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Student Rights Initiative Draft Program
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Student Rights Initiative 2018

Program Agenda


Overview of SRI Agenda:


This year’s SRI Program Agenda is structured so that Day 1 is focused on learning the information and skills necessary for self-advocacy, including developing an understanding of the history of disability rights and learning about the laws that protect students with disabilities, while Day 2 is focused planning and practicing the skills learned.  Both days include a combination of whole group sessions and small group activities for hands-on learning.  SRI participants will follow the same structured program throughout the course of the training.  Students will be assigned either to Track 1 or Track 2.  For most sessions, both Tracks will meet in the same room, but participants will have the opportunity to work in small groups with their assigned Tracks on more targeted activities.  Where the activity requires breaking into small groups, the lesson will then be differentiated to ensure that the needs of both groups – both the novice SRI participant and the advanced SRI participant – are equally met.


Track 1:  Students who have not been in the SRI program before.

Track 2:  Students who were in the SRI program in 2016 or 2017.  *SRI Lead Instructors at their discretion may assign students to Track 2 based on factors such as experience in other student trainings.





3:00-4:30 Welcome Activity / Icebreaker


Students will meet together for a meet-and-greet and icebreaker activity in an informal, fun setting. 


5:15-6:30 Keynote Address with COPAA 2018 Conference Attendees


SRI participants will join COPAA’s conference attendees for the opening keynote address.  Together, anything is possible!


7:00-9:00 SRI Friday Night Dinner (with chaperones)


Join us for dinner and a chance to get to know your fellow SRI participants!  Dinner will be provided on site and participants will go to dinner as a group with chaperones. 




8:00-10:30 Working Breakfast:  What do you think your rights are?  What strategies do you already know for how to assert your rights?


In this working breakfast session, 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. 


First, SRI trainers will lead a brief whole group discussion about the activity.  Students will then divide into groups based on their assigned Tracks to work on an interactive project.  Finally, all students will come back together as a whole group for the small groups to report on what they learned and for Q&A.  Using large poster paper, the groups 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 Breakout 1:  Self-Advocacy Panel


A panel of past and current IEP participants 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 Michael Gilberg, a COPAA Board Member and Special Education Attorney as well as other past IEP recipients.  Students who attended SRI 2016 or 2017 will also be invited to participate.  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 also 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.


12:00-1:15 Awards Lunch with COPAA 2018 Conference Attendees


SRI Participants will join COPAA conference attendees for the 2018 Annual Awards Luncheon.  The luncheon features presentation of the Diane Lipton Award for Outstanding Advocacy.  Students will have the opportunity to eat lunch with other participants, 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 Breakout 2:  Case Law In Review: Discussion of the History of Disability Movement 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 SRI participants with an understanding of how their own rights intersect within the broader civil rights movement.


2:45-3:00 Break


3:00-4:15 Breakout 3:  Understanding the Importance of the Your Voice


Track 1:  Taking Control of Your Education and Your Life


A presentation on the role of self-advocacy in the context of the law.  They will discuss the importance of having the student’s voice heard within the IEP process.  Students will gain an understanding of the reasons why self-advocacy is important, the role that they can play in the process, and the tools they will need to participate.


4:15-4:30 Break


4:30-5:30 Breakout 4:  Nuts and Bolts of the IEP and Accommodations Available


A panel of presenters will discuss an overview of special education assessments, components of the IEP, and the Individual Transition Plan with the whole group.  Students will then divide into groups within their Track for an interactive assignment led by presenters from the panel.  In the activity, groups will work on learning the nuts and bolts of what must go into an IEP and why each component is important.  Students will also explore available interventions, accommodations and services within the school system.  They will learn about what services they can access and what accommodations exist to assist them in their educational programs.  Students will also discuss possible accommodations and supports available in college and how those relate to the contents of their IEP. 


5:30-5:45 Day 1 Wrap-Up


As a whole group, participants will recap what they have learned in Day 1, with feedback from each Track to the group as a whole.  Participants will also have Q&A time with the presenters about the contents of the lessons from Day 1.


6:00-8:00 COPAA Reception


SRI participants are invited to join COPAA conference attendees 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.




8:00-9:45 Working Breakfast:  How to Figure Out What You Need and How to Get It


Students will learn the Steps to a Student-Directed IEP Process.  Then, students will diving into groups within their Track for an interactive session focused on learning how to prepare to self-advocate in their IEPs and other important meetings.  Students will work through a Planning Worksheet to identify their own goals and needs.  They will then work within their small groups to identify 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.


9:45-10:00 Break


10:00-11:15 Breakout 5:  Mock IEP and Role-Play Session


This session will start with a brief mock IEP presentation in which students will be able to learn from observing the interactions of parents, students, advocates, school district representatives and professionals in a hypothetical IEP scenario.


The second part of this session will include small group discussion of the mock IEP and a role-playing activity.  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 in small groups with input from other participants and guidance from the trainers.  Based on their role-play activity, students will help each other to create a presentation to give to their IEP teams about the needs and changes they identified in their self-advocacy plan.


11:15-11:30 Break


11:30-12:45 Breakout 6:  Following Through on the Self-Advocacy Plan


Students will have completed a Self-Advocacy Plan based on the Planning Activity and the Role-Play Session.  Students from each Track will have the opportunity to present to the whole group about their individual plan.  Presenters will facilitate a group discussion to debrief on what they have learned together and what they will do with that knowledge.  Utilizing large poster paper, the group will collectively develop four lists:  (1) Something New I Learned; (2) Something I Plan to Do; (3) Something I Plan to Share with Others, and (4) How I Feel About Being a Self-Advocate.  Participants will learn from one another and develop additional ideas for their growing repertoire of strategies and self-advocacy skills.  Participants will be encouraged to add a “to do list” to their Self-Advocacy Plan with action steps to help them achieve their goals.



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