increasing role for responding to student conduct that violates school policies. For students with disabilities, how they implement that role is particularly important; their response may violate the IDEA and related laws. This session will provide legal information and practical strategies to facilitate school safety and legal compliance.


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


Christopher Conrad, Esq., Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin – PA, NJ, DE, OH, FL, & NY
Sarah Zuba, Esq., - Reisman Carolla Gran LLP, - Haddonfield, NJ & PA

The Substantive Standard for FAPE: How Much Benefit Is Required?
From the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Board of Education v. Rowley (1982) and the Third Circuit’s subsequent decision in Polk v. Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit 16 (1988) to the long line of FAPE cases culminating in the Supreme Court’s current consideration of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, what is the evolving substantive standard for the amount and scope of educational benefit that the IDEA requires for students with disabilities? This session will address satisfying the the moving target of the requisite benefit.

Moderator and Co-Presenter:

Claudia Huot, Esq., Wisler, Pearlstine, Talone, Craig, Garrity & Potash, LLP - Blue Bell, PA


David Thalheimer, Esq., Law Offices of Thalheimer & Palumbo, P.C. – PA, NJ, & DE

Special Education Law 101: The Do’s and Don’ts of Special Education Litigation
This session will provide a practical discussion of significant “hot button” issues of special education litigation. Lawyers specializing in special education litigation from both sides of the Delaware River will discuss best practices for addressing eligibility, independent educational evaluations, unilateral placements, educational methodologies, and Section 504 issues, while building and maintaining trust between the parents and other members of the IEP team. Plan to be be engaged in a participatory, interactive session on what experience shows to be effective tactics and strategies.


Michael Kaelber, Esq., New Jersey School Boards Assoc. - Trenton, NJ
Presenter: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq.

Hollie B. John, Esq., Jacobson and John, L.L.P. - Doylestown, PA

Legal Ethics: The Before, During, and After of Due Process Hearings

In a participatory format, the session will focus on ethical challenges that arise in the course of preparing for, participating in, and experiencing the effects of a special education due process hearing. Who should attend the hearing? What are the confidentiality issues among the staff, the student, the school, and the parents? When and how these roles present conflicts that may affect fact-finding? When does the lawyers’ role of zealous advocacy interfere with dispute resolution? What ethical issues in due process hearings arise from social media, divorced parents, and virtual due process hearings? Come learn from each other and share your experiences in resolving these emerging dilemmas.
Moderator William Culleton, Esq.,

Charles W. Jelley, Esq. LL.M

2:50 pm - 3:50 pm

Repeat of sessions H, I, J, K, L, M, & N

(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
Pending approval for PACLE - 5.5 credit hours.