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William & Mary Law School

2017 Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA)

Agenda l Slideshow

The 2017 Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA) at William & Mary Law School, Williamsburg, VA, July 30 - August 4, 2017 provided training in special education advocacy for experienced advocates, law students, new attorneys, and attorneys who are new to special education law.

ISEA 2017 also provide an Advanced Advocacy track for returning alumni who wanted to receive the William and Mary Law School Certificate in Special Education Advocacy.

ISEA is a five-day training program hosted by the William & Mary School of Law and co-sponsored by the PELE Special Education Advocacy Clinic, and Wrightslaw.

*** ISEA 2018 scheduled for July 29 - August 3, 2017 ***
Applications will be considered on rolling basis bi-monthly, from February 1, 2018-June 30, 2018

ISEA 2017 Agenda

The Institute opened Sunday evening, July 30, 2017, with the Orientation and Registration session and a wine and dessert Welcome Reception at the Law School.

The program included 25 sessions on applicable laws, ethics, best practices in advocacy, strategies in working with parents and schools, and dispute resolution procedures, taught by national leaders in the field. This training was approved for CLEs (continuing legal education, includes ethics) credits and 2.85 CEUs (continuing education units).

  • History and Relevant Law
  • Inclusion
  • Ethics in Special Education Advocacy (CLE credit)
  • Lives Worth Living (film)
  • Understanding Evaluations, Tests and Measurements
  • Making the Case for Eligibility
  • Juvenile Questioning
  • Preparing a Case for Trial/Due Process
  • Drafting Due Process Claims/State Complaints
  • Dispute Resolution and Settlements
  • Advocates Concerns
  • Evidence Strategies Panel by Attorneys
  • Advanced Advocacy Strategies and Tactics
  • School Discipline
  • Alternatives to IDEA
  • Section 504, the ADA, & Transitions(medical and legal components)
  • Methodologies Related to Autism & Reading
  • Bartlett v. NY Board of Law Examiners: ADA and High Stakes Testing
  • Strategies for Working with Schools
  • Legal Developments in 2016 and 2017
  • Nuts and Bolts of Law/Advocacy Practice
  • FBAs and BIPs
  • How to Use IDEA's Fee-Shifting Provision to Serve Families
  • The Practice of Law
  • Endrew F. and Fry Implications
  • Filing OCR Complaints
  • Creating Systemic Change in Your State

Attendees were selected via an application process. Attendees received over $200.00 in texts, comprehensive course materials, resource materials, and multimedia training required for completing pre-assignments. Law students earned two graded credits for this course. 

ISEA 2017 Faculty

Marilyn Bartlett
Marilyn Bartlett, J.D., Ph.D., Professor of Educational Law and Policy at Texas A&M University in Kingsville and Special Education Advocate. Dr. Bartlett, a person who has dyslexia, is a graduate of ISEA 2012. She is an active member of the national AHEAD (Association of Higher Education and Disabilities) and of AERA (Ed Admin SIG and the Law SIG). She is an active member of the Educational Law Association (Membership Committee) and she is the Academic Advisor to the Chi Upsilon Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi at TAMUK. Dr. Bartlett is an advocate for students with special needs and their parents in the ManaSota schools in Florida. Dr. Bartlett is well published and presents locally, nationally and internationally on topics of educational law including IDEIA, ADA-AA, and Section 504 as well as bullying in the schools, The McKinney-Vento Act (homeless children’s education) and the rights of LGBTQ students. As the former plaintiff, she enjoys sharing her story about her 10 year battle with the New York Board of Law Examiners as she sought accommodations to take the NY Bar Exam.

Crystal Shin, Esquire Andrew K. Cuddy is the founder and managing attorney of the Cuddy Law Firm. He is an alumnus of The College of the Holy Cross (B.A., Philosophy) and upon graduation received a commission as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. He served on active duty for nearly five years and is a combat veteran of the First Persian Guild War. Remaining in the Marine Corps Reserves while attending law school, he was recalled to active duty for service in Somalia and attained the rank of captain. He completed his legal studies at SUNY Buffalo Law School (J.D., 1996).

