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February 2023 President's Message from Dr. Angie Jasper

The Scoop - with Dr. Angie Jasper, February 2023

Hello, and welcome to The Scoop!

The 2023 Annual Convention and Expo is quickly approaching. We will be storming the streets of downtown Louisville, KY in less than 4 weeks! I hope you have your walking shoes because Louisville has so much to offer. From the Louisville Slugger Museum to the Muhammed Ali Center to the Urban Bourbon Trail to 4th Street Live. You are going to have a wonderful time! Top it off with our amazing convention experience jam-packed with research, tips, and strategies you can actually apply to supporting students with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. This is a convention you do not want to miss. I cannot wait to see you all there!

Dr. Kareem Johnson, Dr. Angie Jasper, and Chad Rummel

ASAE CEO Symposium

Earlier in January, I had the opportunity to attend the ASAE conference. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow, develop strategy, and better position CEC to move the field of special education forward. I get goosebumps every time I reflect on my experience at ASAE. There are so many opportunities for growth and innovation. This is a wonderful time to be a CEC member! I am so honored to serve as the President of this great organization. I consider it a great privilege with great responsibility. I am thankful for CEC’s Board of Directors and staff. We are a dynamic, think-outside-of-the box, diverse team. We are all very much dedicated to CECs continued success. I look forward to sharing more with you as the months progress. 


DADD Conference 

Dr. Angie Jasper presenting at DADD conference

In mid-January, I gave the opening keynote presentation at the 24th International Conference on Autism, Intellectual Disability, and Developmental Disability of the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities in Clearwater, Florida. My comments focused on supporting an increased sense of belonging, especially among our members. My definition of belonging includes one’s ability to feel accepted, connected, supported, and respected. I shared a personal story about why belonging is important to me, and I will give you the abridged version here. My story is about my own experience with schooling and my struggles with belonging. My challenges primarily centered around race in school and, for me – not generalizing, but speaking of my own lived experience, I didn’t feel a sense of belonging. I attended schools that were rural and predominantly white. At one point, I can remember just a handful of Black or multi-racial students who attended my elementary school. I always had this thought or feeling that I didn’t fit it. I didn’t look like the other kids. Though I had several friends, I can remember feeling isolated, despite being around people that seemed to enjoy my company. Have you ever felt like that? Like you didn’t fit in or belong?

A priority for me is to find ways and make efforts to demonstrate that our members are important to us, including those from minoritized and marginalized identities who often do not see themselves represented in the CEC leadership (at the national, division, and unit levels). CEC is engaged in efforts to support belonging. In the past few years, the work of the Project 20/20 committees has led to the development of Travel Awards to support BIPOC CEC members' attendance at the Convention and Expo. We also offer Affinity Groups to support community building among individuals with commonalities or shared identities. If you are not a member of an Affinity Group, I encourage you to join one or as many as you would like. It is a free member-benefit that you can take advantage of by logging into your CEC account and reviewing your opt in/opt outs preferences. If you are interested, you can learn more about Affinity Groups here.

Dr. Angie Jasper smiling next to a Dunkin' Donuts window

Overall, my few days at the DADD conference offered me so much! Time to see friends I had not touched bases with in quite a while. An opportunity to learn and improve my practice. An opportunity to sip on an XL cup of Dunkin’ coffee and enjoy a view of the pristine waters in the Gulf of Mexico. It allowed time for me to reflect and think critically about where I envision CEC 1-2 years from now. I often leave conferences tired, but not this time. I left refreshed and excited about what is ahead. 


In Unity,

Dr. Angie Jasper

2023 CEC President


Posted:  2 February, 2023

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