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Conference on Inclusive Education FAQ

Conference on Inclusive Education FAQ

We’ve been busy these last few months creating all things conference. Everyone at PEAK Parent Center is excited and proud to bring you the 34th Annual Conference on Inclusive Education, Discover the Possibilities. Whether you are a veteran attendee or plan to attend for the first time, PEAK’s Annual Conference on Inclusive Education is the premier event to connect you with all things inclusive education.

This year’s line-up of keynoters features classic conference names like Jonathan Mooney, who’s most recent book, Normal Sucks, works to break down the construct of normal; Patrick Schwarz a consultant you will find in schools across the country teaching on the ground inclusion implementation; and inclusion data guru Michael McSheehan who has the numbers to back inclusive practices and the know-how to implement them. New this year is the Lee Family of whom 6th grader Alex and his older sister Isabelle will share how Alex has been fully included his entire school career. Plan to get even more immersed with take-aways and strategies from our break-out presenters who will delve into such topics as Universal Design for Learning, Differentiated Instruction, Assistive Technology, and more.

In true PEAK fashion, we like to keep fun on the fringe of all we do. So while this work of social justice and civil rights for all people is serious business, we believe that to keep people engaged we have to keep our senses of humor on a tight leash. Today we bring you our slightly skewed version of some of the most frequent conference questions; honest questions, but we’ve satirized them just a bit.

Q. I know the conference agenda always includes a karaoke night. I’m not a singer or a dancer. Is it imperative that I attend this part of the conference? I’d rather sit alone in my hotel room reading or researching the latest on educational pedagogy.

A. Short answer: YES! That was in all caps because I was yelling. You really must attend karaoke. I write this knowing that I can’t carry a tune without alarming all the neighborhood dogs, and the only place you will find me dancing is in my kitchen with the safety net of my immediate family. So while you probably won’t catch me dancing or singing on karaoke night, you will find me enjoying and admiring the nerve, and quite frankly the talent, of those who do. This conference is about community and coming together. What better opportunity to practice walking the walk and talking the talk. Come! Join us for a dance or simply visit with like-minded folks who just want to make the world a better place.

Q. Where do I sit? Each year I walk into the main ballroom with hundreds of people and know no one. It’s so intimidating!

A. Yes, especially if you’ve traveled some distance and familiar faces are far away. Walking into a room with over 450 strangers is intimidating. I agree and so does my inner introvert. However, I’ll say it again, at its core this conference is about community and creating a space for all. Inclusive education reminds us that in school is where we learn how to create community at a micro-level. There will be a seat for you at my table. An aside to other conference attendees: don’t forget to welcome a stranger with a smile or ask if they are looking for a seat.

Q.  I’m a teacher and my principal is sending me so that I can be the master of inclusion at our school. Will this conference teach me everything I need to know about inclusive education?

A. While we can’t say that you will walk away knowing everything you need to know about inclusive education, we can say that you will walk away with practical strategies, resources, and ideas you can implement as soon as you return to your desks. We’ll put you in touch with the latest on the cutting edge of inclusive thinkers, applications, and tools. Inclusion starts with a belief that all students can learn and contribute. That belief will blossom ideas that will transform your classroom communities! Don’t forget, new this year you can earn graduate credit through Adams State University, and as always, there is no extra cost for continuing education credit. Plus, you can share some moves you mastered at karaoke the next time it’s your turn to chaperone the school dance.

Q.  As a parent of a child with a disability, is this conference really for me? It seems better suited to educators and professionals.

A. This conference is absolutely for you. You, the parent, are the one constant in your child’s life. Teachers, principals, service providers and more will come and go. You are the manager of your child’s education and therefore a “professional.” You have to know what it is you are advocating for. You have to have the vision to be able to see and discover the possibilities in order to ensure your child’s future is one of choice and opportunity. You will gain strategies and ideas you can implement at home and advocate for at your child’s school; tools to implement behavior strategies, and accommodations and modifications, and more are on the agenda. You’ll hear from self-advocates that will help you redefine what’s possible and challenge your thinking. You are the driver of this bus until your child learns how to drive it themselves - driving is a scary thought I know. I currently have 3 teenagers learning to drive! Yes, this conference is for you. Plus, you can build your community and meet other parents who can give you even more helpful ideas. And there’s karaoke!

Join us and register today for a life-changing experience (and karaoke) in this conference community where everybody belongs! If you have more questions call us at 719-531-9400 or email conference@peakparent.org. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for conference updates and more on the latest in inclusive education and related topics.