About Alyssa Burghardt

Alyssa Burghardt is the practice group leader for Caplan and Earnest’s Education Law team. Her practice focuses on education and employment matters, with an emphasis in special education counseling and litigation.

DOE and DOJ Issue Joint Guidance on Communicating with Students with Disabilities

The United States Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division in collaboration with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services recently released a Dear Colleague Letter elaborating on the responsibility of public schools to ensure that communication with students with hearing, vision and speech disabilities is as effective as communication with all [...]

By |2014-12-02T17:09:01-06:00November 20, 2014|

OCR Issues Guidance on Bullying of Students with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued guidance to public schools nationwide in the form of a “Dear Colleague Letter” regarding the bullying of disabled students. The guidance details school officials’ responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) related to such bullying. [...]

By |2014-12-02T17:08:51-06:00October 31, 2014|

Office for Civil Rights Issues Guidance on Equal Access to Educational Resources

The United States Department of Education recently issued new guidance from its Office for Civil Rights emphasizing the rights of all students to equal access to educational resources “without regard to race, color, or national origin.” The Dear Colleague letter addresses the standards set in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and, according to a press release [...]

By |2016-12-27T11:06:57-06:00October 15, 2014|

New Guidance on Inclusion of ELL Students with Disabilities in Annual ELP Assessments

The United States Department of Education recently released Q&A guidance related to the participation of students with disabilities in annual English language proficiency (ELP) assessments under Titles I and III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). In a nutshell, the Q&A clarifies that just as students with disabilities must participate in the State’s annual academic testing (i.e., TCAP), [...]

By |2016-12-27T11:07:00-06:00September 3, 2014|

Updates to Plyler Guidance Reinforce Rights of All Students to Elementary and Secondary School Education

By Alyssa Burghardt and Brad Hendrick In anticipation of the upcoming school year, it’s important for school districts to keep in mind the updated Plyler Guidance issued by the United States Departments of Education and Justice in May. The guidance was first issued in 2011 to notify schools of their responsibilities following the Supreme Court decision Plyler v. Doe, which [...]

By |2016-12-27T11:07:01-06:00August 5, 2014|

Education and the 2014 Legislative Session

By Alyssa Burghardt and Kristin Edgar The 2014 Colorado legislative session, which ended on May 7, resulted in several notable pieces of proposed education legislation, which are highlighted below. School Finance Following the failure of Amendment 66 to pass last year, legislators were busy this session debating how K-12 schools would be funded. A combination of bills—including the School Finance Act, [...]

By |2016-12-27T11:07:08-06:00June 13, 2014|

Federal Guidance Issued on School Discipline and Racial Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice issued a joint Dear Colleague letter Wednesday addressing what they refer to as a very “real” problem regarding racial discrimination and discipline in public schools. The letter provides guidance to school officials in administering disciplinary action that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color or national origin—that [...]

By |2016-12-27T11:07:11-06:00January 10, 2014|

What educators need to know about the Colorado Mandatory Reporting Law

The message of the law to school administrators and officials is clear: if you suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect, report it. In connection with an alleged rape against a then-16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio, administrators recently experienced legal consequences when criminal charges were filed against several officials. At least one of the charges indicated [...]

By |2016-12-27T11:07:12-06:00December 9, 2013|

Senate Bill 191 Brings Change to the Reduction in Force Process

Senate Bill 191 brought significant changes to the reduction in force process.  Specifically, the legislation requires that the manner in which employment contracts will be cancelled during a reduction in force must be set forth in the District's negotiated agreement or District policy, and must include the performance criteria in the District's evaluation system as "significant factors" in determining which [...]

By |2014-02-06T00:22:34-06:00February 1, 2012|

Supreme Court Denies Review

This morning the United States Supreme Court denied a petition to review the decision of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Luke P. v. Thompson School District case. Today's ruling lets stand the Tenth Circuit's holding that the standard of review for an individualized education program (IEP) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is that the [...]

By |2014-02-06T00:28:52-06:00February 23, 2009|