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The Extended School Year (ESY) is a five (5) week, five (5) day summer program for students with disabilities whose Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Teams have identified to be at risk of substantial regression of skills over the summer.

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, ESY instruction for Summer 2020 will be offered completely remote. We are collaborating with various teams to make this a productive summer that will offer rigorous instruction and support for students who are eligible.


Monday, July 6, 2020 – Friday, August 7, 2020
Instructional Hours: 9am-12pm

If your child is eligible for ESY as indicated by their IEP, please RSVP here.


Free Online Remote Education Log

This is a tool to help you keep track of your child’s remote special education services and instruction while school is closed. You can also use it to keep track of concerns you have about your child’s learning or any areas of progress.


Special Education During a Pandemic Webinar & Comp. Ed.

Gain Access to Webinar Here

Comp.Ed. Law Webinar PP

Compensatory Education Case Law
from the Beginning
Through Draper in 2008

by Pete & Pam Wright

Compensatory education is not addressed in either the United States Code, (IDEA 2004), the Code of Federal Regulations, or state statutes and regulations. It is not in IDEA.

It is strictly a creation of and developed by case law! To understand it, you need to know the history.

The evolution of changes in special education law are caused, in part, by changes in the United States Code. For example, the 1975 Education for All Handicapped Children Act was revised in 1997 and it’s name was changed to the Individuals with Disabilties Education Act (known as IDEA 97).

Another major revision was in 2004 and now that law is typically referred to as IDEA 2004. In addition to changes by Congress, the evolution of changes in special education law are created by the decisions issued by the U. S. Supreme Court and the U. S. Courts of Appeal.

The law about entitlement to compensatory education has been directly impacted by three cases from the U. S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) – Burlington in 1985, this author’s Carter case in 1993, and the recent 2017 Endrew F. case.

Decisions from the next lower court, the U. S. Courts of Appeal, have caused a major shift and are the focus of this overview about the law of compensatory education.

In 1982, the Eighth Circuit in Miener v. State of Missouri 673 F.2d 969 (8th Cir.1982) held that “Congress did not create a private cause of action under the EHA for the damage relief requested, including compensatory educational services.”

In 1985, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in Burlington School Committee v. Department of Education, 471 U.S. 359, 105 S.Ct. 1996, 85 L.Ed.2d 385 (1985) explaining that:

“In this Court, the Town repeatedly characterizes reimbursement as ‘damages,’ but that simply is not the case. Reimbursement merely requires the Town to belatedly pay expenses that it should have paid all along and would have borne in the first instance had it developed a proper IEP.”

In ordering tuition reimbursement to the parents, the Court said that “The statute directs the court to ‘grant such relief as it determines is appropriate.’ The ordinary meaning of these words confers broad discretion on the court. The type of relief is not further specified, except that it must be ‘appropriate.’ Absent other reference, the only possible interpretation is that the relief is to be ‘appropriate’ in light of the purpose of the Act . . . [and that] means that equitable considerations are relevant in fashioning relief.”

In 1986, Miener went back to the Eighth Circuit on a renewed claim for compensatory education. The Court reversed itself explaining that “However, the Supreme Court’s decision in Burlington, supra, a unanimous opinion by Mr. Justice Rehnquist, has altered our understanding of what “damages” includes in the context of the EHA . . . the plaintiff is entitled to recover compensatory educational services if she prevails on her claim that the defendants denied her a free appropriate education in violation of the EHA.” Miener v. State of Missouri 800 F. 2d 749 (8th Cir.1986)

Miener was the first U. S. Court of Appeals to uphold an award of compensatory education and continues to be regularly cited by other courts as the legal authority for such an award.

In 1988, two years later, the Eleventh Circuit, in Jefferson County (Alabama) v. Breen, 853 F.2d 853 (11th Cir.1988) citing Burlington and Miener as authority held that “Compensatory education, like retroactive reimbursement, is necessary to preserve a handicapped child’s right to a free education . . . [and] providing a compensatory education should serve as a deterrent against states unnecessarily prolonging litigation in order to decrease their potential liability. We believe that the district court correctly ordered the Board to provide Alice with two years compensatory education.”