Andy initially practiced criminal defense law. In 2001, a case with overlapping special education issues introduced him to the challenges faced by the families of children with special needs. Special education cases soon became the major focus of his law practice. He has initiated due process hearings against over 100 school districts in New York State; speaks widely on special education topics to parents, educators and health care professionals; and is the author of The Special Education Battlefield: A Guide to the Due Process Hearing and Other Tools of Effective Advocacy. The Firm expanded in 2012 to other areas of disability law, including special needs planning, guardianship and appeals of decisions of the New York State Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities. He serves as a member of the board of directors of Unity House, Inc., a nonprofit agency that provides transitional and permanent housing, respite care and rehabilitative and employment services to adults with mental health challenges, chemical dependencies and developmental disabilities. He resides in Auburn with his wife and two sons.

Jim Comstock-Galagan, EsquireJim Comstock-Galagan has served for the past 13 years as the Executive Director of the Southern Disability Law Center (SDLC) located in New Orleans, LA, with a second office in Austin, TX. Founded in 2001, SDLC is a 510 (c) (3) non-profit legal services organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the legal rights of people with disabilities throughout the South. It partners with the Southern Poverty Law Center, Protection and Advocacy (P&A) programs, Legal Services Corporations (LSC) and disability organizations on major, systemic disability rights issues involving the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the federal Medicaid Act. Recently on July 15, 2014, Jim retired.

Before founding SDLC, Jim was the Executive Director of Advocacy, Inc. (AI), the Texas P&A, where he worked for 12 years. During that period, he managed the growth of the Texas P&A from an office of 34 staff to a staff of 93, and from a centralized operation with one office to a regionalized operation with eleven offices spread across Texas. From 1981-1989, Jim worked for the Advocacy Center for the Elderly and Disabled in New Orleans (Louisiana P&A) as its Legal Director. From 1979 to 1981 Jim worked as a staff attorney for the Louisiana Center for the Public Interest.

Jim graduated from Tulane University School of Law in 1977, and has a BA in Accounting & Economics from the University of Puget Sound. Jim is the author of publications and training materials on the IDEA, the ADA, and Section 504, including: Stopping the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Pipeline by Enforcing Federal Special Education Law (2006), co-authored with Rhonda Brownstein from the Southern Poverty Law Center. He has served as lead or co-counsel in several IDEA class action lawsuits in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas on behalf of thousands of students with disabilities, and in five systemic IDEA Administrative Complaints filed under the IDEA in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida. Jim has also made numerous presentations at both regional and national conferences on IDEA and ADA issues.

Nicole Dooley, US DOE OCRNicole Dooley is an attorney advisor with the Metro (DC) office of the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR). As an OCR attorney, she investigates and resolves complaints of discrimination based on race, color, national origin; sex; disability, and/or age in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the Department. The Metro office covers Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia. Before starting at OCR in 2015, Nicole spent five years as an attorney with the JustChildren program of the Legal Aid Justice Center representing children and families in the Richmond and Petersburg areas in special education and school discipline matters.

Dr. Beth HellerRoseann Duplan is a Legal Advocate for the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. The center is the federally funded protection and advocacy system (P&A) in Oklahoma. RoseAnn is the mother of three children, including a son who has multiple disabilities. She has over twenty years of advocacy experience which includes both individual and systemic advocacy. RoseAnn is a 2001 graduate of the Oklahoma Partners in Policymaking Program and has been an instructor with the program since 2011. She is the 2016 winner of the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Diana McCalment Award for Outstanding Advocacy.

Harry Gewanter, MDDr. Harry Gewanter is a Richmond, Virginia pediatrician and pediatric rheumatologist and a cofounder and Medical Director of Medial Home Plus, Inc., a nonprofit agency that provides information, support and resource coordination to families of children with special health care needs and the professionals that serve them. He is an active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Arthritis Foundation and other organizations, nationally, regionally and locally, and serves on the board of the Disability Law Center of Virginia Foundation among others. Dr. Gewanter is a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the VCU School of Medicine and the recipient of a variety of awards for his leadership and advocacy activities. The father of 4 children, 3 of who had IEPs, his passion for improving the lives of all children and youth with special health care needs and their families is driven by his personal and professional experiences.

