The Wrightslaw Way

to Special Education Law and Advocacy

The Wrightslaw Way random header image

New York, New York…

by Wrightslaw

There is still time to register for this Wrightslaw Training in Long Island!

Thanks go out to sponsors, the Elija Foundation and Thivierge & Rothberg, PC for bringing Wrightslaw back for a fifth year!

Join Pete Wright, Esq., in Long Island, NY for a Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training on Friday, March 21, 2014. The training will take place at the Marriott Residence Inn, 9 Gerhard Road in Plainview, NY.

Register online today.

Download the registration form.

Find out about credits, scholarships, registrations fees and more.

See you in Long Island!

Print Friendly

Tags:   · · · · · · No Comments.

Children with Disabilities Learn & Succeed! How Baltimore Public Schools are Transforming Special Ed

by Wrightslaw

- by guest blogger Kalman R. Hettleman, former member of the Baltimore school board, former state human resources secretary, and tireless advocate for children with disabilities.

We encourage you to download Students with Disabilities Can Succeed! How Baltimore City Public Schools Is Transforming Special Education and the companion article by Mr. Hettleman published in The Abell Report. We include a portion of Mr. Hettleman’s article in this post.

To borrow from Mark Twain’s quip about the weather, everyone complains that special education focuses too much on procedural compliance and too little on academic achievement, but no one does much about it.

The One Year Plus policy of Baltimore City Public Schools described in the Abell Report and this Special Report has the potential to breathe new life into “special education” for students with disabilities. In recent decades, waves of K-12 education reform— including the No Child Left Behind Act, charter schools, alternative teacher recruitment paths, tougher teacher evaluations, better data to drive instruction, and a stronger research base for “reading by nine”— have produced trickle-down gains for students with disabilities. But special education, despite its lofty ideals, remains not nearly special enough.

Raising the Bar for Academic Progress  [

Print Friendly

Tags:   · · · · · · · No Comments.

QUIZ: Are you an Appeasing Compromiser or an Assertive Parent?

by Wrightslaw

Parent advocates come in a number of categories.

Do you know your advocacy style?

Be honest.  Click the choices that apply to you. (You may select more than one).

Then check the results to see how some advocates view themselves.

What type of advocate are you?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

As an advocate, which phrase best describes you?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Read more from Marie Sherrett about Assertiveness and Effective Parent Advocacy.

Print Friendly

Tags:   No Comments.

The 3 Ps of Preparation for IEP Team Meetings

by Wrightslaw

How do I prepare for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting?

There is a simple way to prepare for IEP Team Meetings.

I call it the “Three Ps of Preparation.”

  • Plan
  • Produce
  • Provide

Planning is important as you prepare for IEP meetings.

You will become better at negotiating for services because you will always have at hand the information you need. You will be able to your file and document list to convince other Team members that your child needs different services.

Learn the first step.

Produce a Parent Report – in writing!

Your Parent Report gives the Team the information it needs to write the functional part of the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance.

Learn about the importance of Present Levels and your parent input when writing this section in the IEP. Get a tip on what to avoid.

Provide your Parent Report twice. Learn when and to whom.

Learn the 3 Ps of Preparation in this new article from experienced Indiana Advocate Pat Howey!

Preparing for IEP Team Meetings at

Print Friendly

Tags:   · · · · · No Comments.

First Wrightslaw Training Coming to Boise, Idaho on April 3, 2014

by Wrightslaw

Join Pete Wright, Esq. and sponsors, the Autism Society of Treasure Valley for this special one-day event on April 3, 2014.

Registration Fee: Includes coffee, lunch and light refreshments at both the morning and afternoon breaks plus three Wrightslaw books. Early Bird Registration through March 2, 2014. Register Online Now!

Professional Information: 0.6 CEU’s (continuing education units) and 6 CLE’s (continuing legal education) credits through the Idaho State Bar have been approved for this conference.

Download and distribute the conference brochure.

For all conference details, to include nearest airports, venue parking and local hotel accommodations, click here.

See you in Boise, ID!




Print Friendly

Tags:   · · · · · · · · · No Comments.

