PELE ISEA Frequently Asked Questions:

 Application Questions:

 Can I apply for ISEA if…

currently work for a school district and want to learn how to continue advocating for students?

No, because of conflict of interest concerns, we are not able to accept applications from individuals who currently work for a school district.

I am a former public school teacher or administrator, but no longer work for the school district?

Yes, because you are no longer employed by the school district you are eligible to apply. However, to be considered you must have at least one year’s experience working with families as an advocate independent of your employment with a school division.

I have experience advocating for my children and providing advice to friends and family regarding special education, but have no formal experience as an advocate?       

No, the ISEA program is designed for advocates who have experience advocating for children other than their own for at least 1 year.

I provide advocacy services to families free of charge?          

Yes, you are not required to charge clients for your advocacy services to attend. We do ask, however, that advocates have at least 1 year of experience advocating for children other than their own. It does not matter whether you charge for those services. 

I have not been through any prior advocacy training?

Yes, while we give first consideration to applicants who have been through Wrightslaw or other similar training programs, prior training is not a requirement. We highly recommend Wrightslaw training programs for all applicants. We have learned over the years those who have been through a Wrightslaw training program get much more out of ISEA.           

I am an attorney without formal special education experience?          

Yes, we will consider applications from attorneys who are looking to add special education law to their practice. It is still important to us that attorney applicants either have or intend to go beyond serving their own children with special education needs.

I am a law student at a school other than William & Mary?

Yes, you are welcome to apply and get 1 graded credit from William & Mary upon completion of the week and a 10-page paper. That price is set by the university. We recommend you check with your law school first to ensure the credit will transfer to your school. If you do not wish to receive credit, you will be charged the advocate rate listed below.

All law students – from William & Mary and other schools – must contact Professor Christina Jones ( if interested in attending. You will be required to complete the application.

work at a private school?

These situations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and how you interact with special education law and advocacy. We encourage you to complete the application.

I am a professor at a law or graduate school?

Yes, we welcome academics to attend. Please note the material presented will be very practical. We have had many clinical law professors and professors from various departments at schools across the country attend ISEA in the past.

I am a related service provider (ABA, speech, occupational therapy, and/or part of a medical team)?

If you are employed by/contract with a school district, then you would be ineligible to attend. If you are a private provider, we will review your application on a case-by-case basis.

What is the difference between a recommender and a reference?          

As part of the application process you must provide one letter of recommendation and two references. The letter of recommendation should be provided with your application materials. The references need not provide any information beyond their contact information with the application, but they may be contacted as part of the committee’s decision-making process to speak to an applicant’s character or experience.

What if I don’t know the answer to one of the application questions?           

We consider the application to be educational for you as well as informative to us. We ask that you do your best to provide a good faith answer to all questions. Incomplete applications will be returned for completion.

Do I really need to provide citations?

Yes, please be sure to provide citations for questions 9, 10, 11, and 13. We want to know you can do basic legal research and find answers in the law to general special education questions. If your state law does not codified a precise answer, look at your Attorney General advisories. If you cannot find answers anywhere, please list everywhere you looked for an answer. Incomplete applications will be returned with instructions to add such citations. 

How can I submit my application?

We prefer receive a PDF of your application to However, we will accept applications in other file formats or submitted by other means.

You may mail it to us at the following address:

PELE Clinic

William & Mary Law School 

P.O. Box 8795 

Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795


Please allow extra processing time if you choose to send it by mail.

You may also send it by fax to (757) 221-1855.


When do you make admissions decisions?

Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. The committee strives to make application decisions within 3 weeks of receiving your application.

Registration Fees:

What is included in the registration fee?

  • Approximately 37 sessions* of best practices in special education law and advocacy taught by national experts (CLE credit expected)
  • Recordings of those sessions for future viewing (only for a limited time after the Institute concludes)
  • Wrightslaw materials, including books and multimedia training
  • Opportunities to interact with faculty members and ISEA Alumni
  • Entrance into our ISEA Alumni Facebook page for consultation with past attendees advocating across the country
  • Participation in future ISEA Alumni Events, including periodic virtual Case Rounds
  • Eligibility for ISEA Alumni Track in future Institutes (application for Alumni Track includes a resume and statement of interest)

Some sessions are offered simultaneously.

Please note that ISEA supports the PELE Clinic, where William & Mary Law students offer over 1,200 hours of pro bono special education advocacy services in our local community throughout the school year. All of our speakers generously donate their time to teach attendees in support of ISEA and the PELE Clinic.

What are the registration fees?

Our typical rate for attendance in-person is $1495 for attorneys and $1295 for advocates for 29 sessions.

For our virtual ISEA in January 2021 consisting of 37 sessions and access to recordings from the whole week, the following rates will apply:

Advocates: $825

Attorneys: $950

10% Discount for 2+ attendees from same organization/firm

When are registration fees due?

