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Student Rights Initiative Draft Program



Student Rights Initiative 2020 (DRAFT)

Sponsored By The Law Office of Roberta Savage

Program Agenda


Overview of SRI Agenda:


The SRI Program Agenda is structured to focus on learning special advocacy law and skills necessary for self-advocacy, including an understanding of the history of disability rights and learning about the laws that protect students with disabilities. Also to also practice the skills learned and develop student driven documentation that are useful for IEP and transition plans. The training includes a combination of whole group sessions and hands-on learning. This course is very interactive and flexible based on individual student's needs. 


Friday, March 6th, 2020


5:15-6:30 pm COPAA 2020 Keynote Address


SRI participants will join the course instructors and COPAA’s conference attendees for the opening keynote address.  Speaker: TBD


6:30-8:00 pm 


SRI participants are encouraged to join their chaperones and all attendees at the Welcome Reception. It is a great opportunity to interact with others students, presenters, and especially meet our conference sponsors and exhibitors.  


Saturday, March 7, 2020


8:00-9:00 am Students bring the conference continental breakfast to the SRI classroom by 9:00 am


9:00 – 10:30 am Topic #1 What do you think your rights are?  What strategies do you already know for how to assert your rights?


Participants will have a collaborative and interactive discussion in which they will discuss what they already know about their rights under the law, and begin to learn from other students and from the trainers in order to expand that knowledge. SRI trainers will lead a brief discussion on special education laws and facilitate student input based on their existing knowledge. This is hands on learning and the group will collectively develop three lists: (1) What Rights I Know I Have; (2) What Skills I Want to Learn; and (3) How I Feel When I Have to Self-Advocate.


10:30-10:45 Break


10:45-12:00 Topic #2 Historical Perspectives and Disability Trends in the Courts


A review of the history of how special education became a civil right protection for students with disabilities. They will discuss the historical context of civil rights for students and provide an understanding of how their own rights intersect within the broader civil rights movement. They will start to develop how they might want to include historical information in their personal plans.


12:00-1:15 Awards Lunch with COPAA 2019 Conference Attendees


SRI Participants will join COPAA conference attendees for the 2020 Annual Awards Luncheon.  The luncheon features presentation of the Diane Lipton Award for Outstanding Advocacy.  Students will have the opportunity to eat lunch with their instructions and other students, to listen to inspirational speeches about the impact of advocacy, and to be part of the larger COPAA community for this exciting event.


1:30-2:45 Topic # 3 Self-Advocacy Panel


A panel will discuss their experiences growing up as students with IEPs and how that experience has shaped their lives and careers leading them to where they are today.  The panel will include self-advocates, Michael Gilberg Esq. a COPAA Board Member and Special Education Attorney, Robert Tudisco, Esq.  and Ptahra Jeppe, Law Student. SRI Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of the panel members.  The panel will discuss steps self-advocates can take to best position themselves for future success in all areas, including college, career and social/emotional.  They will talk about mistakes they made or that others made and how to avoid these traps.  They will help SRI participants begin to think about what they may want to see changed in their own IEPs and inspire them to advocate for those changes.


2:45-3:00 Break


3:00-4:30 Topic # 4 Nuts and Bolts of the IEP and Accommodations Available


This group discussion lead by the instructor includes what components should go into an IEP. They identify what they know about their own IEPs and what services and accommodations currently in place currently. Students will explore and learn from each other additional interventions, accommodations and services within the school system that could be helpful to them.  Students will also discuss possible accommodations and supports as part of their transition plans and how those relate to the contents of their IEP. 


6:00-8:00 pm COPAA Reception


SRI participants are invited to join COPAA conference attendees with their chaperones at the Saturday night reception and silent auction.  At this informal, networking event, students will be able to spend more time with one another and also mingle with attorneys, advocates, parents and professionals within the COPAA community.


Sunday, March 8, 2020


8:00-9:00 Students bring conference breakfast to the SRI classroom by 9:00 am


9:00- 9:30 am Recap of Prior Day and Continue to Work on Individual Personal IEP/Transition Plans


9:30-10:30 Topic #5 How to Figure Out What You Need and How to Get It


Students will learn the Steps to a Student-Directed IEP Process and focused on learning how to prepare to self-advocate in their IEPs and other important meetings.  Identifying their own goals and needs and ways that they can advocate.  At the end of the session, students will each have a list of their needs and changes they would like to advocate for, and they will have developed a plan for presenting this information to their IEP teams.


Break 10:30- 10:45 am


10:45-12:00 Topic #6 Following Through on the Self-Advocacy Plan


Building on the information and skills learned thus far and utilizing their list developed in the planning activity, students will have the opportunity to practice verbal communication and self-advocacy with guidance from the trainers.  Students and instructors continue work on presentations to give to their IEP teams about the needs and changes they identified in their self-advocacy and transition plan.


12:00-12:15 pm Wrap up







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