Four months later, in New York, the Second Circuit, in Burr v. Ambach, 863 F. 2d 1071 (2d Cir.1988), also citing Burlington and Miener, held that “Administrative and legal proceedings are often lengthy, and a person who prevails at the end of such proceedings should be able to obtain what the proceedings establish he was entitled to when they began. Clifford should not lose the education to which he was entitled at the time his parents requested a hearing under the Act because the hearing was protracted. The Institute was mistaken when it decided that its program was inappropriate for Clifford, as the administrative decisions show, and that mistake should not cost Clifford one and one-half years of education to which he was entitled.” Note, after this decision, Burr went back up to the Court a year later on another issue, so that this case is known as Burr I and the other as Burr II.

In 1990, the Third Circuit, in Lester H. v. Gilhool, PA Secretary of Education 916 F.2d 865 (3d Cir.1990), upheld a district court ruling that “awarded the plaintiff, Lester H., two and one half years of compensatory education beyond age 21, the statutory maximum specified in the EHA.”

For two and a half years, as a result of different schools and home-bound instruction, the child did not receive FAPE. The Court of Appeals upheld the District Court explaining that “The injury has been done and although the exact contours of the appropriate remedy may not be ascertainable now, Lester’s injury certainly could be, and was, ascertained. Moreover, the court left ample room for the exact contours of the remedy to be shaped by the appropriate authorities at the appropriate time. All the court did was award Lester the number of years needed to restore that which concededly had been denied him and that to which he is entitled . . .”

A month later, the Second Circuit again addressed compensatory education in Mrs. C. v. Wheaton (Comm. of Educ, CT) 916 F.2d 69 (2d. Cir.1990). This case is similar to some issues that are presently occuring nationwide related to COVID-19 and services either being terminated or not provided.

“In light of our determination that the Department was required to follow EHA procedures before terminating J.C.’s educational placement, the complaint clearly alleges violations of the EHA that led to J.C.’s exclusion from his educational placement. Moreover, a comparison of appellant’s allegations with the violations we found in Burr I shows that compensable education is an appropriate remedy here. The ‘gross violations’ we found in Burr I consisted of undue delay in an agency hearing and in administrative review thereafter in violation of the EHA and applicable regulations in a situation where the handicapped child was being deprived of the benefit of the ‘stay-put’ provision of the EHA because his former school had closed.

Thus, in Burr I the failure to comply with EHA procedures completely deprived the student of an educational placement until he was 21. Here, appellant alleges that defendants in effect took advantage of J.C.’s mental infirmities in order to evade EHA procedures, resulting in J.C.’s complete exclusion from an educational placement until he was 21, with disastrous results. We believe that the complaint states a claim for compensatory educational relief.”

“As we held in Burr I and Burr II and hold again today, compensatory education is a proper remedy in an appropriate situation for enforcing EHA educational rights. Since § 504 expressly allows for equitable relief, compensatory education is an appropriate remedy when it is used to enforce EHA rights.”

In 1991, the Sixth Circuit in Hall v. Knott County (KY) 941 F.2d 402 (6th Cir. 1991) addressed compensatory education in light of a statute of limitations issue. The blind child “received home instruction from the defendant board of education beginning in 1972, when she was 11 years old. The home instruction was continued beyond her 21st birthday, and she received a high school diploma at the age of 22. This lawsuit was filed five years later, when the plaintiff was 27.”

“Although the plaintiff had stated a justiciable claim for prospective compensatory education costs, she was estopped to make the claim because she and her parents had failed to assert their rights at a time when the defendants could still have complied with the Act.”

“The principal issue on appeal, which is linked to the type of relief available, is whether the action was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Concluding that it was, we shall affirm the dismissal.” [Wrightslaw Note: Hall graduated on May 3, 1983. At that time all case law denied any entitlement to comp ed. This case was filed on on May 26, 1988 and Miener was the only case at that time that authorized entitlement to comp ed.]

In 1994 the Second Circuit again addressed comp ed in Garro v. Connecticut Dept. of Educ. 23 F.3d 734 (2d Cir.1994) and held that it “is unavailable to a claimant over the age of twenty-one in the absence of ‘gross’ procedural violations.”

