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Wednesday, September 28th - Spotlight Sessions

Conference Sessions will take place 10:15 - 11:45 AM and 1:00 - 5:00 PM at meeting rooms throughout the Hilton Chicago! There's dozens of sessions to choose from. Be sure to pace yourself and don't forget to take breaks! View all sessions here.

Spotlight Sessions Exclusionary Discipline: Converting the Birth-to-Prison Pipeline into the Birth-to-Dignity Pipeline - Presented by: Sascha Longstreth • Sarah Garrity • Ann Turnbull • Rud Turnbull - Add this session to your schedule. Participants in the session will learn about the current data on exclusionary discipline practices that drive the birth-to-prison pipeline. They will also be taught about the structure and scoring of The Teaching and Guidance Policy Essentials Checklist (TAGPEC) that examines the quality of guidance policies in preschool through third grade. The session speakers will share policy template & examples aligned with TAGPEC for model program/community policy and state legislation with participants. Lastly, time-tested advocacy strategies for passage of new policy will be highlight. DEC Equity Audit Unpacked - Presented by: Sterling E. Freeman • Kathleen E. Crabbs - This session will be offered from 12:00 - 12:45 PM and from 1:00 - 1:40 PM. - Add this session to your schedule. CounterPart Consulting and DEC have been engaged since February 2021 in building capacity for. advancing racial equity in the system, and assessing the current and potential racial equity capacity of the DEC system internally. All of this has been done in partnership with the Executive Board, the Executive Director, and a 12-member Equity Leadership Team (ELT) made up of members of DEC. The work has culminated in a full racial equity assessment report that will be shared in this session, as well as best next steps determined by the ELT in conjunction with CounterPart. The executive summary, released on Sept 28 on is a synopsis of the goals of the racial equity assessment, the primary findings, a potential pathway forward and identified best next steps. Congressional Panel: What's Happening in Washington - Presented by: Sharon Walsh • Kuna Tavalin • Kris Pedersen - Moderator: Jenna Weglarz-Ward - Add this session to your schedule. Join us in this annual event as we discuss actions of the 117th Congress and review pending and current priorities for the remainder of this Congress. Hot topics and current context will be addressed as well as. An outlook for the remainder of the year will be provided including impact of the upcoming election and updates on federal funding impacting programs and services for young children and their families. Come prepared with your advocacy hat on and your advocacy voice ready! Plan to leave the session with ways to stay involved in this important work! Federal Session - "Be Part of Early Childhood Partnerships in Action" - Presented by: Director Valerie C. Williams • Mary Beth Bruder • Peggy Kemp - Add this session to your schedule. This session will highlight some of the OSEP early childhood investments. OSEP partners with many offices and agencies to support outcomes for young children with disabilities and their families. Additionally, the session will showcase how the OSEP funded centers partner with others to develop products and services. The session will highlight the “Be Part of” early intervention recruitment campaign, a partnership between OSEP, ECPC, and DEC. Valerie C. Williams serves as the director in the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing administration of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Williams most recently served for six years as senior director of Government Relations and External Affairs at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education. She has decades of experience, which include supporting state-level special education leaders by overseeing federal government public policy activities, federal regulatory affairs, public relations, and key initiatives to promote equity and guide positive systemic change, thereby improving outcomes for students with disabilities. She also served as the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Public Policy Fellow, on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee advancing disability policy and civil rights. She has a unique perspective, having worked with members of Congress and staff on Capitol Hill, with advocacy organizations, supporting state special education leaders, and most importantly, being the parent of a son with Down syndrome.

Using Data and Lessons Learned to Support Improved Outcomes - Presented by: Julia Martin Eile • Jennifer Barrett-Zitkus • Brenda Murray-Wilkins • Jani Kozlowski • Grace Kelley • Jennifer Miley • Janette Guerra • Vinetta Freeman • Sharon Lunn - Add this session to your schedule. Join the roundtable discussion with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and OSEP-Funded TA Centers to review Early Childhood Special Education Data and share lessons from the field, highlight concerns, promising practices, and planning for the future. Supporting Equitable Services: New OSEP Early Childhood Centers - Presented by: Julia Martin Eile • Christy Kavulic • Yolanda Lusane - Add this session to your schedule. This session will highlight OSEP’s new early childhood technical assistance centers. This presentation will share information on the outcomes and activities of the new centers and the resources they will develop for States, faculty, providers, and families to support effective and equitable services for young children with disabilities and their families.


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