We are working hard behind the scenes to bring together a stellar event. Whether this will be your first time attending or you’ve come to every one so far, we hope you walk away inspired, energized, and ready to take your influence to the next level.
If you’re looking for help to prepare you for the event or help you decide if this conference is for you, and to answer a number of questions, this is the blog post to read. Information will be updated here as it becomes available.
Without our sponsors, we could not put on such a great event. We thank:
Your Education Matters
Your Education Matters is a community engagement project of Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Education. YEM is directed by Paul Shaker, former dean of the faculty. The purpose of the project is to promote popular understanding of the value of public education and to foster advocacy for the renewal of our public schools and post-secondary institutions. Your Education Matters has produced over sixty full-length television programs interviewing educators and friends of education. YEM has more recently used social media and public events to encourage BC citizens to be informed and to advocate for their public schools and universities.
Facebook page: Your Education Matters
Inclusion BC is a provincial federation whose members include people with intellectual disabilities, families and community agencies.
The Inclusion BC provincial office provides support, education and advocacy where and when it’s needed, breaking down barriers and building communities that include people of all abilities.
The Civic Hotel in Surrey is providing a not-for-profit rate for the conference and hotel rooms for those staying overnight for this 2 day conference.
If you’re planning on staying at the Civic Hotel for the conference:
For your guestrooms please book directly at https://civichotel.ca/ -click “Book Now”,
-enter check-in and checkout dates,
-“Special Rates” drop down will appear under dates,
-select “Corporate/Promo/Set#” and
-in the blank field enter the L6C to get a $170 rate.
Family Support Institute (FSI)
The purpose of the Family Support Institute of BC is to strengthen, connect and build communities and resources with families of people with disabilities in BC. We believe that families are the best resource available to support one another. Directed by families, the Family Support Institute provides information, training, and province-wide networking to assist families and their communities to build upon and share their strengths.
Showkraft Production Services
Showkraft is providing a sponsorship to assist with the cost of audio/visual equipment and services for the conference. We’re very grateful!
“You can only truly prosper as an individual if you are surrounded by and connected to a vibrant, sustainable community.” Vancity provides support in many ways to the community and we are grateful recipients of their generosity for this event.
Your generous support is much appreciated! There are more sponsors signing up, so come back here to see who else is supporting this event!
Can Our Organization Still Become a Sponsor?
Yes, you can still sign up to be a sponsor. Please email us at email@example.com for a copy of the Exhibitor and Sponsor Form – we still have a very limited number of tables available to set up outside the event which can be booked separately or as a part of the sponsorship package, so if you want a table, please apply soon!
Is The Conference Accessible?
The conference is being held on the second floor of the Civic Hotel, which has an accessible entrance and elevators that are sufficiently wide for wheelchairs and motorized scooters. There is also accessible underground parking with an elevator that brings you up to the hotel. There are no steps to access any conference spaces.
We have planned for a smaller number of attendees in order to allow for adequate space for those who use mobility devices to get through tables.
Speakers will use microphones, and presenters have been asked to ensure that any videos are captioned.
Unfortunately we will not be able to provide any meals for specific allergies or sensitivities; we will be discussing avoiding nuts and providing gluten free and vegetarian options with the caterers and will update that information here.
There will be service dogs present.
If you have any individual needs that you do not see addressed here, please let us know asap so that we can provide appropriate accommodations.
Can I Volunteer?
Parents are their child’s best advocate, until their child is ready to be their own advocate – and parents can teach them the skills they need to get there! Our conference provides practical tools and information for families and those who work with children with disabilities and complex learners that they can take away and put to use!
This year will be a full two day conference, Friday, March 29th and Saturday, March 30th, with an evening reception on the Friday night. This has been a one-day conference for the last 3 years beginning in 2016, so we’re pretty excited about the expansion!
The Friday features a 40 minute talk and Q&A session on using evidence to advocate for students and for public education, with keynote and powerful advocate for public education, Annie Kidder of People for Education in Ontario. Don’t miss it! We will have 3 workshop session times through the day, with 3 amazing choices during each session, and we will end early so that you can come to the evening event…
The second annual Struck by Inclusion evening! Held Friday night, this reception event features 9 speakers who will deliver a quick and inspiring presentation on inclusion. There will be appies and beverages, and a Q&A with our speakers – self-advocates, parents and other professionals who have something to say about equitable access to education!
