Saturday, August 13, 2011

The William & Mary Law Clinic's Institute of Special Education Advocacy

Well, it is over until next July. The first class of the W&M ISEA graduated yesterday, benefiting from the teaching of the best experts in the United States, Pete and Pam Wright, Mark Kamleiter, Jim Comstock-Galagan, Harry Gewanter, Kayla Bower, Bill Hurd, Tom Coe, Joy Turner, Bill Reichardt, and Lori Kornek. If you don't know who these folks are, you are missing several essential tools in your special education advocacy toolbox. The W&M ISEA is held at the W&M Law School Campus in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Especially interesting was being able to hear the school attorney's perspective of Jason Ballum of Smith Reed, who was expectedly unflappable in the midst of this group of advocates who did not fear questioning him about how to better advocate with school districts. I thank Jason for being willing to help the W&M ISEA participants learn how to be more professional in their advocacy efforts. I explained to Jason that now, perhaps, he better understands how parents feel when they walk into the IEP room filled with school staff.

Congratulations to all of this year's graduates. I enjoyed meeting you and teaching you some of the finer points of preparing for IEP meetings. I look forward to networking with you all in the future and sharing advocacy tips. Go forth into the world, teach others, and advocate professionally.

Next year's ISEA is set for the week of July 23, 2012 and will include an advanced track for parent attorneys held simultaneously with the advocate track. This will be a great way to network with parent attorneys and learn what they expect from advocates.

Watch the Wrightslaw website for further details and when registration comes online, do not wait. The 2011 session sold out within two weeks and the ISEA's popularity is expected to increase and slots are limited.

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