Advocacy

Information Specialist

Sarah Gonzalez

The FCEC would like to introduce Sarah Gonzalez! She is our new Information Specialist. Her task is to track and update any legislation that affects our students with disabilities. This information will be passed on to all of our Florida Council for Exceptional members, subdivisions and other organizations who join us in our advocacy efforts. Her position provides us access to what the FCEC believes is the most effective and efficient way to encourage our grassroots advocacy efforts at our state level. Please join us in welcoming Sarah to this newly appointed position! Thank you Sarah for your time, talent and passion for our students and families.

Sarah is currently a bachelors/masters student at Florida State University studying special education in the college of teacher education. She has been interested and active in the special education community since her senior year of high school. Sarah reflects, "As a person with a disability, rights for people with disabilities is obviously important to me. We are capable and interesting people who are just a little different in some areas. We all deserve to be treated with respect and given the same opportunities as everyone else. "

Keynote Speakers

Jordan Posamentier is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at Committee for Children, the world’s largest provider of research-based educational programs designed to advance social-emotional competencies and prevent bullying and sexual abuse. Prior to joining Committee for Children, Jordan was Deputy Policy Director at the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education, Director of Legislative Analysis at StudentsFirst, Legislative Counsel to the California Judges Association, and a New York City public school teacher. He’s currently licensed to practice law in California and still lectures on education policy at UW’s College of Education. Jordan earned his JD from the University of Houston, his MS in education from Queens College (CCNY), and his BA in human ecology from College of the Atlantic. He lives in Shoreline, WA, with his wife and daughter.

Dan Kahn teaches empathy skills to teenagers at the Community Connections Restorative Justice program in Tallahassee, Florida as a Case Manager, promotes the growth of restorative justice nationally as Project Coordinator for RJnet, and coaches peacebuilding advocates globally as National Field Coordinator of The Peace Alliance. He is also an active consultant for Ayeish, bringing empathy skills to international high-conflict zones. Dan received his AB from Amherst College, and his JD from Lewis and Clark College's Northwestern School of Law. Dan is the seventh of eight siblings, and uncle of many. He lives in Tallahassee, with Mushi the marvelous orange dog, where he loves to swim, bike, play, cook, eat, and watch stuff grow.

Presenter – Social Media – Seclusion and Restraint

Sacha Cartagena

Ph.D. Student, University of Central Florida

Conference Coordinator & Division Liaison, Florida CEC

Presenter – Process of Advocacy

Dr. Monica Verra-Tirado

Bureau Chief – State of Florida Special Education and Student Services

Presenter – Teacher Retention

Dr. LaSonya Moore

Special Education faculty member in the College of Education at the University of South Florida

The FCEC recently embarked on a new advocacy journey in Tallahassee. On March 17th we gained knowledge, inspiration and empowerment through our two keynote presenters. Dan Kahn, from Florida Restorative Justice Association. He joined us in sharing the philosophy of Restorative Justice. This philosophy focuses on who was harmed, what are the needs and responsibilities of all affected and how do the parties together address needs and repair harm. Jordan Posemenier, who is the Director of Policy and Advocacy from the Committee for Children presented us with a plethora of insight into the importance of social emotional learning and how in our advocacy efforts we need a common language and provide consistency in implementation in order to be effective. We truly appreciated their time and talent so that we could more effectively advocate for our students whom have such significant needs.

Dr. Monica Verra-Tirado, Bureau Chief of Florida Dept. of Special Education joined us on Sunday as well. She provided us with a wealth of information regarding how we can most effectively advocate for our students and families. We have since then had several discussions on how we are going to, as an organization, be more involved at our local levels and provide input as to our students needs throughout the process at many levels, before our annual visit to Tallahassee during session.

On Monday, we met with our Legislators to discuss the needs of our students (social emotional learning, restorative practices as an alternative to out of school suspension), as well as the need for a process to help keep our students with autism safe. Teacher retention was also a part of some of our discussions.

I would like to personally thank all of the FCEC board members who not only brought their own expertise, but assisted in various ways to make this happen. I am forever grateful.

Jane Boritz

FCEC CAN representative

Front to Back: Sacha Cartagena, Dr. LaSonya Moore, Jennifer Franklin, Diane Johnson, Dan Kahn, Valentina Contesse, Laura Pettruska, Jane Boritz, Christy Fulater, Christine Wood, Jordan Posamentier

Top to Bottom: MezNari M. Moore, Maliyah Williams, Jennifer Franklin, Jane Boritz, Lauren Wong, Valentina Contesse, Christine Wood, Dr. LaSonya Moore, Sacha Cartagena

Florida Bills to Watch

Updated CEC List.docx

March 17, 2019

Additional Links

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE) invite you to the 2019 Special Education Legislative Summit, the premier advocacy event of the year for special educators and early interventionists.

During this event, advocates from across the country gather to educate our nation’s policymakers about:

  • Protecting and increasing IDEA funding for its intended purpose.
  • Ensuring no policy restricts public education’s ability to deliver a free appropriate public education and early intervention services.
  • Safeguarding the rights of children and youth with exceptionalities.

You know what children and youth with exceptionalities and professionals need, so raise your voice and advocate with us during the 2019 Special Education Legislative Summit this July!