Skip links


CEC Strands

Sessions in a strand have a common thread. Follow your passion for specific content through an entire strand, or just a few sessions. Either way, you’ll experience a topic in depth and from many different perspectives. Earn professional development hours for every strand session you attend!

Wednesday, January 30

[expand title= “%(%span class=’orangebold’%)%STRAND A: Inclusive Practices for All Learners: English Learners with Disabilities, Universal Design for Learning, and Co-Teaching Do Nots and Do Nows“]

Leader: Debra Herburger, WestEd, Sacramento, CA
Wednesday, January 30 | 1:00 –4:30 p.m.

Approximately 8.5% of all English learners also have a disability; approximately 13% of all students with disabilities are also English learners (37th Annual Report to Congress on Implementation of IDEA, 2012-2013). These percentages translate to almost 550,000 students in our schools, sitting in our classrooms, who are dually identified as both English learners and a student with a disability. The first session will focus on providing foundational knowledge about English learners with disabilities; the second session will introduce Universal Design for Learning as the instructional framework to meet the academic and social-emotional learning needs of diverse learners, with a special focus on English learners and students with disabilities. The final session will explore the Do Now and Do NOT Do of implementing co-teaching. The presenters will draw from research and literature on these critical topics and provide participants with access to online free tools and resources that will guide continued learning and actions.

View Strand A sessions[/expand]

Thursday, January 31

[expand title= “%(%span class=’orangebold’%)%STRAND B: OSEP IDEAs That Work:  Highlighting Practices and Resources to Improve Outcomes for Children with Disabilities“]

Leaders: Larry Wexler and Renee Bradley, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC
Thursday, January 31 | 9:45 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

The U.S. Office of Special Education Programs, Research to Practice strand will once again highlight critical issue topics in special education and early intervention.  The individual sessions will focus on highlighting the transfer of the best we know into classrooms, natural environments, schools, and communities.  Leading researchers and practitioners from around the country, supported by the IDEA Part D National Programs, will present evidenced-based findings, practices, resources and technology that will lead to improved outcomes for children with disabilities and their families.  Each session will begin with an overview to set the national context for the topical issue, an overview of current evidence, next steps in practice, and resources for follow up.  Sessions are designed for practitioners, school and district leaders, early intervention providers, and teacher trainers and are designed as stand-alone sessions so you can attend one or all of them.  Time will be scheduled for question and answers and resources will be shared in each session.

View Strand B sessions[/expand]

[expand title= “%(%span class=’orangebold’%)%STRAND C: Improving Outcomes for Struggling Readers: Planning for Effective Identification, Intervention, and Implementation”]

Leader: Rebecca Zumeta Edmonds, American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC; Yaacov Petscher, National Center on Improving Literacy, Florida State University, Tallahassee
Thursday, January 31 | 9:45 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

Fewer than one third of fourth graders with disabilities performed at the ‘Basic’ level in reading on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress. These data are sobering, particularly given that low literacy skills put students at risk for a host of poor outcomes, including dropout, unemployment, and incarceration (Aud et al., 2012; Sanford et al., 2011). Across sessions in this strand, leaders from the National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII) and the National Center on Improving Literacy (NCIL) will discuss critical elements for improving literacy outcomes. Presenters will emphasize issues educators often find challenging as they work to support struggling readers. The first session will address identification, including how to select, collect, and interpret screening and other data. In the second session, presenters will discuss critical components of effective literacy intervention, including how to adapt and intensify programs. In the final session, panelists will address the critical role of leaders in the successful implementation of these supports. Presenters will draw from the empirical and experimental research base on these topics, as well as their experiences supporting implementation. They will also provide participants access to free, user-friendly resources.

View Strand C sessions [/expand]

[expand title= “%(%span class=’orangebold’%)%STRAND D: The Intersection of Assessment Practices for Bilingual English Learners with Disabilities“]

Leader: Claudia Rinaldi, Lasell College, Newton, MA
Thursday, January 31 | 1:00–4:30 p.m.