That same year, on the west coast in a State of Washington case, the Ninth Circuit in Student v. Puyallup Sch. Dist. 31 F.3d 1489 (9th Cir.1994), found that the student “unquestionably lost time during his eighth and ninth grade years when he was not receiving special services. The plaintiffs argue that ipso facto, he is entitled to an equal amount of compensatory education, without any further analysis. But compensatory education is not a contractual remedy, but an equitable remedy, part of the court’s resources in crafting ‘appropriate relief.’ There was no showing that a general award of unspecified one and one-half years of compensatory education was appropriate.”

“There is no obligation to provide a day-for-day compensation for time missed. Appropriate relief is relief designed to ensure that the student is appropriately educated within the meaning of the IDEA. Student W. was able to graduate from high school, before reaching age 21, without more services than provided for in his annual IEP. The IDEA promises him no more.”

“To hold that the district court abused its discretion in denying compensatory relief would be to destroy the equitable nature of the district court’s charge to fashion ‘appropriate relief.’ It may be a rare case when compensatory education is not appropriate, but it was not an abuse of the district court’s discretion to decide that this case was such a rarity.”

In 1995, the Third Circuit in Carlisle Area Sch. v. Scott P. 62 F.3d 520 (3rd Cir.1995) said that “We have held that compensatory education is available to respond to situations where a school district flagrantly fails to comply with the requirements of IDEA.”

The Court removed the “bad faith / flagrant disregard” standard. “Although we do not believe that bad faith is required, most of the cases awarding compensatory education involved quite egregious circumstances. This case does not appear to be in that category.”

“The cases from other circuits which recognize compensatory education without explicitly requiring a higher degree of intent by the district have also involved more culpable conduct.”

“In any event, there was no violation shown here, since the 1991-92 IEP was not challenged and was therefore presumptively appropriate. We must therefore reverse the district court’s order insofar as it awarded six months of compensatory education for the purported inappropriateness of the 1991-92 IEP.”

Until that point in time, in order to obtain the entitlement to compensatory education, there had to be some egregious facts against the school district.

In 1996, the mindset of the Courts began to shift. In M.C. v. Central Region Sch. Dist. 81 F.3d 389 (3d. Cir.1996) the Third Circuit explained that “Under IDEA, a disabled student is entitled to free, appropriate education until he or she reaches age twenty-one. A court award of compensatory education requires a school district to provide education past a child’s twenty-first birthday to make up for any earlier deprivation.”

“In order to define the correct standard for granting compensatory education, we must delineate the threshold of deficiency in the school board’s stewardship necessary to trigger an award. Unfortunately, there is little caselaw or legal commentary to guide us. Likewise there are no New Jersey or federal regulations to direct our inquiry. While this is not the first time we have contemplated this issue, the facts of our previous cases have made our past analyses relatively straightforward.”

“Our holding can be summarized as follows: a school district that knows or should know that a child has an inappropriate IEP or is not receiving more than a de minimis educational benefit must correct the situation. If it fails to do so, a disabled child is entitled to compensatory education for a period equal to the period of deprivation, but excluding the time reasonably required for the school district to rectify the problem. We believe that this formula harmonizes the interests of the child, who is entitled to a free appropriate education under IDEA, with those of the school district, to whom special education and compensatory education is quite costly.”

“Obviously the case against the school district will be stronger if the district actually knew of the educational deficiency or the parents had complained. But a child’s entitlement to special education should not depend upon the vigilance of the parents (who may not be sufficiently sophisticated to comprehend the problem) nor be abridged because the district’s behavior did not rise to the level of slothfulness or bad faith. Rather, it is the responsibility of the child’s teachers, therapists, and administrators and of the multi-disciplinary team that annually evaluates the student’s progress to ascertain the child’s educational needs, respond to deficiencies, and place him or her accordingly.”

“Thus, J.C.’s educational deprivation appears to have lasted a long time. On remand, the district court should determine when the Central Regional knew or should have known that J.C.’s IEP was inappropriate or that he was not receiving more than de minimis educational benefit; it should also define the reasonable time within which the district should have done something about it. Compensatory education should accrue from that point forward.”