We’re so excited to announce that Saturday will feature a full room, whole morning workshop with our keynote speaker Shelley Moore, well-known inclusion teacher, researcher and storyteller. The afternoon will have two workshop sessions with 3 choices in each, and a student self-advocate panel that was one of the most well loved events of last year!
The conference is generally attended by parents and guardians of students with disabilities and complex learners, self-advocates, professionals working with this population of students, and allies.
We invite you to take part in the quality programming and make connections this year!
When Does the Conference Take Place and Where?
Friday, March 29th from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm, and 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Saturday, March 30th from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
in Surrey, BC at the beautiful Civic Hotel.
Where Can I View the Speakers and Workshops?
At the link below!
#AdvoCon2019 – Full DRAFT Brochure on Speakers and Workshops
Here is a list of the speakers and workshop titles:
-Inclusive Education: Who, What, Where, When, Why?! A 3 hour workshop with keynote Shelley Moore, highly sought after teacher, researcher, speaker and storyteller
-Using Evidence to Advocate for Students and for Public Education, Annie Kidder, Executive Director of Ontario’s People for Education
-Returning will be the popular Student self-advocate panel, Life All Over The Spectrum, facilitated by Elizabeth McWilliams Hewitt
-self advocate Micaela Evans, On Barriers
–Advocacy in Action- Using Your Parent Voice, Andrea Sinclair and John Gaiptman of BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils – (BCCPAC)
–Navigating and Mediating Settler Colonial Intersectional Discrimination as a Parent of a Child in Public Education, waaseyaa’sin Christine Sy, associate professor, UVic
–What is the DSM-5 and What Should I Know About Childhood Disorders? Theresa Grech, certified counsellor
–Human Rights in BC and Discrimination in Education, Community Legal Assistance Society
–Avenues of Advocacy, Inclusion BC‘s Karen De Long and Erika Cedillo
–Parent Professional Relationships, Family Support Institute‘s Wendi Mackintosh and Mandy Young
–IEPs: What You Need to Know, Suzanne Perreault, counselor
–Working Through the Trauma of Advocacy, Ted Leavitt, counsellor
–Happy Mornings, Erika and Pepe Duarte, researcher and counselor
–The Kwantlen 7 Laws and Our Everyday Struggle to Find Balance and Focus, Luke Dandurand, teacher, Surrey
-Inquiry-based Learning as Inclusion (Middle and High School), Jeff Hopkins, principal, PSII, Victoria
–Trauma and Folks with Diverse Abilities – A Primer, Margaret Newbury-Jones, Shade Consulting
-Mental Wellness In Schools, Ian Landy, principal, Powell River
–Meaningful Inclusion of Student Voice: A Teacher’s Learning, Annie OHana, teacher, Surrey
–When Everything Goes Wrong; Safety Planning for All, Elizabeth McWilliams Hewitt, behaviour consultant
Look for our post on the speakers and workshops soon!
Workshops – do I get to Take Them All?
You will get to choose 3 workshops from a list of 9 possible options on Friday, and 2 workshop out of 6 options on Saturday (as well as a whole room, whole morning workshop with Shelley Moore). I am having as much trouble as you will in deciding which ones to attend so I apologize in advance because they are all great!
What About Accommodations? Is there a Group Rate?
Yes! The Civic Hotel will be providing a conference rate, and we will also be looking for an overflow hotel in the area.
For your guestrooms please book directly at https://civichotel.ca/ and click “Book Now”, enter check-in and checkout dates, “Special Rates” drop down will appear under dates, select “Corporate/Promo/Set#” and in the blank field enter the L6C to get a $170 rate.
As this is a two day conference, we do encourage you to stay at the hotel if you can, to make it easier to participate and connect with other attendees.
What is Included in My Conference Ticket Price?
Your ticket for the full #AdvoCon2019 experience includes your registration for both days for speakers and workshops, lunch and coffee breaks, plus an evening reception.
