Council for Exceptional Children to hold symposium at GV

Shae Slaughter

Headline: Council for Exceptional Children to hold symposium at GV 

By: Shae Slaughter

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Every student who receives an education does so differently and these differences are something that Grand Valley State University’s chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) wishes to celebrate. GVSU’s CEC will be holding a symposium for professional development Saturday, Nov. 12 from 8:30 3 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center Grand River Room.

According the national CEC’s website the goal of the organization as well as its chapters is to increase the success of children with exceptionalities. The CEC hopes to give educators the necessary tools to correctly deal with students who have disabilities. As a whole they hope to be the voice and vision of special education. They achieve this mission through advocacy and professional development.

“(The CEC is) a professional organization that advocates for people with disabilities,” said Monica Harris, faculty advisor to GVSU’s CEC.

As a student chapter, GVSU focuses on these same ideas, but in a way that targets future educators rather than those who have already entered the career field. In this case, it gives the students the ability to become leaders while they learn, starting with the symposium, which was created by students.

“Here we have half and half, we have a great group of general educators as well as special education,” Harris said. This makeup helps to make GVSU’s chapter a strong one, she mentioned.

GVSU’s CEC chapter is focusing on the aspect of professional development for their 21st annual symposium. This allows students in the field of education to hear from professionals such as Michigan’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, Tracy Horodyski, who will be the keynote speaker at the event.

“We try to bring in different speakers each year, so it’s just learning new things every year,” said Lauren Hogikyan, vice president of GVSU’s CEC.

The event is expected to cover most of the day and is set up to include a couple of breakout sessions along with the keynote speaker. These sessions will allow attendees to discuss a variety of topics alongside professionals in the education field. GVSU’s CEC is bringing in a social worker, an assistant principle and a director of special education to help give a wide variety of opinions.

“The purpose of the symposium is to provide future educators with new ideas and perspectives about the education system,” said Shannon Kelley via email, president of GVSU’s CECl. “We bring professionals from the field of education to this event for them to share their expertise and experiences with us”.

The event has been able to maintain its validity for the last two decades because of the constant influx of information into the education field.

“Education is changing so much,” Hogikyan said.

Though the event is geared at future educators, anyone who is interested may attend. Those wishing to attend should register prior to the event by dropping off a refundable $5 deposit to the CEC mailbox at the Office of Student Life. Deposits can also be made at one of the CEC’s bi-weekly meetings which happen Mondays at 7 p.m. in Kirkhof Center.

“We are really excited and hope to see a lot of people there. There is pre-registration but it is perfectly fine for people to show up at the door as well,” Kelley said.

For more information about GVSU’s chapter of CEC visit