As the entitlement to compensatory education became clear, the developing issue was how much comp ed and how is it determined.

In 2000, the Eighth Circuit (of Miener fame) in Strawn v. Missouri Bd. of Ed. 210 F.3d 954 (8th Cir. 2000) affirmed the child’s entitlement to compensatory education and said that “we think the determination of a remedy for a year of lost education should properly lie with a state administrative panel in the first instance.”

“However, we note that Lauren may be entitled to more than just one year of compensatory education because, as the resolution conference acknowledged, ‘the optimum time for language acquisition is at a younger age than Lauren’s present age.’ Thus, we remand to the district court with an instruction to refer the matter back to the state panel for a determination of the appropriate compensatory education remedy.”

In other words, a year lost of special education could require more than a year of compensatory education.

In 2003, in Maine Sch. Admin. Dist. No. 35 v. Mr. and Mrs. R., 321 F.3d 9 (1st Cir.2003) the Court explained that “compensatory education is not an appropriate remedy for a purely procedural violation of the IDEA. In contrast, a substantive violation may give rise to a claim for compensatory relief. Here, the prospective relief that the appellants sought at the commencement of these proceedings was both procedural and substantive. Thus, a claim for compensatory education arguably lies and their case is not moot.”

Due to the passage of time in a special education appeal, some cases have become moot, in that there was no longer an ongoing controversy. Once deemed moot, some pro-child decision’s from the District Court have been vacated and thus the parent’s entitlement to recoupment of attorney’s fees has become lost. That happened twice in 2019 and the cases are discussed in our 2019 Year in Review book, scheduled for release in June, 2020.

In a case involving an Air Force family against the Dept. of Defense Education Authority G. v. Ft. Bragg Dependent Schools, 343 F.3d 295 (4th Cir.2003) the Court defined comp ed –

“Compensatory education involves discretionary, prospective, injunctive relief, crafted by a court to remedy what might be termed an educational deficit created by an educational agency’s failure over a given period of time to provide a FAPE to a student. We agree with every circuit to have addressed the question that the IDEA permits an award of such relief in some circumstances. As we explain below, because the district court’s basis for rejection of G’s compensatory education claim involved an erroneous legal conclusion, we reverse its rejection of that claim and remand for reconsideration.”

In 2005, entitlement to comp ed was not an issue, nor did it require bad faith by a school district. However, case law was unclear as to the determination of the remedy and who should make that determination. Most decisions remanded the case back to either the District Court Judge or the Hearing Officer / Administrative Law Judge to make that determination. In some of those cases, it was then sent back to the IEP Team to calculate what was needed in the form of comp ed.

The next major landmark comp ed case was Reid v. DC 401 F.3d 516 (DC Cir.2005) which closed the door on the involvement of an IEP Team in the determination of amount of comp ed and an hour for hour calculation.

“In this case, although the hearing officer made express findings regarding DCPS’s four-and-a-half-year denial of FAPE, he set forth the 810-hour award in a one-sentence ipse dixit. ‘At rate of 1 hour for each day of special education services not provided,’ he wrote, ‘DCPS is to provide 810 hours (4.5 multiplied by 180 school days) of compensatory education services to Mathew as his IEP team directs.’ The officer’s order contains neither reasoning to support this hour-per-day formula nor factual findings showing that the 810- hour result satisfied Mathew’s needs.”

Nor, regarding the other issue in this case, could the court defer to the hearing officer’s decision to delegate authority to the IEP team.

The “Rowley standard requires only that schools provide ‘some educational benefit,’ – a standard that looks to the child’s present abilities – an IEP conforming to that standard carries no guarantee of undoing damage done by prior violations. As this case demonstrates, moreover, that damage may be quite severe: according to expert testimony, Mathew not only failed to keep pace with his peers under the school district’s IEP, but actually learned ‘counterproductive’ compensatory techniques that he must now unlearn before he may advance. Consistent with Congress’s stated aim of ensuring that the rights of children with disabilities and parents of such children are protected, we therefore join our sister circuits and hold that compensatory education awards fit comfortably within the ‘broad discretion’ of courts fashioning and enforcing IDEA remedies.”

