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Making a Difference in Schools

Greetings from the 2015 CAL-ED Conference Chair!

I wanted to take the time to say THANK YOU to all the teachers, assistants, interpreters, professors, administrators, speech-language pathologists, educational audiologists,

counselors, and parents who made Conference 2015 a success! We really appreciate your continued support.

The theme of this year’s conference was, “Making a Difference in Schools.” Our conference in beautiful downtown Long Beach was a huge success. The gorgeous weather and stunning hotel provided the perfect backdrop to a conference that was full of outstanding and innovative presentations, as well as inspirational speakers and presenters. The Friday evening Parent Panel, which was brought to us courtesy of DEAF Project, provided professionals with the much-needed insight into the journey that parents and families experience in raising Deaf children. It was a great way to strengthen the bond between parents and educators. Thanks so much to Janette Duran for moderating the panel and thank you to the parents who participated in the panel for sharing your stories with us!

Saturday morning, our keynote presenter, Dr. Flavia Fleischer, delivered an empowering presentation entitled, “Making a Difference in Our Children’s Lives Through Social Justice Model: Utilizing Deaf Community Cultural Wealth.” Dr. Fleischer used the rich history of the Deaf Community to provide real-life examples of the change we can make to provide better education for our Deaf children. We were truly honored to witness this phenomenal presentation. Thank you, Dr. Fleischer!

Workshops were presented Saturday and Sunday. There were so many to choose from, and many topics that were new and relevant to what is happening in Deaf Education today. It is a great problem to have when there are so many great choices, you cannot decide which way to go! I am thrilled to say that I heard that comment many times throughout the conference. It was great to see workshops that emphasized the importance of collaboration with other professionals to ensure that our students’ needs are being met.

Congratulations to our awards recipients this year! Teacher of the Year, Lisa Matson, was recognized for her hard work and dedication to Deaf students in Early Childhood Education in Clovis Unified School District. Parent of the Year, Angelica Gonzalez-Alvarez, was honored for her commitment to her daughter’s education and pushing her to succeed. She was also recognized for supporting other parents on their journeys into the world of raising Deaf children. The highlight of the awards ceremony was undoubtedly the moment when we surprised our very own Joyce Linden with a Lifetime Achievement Award! She was completely shocked, but quite gracious in accepting this well-deserved honor. We have all benefited from Joyce’s trailblazing work and powerful wisdom over the years, and we are grateful that we could give a little something back. Congratulations, Joyce!

Certainly, this conference could not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of so many who volunteered their time and talents. I would like to thank the CAL-ED board for their support and encouragement throughout this year-long process. I would also like to thank the Conference Committee: Shane Molaison (Registration), Patty Ivankovic (Workshop/Awards Coordinator), Andy Anderson (Exhibits), Joanna Hinojosa (Children’s Program), Stephanie Johnson and Wendy Wiewel (Silent Auction/Raffles), Kim Forbes (Interpreter Coordinator), Laura Carls (Special Interest Groups), Edith Sanchez (Donations), Jennifer Burnett and Adria Rhyne (Program Book), Wendy Wiewel (Casino Night), and Van Nguyen (Tech Coordinator). Your talent, time, and commitment is very much appreciated and I cannot thank you all enough!

I would like to say a very special thank you to Cathy McLeod and the staff of PepNet2 for not only their sponsorship of the conference, but the donation of their time and resources. This conference was dedicated to the memory of, Roxanne Clanin, a teacher who was very special to us and a big supporter of CAL-ED for many, many years. Roxanne was originally the Program Book Coordinator and was also scheduled to be a presenter. After her untimely passing, Cathy was determined to honor Roxanne’s memory by carrying out her wishes and helping to put on a great conference. Thank you again Cathy, Adria, and Van, for your time and commitment. You truly honored Roxanne’s memory.

It was clear from this conference that Deaf Educators are, indeed, “Making a Difference in Schools.” Let’s continue to make a difference, and engage those in our local schools and communities to continue to collaborate, innovate, and raise the standards to provide Deaf and Hard of Hearing children the education they deserve.

Respectfully,
Mallorie Evans
2015 CAL-ED Conference Chair