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Chances are you’ve read a Wrightslaw book or attended a Wrightslaw training! I’m thrilled to host Pete Wright, THE special education guru, on today’s podcast! Pete tried a special education case, Florence County School District Four vs. Shannon Carter, before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993 and has been famous in special education circles since! His books and trainings bring practical information to parents in language they can understand. Pete and I do a roundtable of sorts in today’s episode. We talk about his concept of a Letter to a Stranger, something I use at least weekly in my own special education law practice. Pete stresses effective communication throughout the school year and goes into details ith tips and strategies you can implement now! Having built a successful business that empowers parents to advocate for their children, Pete explains why advocacy is so important from his perspective, and it’s powerful. Then, we do a rapid fire round, talking about quick tips for behavior supports, inclusion, SLD eligibility. If you need inspiration, THIS should do it! Enjoy, friends!
⟶ Effective Communication: https://view.flodesk.com/pages/5f6e3aa42bc69e9b8b014917
⟶ Preparing for an IEP Meeting: https://view.flodesk.com/pages/5f91d534fe39018fde23ba86
Meet My Guest
Pete Wright is an attorney who represents children with special educational needs.
In second grade, Pete was diagnosed with learning disabilities including dyslexia, dysgraphia and ADHD. He was fortunate – his learning problems were identified early. His parents obtained intensive Orton-Gillingham remediation for him by Diana Hanbury King.
Pete’s determination to help children grew out of his own educational experiences.
Pete attended Washington, DC public schools from Kindergarten through the eleventh grade at which time he was maintaining a “D” average. He then attended Moses Brown School in Providence RI where, as a condition of entry, he repeated the eleventh grade. In his senior year, he was co-caption of the football team and was “All New England” in football and track.
He then attended Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA.
While attending R-MC, Pete worked in a Juvenile Training School as a houseparent. After graduation with a B.A. degree in Psychology in 1968, he worked in another Juvenile Training School as a counselor and later became a Juvenile Probation Officer in the Juvenile Court system. In 1972, he was honored by the Virginia Juvenile Officer’s Association, (now known as VJJA) as Virginia’s “Juvenile Probation Officer of the Year.”
During that time, Pete also attended evening college in a graduate psychology program at Virginia Commonwealth University where he earned 30 credit hours toward a Master’s Degree in Psychology. However, in 1975 Pete then shifted his focus and enrolled in law school.
In December, 1977, Pete graduated from T. C. Williams Law School at the University of Richmond with a J.D. degree. After passing the February, 1978 Bar Exam, Pete became licensed to practice law in Virginia in April, 1978, is a member of the Virginia Bar in good standing and remains licensed to this date.
On October 6, 1993, Pete gave oral argument before the United States Supreme Court in Florence County School District Four v. Shannon Carter, 510 U.S. 7 (1993). Thirty-four days later, the Court issued a unanimous decision for Shannon Carter. (Learn more about Florence County v. Shannon Carter.)
In 2005, while the SCOTUS, Schaffer v. Weast, special education burden of proof case was pending, the National Council on Disability (www.ncd.gov) contracted with Pete Wright to prepare a “Policy Paper” for submission to the Court as a part of their role being the federal agency concerned with national issues regarding disabilities.
The “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Burden of Proof: On Parents or Schools?” was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on July 25, 2005 and is located on Wrightslaw at: https://www.wrightslaw.com/ncd/wright.burdenproof.pdf.
On January 5, 2017, Pete Wright trained approximately 200 Office of Civil Rights staff attorneys and staff investigators about the interrelationship between IDEA, Section 504 and ADA.
Pete is the co-author of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Ed. (2006), Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (2003), Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004, (2005), Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Ed. (2005), Wrightslaw: All About IEPs (2009), Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments (2014), and the Year in Review Series –Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases.
He appeared as the parent’s attorney in in the award-winning DVD video, Surviving Due Process: When Parents and the School Board Disagree – Stephen Jeffers v. School Board (2004).
For three semesters, as Adjunct Faculty, Pete and Pam Wright taught “Special Education Law” at the William & Mary School of Law in order to assist with the creation of their Special Education Law Clinic (PELE). They now teach at the week long Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA) Clinic at the Law School each summer.
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