“Accordingly, just as IEPs focus on disabled students’ individual needs, so must awards compensating past violations rely on individualized assessments.”

The “amount of compensatory education appropriate in Mathew’s case cannot be determined as a matter of law. Rather, designing Mathew’s remedy will require a fact-specific exercise of discretion by either the district court or a hearing officer. As to the school district, although 810 hours certainly seems like a significant award, without grounds for deference to the hearing officer we may conclude at summary judgment that this remedy was correct as a matter of law only if our review of the record reveals that any greater remedy would amount to an abuse of discretion. We cannot reach that conclusion because, drawing all inferences in Mathew’s favor, as we must at summary judgment, we have no basis for concluding that 810 hours – barely more than half of a single academic year — would suffice to make up for Mathew’s four-and-a-half years without FAPE, especially considering that during that period he developed ‘counterproductive’ reading habits.”

“As we have explained, however, whereas ordinary IEPs need only provide ‘some benefit,’ compensatory awards must do more – they must compensate.”

“On remand, the district court may solicit additional evidence from the parties and fashion an appropriate compensatory education award based on the principles outlined in this opinion. Alternatively . . . rather than exercising their right to ‘request’ consideration of additional evidence, the district court may determine that the ‘appropriate’ relief is a remand to the hearing officer for further proceedings.”

The Reids’ second challenge raises a straightforward question of law: may IDEA hearing officers authorize IEP teams to ‘reduce or discontinue’ compensatory education awards? Disagreeing with the district court, we answer no. . . . Any modified award may not delegate authority to the IEP team to reduce or discontinue the prescribed compensatory instruction.”

In 2008, compensatory education took another turn and opened the door to what became nicknamed, the “Poor Man’s Burlington Remedy.” Jarron Draper’s attorneys, Steven Wyner and Marcy Tiffany wrote an article for our website about the case and its nickname. The URL is

In Draper v. Atlanta Indep. Pub. Sch. 518 F.3d 1275 (11th Cir.2008) the Court upheld, as comp ed, four years of private school tuition, to extend well past the youngster’s 21st birthday.

The Draper case relied on Reid and both have been cited regularly through the present by courts as they write a decision about a unique comp ed remedy. In Draper, the District Court judge heard evidence and developed the remedy. The youngster had been misdiagnosed as being mentally retarded and placed into EMR classes when the youngster was in fact dyslexic.

At the time of the initial hearing, Draper was 18 years old and in the eleventh grade, but he could read at only a third-grade level.

The Court noted that “Draper had been observed writing words, letters, and numbers backwards, a classic symptom of dyslexia, and that he performed much better on verbal tasks, the evaluation performed in June 1998 was spectacularly deficient. The evaluation did not measure Draper’s phonological processing levels (which are essential to reading) nor did the evaluator review Draper’s receptive and expressive levels. Based on the limited evaluation performed, which essentially included an I.Q. test, the school psychologist concluded that [Draper] had a full scale I.Q. of 63 . . . The persistent refusal of the School System to acknowledge the substantial evidence of its misdiagnosis borders on incredible.”

“We do not read the Act as requiring compensatory awards of prospective education to be inferior to awards of reimbursement . . . The Act instead empowers the district court to use broad discretion to fashion appropriate equitable relief . . . The Act does not foreclose a compensatory award of placement in a private school. The district court was free to award Draper a placement in a private school without regard to the remedy fashioned by the administrative law judge, and Draper was not required to prove that the School System was incapable of providing him an appropriate education.”

“In our review of Draper’s award, we are mindful that an award of compensation for a violation of the Act is different from the educational program ordinarily required by the Act. An educational program must be ‘reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive educational benefits . . . Although ordinary educational programs need only provide some benefit, compensatory awards must do more – they must compensate.’ Compensatory awards should place children in the position they would have been in but for the violation of the Act.”