Pat Howey, Advocate Pat Howey has four children, eight grandchildren, and ten great- grandchildren. Several of her children, grandchildren, and one great-grandchild have a variety of disabilities. Pat has a specific learning disability. Pat has been involved in special education advocacy since 1985. She advocates for families who have children with disabilities, specializes in dispute resolution, and works as a paralegal on a contract basis with several parent attorneys. Pat has represented parents in Individualized Education Plan Meetings, Resolution Meetings, Mediation, due process hearings, and has prepared cases for due process hearing and federal court for parent attorneys.

In 2008, Pat became involved in the world of adult special education when her brother suffered a massive stroke. She continues to learn how to navigate the Social Security Disability, Social Security Retirement, Veterans Administration, Medicare, and Medicaid systems.

Pat is a member of the Wrightslaw Speakers Bureau, a former Commissioner of the Tippecanoe County Human Relations Commission, and a charter member and member of the first Board of Directors of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates. She also served as chairperson for the advocacy group, Parents and Professionals for Special Education. Pat graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Paralegal Studies from Saint Mary of the Woods College.

Paul Marcus, College of William and MaryPaul Marcus is the Haynes Professor of Law at the College of William and Mary. Formerly the law dean at the University of Arizona, his teaching and research interests are in the criminal justice, comparative law, and intellectual property areas. He has spoken to numerous judicial, bar and university groups in the U.S., and has lectured in several other nations. He is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law. Prior to going into teaching, Professor Marcus clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and practiced law in Los Angeles. He is the author of several books in the criminal justice area and has written numerous articles in the field as well. Professor Marcus regularly serves as a consultant in on-going criminal prosecutions. Professor Marcus is serving as President of the Association of American Law Schools, an organization made up of 179 U.S. law schools.

Bill Reichhardt, Esquire William B. Reichhardt (Bill) is now retired from the full time practice of law and lives in Annapolis, Maryland. He received a B.A. from the University of Virginia (1971); a M.Ed. degree in counseling from the University of Virginia (1976) and a J.D. from George Mason University School of Law (1983). He has been admitted to practice in Virginia and Maryland.

His current efforts are limited to pro-bono work in Maryland and consulting and lecturing regarding special education and school law. For over 33 years, Mr. Reichhardt litigated at the trial and all appellate levels of the Virginia State and Federal courts. He has represented parents in special education due process hearings and Federal Court appeals.

In August 2006, Mr. Reichhardt was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia to serve on the Virginia State Bar Professionalism Course Faculty where he served for six years. Bill is a co-author of the Juvenile Law and Practice Handbook published by the Virginia Law Foundation and he has lectured extensively on topics related to school discipline, the rights of children, special education, criminal defense practice i juvenile court, and the laws of child abuse and neglect. He is the 2010 recipient of the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award bestowed by the Virginia State Bar in recognition of his efforts to provide and support legal advocacy for children.

Marilyn BartlettDr. Karen Tyson is a Pediatric Neuropsychologist and the Chief Clinical Psychologist at the LD-ADHD Center of Hawaii. She has a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and post doctoral specialty training and certification in neuropsychology. She is a nationally recognized expert in the area of learning disabilities and autism. She attended ISEA in 2015 at the William and Mary School of Law and is called on to testify in court for learning disabled students across the United States. Her clinic, the LD-ADHD Center of Hawaii has multiple offices on Oahu and also on the Big Island. She is an approved APPIC training site for graduate students pursuing their doctorate in clinical psychology and mentors and trains students across Hawaii. She specializes in learning disabilities, ADHD and Autism and conducts exhaustive neuropsychological evaluations to assist families and school in better understanding a child's strengths and deficits. She is also an active researcher; current research studies include gender differences in girls with autism as well as a reverse longitudinal study of the effects of pitocin on the brain and possible correlations with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Pam Wright from WrightslawPam Wright has a Master's Degree in both Psychology and Social Work. Since graduate school, she has worked as a psychotherapist with children and families. Her training and experience in clinical psychology and clinical social work give her a unique perspective on parent-child-school dynamics, problems, and solutions. Pam has written extensively about raising, educating and advocating for children with disabilities. She is the co-author of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law (1999), Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (2003), Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004, (2005), Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, (2005), Wrightslaw: All About IEPs (2010) and Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments (2014) and Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases - 2015, 2016. Pam is also the editor of The Special Ed Advocate newsletter. Pam and Pete Wright were Adjunct Professors of Law at the William and Mary Law School where they taught a course about special education law and advocacy and assisted with the Law School's Special Education Law Clinic. Pete and Pam are co-founders and faculty at the William and Mary Law School Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA). They are the founders of Wrightslaw, the #1 ranked website about special education law. Pam designed and built several special education advocacy sites including Wrightslaw.com, Fetaweb.com, and the Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities. Pam and Pete Wright provide special education law and advocacy training for parents, advocates, attorneys, educators, and others who are working to ensure that children with disabilities received quality special education programs.

