PAST EVENT Lecture/Presentation/Talk

Learning Differences Lecture: Shifting the Paradigm for Supporting Students with Disabilities

Kristin Wright, Executive Director of Equity, Diversity, Early Intervention, and Support Services at the Sacramento County Office of Education, will share how we can move from legal adherence to a holistic, empowering model.

Event details

Thursday, March 7th 2024
02:45 PM—04:15 PM
LocationCERAS 101
This event has passed.

Join in a conversation about reimagining a system that embraces and values the diversities and strengths of every student. This talk explores ways we can shift from legal adherence to a holistic, empowering model, celebrating the unique qualities of each student and envision a future where all educators share in creating universally designed environments and support systems that actively cultivate an inclusive and thriving educational experience for all.

Nearly 50 years ago, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was instituted to address the discrimination and neglect faced by students with disabilities in the public education system. Designed to provide a legal framework ensuring essential educational support and services, IDEA aimed to promote inclusivity while safeguarding the rights of children and their families. Despite advances in understanding neurodiversity and how to support learning differences, the delivery of special education has often been hindered by layers of legal requirements and a compliance-centric approach. Reflecting on the past 50 years, it’s evident that while IDEA played a crucial role in ensuring students’ rights and access to education, the emphasis on compliance and a deficit model sometimes overshadows the broader goal of fostering an environment that capitalizes on strengths and talents.

About the speaker

Kristin Wright served as California’s State Director of Special Education from 2016-2020. Her unique set of experiences, which include that of a parent of a daughter with significant physical and intellectual disabilities navigating the public education system, a policy consultant for the State Board of Education, a Senate Appointee and Chair of the California Advisory Commission on Special Education, and her current role as County Office of Education Executive Director, have contributed to her broad and deep understanding of the California education system and interplay between the multiple elevations and organizations within that system at both the policy and implementation levels.

In addition to her multiple roles at the Sacramento County Office of Education, Wright is currently leading a new statewide project tasked with developing statewide resources highlighting the researched based benefits of inclusivity and belonging for students with disabilities called California Includes. She continues to be instrumental in the development of California’s new Alternative Pathway to a High School Diploma for students with significant cognitive disabilities and sits on the state’s expert panel tasked with the development of a new state IEP Template. Kristin also serves in a consultancy role to the California County Superintendents on issues relating to educating and supporting students with disabilities across California’s 58 County Offices of Education.

About the Learning Differences Speaker Series

The Learning Differences Initiative is inviting national scholars from multiple disciplines to work together to advance a transformative vision for the field. Each lecture will challenge our ideas and intentions for future learning, research, policy initiatives, and community partnerships. Initial talks focus on:

  • Teaching, learning, and life beyond school
  • Policies, institutional alignment, and the work force
  • Neuroscience, data, and technology
  • Law, ethics and cultural contexts for learning in diverse settings, cultures, and public spaces