Tuesday, June 28, 2016

AzMERIT scores

About Arizona's AzMERIT scores:

AzMERIT scores can indicate a Student’s overall progress or regression.  Students and parents should carefully compare scores from this year’s AzMERIT exam to last year’s exam and other standardized exams (i.e. AIMS).  If the scores have not improved or have dropped, this may be a sign that the student needs more special education services and supports in school, and perhaps another evaluation. You will have received the scores alrady.  Parents of children expected to enter 4th grade are also being told whether the child will be retained (held back).
Arizona special educaton attorneys Lori Kirsch-Goodwin and Hope Kirsch recommend that if your child is struggling and does not have a 504 Plan or an IEP, ask the school for an evaluation for special education and related services.  Put all requests in WRITING; email is fine.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Arizona Special Education Lawyers - From the Classroom to the Courtroom

If your child is having a problem at school and you are not sure where to turn, we can help. 

Are you sure the school is complying with the law to provide your child with the education to which he or she is entitled under both federal and state laws? We explain and advise you of the legal rights both you and your child have. We provide legal advice and strategy for you to advocate on your own, or we can provide legal representation of both you and your child. We can assist you as much or as little as you want or need. 

Our education lawyers are a mom of a young adult with special needs who navigated the special education system for over 12 years, and a former special education teacher and school administrator who taught special education, wrote hundreds of IEPs, attended hundreds of IEP meetings, and trained and supervised special education teachers. 

We are special education attorneys with backgrounds as litigation and trial lawyers. We know the federal and state laws and the rules and regulations; we know parents' legal rights and children's legal rights. We can provide the legal advice and strategy so you can act as a parent advocate for your child, or we can provide the legal representation for you and your child at IEP meetings, MDRs (Multidisciplinary Review hearings), REDs (Review of Existing Data meetings), METs (Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team meetings), transition meetings, and mediations. We can review your child's IEP and prepare you for your upcoming meetings. We have been advocating for students for over 10 years. Children are our first priority. 

Before We Were in the Courtroom, We Were in the Classroom
School districts, charter schools and private schools have attorneys advising them and protecting their interests. You and your child should have an education attorney on your side to protect you both, to advise you of your legal rights, and to assure you that your child is receiving the education to which he or she is entitled to under the federal and state statutes and regulations. Remember, BOTH you and your child have legal rights. As lawyers, not only do we have the legal knowledge and skills to represent you, but we also have personal experience in special education.

  • As the mother of a young adult with special needs, attorney Lori Kirsch-Goodwin has navigated the school system as a parent and as an attorney. She knows that all parents want to ensure that their children have the best possible future, and that sometimes they need someone in their corner. She has walked in your shoes.
  • Attorney Hope Kirsch has both her Bachelor's degree and her Master's degree in Special Education. She was a special education teacher and school administrator for nearly 20 years in NYC. She taught in self-contained classes, special education schools, day treatment programs and hospital schools. She obtained licenses and certifications in special education, special education supervision and school administration in New York, and Certification from the Arizona Department of Education to teach students with Emotional Disabilities, grades K-12. When she represents you and your child at a school meeting or hearing, no one from the school can tell her she doesn't know what it's like in the classroom -- SHE DOES! She knows the language schools speak and she knows what goes on behind the scenes. In addition to her B.S. and M.Ed. in Special Education, Hope completed extensive post-graduate work in school administration. She trained and supervised teachers in curriculum development, teaching strategies, methodology, behavior management and writing IEPs. She is nationally recognized in special education law, and is regularly invited to speak to and train parent groups, mental health professionals, school administrators and teachers, other attorneys and education advocates.
We Know How to Get Children the Education They Deserve
We can explain your legal rights and provide you with the legal advice and strategy to assure you that your child is receiving the education to which he or is she is entitled under the law. We will work with you as much or as little as you need. We can represent you or just advise you. We can provide you with the tools and resources you need to advocate for your child. We help you navigate the world of special education law. We have been there, and we have navigated the special education waters ourselves and for our clients. 

Whether your son or daughter attends school at a public school or charter school, we can help with legal advocacy and education law concerns and problems of all types, including:

  • IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
  • IEPs (Individualized Education Plans): writing, reviewing, consulting, attending IEP meetings
  • LRE (Least Restrictive Environment)
  • Identifying your child for special education and related services, or a 504
  • Evaluations: Obtaining all of the evaluations your child shouldhave, including obtaining IEEs (Independent Educational Evaluations)
  • Placement: Obtaining the appropriate placement along the continuum for your child, from full inclusion to RTC and hospital settings
  • Child Find law
  • Discipline (suspensions and expulsions)
  • Multidisciplinary Review meetings (MDRs)
  • Bullying
  • Severs personal injuries at school
  • Due process complaints
  • Due process hearings
  • Restraint and seclusion (including “SCREAM rooms” and “Cool Down rooms”)
  • 504 eligibility, 504 plans (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act)
  • Office of Civil Rights (OCR) complaints
  • Retaliation, disability harassment
  • Transition assessments and plans
  • Settlement Agreements
When your child's future is at stake, work with education attorneys who can support you and your child. Contact Our Experienced and Dedicated Arizona Education Attorneys.
For more information about how we can help your child, call our Arizona education law firm at 480-585-0600 or

Monday, June 20, 2016

Legal Issues in Special Education Disputes

Hope Kirsch of Kirsch-Goodwin & Kirsch moderated a panel of special education lawyers and judges for a national broadcast June 17, 2016 discussing Legal Issues in Special Education Disputes.
The panel:
Lori Kirsh-Goodwin
Heather R. Pierson
Hon. Roslyn O. Silver
Hon. Eric A. Bryant 
Jessica Sanchez
Maureen Ringenoldus

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Arizona School Districts

The following are some of the school districts that Lori Kirsch-Goodwin and Hope Kirsch special education attorneys at KGK have dealt with for our clients over the past 10 years, providing legal advocacy, parent support, advocacy, IEP help, legal advice and legal representation:

A Rare Look Behind the Scenes

Parents will have an opportunity to see what happens behind the scenes of a special education dispute.  On June 17, 2016, a panel of school attorneys, parent attorneys (Hope Kirsch and Lori Kirsch-Goodwin), a State investigator, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and a Federal District Court judge will be discussing special education disputes, from how parent attorneys evaluate a matter and try to resolve, and what goes on behind the scenes of a State investigation by the Arizona Department of Education, what goes on behind the scenes of dispute resolution and due process hearings, and how judges see cases. 
If you are in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, you can attend live and you will have an opportunity to ask questions.