For three semesters, as Adjunct Faculty, Pete and Pam Wright taught "Special Education Law" at the William & Mary School of Law in order to assist with the creation of their Special Education Law Clinic (PELE). They now teach at the week-long Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA) Clinic at the Law School each summer.

Peter W.D. Wright, Esquire Pete Wright is an attorney who represents children with special educational needs. In second grade, Pete was diagnosed with learning disabilities including dyslexia, dysgraphia and ADHD. He was fortunate – his learning problems were identified early. His parents obtained intensive Orton-Gillingham remediation for him by Diana Hanbury King. Pete's determination to help children grew out of his own educational experiences.

Pete attended Washington, DC public schools from Kindergarten through the eleventh grade at which time he was maintaining a "D" average. He then attended Moses Brown School in Providence RI where, as a condition of entry, he repeated the eleventh grade. In his senior year, he was co-captain of the football team and was "All New England" in football and track. He then attended Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA. While attending Randolph Macon College, Pete worked in a Juvenile Training School as a houseparent. After graduation with a degree in Psychology, he worked in another Juvenile Training School as a counselor and later became a Juvenile Probation Officer in the Juvenile Court system. In 1972, he was honored as Virginia's "Juvenile Probation Officer of the Year." During that time, Pete was also attending evening college in a graduate psychology program at Virginia Commonwealth University where he earned 30 credit hours toward a Master's Degree in Psychology. However, in 1975 Pete then shifted his focus and enol led in law school. In 1977, Pete graduated from T. C. Williams Law School at the University of Richmond. After passing the February, 1978 Bar Exam Pete became licensed to practice law in Virginia in April, 1978, is a member of the Virginia Bar in good standing and remains licensed to this date.

On October 6, 1993, Pete gave oral argument before the United States Supreme Court in Florence County School District Four v. Shannon Carter, 510 U.S. 7 (1993). Thirty-four days later, the Court issued a unanimous decision for Shannon Carter.

In 2005, while the SCOTUS, Schaffer v. Weast, special education burden of proof case was pending, the National Council on Disability (www.nce.gov) contracted with Pete Wright to prepare a "Policy Paper" for submission to the Court as a part of their role being the federal agency concerned with national issues regarding disabilities. The "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Burden of Proof: On Parents or Schools?" was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on July 25, 2005 and is located on Wrightslaw at: https://www.wrightslaw.com/ncd/wright.burdenproof.pdf.

On January 5, 2017, Pete Wright trained approximately 200 Office of Civil Rights staff attorneys and staff investigators about the interrelationship between IDEA, Section 504, and ADA.

Pete is the co- author of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law (1999), Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (2003), Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004, (2005), Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd edition (2005) and Wrightslaw: All About IEPs, Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments (2014) and the Wrightslaw Year in Review Series - Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases 2016, 2015. He appeared as the parent's attorney in in the award-winning DVD video, Surviving Due Process: When Parents and the School Board Disagree - Stephen Jeffers v. School Board (2004).

For three semesters, as Adjunct Faculty, Pete and Pam Wright taught "Special Education Law" at the William & Mary School of Law in order to assist with the creation of their Special Education Law Clinic (PELE). They now teach at the week-long Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA) Clinic at the Law School each summer.

Meet the ISEA 2017 Graduates l View the Slideshow

William & Mary Institute of Special Education Law 2017

ISEA 2017 - Day 4

ISEA 2018  l  2017  l  2016  l  2015   l  2014   l  2013  l  2012  l  2011

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Created: 09/08/17
Revised: 09/21/17

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