For this webinar series, participants will automatically be enrolled in all 5 sessions.

  • Robert McArdle, M.Ed.

This five-part webinar series will address the many aspects of Special Education from efforts before the referral to the Team meeting to dispute resolution. Mr. McArdle will review the role that general education teachers, special education teachers, related service providers, administrators and parents have once a student has been referred for special education consideration. Participants will cover all the basics of the referral process, the various disabilities, the difference between special education and 504 plans, the importance of collaboration, cultural and linguistic considerations, decision making and having the difficult conversation. You will leave this series understanding the complexities of servicing eligible students both what the state and federal government require to be available for identified special education students.

To receive PDPs and CEUs, participants must attend all 5 sessions and successfully pass a quiz following Session 5. Following the live webinar, registrants will be emailed a link to view the recorded webinar. The recording will be made available for 7 days after each session.

This session will provide an overview of how we got here (historical perspective) and the team process, from efforts prior to referral through eligibility determination. There are many “spokes on the wheel” involved in assuring success for all students in the General Education Classroom (LRE). This session we will also review the importance of collaboration and assuring a Team Approach in determining how a student qualifies for an IEP.

In this session, we will begin looking at IEPs (Referral, Parental Consent, Time lines, Evaluation, Eligibility, Rejection) as well as diagnostic categories for eligibility. We will examine how a Team meeting is run and how decisions are made at a Team meeting. We will also look at the role of various staff, including Paraprofessionals and the significant role of parents in the IEP process. This session will also discuss instructional strategies (specialized instruction) social, emotional, and behavioral strategies, in addition to various types of services and levels of inclusion.

This session focuses upon due process, including problem solving and dispute resolution as it relates to rejected IEPs. We will look at resolution meetings, mediation and due process hearings that result in a legal decision. This session will also cover section 504 requirements and how it differs from the special education process.

In this session, we will cover collaboration and team building and collaborative decision making. We will look at the role of various personnel, the significant role that Principals play and who/what should be our focus at all times. We will also discuss how to have difficult conversations.

This session reviews current and future concerns with Special Education and the many paradigm shifts over time. We will look at where special education, ELL and gifted and talented services differ as well as cultural and linguistic considerations. We will close with a look at financial Implications before we wrap up our time together.

About the Speaker

Robert McArdle, M.Ed., has over forty-five years of experience in public education as a Mediator and Educational Specialist for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Administrator of Special Education for Woburn Public Schools, Pupil Personnel Administrator for Greater Lawrence Technical High School and the Stoneham Public Schools, Executive Director of the Greater Lawrence Education Collaborative and Executive Director of the Gifford School.  Mr. McArdle has been a Visiting Faculty Member at Salem State College, Fitchburg State College, the University of Massachusetts/Boston and Endicott College, in addition to consulting for public and private schools. Mr. McArdle has served in several Interim positions and has been on a number of advisory boards, task forces and special committees. He was also the Northeast Associate Manager of the Walker Partnerships conducting numerous Program Evaluations as well as mentoring many new Administrators. He has presented at many conferences and conducted professional training sessions for professional school personnel for over forty years. He is the co-author of A Practical Approach to Special Education Administration: Creating Positive Outcomes for Students With Different Abilities, has served in several executive board positions, including President of the Massachusetts Association of Administrators of Special Education, and is a past recipient of the Massachusetts Special Education Administrator of the Year award.

Participants must attend all 5 sessions, either live or recorded, to receive PDPs and/or CEUs. If you are not eligible for PDPs and/or CEUs, you may apply for a Certificate of Attendance.

Membership Information

Most MPY webinars are available ONLY to current staff from member districts and organizations. Public school memberships include police and fire personnel. Former and retired employees and members of committees, including but not limited to, PTO/PTA, PAC, School Improvement Councils, Health Councils, Drug/Alcohol Councils, and school volunteers, are not considered MPY members.

PDPs and CEUs

MPY is an approved Professional Development Provider through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (Provider No. F20180079). Professional Development Points (PDPs) are offered for most MPY professional development webinars. PDPs are issued in 10 hour increments, per DESE requirements.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available for clinical staff through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association, Inc. (MaMHCA). The NASW and the MaMHCA approve each event individually. CEUs may be given in hourly increments.

To receive PDPs and CEUs, participants must pass the quiz.

Event Cancellation Policy

If you are unable to attend a MPY webinar you must cancel, through Bonnie Mullen at, one business day before the webinar.

For MPY hybrid conferences, the date in-person registration closes will be posted on MPY’s website. Virtual conference registration will close one business day before the hybrid conference. You cannot cancel or switch your registration from in-person to virtual after in-person registration closes. Please email Bonnie Mullen at with any questions regarding registration.



If you are seeking to receive CEUs and/or PDPs, please click Register Now. Once you complete the webinar series, you will be able to take quizzes for CEUs and/or PDPs. Upon completion of each quiz, you will receive a certificate.

All sessions are 9:30 am – 11:30 am.

  • Session 1: April 22, 2024, Spokes on a Wheel
  • Session 2: April 29, 2024, The Team Meeting and Decision Making
  • Session 3: May 6, 2024, Where Does Due Process Fit and How Does it Work?
  • Session 4: May 13 2024, Site Based Management and the Roles at the School Level
  • Session 5: May 20, 2024, A Look at What the Future Might Look Like in Special Education