The annual summer Solicitors Symposium, which is held in State College, provides an informative and relaxed training and networking opportunity for school attorneys. This day-and-a-half program focuses on topics of special significance to the practice of school law, featuring Pennsylvania’s best-known experts in various areas of school law practice. Participants may earn up to 7.5 CLE credits (6.5 substantive, 1 ethics).

Date and Time

July 11, 2019 9:00 a.m. – July 12, 2019 12:00 p.m.
(continental breakfast from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.)


The Nittany Lion Inn in State College, PA
200 W. Park Avenue
State College, PA 16803


Program begins at 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 11, 2019 (registration and continental breakfast from 8-9 a.m.) and concludes at noon on Friday, July 12. The program will be followed by a working lunch meeting of the officers and directors of the Pennsylvania School Board Solicitors Association.

Thursday, July 11

8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. – Registration and continental breakfast

9:00 a.m.-9:10 a.m. – Welcoming remarks, introductions and administrative announcements
Presenter: Andrea C. Parenti, Esq., president, Pennsylvania School Board Solicitors Association, Dillon McCandless King Coulter & Graham, Butler

9:10 a.m.-10:10 a.m. – Equity Concepts and Strategies
Promoting equity in schools is critical to the elimination of historically persistent gaps in achievement and opportunity among students. But what range of issues does “equity” encompass, what does it look like in practice, and what does it look like when it is lacking? In order to effectively support equity initiatives, school attorneys must become familiar with the core concepts and vocabulary, and understand the strategies found to be effective in addressing disparities, removing barriers and fostering a culturally responsive educational environment.
Presenter: Heather N. Bennett, Ph.D. Esq., director of equity services, Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Mechanicsburg

10:10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. – Refreshment Break

10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Legal Considerations in Promoting Workforce Diversity
Recognizing that students are most likely to be successful when school staff are diverse, culturally responsive and highly effective, equity strategies often emphasize making diversity a priority in hiring, not only to better reflect the diversity of the student body, but to give all students the opportunity to know and learn from people that are different from themselves. How can such priorities be achieved without running afoul of anti-discrimination laws? What critical factors and predicates must be identified and demonstrated in order to prioritize workforce diversity in a legally defensible way?
Presenter: Michael L. Foreman, Esq., associate dean of clinics and experiential learning, Penn State Law, State College

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – The School Solicitor’s Role in Supporting Trauma-Informed Practices
School attorneys are uniquely situated to identify policies and advise on practices that cultivate a school community with better academic and behavioral outcomes for all students. Trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) impact student academic and behavioral achievement. For those impacted students, providing equity in education may require individual intervention, building-wide modifications, and district-wide support. From the perspective of educators and administrators, trauma informed practices involve programmatic shifts focused on fostering resilience, empathy, and restorative approaches to discipline. From the perspective of school attorneys, opportunities to implement trauma informed practices add value to your legal services by aligning with the ever evolving educational landscape. Learn what approaching client matters through a trauma informed lens looks like and how to use your role to contribute to creating a school community with better academic and behavioral outcomes for all students.
Presenter: William J. Zee III, Esq., Barley Snyder, Lancaster

12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. – Luncheon (included in program fee)

1:30 p.m.-3:20 p.m. – School Law Update
Who’s getting sued and why? Always a favorite feature of the Symposium, PSBA General Counsel Michael Levin’s School Law Update provides a lively overview of what’s happening in the courts, new statutes and regulations, and other developments directly impacting public school operations and liability exposures, accompanied by his comprehensive written summary of the past year’s legal developments in school law.
Presenter: Michael I. Levin, Esq., PSBA general counsel, Levin Legal Group, Huntingdon Valley

3:20 p.m.- 3:30 p.m. – Administrative announcements and adjournment until 8:30 a.m. Friday

5:00 p.m. – Solicitors’ social hour and “Dutch Treat” dinner outing

Happy Valley Brewing Company
137 Elmwood St, State College, PA 16801
(directions are available at the registration table)

(Relax with colleagues afterwards at the Nittany Lion Inn’s Whiskers Lounge located on the First Floor)

