Disability Options Network-Independent Living Coordinator Position

UPDATE: As of September 9th, 2020 the opening at the Penn Hills Office is still available! The Greensburg and New Castle positions have been filled.


U.S. Department of Education Releases New Title IX Regulations on Sexual Harassment for Schools

U.S. Department of Education Releases New Title IX Regulations on Sexual Harassment for Schools

May 2020

This past week, the U.S. Department of Education released the Department's much anticipated Title IX regulations.
The new Title IX regulation codifies prohibitions against sexual harassment in schools. The regulation carries the full force of law.

Key provisions of the Department of Education's new Title IX regulation:

  • Defines sexual harassment to include sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, as unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex
  • Protects K-12 students by requiring elementary and secondary schools to respond promptly when ANY school employee, including teachers, has notice of alleged sexual misconduct
  • Holds colleges responsible for off-campus sexual harassment at houses owned or under the control of school-sanctioned fraternities and sororities
  • Upholds all students' right to written notice of allegations, the right to an advisor, and the right to submit, cross-examine, and challenge evidence at a live hearing
  • Requires schools to select one of two standards of evidence, the preponderance of the evidence standard or the clear and convincing evidence standard – and to apply the selected standard evenly to proceedings for all students and employees, including faculty
  • Requires schools to offer an equal right of appeal for both parties to a Title IX proceeding
  • Gives schools flexibility to use technology to conduct Title IX investigations and hearings remotely.

The Office for Civil Rights released a video reviewing the key changes, available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdfT5R8ibm4&feature=youtu.be

The demands of Title IX require that K-12 schools, colleges, and universities aggressively investigate and adjudicate claims of sexual misconduct by students.
The investigations and disciplinary hearings that result from allegations of misconduct can be complex and intimidating for faculty and students alike, regardless of whether they are the accused or an accuser.
These Title IX regulations expressly require academic institutions to permit attorneys to participate on behalf of both victims and the accused in all investigations and adjudications of sexual misconduct.

McAndrews Law Offices
We are a nationally recognized firm that provides families of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Area, and New Jersey with exceptional legal representation in Special Education, Estate Planning, Abuse of Vulnerable Citizens, and the representation of individuals involved in higher education allegations of misconduct.

Main Office: 30 Cassatt Avenue, Berwyn, PA 19312


McAndrews Law Offices | 30 Cassatt Avenue, Berwyn, PA 19312

OVR: Order of Selection Update

Dear Stakeholders,

As you know all too well, the COVID-19 mitigation efforts have resulted in disruption to our daily lives. However, OVR’s core mission remains the same, and OVR staff are dedicated to partnering with our vendor community and working through the challenges to serve as many individuals as possible. Despite all the uncertainty in the world, the staff at OVR are working tirelessly to provide services virtually to the people that depend on us the most and create employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

OVR is pleased to inform you of positive news regarding customers who are on OVR’s Order of Selection (OOS) wait list. On May 1, 2020, we will begin processing an estimated 4,500 customers off the wait list with priority given to eligible customers who have been on the wait list the longest. We will continuously reevaluate opportunities to move additional cases off the wait list into the future. For additional information, please refer to OVR’s Order of Selection web page.


Shannon Austin
Executive Director, OVR

Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates webpage

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has created a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates webpage for stakeholders to stay up to date with updates and resources from ODP. This includes the COVID-19 ODP Update for Self-Advocates and Families Recording and COVID-19 ODP Update for Self-Advocates and Families PowerPoint

How to Read an IEP: Goals

The Goals section of the IEP charts where the team anticipates the student should be on their educational journey in one year’s time.  Each IEP goal states a desired measurable achievement for the student to accomplish within the upcoming calendar year with the assistance of the educational team.

When you are reviewing your child’s individual goals, consider whether it meets the following “SMART” criteria:

Is the goal SpecificThe goal should be written in a way that clearly informs the reader what the student will do (desired outcome), where they will do it (setting/context), when they will do it (date), how they will do it (supports), and how we will know they are doing it (method of progress monitoring).  A common “formula” for writing a goal is:

By [DATE]. Student will [DESIRED OUTCOME] in [SETTING/CONTEXT] with [SUPPORTS] as measured by [METHOD OF PROGRESS MONITORING] increasing/decreasing from a baseline of [PRESENT LEVEL OF ACHIEVEMENT].

Is the goal MeasurableAn observer should be able to validly and reliably “measure” the student’s progress toward the desired outcome. To start, the goal needs to show the child’s starting point or “baseline” with respect to each desired outcome reflected by their present level of academic and functional achievement. Then, using objective criteria, an observer must record data that can be used to quantify the student’s rate of improvement. Examples of methodology for measuring progress include curriculum-based assessments, rating scales, rubrics, or structured observation.

Is the goal Appropriately AmbitiousThe Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Endrew F.: “goals may differ, but every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives.” Accordingly, the desired outcome of IEP goals must be “appropriately ambitious” in light of the child’s circumstances. Goals should not aim so low that the student is essentially “sitting idly” waiting to either drop out or age out of the public education system. If a student does not achieve or make progress toward their annual goals, the appropriate response is to increase and/or modify the supports and instruction that the student receives; not to set a lower bar.

Is the goal RelevantThe desired outcome of the annual goal should advance the student on their journey to meet their long-term goal of post-secondary success.  The IDEA establishes two intended purposes for IEP goals: (1) to meet the child’s needs that result from their disability to enable them to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; and (2) to meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s disability. Generally, if there is an identified area of need, there should be a corresponding academic or functional goal.

Is the goal Time-Bound – Typically, IEP goals are written to be accomplished within one calendar year. Progress, however, should be monitored and reported much more frequently. For students with disabilities who take alternative assessments (e.g. PASA), goals also must include short-term objectives or benchmarks for the student to achieve leading up to the final IEP goal.

When reviewing your child’s “Goals” section of the IEP, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you understand what the desired outcome is?
  • Do you understand the specific supports in place that will help your child achieve the desired outcome?
  • How will your child’s progress toward the goal be measured?
  • Is the child’s baseline (i.e. present level of achievement) of the goal specified?
  • Is the goal ambitious yet attainable?
  • Do you think it’s important that your child develops this skill?
  • Have the goals changed from the prior IEP? If not, what has changed in this IEP to support your child to achieve the goal this year?
  • Is there a goal for each of the identified areas of development?
  • Is there a goal for each related service that is being provided?
  • If your child is over 14, are goals for post-secondary education, employment, and independent living included?

By Jennifer Grobe, Esq.

(For a full copy of this article, click here)


Subscribe to Front page feed