There will be 2 ticketing options, live or streaming:
1 in person or streaming ticket for all 3 conference events (Friday conference day, Friday evening Struck by Inclusion, and Saturday conference day)
Individual tickets for each of the 3 events, in person or streaming
Earlybird discounted tickets available until February 8th
Get your tickets early as we expect them to move quickly this year!
Who Comes to our Conferences?
This conference unites 150 parents, guardians, self-advocates, education professionals and other allies of students with disabilities and complex learners from around BC, convening for a yearly conference of learning, networking, advocacy and human rights training, and more.
What If I Am Not a Parent?
AdvoCon2019 is designed for parents and guardians of students with disabilities, and also includes content that will be relevant to attendees who are education professionals, self-advocates (some of whom are parents/guardians as well) and allies, and we encourage you to come if you want to learn more from and about these students and their needs and experiences. Presenters give a lot of practical information, and this year we will be providing a certificate for each workshop to attendees so that it may be used for Continuing Professional Development credits, reimbursement, etc.
This year’s theme is Equitable Access to Education, and that requires the understanding and participation of everyone – government, teachers, EAs, parents/guardians, students, etc.
Are there any additional events?
Besides the two conference days, we are planning a Lightning Talk night on the Friday evening , March 29th, 2019.
A Lightning Talk is a presentation style where people have 5 minutes to speak. The format keeps the multiple presentations concise and fast-paced. We have invited speakers who have an exciting idea they would like to share about inclusion and equitable access to education.
Following the presentations, there will be a Q&A with speakers.
Speakers will be announced later in March – still adding as we speak!
How to get there:
There’s plenty of accessible underground parking at the Civic Hotel, and the Surrey Central SkyTrain station is steps away. See the hotel link for directions:
Is the Conference the Same as Previous Years?
No two conference years are ever the same. This is the fourth year of our event, and we have some returning speakers presenting different material, as well as a whole range of new workshops and presenters. We have added a second day as we have so much material our members would like us to cover! As our membership has interest in a wide range of topics, we attempt to find a good variety while still giving the information our members need. Connecting face to face is powerful, and our attendees and sponsors value the interaction in order to form and continue relationships.
Size and Location
Population in the lower Mainland is higher than most other areas of BC so we are able to reach a large portion of our membership. As the organizer, I do not live in the lower Mainland but I have only been able to organize one event a year up to this point.
Help! I Live Really Far Away From Surrey and Can’t Attend In Person!
This conference is about serving parents and guardians of students with disabilities and complex learners, and our membership is everywhere in the province. We’re also a grassroots, unfunded, fully volunteer run organization at the moment. It’s been a challenge balancing those two things, and we hope to do better every year.
This year, we have possible options for those who live far away and want to participate:
- Travel bursaries – Inclusion BC and VanCity have sponsored travel bursaries for people who need to come from far away. People will be able to enter a lottery to receive a bursary. Email us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
- We will be offering a streaming ticket option to access speakers and workshops for people to be able to participate remotely!
Will you do a conference that isn’t in the lower Mainland?
We are now a non-profit society! With that status comes the power of fundraising, a board of directors, and a strategic plan, which are all still in development. One initiative we will be proposing when we can support it, is to have a second conference annually that rotates around the province – on the Island, in the Okanagan, up in northern parts of BC.
How can I get more involved in your organization?
You can start by becoming a member! Membership for one year is $15 – go HERE to become a member today!
We’re always looking for volunteers so please feel free to get in touch!
Is There a Facebook Group?
It all started with a Facebook Group!
“Like” our Public Facebook page, BCEdAccess Society Public Page – Action for Access to Education, and message the page administrators to gain access to the Secret Facebook group for parents and guardians of children with disabilities and complex learners in BC.
PS we are also planning to start a Facebook book club group for Society members – stay tuned!
Who runs the Conference, and the Society?
The Society is currently run by our board of directors – learn more about them HERE
The Conference is run by a small and dedicated team of volunteer organizers:
We always have a number of other volunteers who help get things going during the planning stages, and run things on the day, who we will acknowledge as that list gets built!
We work together to bring you the best event we can create.
Who Can Help Me With More Questions?
Contact us at email@example.com – we’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have!
Will we see you in Surrey?