A2Z Educational Advocates
During this past year A2Z's team has become very active in the special education community. I want to take this opportunity to fill you in on our involvement.
Carrie Watts has been a part of A2Z for over 12 years. For the 2014-2015 year, she served as Chair of the Board of Directorsof COPAA, a national civil rights organization dedicated to special education advocacy, and she will continue on the Executive Committee of COPAA for the coming year. In addition, she has created the blogs and tweets for A2Z to manage our social network presence online.
Mandy Favaloro has been a part of A2Z for over 10 years. Currently she is one of the Co-Chairs of COPAA’s Conference Committee, which put together the Annual Conference being held next month, March 5-8 in San Diego. In addition, Mandy is an instructor for COPAA’s Special Education Advocacy Training (SEAT) program and Co-Chair of COPAA’s Training Committee. Both Carrie and Mandy have given several talks on all aspects of special education both nationally and locally.
In addition to this core group there are 3 incredibly talented additions to our team. Cristina Guerin, is a paralegal who has taken on the task of managing all the due process cases, including scheduling, researching and client contact. Jessica Brown-Clark, is an advocate currently taking the SEAT training. She manages all the experts for IEE's and records for all our clients and attends IEP meetings. Diana Martinez, our bi-lingual advocate conducts telephonic intakes and reaches out to the Hispanic community to insure there is awareness of the rights of children with Spanish speaking parents and attends IEP meetings with Spanish-speaking clients.
I have expanded A2Z's focus to include representation of young adults in qualifying for Regional Center services under the 5th category based on a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. It is a challenge since this developmental disability is just coming to the forefront in recognizing how prevalent it is, especially among the adopted children population.