College of

Special Education Law Symposium

Sunday, June 20, 2021 - 6:00pm to Friday, June 25, 2021 - 4:00pm

Lehigh University’s intensive one-week symposium provides a practical analysis of legislation, regulations, and court decisions relating to the education of students with disabilities.

Who Should Attend?

The symposium is designed for special education coordinators and teachers, principals, psychologists, parent advocates, charter school personnel, attorneys (on both sides), hearing officers, state education agency personnel, and other individuals interested in a thorough exploration of the special education legal landscape. 

Distance Learning

Lehigh University offered the 2020 Symposium via distance learning (via a secure password), consistent with the university’s encouragement of the alternative of remote technology so that important events continued during the COVID-19 pandemic without jeopardizing public health and safety.

The symposium sessions were recorded for registrant password access.

We have always valued face-to-face interactions, a hallmark of our conferences. However, the current national emergency challenged us to be innovative and flexible. Just as we encourage our students with and without disabilities to see challenges as opportunities, it was our time to model that spirit.

We had a full complement of attorneys (both sides) who delivered the content as advertised for the 2020 Symposium. Likewise, the Symposium posted all attorney outlines (including legal citations) and other materials on-line with password access. We will be offering the 2021 Symposium in the same modality and except the same tremendous success as our 2020 Symposium.

2020 Registration Fees

Please note the following reduced rates, as we pass along savings from expenses (e.g., meals) that the Symposium will not incur in this distance learning format.

  • Full-week fee: $925
  • Per day fee: $245
  • Section 504 Institute two-day fee: $495
  • Sunday Keynote: $65
2020 Program

Dr. Perry Zirkel, Lehigh University professor emeritus of education and law, will offer a special session on Friday, June 26 to address the latest legal implications of the pandemic for students with disabilities: COVID-19 Issues under the IDEA and Section 504.  Click on National Case Law Update for further information.

The symposium begins on Sunday evening with a Keynote Address and Q & A provided by Laurie VanderPloeg, Director, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education. Director VanderPloeg will address from the federal perspective the impact of the COVID- 19 pandemic on special education.

The symposium will again overlap with a separable two-day (June 25-26) Section 504 Coordinators Institute, designed to provide both a conceptual framework and “nuts and bolts” implementation guidance for school personnel designated to implement this emerging non-discrimination statute. Click on Section 504 Coordinators Institute for more information.

Twenty-three accomplished special education attorneys will present eight new “hot topics” in three- hour sessions. Click on Legally Experienced Track Hot Topics for descriptors. A Legally Basic track will concurrently offer foundation topics under the IDEA and Section 504. See the Schedule (at the top of the page in the brown banner).

The experienced attorneys (both sides) will lecture, take questions from remote registrants to the extent feasible, and provide detailed lecture outlines with case law citations: Hope Blackburn (New Jersey), Maria Blaeuer (Maryland), Mary Ann Carroll (Rhode Island), Gina DeCrescenzo (New York), Craig Goodmark (Georgia), Rachel Hitch (North Carolina), Peter Maher (Connecticut), Isabel Machado (New Jersey), Thomas Mayes (Iowa), Dr. Anne McGinnis (New York), Catherine Michael (Indiana), Michelle Moor (Massachusetts), Claire Raj (South Carolina), Sharon Ramage (Texas), Michael Stafford (Delaware), Parris Taylor (Louisiana), Julie Weatherly (Alabama), and Pennsylvania attorneys Tanya Alvarado, Andrew Faust, Brian Jason Ford, Dennis McAndrews, Brooke Say, Liliana Yazno-Bartle, and Dr. Perry Zirkel.

Attend the full week or per day, depending upon registrant interest. Earn three Lehigh University graduate credits, Act 48 credits for PA educators, or enroll for non-credit professional development.

Section 504 Coordinators Institute

Included in the symposium is an overlapping two-day Section 504 Coordinators Institute, a training for district coordinators and others responsible for Section 504 implementation in public schools, including the latest litigated Section 504 disputes, an in-depth exploration of the relationship between Section 504/ADA and the IDEA, and a “nuts and bolts” how-to session about how to appropriately and effectively administer this important anti-discrimination statute.

Continuing Education Credits
  • CLE Credit: Unfortunately, due to the online format of the 2020 Special Education Law Symposium, we are unable to offer CLE credit this year.
  • Act 48: Pennsylvania Act 48 credits (up to 32.5 hours) are available for the symposium and Section 504 Institute.
Contact Information

Questions about the program and content information:
Perry Zirkel, Co-Director
Lehigh University, College of Education
111 Research Drive
Behtlehem, PA 18015

James Newcomer, Co-Director
321 Joshua Tree Drive
Collegeville, PA 19426

Questions about registration or technical issues:
Donna Johnson and Shannon Weber
Lehigh University
111 Research Drive, B206
Bethlehem, PA 18015

Other Offerings