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Special Education Advocate Training TM  (SEAT)

2017-2018 Registration is Now Closed.

Please consider COPAA Webinar On Demand training, click here to learn more

COPAA is proud to conduct a year-long Special Education Advocate Training (SEAT)TM , the only nationally developed and recognized year-long course that provides participants with training to become a special education advocate. Click here for more general information on Advocate Training

The SEAT course is based in part on the SEAT Curriculum TM  developed through a partnership between COPAA and Children's Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA) University Center for Excellence, University of Southern California on a three year demonstration grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education in 2005. The grant funded portion of the project ended in 2009, resulting in development of a model curriculum for advocacy training that was vetted through 3 cohorts under the direction of a 10 member National Advisory Board, and several members of the COPAA Training Committee, all of whom are nationally recognized special education advocates and attorneys.

This session is the sixth replication cohort for COPAA,  using a web-based curriculum and distance learning. The course is being offered as a combination of self-paced web learning, readings, group and individual assignments as well as live virtual classrooms.  Participants must have a computer, web access, and frequent access to email. The course typically requires 5-6 hours per week of work (including the 2 hour mandatory class).

Participants are expected to complete work before the virtual classes to be able to participate fully in discussions. If an issue arises that prevents this from happening, participants should contact the instructors to discuss options.

Click Here for SEAT's Program and Development History

Past Instructors have included (Live Classes): 

Selene Almazan, Esq.
Eileen Crumm, Ph.D., MPA
Mandy Favaloro, Esq.
Mark Kamleiter, Esq.
David Beinke
Susan Bruce
Cynthia Daniels-Hall
Barbara Ebenstein, Esq.
Sonja Kerr, Esq.
Mark Martin, Esq.
Claudia Roberts, JD
Diane Willcutts

Guest speakers may be announced for specific topics

Online and Recorded Webinar Contributors: Heather Allcock, PhD, David Berney, Esq., Kayla Bower, Esq., Susan Bruce, Matt Cohen, Esq., Pamela Coveney, Esq., Michelle Davis, ME.D., Mary Eaddy, Dave L. Edyburn, Ph.D., Matthew Engel, Esq., Elizabeth Eubanks, Esq., Melissa Farrall, PhD,  Jennifer R. Fee, Esq., Andrew Feinstein, Esq., Charles P. Fox, Esq., Monica Hammell, M.D.,Caroline Heller, Esq., Felicia Heurwitz, PhD., Catherine A. Holahan, Esq., Elaine Holden, PhD, Heather Ironside, M.S., Dana Jonson, Esq., Eric Levine, EdD, Ron Lospennato Esq., Mark Martin, Esq., Ann McCarthy, Annie McLaughlin, Ph.D.,BCBA-D, Laurie Markus, Esq., Dorene Philpot, Esq., Carol Quirk, EdD., Lisa Hess Rice, PhD., Gabriela Ruiz, Esq., Ricki Sabia, JD, Jennifer Sang, Esq., Ann E. Simun, PsyD, Lydia Sofier, Ph.D, Janine Solomon, Esq., Cheryl Steedman, Esq., Wayne Steedman, Esq.,Kathy Wian, Carolina Watts, JD, Jane R. Wettach, Esq., Diane Willcutts, Mark Woodsmall, Esq., Jon Zimring, Esq., and many more.     

This year we have two levels of SEAT classes being offered:

Seat Intro 1.0 

 This course is intended as an introduction to advocacy for education services for children/youth with special needs.  This class in intended for people new to advocacy, who want to increase their understanding of the field of special education advocacy; critical provisions of the federal laws that govern education to students with disabilities; and, increasing knowledge and skills to take the first steps to becoming a special education advocate for students and their families.  This class can be taken ‘stand alone’ or can be used as a pre-requisite to SEAT 2.0.

 SEAT Intro 1.0 Materials (to be purchased on own) - 

Pam Wright and Pete Wright, From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd edition

Lawrence Siegel, The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child, Nolo Press, 9th edition.

