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2019 Main Conference Call For Proposals: March 9-10th, 2019
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Applicants interested in submitting a proposal to present at COPAA's Annual Conference must review the requirements for proposal content and format below prior to clicking on REGISTER to submit. Only submissions that follow full directions and include all information requested, including attachment of a single word document, are considered. Main Conference breakout sessions are 90 minutes time slots on March 9th or 10th, 2019.

6/18/2018 to 9/7/2018
Where: Sheraton New Orleans Hotel
500 Canal Street
New Orleans, Louisiana  70130
United States
Contact: Conference Committee
844-426-7224 ext. 701

Online registration is closed.
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COPAA 21th Annual Conference: Call For Main Conference Proposals

Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, March 9-10, 2019

COPAA is an unparalleled peer-to-peer network. The Annual COPAA Conference is the only opportunity of it's kind for sharing expertise, networking, and face-to-face training. Over 600 leading special education advocates, attorneys and parents 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.

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: Main Conference Sessions are 90 minutes in length this year. 

This year there is a particular interest in sessions that discuss/address:

  • Endrew F. measuring progress; Challenging and ambitious goals; Where are we now? 
  • The business of an advocacy practice
  • Bullying & Harassment
  • Strategies for assuring faithful implementation of IEPs and related services, supports, and accommodations to assure meaningful progress, and to include issue spotting in special education documents.
  • Assessment; breakdowns of, comparisons of, and introductions to assessment batteries, testing profiles for specific disabilities / suspected disabilities etc.
  • Addressing challenging behaviors that interfere with learning and discipline. Advocacy strategies from the IEP table to addressing interfering behaviors and how to successfully manage an expulsion hearing.
  • Practical application of IDEA, 504, and the ADA in day-to-day work (we would like more of ‘here’s what to do’ rather than ‘this is what the law is’).
  • Section 504:  Understanding rights under the law, comparison with rights under IDEA and the ADA.
  • Transition and post high school options: both for higher education and employment.
  • Strategies to increase social and racial equity for students with disabilities and their families.
  • Practical solutions to address the School to Prison Pipeline
  • Designing meaningful, “appropriately ambitious” IEPs in the least restrictive environment (LRE). Since not all in the audience have a hand in directly drafting IEPs, let’s include issue spotting.
  • Trauma: strategies to address the needs of students with a history of trauma.
  • Topics of national importance (not state specific) that include specific advocacy strategies for participants to add and implement in their local communities of practice.
  • Strategies to close the gap between the promise and the reality of the civil right to an equal, quality education. Audience wants to know what specifically to do.
  • Sessions that demonstrate the power of a quality education to produce outcomes for students and families. 
  • Post Filing and pre-hearing strategies: Practice tips for managing a 10 day offer including litigation strategies.
  • Charter Schools and Students with Disabilities: who’s responsible?  Practical interactions in protecting the rights of SWD.
  • Ethics for Attorneys.
  • Ethics for Advocates.
  • 504 Litigation and Exhaustion requirement post Fry.
  • Topics for advanced attorneys and advocates/related professionals.
  • Or sessions that demonstrate a combination of these factors.   


  • Dates for Presentations: Proposals are sought for main conference breakout sessions held on Saturday, March 9th and Sunday, March 10th, 2019.  
  • Length of Presentation: Main conference breakout sessions are 90 minutes (including time for questions and answers). 
  • Online Submission and Accuracy: Complete the online submission, and it is highly recommended to use Google Chrome internet browser for best software compatibility. Make sure you provide all the information requested- listed below. The information relating to the session should be attached in one Word document that is 15 pages maximum. You must combine your bio's and resume into one document because uploading a new document removes the prior document. 

We receive twice the amount of proposals than can actually be accepted for presentation. Proposals that do not have complete information in the requested format will not be considered.

  • Audience: Approximately 600 registrants are expected to attend the conference. Attendees include attorneys, advocates, parents, students, related educational professionals, sponsors and exhibitors. Registrants' level of knowledge of the law and best practices relating to the education of children with disabilities will vary widely, from novice, intermediate, to advanced. Accordingly, proposals should be developed, and clearly identified for the target audience.
  • Presentation Style: Please indicate whether your presentation will be structured asa lecture or interactive with the audience.  If it is meant to be interactive, please ensure that your materials are developed in such a way as that the entire presentation is covered within the allotted time. 

Proposals must be received on or before midnight Eastern Time on August 10, 2018. Don't wait until the last minute! 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: 140 Character Maximum.

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.) * Up to (2) main conference fee waivers per presentation.

3. Brief Session Description: for the registration brochure (approximately 40-60 words). It should accurately reflect the content of the white paper and ppt. that will be presented.

4. Detailed Session Description: required for all and also used for CLE approval (approx. 300 words).

5. Outline:  with session details.

6. Intended Audience: Proposals should identify who the presentation is geared towards.

    a) Audience Category: Attorney, Advocate, Related Professional, Parent or Mixed Audience (identify which ones).

    b) Audience Level of Expertise: Novice, Intermediate, or Advanced or a Combination (identify which levels). Please be sure to accurately represent this. We received feedback in evaluations that some session's content and level advertise did not accurately match the presentation.  Please note any prerequisite skills or prior knowledge of subject matter that is required.  

7. Presentation Style: Please indicate whether your presentation will be structured as a lecture or interactive with the audience.

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

9. Copy of lead presenter's current resume (include in the Word document with proposal information and included in the 15 page maximum).  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 10, 2018 deadline will be considered. Failure to provide all of the required information will result in an automatic disqualification. As stated above, 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 Conference@COPAA.org

Please note:  No single person has authority to assure acceptance of a proposal prior to the committee's review of the submission. As a condition of acceptance, presenters 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.  If you don't receive an email receipt the proposal submission was not received. 

Decision Letters will be e-mailed in September.

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).

Commitment Requirements:

All speakers agree to provide a 15 page white paper to be included in the 2019 COPAA Conference Program and Compendium of materials in the format requested and by the deadline noted in the acceptance letter (generally early January to allow time for review and printing) In addition, a Power Point presentation will need to be submitted by early February (exact date will be in acceptance letter). 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.

Presenter's must bring a laptop and it should have the presentation loaded on that machine and also bring the presentation on a thumb drive to the conference. 

It is mandatory to attend a speaker preparation conference call. The same call will be held on two different dates and time you can choose from in February, 2019.  

Financial Arrangements:

In order 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 (a group discounted rate is offered) 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 up to (2) two presenters per session. The registration waiver is for the main conference, pre-conference sessions can be added for an additional fee during registration. No other expenses will be paid, although several meals are provided to all conference participants. 

Click Register at the top of this page to submit a proposal.


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