Symposium to address future educators

Erin Grogan

Future educators will be joining the Grand Valley State University’s Student Council for Exceptional Children to discuss different perspectives and tips on becoming professional educators at the 18th annual Professional Development Symposium.

Amy Schelling is the faculty adviser for the SCEC, as well as an assistant professor in the College of Education and the program coordinator for the masters program in Special Education.

Schelling said the SCEC is the most active chapter of Michigan’s Council for Exceptional Children with almost 100 members, and is dedicated to improving “educational outcomes for students with disabilities.”

However, the symposium is not just geared toward those interested in working with students who have disabilities.

Michelle Vader, public relations officer of the SCEC, is a senior majoring in special education. She said the symposium will provide future educators with tips on working with all students.

“People should attend this event to learn new ideas and perspectives of becoming a future educator,” she said.

In addition to participating in professional conferences, the SCEC also volunteers with organizations in the area.

“One of the things about our organization that I am most proud of, is that we have established partnerships with area schools that our members participate in and support.” Shelling said.

Shelling said the SCEC has two pen-pal classrooms in Allendale Public School. Every year, executive board members adopt a classroom in the Ottawa Area Center, which “serves students with the most significant disabilities” and spend time volunteering in the classroom every week.

The symposium will feature keynote speaker Christy Buck, who is the founder of Be Nice – a campaign geared at educating people about the mental health effects of bullying.

Following the keynote speaker, Kindy Segovia, the assistive technology coordinator for Kent Intermediate School District, will be leading the first of three 50-minute breakout sessions. Vader said Segovia will talk about how to find the most effective way that assistive technology considerations can be used to benefit every student in the classroom.

Following Segovia’s session, Joe DeMarsh, current president-elect and conference chairperson for the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children, will speak about ways to strengthen professional partnerships between professional and paraprofessional educators. He will also teach strategies that support these professional relationships and how these relationships can strengthen a classroom.

The final session will be led by Madison Prescott, Stephanie Cyrus, Lea Oom, and Anna Priem of the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children Student Board. They will discuss ways to include reading and writing throughout the entire curriculum.

The Symposium will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 9 in 2204 Kirkhof Center. A $10 fee is required with the registration, though it can be refunded if students bring college IDs to the symposium.

To register for the event, contact [email protected].

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