  • Click Here for Draft SEAT 1.0 Syllabus  
    Please Note: This is a draft for informational purposes only. A final syllabus will be provided to all participants prior to the start of the first class. 
  • Current Class (now in progress) Dates: Friday, August 18, 2017 - October 20, 2017 (no class Sept 1) · 12:00 - 2:00 PM Eastern / 9:00 - 11:00 AM Pacific

Cost: $350 for COPAA Members ; $450 Non-Members  

Maximum Number of Participants: 30

Cancellation Policy:

If not accepted into the program, 100% refund

If enrolled but cancelled by 8/31/17, refund minus 30% of Tuition ($105 members and $135 non members. 

No refunds after 9/1/17


SEAT 2.0

The Special Education Advocate Training (SEAT) 2.0 is yearlong course, classroom, self-study and a required practicum, that provides participants with the information, training (web-based) and practical experience to become a special education advocate. 

This course assumes that participants are familiar with special education and the IEP process; the range of disabilities and challenges addressed by IDEA; disability culture; and, working with families of children with disabilities.  This course includes reading and assignments in addition to the live class.  All assignments are graded pass/fail. 

Students must complete all assignments and receive a pass on each of any graded materials to pass the course.  If you do not think you can complete all assignments due to your work or home schedule, please consider dropping the course and take SEAT at another time.


Students who do not pass assignments will be given an opportunity to redo the assignment or do makeup work.  The goal is to assist each student to succeed and pass the course.

  • Click here for Draft SEAT 2.0 Syllabus    
    Please Note: This is a draft for informational purposes only. A final syllabus will be provided to all participants prior to the start of the first class. 

  • Next Class Dates: Friday October 27, 2017 - May 18, 2018 · 12:00 - 2:00 PM Eastern / 9:00 - 11:00 Am Pacific

Seat 2.0 Materials:

·    A Practical Guide to Special Education Advocate Training (included with registration fee)

·   COPAA Webinar Archives– Access to the complete Library of COPAA Webinars (included with registration fee)


COPAA Members - $1,350.00 ( $475 due with application, $875 due NO LATER than 9/15/17- if you pay by credit card it will be auto billed on 9/15/17)

Non-Members – $1,500.00 ( $520 due with application, $980 due NO LATER than 9/15/17- if you pay by credit card it will be auto billed on 9/15/17). Tuition includes one year of COPAA membership.

Maximum Number of Participants: 55

Cancellation Policy:

If you are not accepted into the SEAT 2.0 program you will receive a full refund of the application fee. 

If you are accepted into the program and then cancel, please note the following cancellation policy:

Prior to 11/10/17, a refund will be issued minus the registration fee.

After 11/10/17, there are no refunds.

Application Process:

Applications are submitted online and applicants must complete the form in it's entirety. Only completed applications will be considered.  

Registration and attendance to COPAA educational events is NOT open to anyone who is not a member of COPAA OR does not meet eligibility. Any individual who currently receives more than 50% of his/her income from state, local, or, in the case of an attorney, who has represented such an agency or school district within the past five years, 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). 

The 2017-2018 course is full, limited to the first 65 accepted participants.


Scholarship Discount: 

A limited number of qualified individuals whose family income is at or below 2 x the federal poverty level or who have extenuating circumstances may apply for a SEAT registration fee discount. The discounted tuition is 30% of full tuition rate. Requests will be considered on first come basis. To apply for consideration you must complete the online application for SEAT and note in the comments box you are applying for a scholarship. Then send a letter of request with proof that you meet the poverty guidelines (i.e.the first two pages of your federal tax return) to SEAT@copaa.org  A COPAA Representative will contact you to confirm eligibility and availability.

Click here for current Federal Guidelines

Scholarships are limited and are considered and awarded on a first come/first served basis to eligible applicants. 

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