N&D InFocus: Meeting the Educational and Related Needs of Youth With Disabilities in Juvenile Secure Care

N&D InFocus: Meeting the Educational and Related Needs of Youth With Disabilities in Juvenile Secure Care

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Students with disabilities represent a large portion of students in correctional facilities, and it appears that not all students with disabilities receive the special education and related services to which they are entitled. Research shows, however, that providing students with disabilities in correctional facilities with the free appropriate public education (FAPE) to which they are entitled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), facilitates their successful reentry into the school, community, and home. FAPE also helps students with disabilities to ultimately lead successful lives as adults.

NDTAC continues our series of N&D InFocus programs on the Correctional Education Guidance Package, released by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice in December 2014 with this program focused on the package’s Dear Colleague Letter on the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act for Students With Disabilities in Correctional Facilities (PDF). The program discusses the provisions of the letter, as well as the major challenges that juvenile secure care settings face in providing FAPE to students with disabilities; and highlights some jurisdictions that exemplify the recommended practices in the letter. Program guests include:

  • Michael Yudin, Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education
  • Joseph Gagnon, Associate Professor, School of Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies, University of Florida
  • Pat Frost, ESEA Title I, Part A Consultant and Title I, Part D Coordinator, Nebraska Department of Education (NDE)
  • Jeanne Heaston, Program Specialist, Special Education Office, NDE
  • Mark Mason, Program Specialist for Reentry, Nebraska Administrative Office of the Courts – Probation
  • Scott Gregory, Principal, Geneva School at the Youth Rehabilitation Treatment Center
  • Randall Farmer, Director, Pathfinder Project, Lancaster County (NE) Youth Services and Lincoln Public Schools
  • David Erb, Principal and Special Education Teacher, Northeast Nebraska Juvenile Services Center

We welcome your questions and comments about this program at ndtac@air.org.


Meet Our Guests

Michael Yudin is the assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services and in that capacity leads the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) at the U.S. Department of Education. Mr. Yudin has been with the Department of Education since 2010, serving the secretary of education in a number of capacities dedicated to improving opportunities for all students. He previously served as acting assistant secretary of OSERS from August 2012 to February 2015, leading the office in its mission to support full integration and participation in society of people with disabilities by promoting inclusion, ensuring equity, and creating opportunities for them from cradle through career. Prior to joining the Department, Mr. Yudin served nine years as a U.S. Senate staffer. He was the legislative director for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (NH), senior counsel to Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM), and HELP Committee counsel to Sen. Jim Jeffords (VT). In these roles, he assisted in developing, promoting, and advancing a comprehensive legislative agenda related to education, children and families, disabilities, and poverty. Before joining the Senate, Mr. Yudin served as an attorney at the Social Security Administration and at the U.S. Department of Labor for nearly 10 years, where he provided legal advice on various policy initiatives, including social security, disability, employment, and welfare reform.
Joseph Gagnon is an Associate Professor in the Special Education Department at the University of Florida. Dr. Gagnon also serves as Affiliate Faculty for the Center on Children and Families in the University of Florida Levin College of Law and in 2013-2014 was a Fulbright Scholar in South Africa. His research projects focus on the study of policies and practices that promote the provision of appropriate educational services for youth with special needs, particularly in juvenile corrections and psychiatric schools. He conducts research and publishes on a number of topics including, curriculum/assessment/accountability, youth behavior, and mathematics and reading instruction. Dr. Gagnon has served as Court Monitor and/or Special Education expert on 13 lawsuits, including 7 for the U. S. Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights. He has also conducted training sessions in 10 countries including Thailand, Egypt, Venezuela, and Azerbaijan.
Jeanne Heaston is a Program Specialist in the Nebraska Department of Education’s (NDE’s) Special Education Office.
Patricia Frost has served as the Title I, Part D State Coordinator for the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) since 2001. She is also the Title I, Part A Consultant, Federal NCLB/ESEA reviewer, and Accountability/School Improvement Title I, Part A reviewer for the department. Ms. Frost is also a member of the Family Engagement Focus Committee at NDE and a member of the Out of Home Placement Committee of Practitioners for the State. Prior to coming to NDE, Ms. Frost had 29 years of Pre-K–12 and college teaching experience.
Mark Mason is the Program Specialist for the Nebraska State Probation Administration’s Juvenile Division, where he coordinates the reentry process for juveniles committed to the States Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers (YRTCs). Previous to probation, Mr. Mason worked for the Department of Education as the Transition Program Director, where he supervised services provided to students in each Nebraska high school. Through his work with the Department of Education, he also worked as the YRTC Transition Liaison, where he assisted youth and families to develop education plans for their return to the community. Mr. Mason’s experience also includes the Department of Corrections, Boys Town, and working with families in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. During his professional career, he has served on several committees, workgroups, and he currently serves on the Juvenile Services sub-committee. Mark has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska - Kearney in Criminal Justice and a Master’s degree from Doane College in Management.
Scott Gregory is the Principal of the Geneva North School, located at the Geneva Youth Rehabilitation Treatment Center in Nebraska, the State’s long-term secure care facility for girls.  
Randall Farmer has been the Educational Director of the Lincoln Public Schools Pathfinder Education program in the Lancaster County Youth Services Center in Lincoln, Nebraska since 2006. Lancaster is a secure, 80-bed facility for youth ages 10–19. Mr. Farmer also serves on the Executive Committee of the National Partnership for Juvenile Services, and is the current council president of the Council for Educators of At-Risk and Delinquent Youth. He has been an educator of youth at-risk for 26 years in a variety of settings; a psychiatric hospital, alternative school, inner city based school, and juvenile justice facilities. Mr. Farmer has an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and is a certified educator in Broad Field Social Sciences, and Administration, from the University of Nebraska. He also holds an M.Ed. in Educational Psychology from Temple University. Mr. Farmer has visited facilities across the country to study education programs and consult with teachers and administrators. He has spent years in local, state, and national committees/organizations designing educational programming for youth at-risk. The complexity of educating these amazing young people is an ongoing passion.
David Erb is the Principal and a special education teacher at the Northeast Nebraska Juvenile Services Center, one of the State’s regional juvenile detention facilities. 


Event Date

Tue, 07/07/2015 - 2:00PM to 3:30PM EDT

Event Location

Adobe Connect