Section 504 Coordinators Institute

The symposium offers an overlapping, but separable two-day (June 25-26) education component for school district Section 504 coordinators and others interested or involved in the Section 504 mandate for school districts. The participants in the Section 504 component have the option to register for one or more of the previous days in the Symposium.


Julie Weatherly, J.D. (Alabama)

Section 504 Topics:

  • Comparing Section 504 and the ADA with the IDEA: What Are Not Only the Significant But Also the Subtle Differences? NEW (Dr. Perry Zirkel)
  • Beyond the Basics: “Hot Topics” under Section 504 and the ADA NEW (Julie Weatherly)
  • Section 504 Nuts and Bolts: Getting Down to Brass Tacks (Lisa Hardcastle)
  • Pulling Together the Strands of Section 504 Implementation: An Informal Discussion with Colleagues (Lisa Hardcastle)


Special Education Law Symposium

The week-long Symposium begins on Sunday evening with a dinner and keynote address by the Director, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and concludes on Friday with the National Case Law Update (lunch included).

Eight, all new, litigation “hot topics” (three hours each) are offered Monday through Thursday to registrants who choose the Legally Experienced section. 

For those registrants new to special education law, the Legally Basic section offers foundation knowledge in three-hour sessions: IDEA overview/legal terminology, child find/eligibility, free appropriate public education (FAPE), least restrictive environment (LRE), discipline, remedies, Pennsylvania regulations, and Section 504.

Laurie VanderPloeg to Give Keynote Address

Laurie VanderPloeg (District of Columbia)

Laurie VanderPloeg, Director, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education, will again provide the symposium’s keynote address on Sunday evening, June 21. From her vantage point as the OSEP leader, she will provide an authoritative report on emerging federal policy related to special education. More details will be available on this website closer to the symposium.

Legally Experienced “Hot Topics” NEW

Craig Goodmark, J.D. (Georgia)


Legally Experienced “Hot Topics” Descriptors

  • You Be the Judge: Dueling Attorneys, the Facts, and the Law (Deborah Mattison, Andrew Faust, and Brian Jason Ford)
  • Child Find: The Latest, Thorny Issues (Deborah Mattison)
  • English Language Learners and the IDEA: The Round Peg and the Square Hole (Craig Goodmark)*
  • School Refusal/Avoidance and Other Attendance Issues (Peter Maher)
  • Compensatory Education: The Latest Wrinkles (Mary Ann Carroll)
  • The Bullying-Suicide Connection for Students with Disabilities (Michelle Moor)
  • Comparing Section 504 and the ADA with the IDEA: What Are Not Only the Significant But Also Subtle Differences? (Dr. Perry Zirkel)
  • Beyond the Basics: “Hot Topics” under Section 504 and the ADA (Julie Weatherly)

*  Attorney Goodmark’s reactor will be Michael Stafford, a Delaware school attorney.


Thomas Mayes, J.D. (Iowa)

Ethics for Special Education Litigators (attorneys only) NEW

This session will focus on common scenarios attorneys may face in special education negotiation and mediation, with special attention to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct concerning communication, confidentiality, decorum, fairness to opposing parties and counsel, transactions with persons other than clients, and serving as a third-party neutral.

(This one-hour session over lunch on Tuesday requires an additional fee, which includes the cost of the lunch.)


zirkelp_photoPerry Zirkel to Offer National Case Law Update

Concluding the Symposium on Friday, June 26, Lehigh University’s professor emeritus of education and law Dr. Perry Zirkel offers the National Case Law Update, a comprehensive review of the year’s published special education court decisions, including litigation trends and emerging “hot topic” issues. In addition, Dr. Zirkel will peer into his special education Crystal Ball and predict issues that may emerge in legislation and litigation in the coming year.