Registration fees are due within 10 days of acceptance.

The Kayla Bower Advocacy Awards and tuition waivers will be decided and applicants will be notified by December 11, 2020. If you apply for the Kayla Bower Advocacy Award, you will not be required to submit your registration fee upon acceptance to the class. If you are not awarded the tuition waiver, your registration fee will be due December 18, 2020.

What is your cancellation policy?

If you cancel by January 1, 2021, there will be no penalty and a full refund will be given. Cancellations between January 2 and January 10 will result in a $50 cancellation fee. 

How do you accept payment?

Payment may be made via check or credit card. If paying by credit card, you are responsible for the additional transaction fees. There are no additional fees for paying by check. Further instructions regarding payment will be disseminated to accepted applicants.

Do you offer any other kinds of discounts?

Yes. Two or more advocates or attorneys attending from the same organization/office will receive a 10% discount on each registration. This only applies to participants attending together. (For example, there will be no discount if one advocate attends in January 2021, and another in July 2022.)

Tuition Waiver:

Do you offer any tuition waivers?

Yes, we offer a tuition waiver, the Kayla Bower Advocacy Award, to two participants to attend each Institute.

Am I eligible for the Kayla Bower Award?

Only lay advocates who are not eligible for any outside funding to attend ISEA are considered for this Award. Attorneys are not eligible. The committee will consider the following factors:

  • Contributions to special education advocacy;
  • Financial need; and
  • Representation of underserved children (military families, English language learners, foster children, court-involved youth, families in geographic areas with limited special education resources, and other at-need populations)

How do I apply for the Kayla Bower Award?

Please send the following:

  • A completed ISEA application*
  • Statement of Interest explaining why you are eligible for the award; and
  • Answer the following questions:
    • Will your employer pay for your ISEA registration?
    • Are you eligible to obtain outside funding for the Institute?

* Please note that you must be accepted to the ISEA class prior to consideration for the Kayla Bower Award. You are welcome to submit your Award application along with your ISEA Application, or you may wait until after you are admitted to ISEA.

Please also note that there is no separate Kayla Bower Award Application Form; please provide the above statement/answers in a Word document.

What is the deadline to apply for the Kayla Bower Award, and when will the decision be made?

We will be accepting applications for our Kayla Bower Advocacy Award for the January 2021 ISEA until December 4, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. EST. A decision will be made by December 11, 2020, and the applicants will be notified.

Alumni Track:

What is the Alumni Track?

We have a standard ISEA curriculum for the first two days of the week for first-time participants. Each year, we present new content toward the end of the week, and allow ISEA alumni to join first-time participants for that new material.

The program will begin at 10am Alumni on Wednesday, January 13th and conclude on Friday, January 15th at 5:45pm.

  • Wednesday evening will include an address by Keynote Speaker, Jack Robinson, parents’ attorney for Endrew F., followed by a reception.
  • Participate in sessions with long-time faculty members – Pete & Pam Wright, Bill Reichhardt, Pat Howey, RoseAnn Duplan, and others – and new experts throughout the program on Thursday and Friday.

I’ve never attended ISEA before, but I am interested in just coming for the Alumni Track. Is this an option?

No. The Alumni Track is exclusively available to ISEA Alumni. We encourage you to come for the full week!

How do I apply for the Alumni Track?

To apply for the alumni track, please send:

  • an updated resume; and
  • a statement of interest describing your continued commitment to advocacy and why you would like to attend ISEA 2021.

How much is the Alumni Track?

The cost for alumni is $500.

Do you offer any tuition waivers or discounts for the Alumni Track?

Unfortunately, we do not have any such waivers or discounts for Alumni at this time.

Continuing Education Credits:

I’m an attorney and want to get CLE credit. How does that work?

We apply for CLE credit from the Virginia State Bar. If credit is awarded for ISEA (historically, it has always been granted), we will provide you with a form certifying attendance from the Virginia State Bar. If you are a Virginia lawyer, you input this information online or mail it to VSB.

If you are licensed in another state, you will take that form and go through the process of getting credit from your state. Typically, states have a simple process of accepting courses that have been approved by other states’ bar associations.

We are making a concerted effort to have at least one, if not two, ethics credits granted.

I am not an attorney, but want to get CEU credits. How does that work?

We will apply for CEU credits. If ISEA is approved (and historically it has always been approved), we will ask you to sign a form at the end of the week. We will send that form to the certifying body, and that entity will send you a certificate with the CEUs earned.

Other Logistics:

Do you accept proposals from potential speakers?

We do not have a request for proposal (RFP) procedure. Our speakers are selected by invitation only.

If I am unable to attend ISEA, where else can I find training information?

We recommend you look into training programs from the following organizations:

If I have other questions, how do I contact you?

You may reach us by email ( or phone (757-221-5735).