In addition to the article by Wyner and Tiffany, we have a number of other links on our website about Draper, including the Complaint that was filed in federal court:

Draper established that educational services to provide compensatory are greater than the services for an IEP. At the time of Draper, the definition of the word “appropriate” in FAPE was based on the 1982 SCOTUS Rowley case. Now the standard includes the 2017 SCOTUS Endrew F. case.

M.C. v. Antelope Valley 858 F.3d 1189 (9th Cir.2017) a Ninth Circuit case issued just after Endrew F. emphasized that “To meet its substantive obligation under the IDEA, a school must offer an IEP reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances. In other words, the school must implement an IEP that is reasonably calculated to remediate and, if appropriate, accommodate the child’s disabilities so that the child can make progress in the general education curriculum, taking into account the progress of his non-disabled peers, and the child’s potential. We remand so the district court can consider plaintiffs’ claims in light of this new guidance from the Supreme Court.”

Since the 2008 Draper case, there have been a number of decisions that address comp ed, but relatively few new legal issues. To find the most recent compensatory education cases in your jurisdiction, go to

click on “Case law,” then select the Courts you wish to search, state and federal, and then enter as your search term the following, with the quotation marks:

“individuals with disabilities education act” “compensatory education”

Wrightslaw Note: This webpage was created in preparation for a May 19, 2020 webinar related to special education during the pandemic.

Three other attorneys participated – Piper Paul, Jack Robinson, and Wayne Steedman.

The webinar was hosted by Dr. Roseann and is now available through her website at:

As one of four presenters, my role was to discuss the law of compensatory education. I have converted the PowerPoint that I prepared, in order to help me prepare, to a pdf file, six slides to the page.

That PP file is located at:

Date created: 5/18/2020
Date revised: 5/26/2020


Exceptional Lives Free Kitchen Conversations Webinar Series

This FREE Kitchen Conversations webinar series for parents and caregivers will describe how providers can support your child (and you) even through a computer screen. Hear from professionals about their approach and expectations and get your questions answered.

  • May 27: Occupational Therapy at Home
  • June 3: Applied Behavioral Analysis at Home
  • June 10: Mental Health Counseling at Home
  • June 17: Speech Therapy at Home

All webinars will be held on Wednesdays from 2-2:30 EDT/1-1:30 CDT. Each session will be 15-20 minutes of presentation and 10 minutes for Q&A.

Join us for a few sessions or all 4!

Learn More & Register Here


Join US on Zoom @ 7 Tonight


The Boston Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SpEd PAC), for parents and guardians of students with disabilities in the Boston Public Schools, is inviting families to its May General Meeting online through Zoom Conferencing Communications.

The meeting is Thursday, May 28 from 7:00 to 8:30pm and is available at the following link: or visit and enter Meeting ID:  933 3106 5924; Password 366811

The topics of discussion will be Extended School Year (ESY) and Special Education Parent Advisory Council Board (SpEdPAC) Elections.

Zoom audio channels for Spanish, Chinese and Haitian Creole interpretation online will be available.

We look forward to seeing you at the meeting.



Post COVID-19 in K-12 Education Family Bill of Rights

The National Parents Union
Family Bill of Rights
Post COVID-19 in K-12 Education

The National Parents Union brings together an intersectional group of families from all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico giving space to parents of color, low-income parents, parents of children with special needs, LGBTQAI parents, single mothers and fathers, grandparents, formerly incarcerated parents and parents in recovery with traditionally represented parent voices to join a vibrant coalition that disrupts the traditional role of families in the policy space. Together with our more than 200 affiliate organizations, we develop a new narrative that is inclusive of families from a wide variety of perspectives.

The National Parents Union supports collaborative decision-making among public schools, private schools, school districts and local and state public health departments about when it is safe to open schools. These decisions will be dependent on several factors, including but not limited to:

  • Keeping Children, Families and School Communities Safe and Healthy
  • Remote/Emergency Learning
  • Personalized Trauma Learning
  • Equitable Education Financing
  • Supporting Families

The NPU Task Force on Building An Equity Infused Educational Recovery has compiled the following questions to be answered and recommendations that must be addressed prior to children and families re-engaging with our public school systems nationwide. It is our expectation that all schools implement these recommendations for all public school students in all school buildings. We further call for the individual needs of our more vulnerable populations of students and their families to be met. Finally, no schools should be exempt from these recommendations, including those already working on equity improvement plans to address long standing achievement gaps and school turnaround efforts.

