2017 Special Education Law Symposium: Our Recipe for Success

Friday, July 7, 2017 - 12:15pm

The week-long (June 18-23) Special Education Law Symposium for 2017 was the most successful since the start of this series in 1991.  We ‘sold out” three weeks prior to the program, saw 175 registrants hailing from 27 states as varied as CA, MN, TX, VT, and WY, and from D.C., Guam and Northern Mariana Islands, enjoyed a blend of 24 Lehigh graduate students with some of the country’s most experienced special education professionals, and launched our inaugural Section 504 Coordinators Institute that attracted 54 school personnel with responsibility for implementing this increasingly important anti-discrimination statute.

Dr. James Newcomer
Dr. James Newcomer, Co-Director

This year's successful symposium is a culmination of contributing factors including the careful year-long planning led by Symposium Co-Directors Dr. James Newcomer, an alumnus of the Education Leadership Program, and Professor Emeritus Perry A. Zirkel; our time-tested template for program design that starts with a keynote for the total group, splits into two tracks (basic and advanced) for the next four days, and reintegrates the total group for a national case law update and crystal ball session on the final day; a balanced perspectives of parent-side and district-side presenters, representing 11 states and neutral roles of university professors and hearing officers; cutting-edge “hot topics” the relevant federal laws, including the Supreme Court’s recent Endrew F. decision; and the solid logistical support from staff members Donna Johnson and Shannon Weber.

Registrants had multiple flexible options including week-long or “per day” attendance, basic or advanced track, separable two-day Section 504 Coordinators Institute, or as part of the week-long symposium as well as Lehigh graduate credit, Act 48 (PA educators) or other continuing education credits, or CLE credits approved by the PA Bar Association for attorneys.

The Section 504 Coordinators Institute, which was a parallel feature during the last two days of the symposium, included Dr. Zirkel’s comprehensive comparison the IDEA and Section 504, “Section 504 and the ADA in the Schoolhouse and the Courthouse” by Vincent DePaul Professor of Law Mark Weber  and “Section 504 Nuts and Bolts: Getting Down to Brass Tacks,” by Lisa Hardcastle, veteran Section 504 school administrator in Texas

Detailed descriptors for the topics and presenters are still available for viewing on the symposium website at lehigh.edu/go/spedlaw

Save the date now for the 2018 Symposium - June 23 - 28, 2018! Hope to see you there!