New Mission

New Mission

My idea is to explore how other countries around the world are dealing with education and special education issues. I’d like to see different successful schools, wherever they may be, up close. I’d like to sit down with directors and administrators. I’d like to speak with government officials who keep a pulse on the education affairs of their communities. I want to learn more about education around the globe through speaking with locals, seeing the schools, and shaking hands with the people responsible for implementing the systems. If you know of any outstanding (public or private) special needs schools in other parts of the world, I’d love to hear about them. If you know any education experts from around the world, I’d love to be introduced to them. Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts or ideas. Read more about my mission.

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Friday, March 9, 2018

Manhattan Star Academy Q&A

Earlier this week I visited the Manhattan Star Academy (MSA) to speak with parents regarding the special education process.  I provided an overview regarding their rights and their school district's obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and answered questions regarding IEP meetings, Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), private school placement, Carter/Connors funding, and pendency.  What I emphasized to parents at MSA, and what I would like to emphasize again here, is that now is a crucial time for planning purposes as IEP meetings are being scheduled and decisions about your child's programming for the 2018-2019 school year are being made.

Parents should be aware that, in addition to having rights under the IDEA, they also have responsibilities, including communicating their concerns to their school districts and cooperating throughout all stages of the special education process.  The extent to which parents fulfill these responsibilities will affect how likely they are to obtain the supports and services that they are seeking for their children.

Please keep these points in mind as you make decisions about your child's special education needs and feel free to contact our office if we can assist with your planning or address any questions or concerns you may have.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Facing History And Ourselves: The Nanjing Atrocities

Last week I had the pleasure of reconnecting with Facing History And Ourselves, an organization I have become fond of over the last few years.  Facing History is an international educational and professional development organization whose mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds by providing ideas, methods, and tools for classroom instruction to promote cultural understanding and tolerance.  I was excited to attend their workshop about The Nanjing Atrocities.

The Nanjing Atrocities are not commonly taught in schools and a brief background may be useful.  In 1937, Japan invaded China with the goal of conquering the city of Nanjing, China's capital city at the time and a symbol of Chinese nationalism.  Japan's hostile actions were part of Japan's quest to build a Pan-Asian empire and some historians believe that World War II began with Japan's 1937 invasion of Nanjing.  Once Japan forced its way into China, Japan disregarded the rules of war and committed many atrocities, including mass murder, rape, and extreme violence against civilians.  

Facing History examines events that occurred and the context in which they happened in order to facilitate a deeper understanding of the historical significance.  At the workshop I attended, Facing History brought this subject to life through the presentation of rich, primary resources; an examination of the identities of the parties involved in the conflict; and a wonderful presenter who had an excellent command of the material and a warm and engaging style.  Of the primary sources we examined, I was most struck by a 1924 speech made in Japan by Chinese Nationalist leader Sun Yat-Sen about Pan-Asianism.  The speech was a plea to Japan to continue peaceful relations at a time when it was obvious to China that Japan was on the rise and becoming more aggressive.  The workshop also provided opportunities for group exercises to promote an interactive approach for grappling with the material and fostered a fair amount of self-reflection.      

As noted above, an important part of the Facing History approach is to examine the identities of those in conflict.  Our group was guided in examining the circumstances that led to Japan and China's viewing each other as enemies.  I was fascinated to learn about China's self-perception as a victim, Japan's motivations toward aggression, and how their perceptions were shaped by past experiences with the West, which fueled introspection and nationalism in both countries.  

I would like to thank Facing History for the opportunity to participate in this workshop.  I look forward to seeing the organization grow and continue to reach more students.  If you would like to learn more about Facing History, you can visit their website at

Monday, January 15, 2018

U.S. Department of Education Issues Guidelines for Understanding and Implementing the Endrew F. Decision

The United States Department of Education recently released guidelines regarding the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District.   

For those who would like some background about the case, please see our March 29, 2017 blog post discussing the Endrew F. decision.  You can access that blog post here:

The purpose of the guidelines is to provide parents and others with information about the issues addressed in the decision and about implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in light of this decision.

The guidance memorandum is available at the following link: 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Time & Space

Where Are We In Time & Space? is a question I asked myself today.  January in New York can get cold and gloomy, especially last week when we endured haltingly cold, near-zero temperatures, "bomb cyclones," and powerful gales of wind.  Right now, the days are short, the trees are bare, the streets are slushy, the people are clad in boots and heavy clothing, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may be kicking in (it's not lost on me that that acronym spells the very word that the disorder describes). We are crashing hard after the Christmas/New Year's peak and counting down the days to President's Week.

But we have to push on and our law firm is doing just that.  Mid-way through the 2017-2018 school year, we are taking stock of the statuses of our clients' cases.  We have litigated and prevailed in numerous impartial hearings of different kinds.  We have successfully resolved transportation issues.  We have negotiated substantial settlements with school districts.  We are continuing to file due process complaints to move our clients' matters forward and we are confident about our ability to achieve positive outcomes. 

At our law office, our team has been meeting on a weekly basis to discuss where cases stand and how to address our clients' needs.  We have been thinking creatively and collaboratively about how to approach our clients' cases in order to achieve the results that our clients seek.  Our team is working diligently to attend to our clients and guide them through NYC's special education gauntlet. 

I am pleased that clients have been coming in to our office for in-person meetings to discuss the current school year, review their children's progress or lack thereof, and map out next steps.  These face-to-face interactions have been energizing for our team.  If you have not yet come in, please reach out about scheduling an appointment. 

As we collectively trudge through the rest of winter, and the 2017-2018 school year, our law office would like to remind you about a few points concerning your child's education:

  • Timing: It is not too early to start thinking about your child's program and placement for the 2018-2019 school year. 
  • Communication: Continue to speak with your child's teachers and providers to ensure that he/she is making progress.  At any point between now and the end of the school year, you may learn that your child is struggling in the classroom and perhaps not receiving adequate programming, services, supports, or interventions.  Updated testing may be necessary or your child's program may need to be modified.  Keep an eye out for red flags, which could include poor grades, acting out, boredom/frustration, social/emotional withdrawal, etc. 
  • Testing and Applications: Psychological evaluations can take time and require planning.  For instance, in some cases it can take 1-2 months to obtain an appointment, and several weeks more to complete testing and reporting.  School admissions applications require planning too.  Leave yourself enough time to complete these processes and adequately plan next steps.  
  • IEP Meetings: IEP meetings are being scheduled and will be held over the next few months leading up to the start of the 2018-2019 school year.  Be prepared to attend them and make sure that the appropriate individuals from your child's current program are prepared to attend the meetings as well.  Make sure that you have all your ducks in a row, including updated paperwork, to increase the likelihood that you will secure the supports that your child needs.  
  • Resources: We pride ourselves on being a one-stop-shop of sorts and we can put you in touch with the right professionals.  These professionals will help you understand why your child is struggling and what kinds of supports your child needs in order to progress.  

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us to discuss your situation and figure out what steps you should be taking.  In the meantime, stay warm and safe.  We look forward to speaking with you soon.