Keeping Children, Families, and School Communities Safe and Healthy:
Engage with families in a collaborative, co-creation process regarding the timing and conditions needed to re-open the public school system from a health protection standpoint following the guidelines suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics to include:

  • Distribution of masks for every student and adult expected to report to a public school building with replacement at regular intervals.
  • Temperature checks for all students, educators, staff and visitors entering into public school buildings.
  • New hygiene and sanitation stations installed for regular handwashing and fully functioning bathrooms in a number that can realistically serve the population of students occupying each public school building and specific metrics around cleaning and maintenance.
    • Running water with hot water available.
    • Functioning bathrooms.
    • Hand sanitizer and soap dispensers as well as air dryers or paper towels.
    • Bathroom monitors and signage regarding recommended protocols for students, educators and staff.
    • Regularly scheduled cleaning, replenishing, and maintenance.
  • Upgraded/adapted physical plant solutions to accommodate CDC recommendations for social distancing to include:
    • Updated ventilation systems: All public school systems should be equipped with high ventilation capacity similar to healthcare facilities fitted with air exchange systems, and be located in buildings with tall ceilings. Utilize the highest efficiency filters that are compatible with the school’s existing HVAC system, and adopt “clean-to-dirty” directional airflows.
    • Reduced overall classroom populations with adequate space for social distancing.
    • New classroom hygiene maintenance procedures for disinfecting general spaces with strict adherence to CDC guidelines for disinfection and utilizing disinfectants from the EPA’s List N requirements and safe training of custodial/janitorial staff according to the aforementioned guidelines,
    • Hallway and common area restrictions and disinfection procedures,
      Updated library, science lab, multipurpose and computer room usage and disinfection procedures,
    • Updated cafeteria usage procedures and disinfection procedures,
    • Updated gymnasium, locker room (including showers), athletic fields, and playground usage procedures and disinfection procedures.
    • Updated standards for how athletic teams will practice and play games, have meets, etc.
    • Updated protocols for school bus transportation
  • Health office accommodations and restrictions for students and teachers developing or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Reporting procedures for students, teachers and staff members who have tested positive for or exhibited symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Notification for the families with students who may have been exposed within 3 hours of schools being informed of exposure.
  • Clearly established procedures and protocols for 14 day quarantine following a potential exposure with guidelines around pivoting to remote learning, increased substitute teacher pools and support staff.

Remote/Emergency Learning – Now and in the future:
Students across the country may have experienced educational loss due to prolonged school closures during this pandemic. While some schools have implemented distance learning, this is not generally believed to replicate the in-person learning experience. Such schools may also experience a widened divide in academic progress, with certain children able to access distance learning and continue to grow academically, while others might experience difficulty accessing or engaging with virtual instruction.

Until the broad availability of a treatment for COVID-19 exists, there is a risk for future waves of disease impacting communities across the country; it is important that schools plan for the possibility of additional periods of school closures and prepare strategically for distance learning or other educational options. Additional considerations include:

  • Develop a comprehensive definition and plan for emergency learning/remote learning that includes training and assistance for parents, students and teachers.
  • Standard issuance of technology needed for emergency/remote learning at the beginning of the year, (including needed computer equipment, software, internet access and any other requirements.)
    • Prohibit surveillance, tracking or criminalization through the use of technologies and online platforms by school districts directly or third party partners.
    • Ensure that all distributed technology meets all hardware and software requirements necessary to handle digital learning platforms (such as google classrooms, zoom, etc), with a commitment to replace any technology that fails to meet these requirements.
  •  Require districts to provide internet access for all students by creating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) to provide free internet access, at a minimum of 50 mbp/s speed for all households at no-cost.
  • Ensure that all information is protected when using educational technology and online learning platforms, and that districts are transparent with and accountable to students, parents and communities regarding how information will be gathered and shared.
  • Clearly define expectations around daily time spent engaged with academic materials.
  • Specific guidelines for families around how engagement time will be determined,
  • Specific guidelines for families around how work will be graded and how progress will be assessed when under emergency learning/remote learning guidelines.
  • All public schools must update their anti-bullying plans to have an enhanced response to and focus on cyber-bullying.

