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Seattle University School of Law
901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall 312
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA 98122-1090
(206) 922-3319
(206) 398-4077 (fax)

Questions concerning registration should be directed to:
(206) 398-4281

Learn more about the IDEA ALJ/HO team

13th IDEA Academy for Administrative Law Judges and Impartial Hearing Officers

July 15-18, 2014 | 21.50 General; 0.0 Ethics WSBA ID#375321

The 13th Academy for IDEA Administrative Law Judges and Impartial Hearing Officers (ALJs and IHOs) will be held at the Seattle University School of Law on July 15-18, 2014.


The first day of training, Tuesday, July 15, offers a program for new special education hearing officers covering the basics of special education hearings. This will include an overview of testing and evaluations, an overview of special education hearing procedures, and other related topics.

Among the topics that will be available in the regular program will be: Expert Testimony; Understanding Functional Behavior Assessments; Current Issues in IDEA Hearings; Conducting Better Settlement Conferences; Mediation and Writing Better Decisions. Additional topics will be announced in the near future.

The Academy is intended to provide a forum for free and open discussion by (1) sitting hearing officers, whether administrative law judges or persons under current contract with a state education agency to serve as a hearing officer, and (2) designated state level personnel with administrative responsibility for other dispute resolution procedures or entitites.


Tues/July 15

  8:45 - 9:00/ Welcomes
  9:00 - 9:30/ IDEA - Purpose & Policy/William L.E. Dussault, Esq./ Why the IDEA was enacted; constituencies urging enactment, basic Congressional policy objectives.
  9:30 - 10:15/ Overview of the SPED Process: From Child Find to Court/ William L.E. Dussault, Esq./The major steps established and prescribed in the IDEA and the reasons for them: child find; identification; eligibility; IEP development; programming; placement; monitoring; dispute resolution (mediation; complaint investigations; due process hearings; civil actions).
  10:15 - 10:30/ BREAK
  11:00 - 12:15/ Overview of Tests & Testing: Theory, Tools and Practice/ Prof. Samuel Song/ Brief explanation/emphasis of the importance of evaluation (e.g., eligibility, programming, monitoring); identification of the major steps in evaluation/assessment; what can be expected in an assessment report; role of school and private psychologists (strengths/weaknesses)
  12:15 - 1:30/ LUNCH
  1:30 - 2:45/ Basic Hearing Procedures & Management/ Matthew D. Wacker (ALJ/WA)/Identification and discussion of the prescribed procedures for conducting a due process hearing under IDEA; suggestions concerning management of the hearing and the parties.
  2:45 - 3:00/ BREAK
  3:15 - 5:00/ Review of Fundamental Case Law/ Anne Lockwood (IHO/TX)/The fundamental case law governing IDEA and identification of major differences among the circuits.
  5:00 - 6:00/ CASH BAR RECEPTION

The regular program will offer a variety of topics addressing both procedural and substantive aspects of conducting due process hearings.

Day 1/Tues/July 15  

   8:30 - 9:00/ Welcomes
   9:00 - 10:30/ How I Wrote this Decision James Gerl (IHO/WV), Moderator; Panelists: Kay Abramsohn (ALJ/AZ); Linda Valentini (IHO/PA)/ An examination, comparison and discussion of how and why experienced ALJs/IHOs drafted and wrote their decisions. The session will begin with a discussion of the decision-writing process, including "nuts and bolts," basic objectives and identification of necessary elements in special education hearing decisions. A second segment will review and analyze actual decisions written by panel members that involved particularly difficult legal or related questions. Both segments will invite intensive audience participation.
   10:30 - 10:45/ BREAK
   10:45 - NOON/ How I Wrote this Decision Gerl; Abramson; Valentini
   Noon - 1:30/ LUNCH
   1:30 - 2:45/ Mediation: Practices and Suggestions Marc Purchin/A two-part session co-presented by a mediator and an administrative law judge. The first portion will identify mediation basics, followed by application to special education disputes at the stages of "early intervention" and the IDEA mandated "resolution" session.
   2:45 - 3:00//BREAK
   3:15 - 5:00/ Mediation: Practices and Suggestions Steven Smith (ALJ/WA)/ The second portion will begin from just after the failure of a resolution session, continuing through typical mid-litigation mediation of special education cases, and consider potential added challenges when not only has the resolution session failed, but also an initial mediation has failed.
   5:00 - 6:30/ RECEPTION

