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Main Conference Proposals Submission
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COPAA 19th Annual Conference:

Call For Main Conference Proposals

The Fairmont Dallas,

March 4-5, 2017

Click Here to Submit a Proposal for COPAA's Main Conference

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. 

This year there is a particular interest in sessions that:

  • Address topics of national importance (not state specific) that include specific advocacy strategies for participants to implement in their local communities of practice.  
  • Trauma, its impact on the learning process for students, and addressing the needs of students with trauma.
  • Topics of interest 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.
  • Transition: 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. 
  • Topics for advanced attorneys and advocates/related professionals.
  • Sessions that address the need for advocates, attorneys, parents and empowered self-advocates from diverse communities as leaders and strategies to fully address the inherent inequities experienced by students of color and linguistically diverse students.
  • Or sessions that demonstrate a combination of these. 



  • Dates for Presentations: Proposals are sought for main conference breakout sessions held on Saturday, March 4th and Sunday, March 5th, 2017.
  • Length of Presentation: Main conference breakout sessions are 75 minutes (including questions). 
  • 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. 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

Proposals must be received on or before midnight Eastern Time on August 15, 2016. 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.)

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: for CLE approval (approx. 300 words)

5. Outline with Session Details

6. Intended Audience: Proposals should identify who the presentation is geared towards and identified as such.

    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). Note: 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. 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 15th 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 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 a email receipt the proposal submission was not completed.

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 2017 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 down loaded to a thumb drive. 

Is 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.  

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 two presenters per session. The registration waiver is good for the main conference, pre-conference sessions can be added for an additional fee during registration.  

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. 

Click Here to Submit a Proposal for COPAA's Main Conference

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