The New Jersey School Boards Association is hosting a half-day Special Education Symposium on Monday, May 14, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (registration begins at 8:30 a.m.) at Southard School Community Center, 115 Kent Road, Howell, NJ 07731.

The day will include a general session on ways that districts and parents can work together to provide the most appropriate educational plan for students with special needs. Parent/guardian advocate Staci Greenwald, from Sussan, Greenwald and Wesler, and Philip Stern, school board attorney with DiFrancesco, Bateman, Kunzman, Davis, Lehrer & Flaum, will discuss how the interests of parents/guardians and school districts can serve as positive catalysts for ensuring students with disabilities receive a free, appropriate, public education.

Emphasizing the legal mandate for collaboration and mutual respect among all Individual Educational Plan (IEP) team members, the presenters will provide illustrations from recent cases to suggest ways to minimize litigation and maximize opportunities for progress for students with disabilities. Irrespective of which side of the table participants occupy in the IEP Team process, this session will enlighten attendees to the fact that all participants can and should be seen as child advocates.

Additional presentations include:

Keynote Session John K. Worthington, Director, N.J. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Policy and Procedure, will deliver the opening general session, and will discuss important updates and initiatives from his office.

Breakout Sessions Two breakout sessions will follow the keynote and opening general session. Breakout session topics include:

  • Special Education Case Law Review, Cherie Adams from Adams, Guieterrez, & Lattiboudere, LLC, will discuss the recent legal changes in Special Education Law;
  • Bringing Students Back into District, North Brunswick Superintendent Brian Zychowski and his team will discuss establishing an in-district special education program that saves money (in North Brunswick, 100 special education students were brought back into the home district); and
  • What Board Members Need to Know About Special Education, John Burns, Counsel for NJSBA, and Irene Lefebvre, Chair, NJSBA Special Education Committee, will discuss the basics that every school board member should know about special education.

Cost/Registration Information The member rate is $49 per person, and the program offers 2 Board Member Academy credits. Registration of school board members and other district staff that have been reported to NJSBA through the completion of the district census form may be completed online, but only by the school business administrator, who must attach a scanned copy of the purchase order with the registration.

For questions regarding this program, please email Marcia Lavigne.