The rationale for the Bilingual English Learners with Disabilities Assessment Strand is to address the latest research recommendations on culturally responsive assessment practices for students who are learning English and may have a disability. Specifically, last research on the benefits of bilingual dual language education is moving the conversation in schools on instruction but not on how to support bilingual students who are struggling (LeMenestral, Wonfg-Fillmore, Houtchens, and Uro, 2018). As the number of bilingual English learners continues to rise in US public schools, teachers continue to struggle with when to refer these students when they are struggling academically for special education services. The question of  ‘is it a language difference or a language disability’ is often one that challenges general, special educators and ESL teachers regularly. In fact, there is a long and sustained history of struggling students that are bilingual English learners who are inappropriately either over or under-identified with a disability (Fletcher & Navarrette, 2011). When these students are referred to special education evaluation, educators working with this population often have to rely on incomplete assessment practices that may or may not be linguistically and culturally biased (Klingner & Eppolito, 2014, Serpa, 2015). The strand will address how to redesign an individualized assessment plan that is non-biased and culturally and linguistically responsive that also includes a process for synthesizing data from curriculum-based measurement (CBM), diagnostic assessment tools, informal assessment, observations, family interviews, and standardized achievement results to make eligibility decisions. Additionally, the strand will also demonstrate how practices that use native language assessment practices can provide a stronger ecological evaluation and more information for determining the need for bilingual English learners to benefit from special education services.

View Strand D sessions [/expand]

[expand title= “%(%span class=’orangebold’%)%STRAND E: Supporting Diverse Families of Young Children with Developmental Disabilities: Lessons Learned and Suggestions for Practice and Research“]

Leader: Wendy Machalicek, University of Oregon, Eugene
Thursday, January 31 | 1:00–4:30 p.m.

The United States is increasingly a multiethnic society and Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic minority group (Pew Research Center, 2013). However, there is a dearth of early childhood special education literature involving Latino families or families from other culturally and linguistically diverse and economically diverse backgrounds (West et al., 2016). This lack of research challenges practitioners in (a) choosing culturally relevant intervention strategies and in (b) adapting interventions to improve accessibility, participant engagement and parent and child outcomes. Few studies have empirically evaluated culturally adapted interventions or interventions adapted for use with low-resourced families.   This strand (a) presents the philosophical and empirical support for cultural adaptation of family engagement and intervention for Latinx children with developmental disabilities and their families; and (b) presents practical strategies for culturally responsive adaptation of interventions and family engagement practices in order to more successfully recruit and retain Latinx children and families as well as other diverse populations in interventions and in intervention research.  We will present data from two recent systematic literature reviews and a recently completed empirical study with Spanish speaking caregivers of children with disabilities.

View Strand E sessions [/expand]

Friday, February 1

[expand title= “%(%span class=’orangebold’%)%STRAND F: Getting Ready for Results Driven Accountability: Powerful Lessons for Teachers and Leaders“]

Leader: Lou Danielson, American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC
Friday, February 1 | 9:45 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Across the country, states are taking steps to improve academic and behavioral outcomes for students with disabilities under the federal initiative Results Driven Accountability (RDA). RDA changes the primary focus of accountability from compliance to results and requires that all states develop and implement a plan to improve outcomes for students in special education.  How is your state planning to achieve their goal? Moreover, how does RDA impact local districts, schools, classroom teachers and leaders? This strand provides an easy-to-understand overview of RDA for school and district staff. We then will offer concrete guidance practitioners can use to implement state plans and draw upon lessons learned from the OSEP-funded center focused on RDA, the National Center for Systemic Improvement. The strand concludes with a panel discussion about what RDA has meant to state, district, and school staff. Participants of the session will understand why this federal initiative is important, particularly for students. Participants will also gain insight into state goals. To support participants, we will provide a list of sample questions school and district staff can use to learn more about RDA implementation plans in their state so that learners can show the desired academic and behavioral outcomes envisioned under the landmark initiative.

View Strand F sessions [/expand]

[expand title= “%(%span class=’orangebold’%)%STRAND G: Improving Reading and Behavior Outcomes for Students with Disabilities in Elementary and Middle School: Highlights from Research Projects funded by the National Center for Special Education Research“]

Leaders: Katherine Taylor and Joan McLaughlin, National Center for Special Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC
Friday, February 1 | 9:45 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

This strand will present research results and implications for educational practice from three rigorous studies that focus on improving the academic or behavior outcomes of elementary and middle school students with or at risk for disabilities either directly through student-level interventions or indirectly through teacher professional development. The presenters are researchers funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Special Education Research in the Institute of Education Sciences. The study participants are diverse and represent a range of ages, disability categories, and need for additional supports. Recommendations for practice include programs and instructional strategies specifically targeted to improve reading or behavior outcomes for students with or at risk for disability.

