Free conference on special education planned at Ripon College

A free conference on diversity and inclusion in higher education will be held Thursday, Oct. 3, on the Ripon College campus. “Special Education: A Changing Landscape” is sponsored by the Higher Education Diversity Initiative Team (HEDIT), comprising the four higher education institutions of Fond du Lac County — Ripon College, Marian University, Moraine Park Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Fond du Lac Campus.

The conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union, on the Ripon College campus. Students and staff from the four institutions and all interested members of the Fond du Lac County community are invited to attend. Busing from Marian University and Moraine Park will be provided, and breakfast and lunch will be included.

There is no fee for the workshop but online registration is required.

There will be two panel discussions, and the keynote speaker will be Daniel Parker, assistant director of special education with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Parker previously worked as an autism consultant and grant director for the Wisconsin Statewide Parent Educator Initiative and the Wisconsin Family Assistance Center for Education, Training and Support. He currently supports updated frameworks for comprehensive special education evaluations, additional training resources for IEP development, monitoring of progress of IEP goals, and functional behavior assessments.

He has a unique blend of home-based, general and special education teaching, and administrative background at the school, district and statewide levels. His interests include data analysis, self-determination, family engagement, positive behavior interventions, cross-agency/organization collaboration, and highlighting implementation of evidence-based strategies and high-leverage practices in special education to support improved student outcomes across Wisconsin.

Parker received master’s degrees in special education and human development and family life from the University of Kansas.

HEDIT is a team of faculty and staff formed by the presidents and CEOs of Fond du Lac County’s four institutions of higher education to plan “an annual collaborative project designed to promote a climate of appreciation for all aspects of human diversity, supporting, fostering and welcoming inclusiveness, respect and dignity for all.” This is HEDIT’s 11th annual event.

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