Personalized Learning Plans for a Trauma Informed Recovery:
During periods of remote learning, there should be clear expectations for how much contact each family has with teachers to communicate feedback on completed assignments, what is expected of students, what materials will be graded and how credit will be earned.

  • Develop a new comprehensive assessment system that incorporates a 360 degree view at the start of the school year to determine a child’s strengths and challenges with a new section developed to incorporate parent input to count toward 25% of weighting.
  • This assessment will be used to develop an Individualized Education Plan for re-entry and reassignment in the public school option suggested by the district and approved by a parent or guardian to include the schedule of in-person and distance learning combination suggested by the district.
  • Develop a clear, comprehensive plan for student assignment based on personalized/individual education plans to incorporate supports for students who may have deficiencies in social and/or academic areas.
  • Develop a clear, comprehensive plan for student assignment to weekly scheduling to accommodate reduced classroom populations in consultation with families.
  • Additional funding for school guidance counselors, masters-level social workers, school psychologists,
  • Work in coordination and collaboration with established online, distance and virtual school operators on best practices regarding the teaching practice, technology usage, social and academic support in development of remote learning planning.
  • Traditional district schools and public charter schools work in coordination and collaboration on best practices for extended school day, extended year, teaching practice, technology usage, social and academic support in development of remote learning planning.

Equitable education financing:
School finance must focus on the quality over quantity model in every school, from the excellence of the instruction (validated brain based research driven), services and supports, to rigor of curriculum and classes. State and local funding and spending must display equitable access to resources shown to be fundamental to a quality education. An equity infused educational recovery will require central focus and accountability around the allocation of resources:

  • Meet the needs of at-risk students and target funds to the neediest students
  • Accountability frameworks put in place to ensure that the funds are being used for their intended purpose
  • Responsibility measures that focus on student benefit not system benefit
  • External forensic or fiscal audit conducted when deemed necessary
  • Evidence based research of intended targeted group prior to requesting and allocating funds
  • Cultural congruence with ethnically matched providers must be prioritized.

Supporting Families:

Continuation of free breakfast and lunch programs (and when possible dinner) available for easy pickup in one bundled package that also includes all critical supplies (masks, hand soap and/or sanitizer) as a part of distribution.(The United States Department of Agriculture has extended significant flexibilities to states in administering school meal programs, including meal service in non-congregate settings, on weekends and with multiple days of meals distributed at once. Schools are encouraged to leverage such flexibilities to best meet the needs of families, as available at the time of school re-opening.)

  • Require districts to post as guidance for families an accessible statement and description on data usage and sharing through district agreements and partnerships for online learning in addition to the use of edtech.
  • Require districts to partner with local organizations to lead wellness check-ins on students who may need support or may be experiencing harm or abuse at home.

Guarantee multilingual access, including the translation of all materials and resources (including hotlines) developed in response to COVID-19 for Non-EFL families into Spanish and other commonly spoken languages.

Provide the same resources for students and families who are undocumented.

Fulfill their legal obligations to students with disabilities and provide those students access to tailored services as required in their Individual Education Plans (IEPs), including needed compensatory services once schools re-open as directed by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Services.

National Parents Union


Wrightslaw Special Education During a Pandemic

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Boston SpEdPAC By-laws

The BPS SpedPac’s purpose is to advise the Boston Public Schools (hereinafter the “District”) on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities; meet regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development, and evaluation of the school District’s special education programs and to advocate for the appropriate supports and special education services necessary to meet the individual needs of children with disabilities.

The BPS SpedPac at its Annual Meeting shall elect a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, and a minimum of three (3) but no more than eight (8) Members-at-Large, and two (2) alternate Members-at-Large. These individuals collectively shall constitute the BPS SpedPac Executive Board who serve in their respective roles on a voluntary basis. The two (2) alternate Members-at-Large shall have voting rights only when necessary to constitute a quorum of the Executive Board.