Be there ‘IRL’ at Every Child Counts
December 6, 2021
This year’s in-person Every Child Counts Symposium promises to deliver vital information on student services and special education that can be used right now to help students thrive.
ECC Planning Committee Chair Jean Martin said the committee wanted to support educators in “Staying on Course in Real Life,” which is this year’s theme.
“The theme acknowledges that our participants have worked tirelessly in serving our students since our ‘pivot’ in March 2020,” Martin said. “We are hoping to provide our Special Education and Student Services professionals with information to enable them to ‘stay on course’ with the amazing services that they provide students.”
The committee has scheduled three pre-conference workshops Wednesday morning: one for Special Education and Student Services Directors and staff, another on Legislative Advocacy, and a third one on Wellness. In addition, Martin said strands during the conference will include Social-emotional Learning, Social Justice in our Schools, Special Education, Leadership, Child Welfare and Attendance, and Legislation.
This conference has moved to January, so don’t wait until after the new year — register now at and be there for students at the 2022 Every Child Counts Symposium. Here are some other reasons to “be” at this year’s conference.
Be open to new ideas
Educators facing the same challenges you face will present their innovative strategies for serving students at the symposium. Sessions like “Insanely Great FREE Mental Health and STEM Resources” and “Better Together: Re-designing Teaching to Build Inclusive Classrooms” will provide fresh perspectives and up-to-the-minute information on how to best serve students. Find listings for all sessions in the “Session Information” section.
Be part of a stronger team
Supporting students works best when there is a multi-disciplinary approach to serving their academic, social-emotional, and physical needs. That’s why ACSA is offering a special registration rate for teams of three or more from the same district, when registering at the same time. Bring the whole team and split up so you can attend multiple sessions. Then schedule a time during or after the conference to share what you learned and how it can improve outcomes for your students.
Be the “push” students need
Student services and special education educators know that with the right support, our students can accomplish great things. The story of keynote presenters Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray illustrates how we are stronger when we work together. These two lifelong friends completed the grueling 500-mile journey along the Camino de Santiago, each pushing the other emotionally and physically along the way. The friendship between Skeesuck, who lives with a neuromuscular disease and uses a power wheelchair, and Gray, who is able-bodied, shows that overcoming life’s challenges requires acknowledging our weaknesses, inviting others into our story and embracing the fact that we cannot do it all on our own.
Be a difference-maker for foster youth
Jessica Chandler spent most of her adolescence bouncing between group homes and Juvenile Hall until she emancipated at age 18. Since then Jessica has become a national advocate for children and families involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. She is a subject of the documentary film “Foster,” which premiered on HBO in 2019. Chandler is currently a social worker with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, working with children and families navigating LA county’s dependency and juvenile justice systems. Chandler believes that for every foster youth, “we are all one caring person away from being a success story!”
Be a trauma-informed educator
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is an award-winning physician, researcher and advocate dedicated to changing the way our society responds to one of the most serious, expensive and widespread public health crises of our time: childhood trauma. Appointed as California’s first Surgeon General in 2019, Dr. Burke Harris has set a bold goal to reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress by half in one generation. She believes educators are uniquely positioned to help all children feel needed, seen, understood and cared for — regardless of their ACE score. Join Dr. Burke Harris as she discusses the science behind ACEs and shares tools that will help educators recognize and respond to the impacts of childhood adversity.
Be there IRL
Due to last year’s conference being held online, Every Child Counts Symposium will mark the first time in awhile many professionals in education will be able to connect “in real life” with one another.
“I am very excited to see all our colleagues in person!” Martin said. “We have many fun activities planned for the participants to celebrate our first in-person gathering in over a year.”
More than 1,000 people have already signed up — including teachers, counselors, special educators, speech pathologists and principals — so don’t miss this chance to connect with job-alike colleagues from throughout the state in Palm Desert.
Every Child Counts Symposium
What: Student Services and Special Education Council conference When: Jan. 12-14, 2022 Where: JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa Cost: $550 ACSA members (and those not eligible for membership); $500 when registering teams of 3 or more at the same time Register:
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