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Sessions, Keynote Speakers, and Optional Convention Workshops

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Browse Sessions

We've packed six days with hundreds of sessions on just about every topic in the field. Explore our session browser to create your very own professional development experience and find the opportunities tailored to you!  PLUS, if you'd like to take a deeper dive into a topic, you can purchase any of our optional workshops as additions to your convention registration. The options are limitless!

Keynote Speakers

Tyrone Howard

CEC is pleased to announce Tyrone C. Howard as the opening keynote speaker for CEC L.I.V.E!


Dr. Howard is considered one of the premier experts on educational equity and access in the country. He was the inaugural director of the UCLA Pritzker Center for Strengthening Children and Families, which is a campus-wide consortium examining academic, mental health, and social-emotional experiences and challenges for California’s most vulnerable youth populations. Professor Howard’s research examines equity, culture, race, teaching, and learning.


Professor Howard has published over 75 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and technical reports. He has published several bestselling books, among them, Why Race & Culture Matters in Schools and Black Male(d): Peril and promise in the education of African American males. His most recent book, All Students Must Thrive, focuses on equity, race, trauma, and learning, and has become a must-read for all educators. In 2019, Howard was listed by Education Week as one of the 60 most influential scholars in the nation, informing educational policy, practice, and reform. 

Building an Inclusive Life


Before Samuel Habib was diagnosed with a disability at age 1, the Habib family rarely thought about the inclusion of people with disabilities. Since then, they have advocated for Samuel’s inclusion nearly every day – in their schools, city, and even in their extended family. Now at 20 years old, Samuel is leading the advocacy charge for his own life. He is a student at his local community college in Concord, New Hampshire. In high school, Samuel was on the school yearbook staff, the school television station, and played “Unified Sports” track, basketball, and soccer. Samuel is working towards a career as a multi-media storyteller in film and other mediums. Yet he still faces challenges on many levels due to his rare GNAO1 neurodevelopmental disorder, including periodic seizures, movement disorders, hospitalizations, fatigue and the inaccessible homes of his extended family and friends. Samuel and Dan Habib will share a short preview of their new work-in-progress film, and discuss how they have tried to build a culture of inclusion in their family, school district, and community, and plan for a full adult life as Samuel enters his 20’s.


Dan Habib

This will be a conversation and preview you’ll want to share. 


Dan is the creator of award-winning documentary films including his most recent film Intelligent Lives, and his previous documentaries Who Cares About Kelsey?, Mr. Connolly Has ALS, Including Samuel (which focuses on his own son Samuel, who has cerebral palsy), and many other short films on disability-related topics. 


Samuel Habib

Samuel is a young man with complex disabilities, navigating the path to work, college, relationships, and moving out of his family home, while he seeks out wisdom from a diverse mix of remarkable people across the country.

Adam Saenz

Adam Saenz will deliver an inspirational message that will include personal excerpts from his life, recently published books and experiences. Mark your calendars for a presentation you’ll want to attend. 


Dr. Adam Sáenz earned his Ph.D. in School Psychology from Texas A&M University as a United States Department of Education doctoral fellow.  He completed his predoctoral clinical training under a fellowship appointment to Harvard Medical School, and he has a post doctorate in clinical psychology from the Alpert Medical School of Brown University.  Dr. Sáenz also earned a doctorate of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling from Graduate Theological Foundation with residency at Christ Church college of Oxford University.


Dr. Sáenz is the author of the bestselling book, The Power of a Teacher, and his most recent book, The EQ Intervention: Shaping a Self-Aware Generation Through Social and Emotional Learning, was released through Greenleaf Press in the spring of 2020.


He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Oakwood Collaborative, the counseling and assessment clinic he founded in 2003. He consults with school systems internationally in the areas of emotional intelligence, self-care, and the dynamics of relationship-based learning.  In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Sáenz serves as a high school track and field coach.  He is a member of the Association for Applied Sports Psychology and he is a lifetime member of the Texas Track and Field Coaches Association.  


Dr. Sáenz and his wife, Kim, have been married 25 years, and they have four children: Alisa, Mya, Isaiah, and Andrew.

Optional Convention Workshops

WORKSHOP 01 – Developing Legally Defensible IEPs
Julie Weatherly, Resolutions in Special Education, Inc., Mobile, AL
WORKSHOP 08 – Specially Designed Instruction in Co-Teaching: Past the Basics and Into the Specifics
Marilyn Friend, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
WORKSHOP 17 – Building Communities of Practice: Strengthening Induction Programs to Support the Needs of New Special Education Teachers
Clara Hauth, Marymount University, Arlington, VA
Catherine Creighton Thompson, Marymount University
WORKSHOP 22 – Building School Capacity to Work with Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities
WORKSHOP 22 – Building School Capacity to Work with Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities
Devario Hawkins, District of Columbia Public Schools
Trent McLaurin, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
WORKSHOP 03 – Effective Paraeducator Utilization: Challenges and Solutions for Teachers and Administrators
Ritu Chopra, The PAR²A Center, University of Colorado Denver
WORKSHOP 23 – Dyslexia and The Science of Reading: What Every Educator Needs to Know
Deborah Lynam, AIM Institute for Learning and Research


WORKSHOP 05 – The Early Writing Project: Evidence-based Assessment and Intervention for Struggling Writers
Erica Lembke, University of Missouri, Columbia
Kristen McMaster, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Elizabeth McCollom, University of Missouri, Columbia
Katya Sussman, University of Missouri, Columbia
Elizabeth Lam, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

WORKSHOP 14 – Specially Designed Instruction In Co-Teaching: Practical Examples Across Subjects, Domains, and Grades
Marilyn Friend, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
WORKSHOP 12 – Make an Investment in Teacher Quality and Success: Learn to Implement Explicit Instruction With Fidelity
Michael Kennedy, University of Virginia
Workshop 16: Effective Leadership for the Implementation of Evidence-based Schoolwide Literacy Instruction
Lauren Artzi, American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC
Jennifer Pierce, American Institutes for Research (AIR)
WORKSHOP 09 – Diving DEEPER: Application of Collaboration HLPs for Preservice Teachers
Robin Drogan, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
Brooke Lylo, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
Stephanie Gardner, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
WORKSHOP 11 – Developing Legally Compliant Functional Behavior Assessments
Paula Chan, Cleveland State University, OH
Sonja De Boer, Independent Contractor
David Bateman, Shippensburg University, PA


WORKSHOP 02 – Invigorative Instruction to Engage and Advance Young Learners with Significant Disabilities
Padmaja Sarathy, Infinite Possibilities, Missouri City, TX
WORKSHOP 10 – Meeting Your Students’ Executive Function Needs: Strategies & Guidelines

Roberta Strosnider, Towson University, MD and Institute for Success, Naples, FL
Valerie Sharpe, Institute for Executive Functioning
WORKSHOP 15 – Moving Beyond ‘Yes,’ ‘Good Job,’ and The Affirmative Head Nod: Providing Authentic and Specific Feedback on Student Academic and Behavior Performance
Michael Kennedy, University of Virginia
WORKSHOP 18 – Using Behavioral Interventions to Build Relationships with Students with Challenging Behavior
Lauren Collins, San Diego State University, CA
Timothy Landrum, University of Louisville, KY



Mar. 8, 2021 - Mar. 13, 2021
Add to Calendar 2021-03-08 00:00:00 2021-03-13 00:00:00 CEC 2021 Convention & Expo Council for Exceptional Children America/New_York public


Carol Serrano
Convention Director

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