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2016 Call For Proposals Page
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COPAA's 18th Annual Conference

March 10-13, 2016

Loews Philadelphia Hotel

Click Here to Submit Online Form and Proposal 

COPAA is an unparalleled peer-to-peer network. The 18th Annual COPAA Conference is the only opportunity of its kind for sharing expertise, networking and face-to-face training.  Over 550 leading special education advocates and attorneys from across the country are expected to attend. Sessions focus on excellence in advocacy and strategy to successfully protect and enforce the civil and legal rights of students with disabilities and their families.

COPAA's Conference Committee Call for Proposals is seeking proposals to present 75 minute breakout sessions on March 12th and 13th, 2016. The Committee has interest in sessions that demonstrate the success of the full spectrum of tools and processes available under the law. All relevant topics are considered. 

Note:  We receive twice the amount of proposals than can actually be accepted for presentation.  Please submit complete information and all information requested. Proposals that do not have complete information will not be considered. 

This year there is particular interest in sessions that:

·      Address topics of national importance, and are not state specific, that include specific advocacy strategies for participants to implement in their local communities of practice.  

·    Focus on groups that are underserved/underrepresented in COPAA and/or that target topics especially important to minority communities, including things such as:

a) civil rights and special education

b) school to prison pipeline

c) access to free/low cost legal services and evaluations/how to provide effective advocacy for clients that can't afford to pay

d) dealing with dual discrimination based on disability and minority/language  status

e) strategies for empowering parents in low income communities

f) special challenges in working with ELL students and ways to support non-english speaking families

·      Are of interests to parents, caregivers and families

  ·       Provide useful information to practitioners on current issues facing students with disabilities and their families.

·         Emphasize strategies to close the gap between the promise and the reality of the civil right to an equal, quality education. 

·         Demonstrate the power of a quality education to produce outcomes for students and families.

·         Provide specific information about evidence based-practice and legal rights specifically related to transition age students.

·         Share advocacy strategies for increasing compliance with the law or faithful implementation of IEPs and related services, supports, and accommodations to assure meaningful progress. 

·         Are for advanced attorneys and advocates/related professionals.

·         Demonstrate a combination of these factors

2016 COPAA Conference Request for Proposals Now Open

Note: Registration and attendance to COPAA educational events is NOT open to anyone who is not a member of COPAA, eligible to be a member of COPAA, invited by COPAA or permitted to register and attend by COPAA.  Any individual employed by or who currently receives more than 50% of his/her income from state, local, or, in the case of an attorney, who represents or has represented such an agency or school district within the past five years; or advocate or related professionals who have represented or provided consultation or advice to districts shall not be permitted to register or attend a COPAA educational event unless a formal exception is granted by the Executive Director of COPAA.  (Click here for more information regarding membership, guest membership and for the full eligibility policy).


·         Approximately 550 registrants are expected to attend the conference.
·         Proposals are sought for breakout sessions to be held on Saturday, March 12 and Sunday, March 13th, 2016.

·         Breakout sessions run one hour and 15 minutes (including questions). The conference review committee may, at its discretion, ask presenters to repeat an accepted session or present for a longer time frame.
·         Please complete the online submission and make sure you provide all the information requested. All information relating to the session should be attached in one Word document. You must include your bio and resume in the same document as the proposal information.  Uploading a new document removes the prior document.  Incomplete submissions will not be considered. It is highly recommended to use Google Chrome internet browser when submitting the online form 

·         Audience: COPAA Conference Attendees include attorneys, advocates, parents, law students, and related educational professionals. Registrants' level of knowledge of the law and best practices relating to the education of children with disabilities will vary widely, from novice through intermediate to advanced. Accordingly, proposals should be developed, and clearly identified for the target audience. Proposals that are geared to a range of knowledge levels should be identified as such: novice/intermediate or intermediate/advance. Please note any prerequisite skills or prior knowledge of subject matter that is required.

Proposals must be received on or before midnight Eastern Time on August 26, 2015. Click on Register to submit the online form and attach one Word document that contains all required information. 

Content of Proposals must include the following:

1. Title of Presentation

2. Contact Information for Each Presenter: Organization, Title, Address, City, State, Zip, Phone number, E-mail (Lead presenter first, then Co-Presenter 1, Co-presenter 2, etc.)

3. A Brief Description of Session for the Registration Brochure (approximately 40 words). It should accurately reflect the content of the white paper and ppt. that will be presented

4. Detailed Session Description for CLE approval (approx. 300 words)

5. Session Outline with Details

6. Intended audience: attorney, advocate, related professional, parent or mixed audience and level of expertise Novice, Intermediate, or Advanced. Please accurately indicate the audience and level.  Note: we received feedback from previous year’s evaluation that some session content and level advertise did not accurately match the presentation.  

7. Presenter's Biography (1-2 paragraphs for each presenter to be used in program materials, if selected).

8. Copy of lead presenter's current resume (include in the Word document with proposal information).  Only one single document can be uploaded.

Selection of Proposals and Development of Program

Selections of proposals will be made by COPAA's Conference Sub-Committee based on quality of written submission, topic, and only those that are completed in entirety and submitted by the August 17th deadline will be considered. Failure to provide all of the required information will result in an automatic disqualification. The Program Committee receives at least double the amount of proposals than can be accepted, so format and attention to detail count!

Preliminary questions concerning proposals should be emailed to

Please note:  No single person has authority to assure acceptance of a proposal prior to the committee's review of the submission. Moreover, the Committee reserves the right to select among possible topics it has identified for inclusion in the final program. As a condition of acceptance, and depending upon the type of presentation, submitters may be asked to develop a longer or more detailed outline on or before a specified date.

Receipt of proposals will be acknowledged via email.

Decision Letters will be e-mailed on or around September 30, 2015

Submission of Materials: Important to understand what you are committing to

All speakers agree to provide a 15 page white paper to be included in the 2016 COPAA Conference Program and Compendium in the format requested and by the deadline noted in the acceptance letter (generally in January to allow time for review and printing) In addition, a Power Point presentation will need to be submitted (date TBD in February). They will be provided electronically to attendees. Failure to provide materials within the deadline could result in cancellation of the presentation and/or will be considered in reviewing proposals for future COPAA conferences.

Financial Arrangements

In an effort to keep the conference registration as accessible to as many people as possible, and because COPAA's resources are limited, no honorarium will be offered to presenters of breakout sessions. All presenters are requested to stay at the conference hotel and arrive the evening preceding their presentation.

Presenters are invited to attend all conference proceedings and the conference registration fee for the main conference will be waived for two presenters per session. The registration waiver is good for the main conference, and not for the Pre-conference Skills Training. 

Only Two Complementary Registrations will be allowed per session for the main conference, even if there are more than two presenters per session. No other expenses will be paid, although several meals are provided to all conference participants. At the discretion of the Conference Committee, presenters who are asked to present General Sessions or full-day pre-conference workshops may also receive complimentary hotel accommodations.



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