General Sessions


Wednesday  |  5:00–6:30 p.m.
Change how you see, see how you change.

Rick Guidotti, CEC 2017 Keynote Speaker

Rick Guidotti, an award-winning photographer who uses the visual arts to change people’s perception of beauty, will join the CEC community as the Opening General Session Keynote Speaker at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

What is beauty? As a fashion photographer, Guidotti was constantly being told what to think was beautiful, but one day
he realized that beauty was all around him—in every person in different ways. This realization led him to create the nonprofit organization, Positive Exposure.

Through Positive Exposure, Guidotti works to change the way that society sees people living with genetic, physical, intellectual, and behavioral differences through photography. Rather than capturing a victimizing image, Guidotti captures images that empower the subjects. With these photographs, the organization works to promote and advocate for a more inclusive, compassionate world where diversities are celebrated. Learn more about Guidotti and his work with Positive Exposure.



Thursday  |  8:00–9:00 a.m.
Addressing Disproportionality in Special Education: Culturally Responsive and Equitable Education for All Students

The representation of students of color in special education, especially Black and Hispanic students, has been studied for decades. Depending on the specific special education category, such students are two to three times more likely than White students to be identified. A great deal of tension and debate have focused on this issue, and recommendations and solutions have been offered. Yet, disproportionality persists. The panelists for this session will focus on research-, policy-, and practice-based solutions to address this challenging problem, supporting schools and districts in ensuring equity for all students throughout the process of identification for and delivery of special education services.

Donna Ford,
Vanderbilt University,
Nashville, Tenn.

Ivory Toldson,
Howard University,
Washington, DC

Nonie Lesaux,
Harvard University,
Cambridge, Mass.


Friday  |  8:00–9:00 a.m.
Yes I Can Awards Celebration

Honoring the accomplishments of children and youth with exceptionalities. Don’t miss this very exciting event. This is why you became a special educator!
12 outstanding students and young adults will be honored in the following categories:

• Academics • School & Community
• Arts • Technology
• Self-Advocacy • Transition