DAY 2/ Wed/July 16

   8:30 - 10:00/ Considering Expert Testimony/ William F. Culleton, Jr. (IHO/PA)/After briefly reviewing the history of and rules concerning definition of expert opinion evidence, this session will examine the uses of expert evidence and how opinions may be inferred and judgments may be drawn. It will identify conventions and best practices for psychological reporting and consider how to give appropriate weight to expert opinion. The session will conclude with a discussion of methods to facilitate the introduction of expert evidence
   10:00 - 10:20/ BREAK
   10:20 - Noon/ Considering Expert Testimony/ William F. Culleton, Jr.
   Noon - 1:30/ LUNCH
   1:30 - 2:45/ Some Basics About FBAs/ Jerome M. Sattler, Ph.D./Latest developments in the assessment of behavioral, social, and clinical aspects of children's functioning. Includes copy of Dr. Sattler's latest book "Foundations of Behavioral, Social, and Clinical Assessment of Children" Sixth Edition and its accompanying Resource Guide, which contains numerous checklists, forms, and semi-structured interviews related to the assessment of children with special needs and to children who are at risk. Topics will include functional behavioral assessment, and clinical assessment techniques and instruments; attention will be given to DSM-5.
   2:45 - 3:00/ BREAK
   3:00 - 5:00/ Some Basics About FBAs Jerome M. Sattler, Ph.D.

DAY 3/ Thurs/July 17

   8:30 - 10:20/ Current Issues in IDEA Hearings/ Prof. Mark C. Weber/ This session will discuss recent decisions concerning: (1) tuition reimbursement for unilateral placements in private settings; (2) evaluations and services in connection with post-secondary transition; (3) questions about the scope of evidence the school district may present at hearing; and (4) Problems that hearing officers and ALJs face in complying with IDEA's mandate that, in general, "decisions be made on substantive grounds based on a determination whether the child received a free appropriate public education."
   10:00 - 10:20/ BREAK
   10:40 - Noon/ Current Issues in IDEA Hearings/ Prof. Mark C. Weber
   Noon - 1:30/ LUNCH
   1:30 - 2:45 / Considerations with LEP Parties
   2:45 - 3:00/ BREAK
   3:00 - 5:00/ Best Practices in Managing Pro Se Hearings Stephen Rosenbaum/ Interactive discussion of methods available to obtain necessary evidence and facilitate hearings involving unrepresented parties.

DAY 4: Fri/July 18

   8:30 - 10:00/ Neuroscience of Decision-Making/ Kimberly Papillon/ These sessions will concern emerging research in neuroscience about how unconscious processes affect decision-making. They will identify the various unconscious "lenses" through which we see, evaluate and respond to persons and events and how these basic biological processes frame and influence our "rational" decision-making. The goal is to identify ways to increase fairness and sound decision-making guided by science.
   10:00 - 10:20/ BREAK
   10:20 - Noon/ Neuroscience of Decision-Making/ Kimberly Papillon
   Noon/ Adjournment


The registration fee includes the four day training program, all materials and continental breakfast and lunch each day, as well as a cash-bar reception on the first evening. Full refunds will be given if we receive notification on or before June 15, 2014; a 50% refund will be available until July 8, 2014; thereafter, no refund is available.

  • Per Person Registration Fees
    Early Registration (per person): $1,050 (received and paid on/before Wednesday, 4/30/14)
    Regular Registration (per person): $1,125 (received and paid on/before Sunday, 6/15/14)
    Late Registration (per person): $1,250 (received and paid after Sunday, 6/15/14)
  • Group (three or more persons) Registration Fees:
    3 - 5 persons:  $950 per person
    6+ persons:  $900 per person
    Applicable fees for all registrants in a group will be charged to the first person registered in the group as one transaction. If different members of the group are paying individually (for example with different credit cards), individual registrations are required.