View Strand G sessions [/expand]

[expand title= “%(%span class=’orangebold’%)%STRAND H: From Research to Practice: Technology and Digital Tools to Support All Students“]
Leaders: Sean Smith, University of Kansas, Lawrence; Kavita Rao, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu
Friday, February 1 | 1:30–5:00 p.m.

Digital technologies can be used to create flexible and engaging learning environments for all learners. Apps, mobile devices, and web-based tools, can be used in the classroom for whole class as well as personalized learning experiences. This strand will explore, discuss, and demonstrate ways research-based technology practices can be integrated to support students with disabilities and struggling learners. Each session will highlight research-based methods for using digital tools and illustrate practical ways to integrate these tools into instruction. Practical tips, tools, and strategies will be presented in each session. Session One will focus on digital tools that support literacy and STEM, integrating recent research with practical tips for classroom application. Session Two will focus on blended, online, and personalized learning, describing the ways in which digital tools can support struggling learners and those with disabilities. Session Three will focus on designing and integrating innovations with technology including examples of effective research-based strategies for students with disabilities. Each presentation will highlight how the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework facilitates digital learning. Specific attention will be given to aspects of diversity (e.g., cultural and linguistic diversity, disability, socio-economic diversity) and learner variability when identifying, understanding, and applying digital-based tools.

View Strand H sessions [/expand]

[expand title= “%(%span class=’orangebold’%)%STRAND I: Charter Schools and Special Education: Lessons Still Learning“]
Leader: Azure Angelov, ADS Education, Inc., Speedway, IN
Friday, February 1 | 1:30–5:00 p.m.

Charter schools have become a place where innovative pedagogies and curriculum are brought to life. As more and more students of a variety of backgrounds choose charter schools, a better understanding of their ability to serve students with IEPs and 504s is warranted. This strand will include school leaders and their special education staff sharing lessons they have learned as they implement special education in innovative pedagogical models. These models include a bi-lingual elementary school, a design thinking PBL focused high school, a drug and alcohol recovery high school, a classical and liberal arts focused high school, an elementary focused on using data to bridge the gap between educational and health outcomes, a residential k-12 school for students with significant disabilities, and a small rural elementary school with a place based focus.

View Strand I sessions [/expand]

Saturday, February 2

[expand title= “%(%span class=’orangebold’%)%STRAND J: Mindfulness for Educators“]
Leader: Wendy Fuchs, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Saturday, February 2 | 8:00–11:30 a.m.

In the Quality of Worklife Survey conducted by the American Federation of Teachers in 2015, 73% of the 30, 0000 educators surveyed said their job was “often” stressful. The majority of educators also identified new initiatives without proper training/resources, and time as the main contributors to stress in the workplace. Educator and student stress levels have reached epidemic proportions, and may lead to burn out and teacher turnover. Based on the survey results, educators who reflect the diversity in our country and identify with an underrepresented group based on race, religion, gender, etc. are more likely to leave the profession. The primary way to address and reduce stress for educators and their students is to teach them strategies that work on a neurological level and have marked physical, cognitive, and social-emotional benefits. Educators who reduce and manage stress are better equipped to model appropriate social-emotional regulation, as well as provide explicit instruction in stress reduction strategies for students. The content and practice presented in this strand will provide administrators, general/special educators, and related service providers with the research base, practice opportunities, and next steps that will help address their own stress, and that of their students.

View Strand J sessions [/expand]

[expand title= “%(%span class=’orangebold’%)%STRAND K: Cultivating Individual Self-Determination Skills: An Ideological Approach for Improving Exceptional Learners Sense of Equity and Efficacy in School“]
Leader: Vincent Harper, Harper Educational Resources Incorporated, Evansville, IN
Saturday, February 2 | 8:00–11:30 a.m.

Ideology is at work in everything we experience as reality (Zizek, 1994, p.17). Factors that inform educators’ ideological orientations include race/ethnicity, religion, gender, socioeconomic class, culture, and disability status. These and other ideological orientations shape how they perceive themselves and interact with members in their shared learning community. Despite their best intention to ‘help students’, many educators rely on traditional ideological beliefs to generate commonsense assumptions and practices that, instead, harm students and reproduce structures of inequality.  This strand addresses how educators can help students gain a sense of equity and efficacy in order to advocate for themselves.

View Strand K sessions [/expand]