Shifting Away from Zero-Tolerance? Improving School Discipline Policies…

by Wrightslaw

U.S. DOE and DOJ Release School Discipline Guidance Package

Goal: Improve school discipline and school climate

Reality: Kids with disabilities, especially minority kids, far more likely to be suspended, expelled, arrested, restrained than non-disabled kids.

Each year, significant numbers of students miss class due to suspensions and expulsions—even for minor infractions of school rules—and students of color and with disabilities are disproportionately impacted.

DOE and DOJ developed a package of guidance information that includes: [Read more →]

Print Friendly

Tags:   · · · · · 5 Comments

Get Ready Nashville, Tennessee! – Early Bird Registration Ends February 21, 2014!

by Wrightslaw

Join sponsor, The Arc of Tennessee and speaker, Pete Wright, Esq. in Nashville, TN for this one-day  Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Conference.

The March 13, 2014 training takes place at the Westminster Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, located at 3900 West End Ave., in Nashville.

Registration includes Continental Breakfast, lunch, snacks and three Wrightslaw books.

Click here to register online. Don’t miss out on Early Bird Registration! Ends on February 21, 2014!

For all conference details, please click here.

See you in Nashville!


Print Friendly

Tags:   · · · · · · · No Comments.

Not Thinking of Summer? It’s Time to Start…Planning for ESY!

by Wrightslaw

Virginia is knee deep in snow. Kids are sledding, not swimming.

But for parents, it’s time to think about summer and what extended services your child will need when school ends.

Extended School Year (ESY) services are special education and/or related services provided beyond the usual school year. ESY is not limited to the summer months. Your child may need these services during the summer and throughout the year in order to receive FAPE.

If you have not already started, plan now for ESY services for your child.

Get Prepared

When your IEP team meets, you should be prepared to request needed services and be able to defend your position.

  • Review the criteria for ESY
  • Get your state regulations and standards for ESY – they vary from state to state
  • Learn the legal requirements for ESY
  • Collect data about your child’s performance (academic, functional, behavioral)
  • Document what happens when your child has a break from school

ESY Criteria and Standards [

Print Friendly

Tags:   · · · · No Comments.

Coming Up – Wrightslaw Conference in Albuquerque, NM

by Wrightslaw

Education for Parents of Indian Children with Special Needs (EPICS) is hosting a Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Conference on Tuesday, March 25, 2014.

Pete Wright, Esq. will present this Pre-Academy session, kicking off the 11th Annual Family Leadership Academy which runs from March 26-28, 2014.

The training takes place at the Sheraton Uptown Hotel in Albuquerque, NM.

Registration fee includes Continental Breakfast, lunch, snacks and three Wrightslaw books. Click on the following links for more information!

Register Online

Print Registration Form

Family Leadership Conference Flyer

Exhibitor Registration Form

Sponsorship Opportunities

Family Scholarship Application

For all conference details, please click here.

See you in New Mexico!


Print Friendly

Tags:   · · · · · No Comments.

Can We Hear a Little about What Teachers Have to Deal With?

by Sue Whitney

I’m responding to a request from a special education teacher who asked if I would “tell our side of it.” She wrote:

Teachers are getting more and more students who say “I don’t have to listen or learn or stop harassing or assaulting others.”

We are expected to try and teach students who WANT to learn while attempting to deal with the others who REFUSE to let others learn.

Maybe we should set up classes for Conduct Disordered students. It’s not FAPE for a mild to moderate student to be forced to daily deal with sociopaths.

For every parent concerned about their child, we have ten who say “What do you want from me? I can’t do anything with him, he’s worse at home!”

When every student has to pass Algebra 1 to graduate, can you imagine how difficult it is to bend the Standards to have an SDC student with 3rd grade level abilities pass Algebra? The alternative is a certificate and no diploma, so both students and teachers are crushed between unreasonable expectations.

We’re torn between trying to teach and trying to advocate and sometimes just trying to survive.

Please tell our side of it.

Sometimes teachers do write to me. Here’s what they ask about. [Read more →]

Print Friendly

Tags:   · · 2 Comments