Friday, July 12

7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m. Full buffet breakfast

8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. – Manifestation Determinations and Discipline for Threats from Students with Disabilities and/or those “Thought-to-Be”
What are the key considerations for implementing a process that appropriately responds to threats from students but maintains protections for students who are, or thought to be, disabled? How can a district avoid legal challenges in conducting the process of determining whether the act was a manifestation, establishing the facts, holding the hearing and implementing outcomes?
Presenters: Brooke E. D. Say, Esq., Stock and Leader, York; and Leigh E. Dalton, Ph.D., Esq., PSBA director of legal services, Mechanicsburg

9:30 a.m.-9:50 a.m. – Refreshment Break

9:50 a.m.-10:50 a.m. – Continuing Disclosure Obligations of Municipal Bond Issuers
Long after bonds have been issued and proceeds spent, issuers of municipal bonds have a continuing obligation to make certain required disclosures, annually and in connection with specified events. A municipal issuer’s past non-compliance with disclosure requirements is something that may need to be disclosed in connection with new bond issues. Increased scrutiny from the SEC makes it critical for school districts to be aware of these requirements and ensure that responsibility for compliance has been assigned and is being carried out. School districts cannot assume that this is being taken care of by underwriters or bond counsel on a long-term basis.
Presenters: Timothy J. Horstmann, Esq. and Penny Pollick, continuing disclosure specialist, McNees Wallace & Nurick, Harrisburg

10:50 a.m.-11:50 a.m. – Ethical Implications of New Technologies
Technological advances have made communication more instant and, in some cases, easier than ever, but also brings serious ethical risks for lawyers. With just a tap on a smartphone we can share important and timely information with clients, but also can inadvertently share information with the wrong person. Social media allows us to reach an audience of hundreds in a moment, but leaves few options to take back a badly worded post. Technology allows us to hold critical and at times unlimited amount information in our hand, but at the same time hold a potential data breach in that same device. All of these issues raise serious legal ethics issues that attorneys need to think about and plan for. In this session, we will review these issues and more and take your questions.
Presenter: Timothy E. Gilsbach, Esq., King Spry, Bethlehem

11:50 a.m.- 11:55 a.m. – Closing remarks; program adjourns

Noon-1:30 p.m. – Working lunch meeting of the PSBSA Board of Directors

A breakdown of the available CLE credits is provided below.  If you attend less than all sessions, please adjust the hours on your CLE form accordingly.

CLE Credit Breakdown
Thursday, July 11
Equity Concepts and Strategies (Bennett)1.0 substantive
Workforce Diversity Legal Considerations (Foreman)1.0 substantive
Supporting Trauma Informed Practices (Zee)1.0 substantive
School Law Update (Levin)1.5 substantive
Friday, July 12
Manifestation Determinations and Discipline (Say and Dalton)1.0 substantive
Continuing Bond Disclosures (Horstmann and Pollick)1.0 substantive
Ethics and New Technologies (Gilsbach)1.0 ethics and professionalism
Program Total6.5 substantive; 1.0 ethics


Registration is for full Symposium (Thursday and Friday) only.

• Early-Bird Registration (through June 14) – $395
• Registration (June 15 and after) – $425

Fee includes beverage breaks on Thursday/Friday, continental breakfast and lunch on Thursday, full breakfast on Friday, registration fee, facilities charge, materials and CLE credit fees. Registration fee does NOT include hotel room.

A “Dutch treat” dinner outing will be held at Happy Valley Brewing Company on Thursday evening for anyone who wishes to attend.

After July 5, all new registrations or changes must be handled onsite at the symposium registration desk.

Register online at MyPSBA: and click on “MyPSBA” in the upper right corner.

Members will need their username and password to register for the Solicitors Symposium. Contact Crista DeGregorio at if you have trouble accessing the Members Area of the website.

If multiple attorneys from a firm plan to register and one staff person is responsible for all registrations, please have the staff member contact Crista DeGregorio in order to receive a username and password for such purposes.

CANCELLATION POLICY: All cancellations before July 3 are subject to a $50 per person administrative fee. Substitutions can be made at no charge at any time. NO REFUNDS ON REGISTRATIONS OR MEALS AFTER JULY 3.

Hotel Reservations

Penn State Hospitality Services (800) 233-7505; (make sure to select the Nittany Lion Inn as your location).

Group Code: SCHG19A

Hotel room rate: $146 + taxes for single or double occupancy.

Deadline for PSBA block rate is June 14.