Inclusion in Action Conference 2019

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The FIRE Foundation is pleased to present an inclusive education conference for principals, teachers, paraprofessionals and parents who are committed to creating and strengthening K-12 inclusive learning opportunities at their Catholic schools.

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Inclusion in Action in Catholic Schools

This conference is designed to light the way for Catholic schools who wish to welcome and support students with special needs. We believe that our Catholic faith calls all of us to be inclusive. Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start. And it’s always essential to continue learning and growing. Whether you’re considering the idea of formally offering inclusive education opportunities at your school for the very first time or you are seeking new information to strengthen and expand your existing inclusion program, this conference is for you! FIRE Foundation hosts and presents this conference on a biennial basis. FIRE’s first inclusion conference was held in Kansas City in 2017.

a conference presented by the FIRE Foundation

FIRE Foundation works to advocate and fund inclusive Catholic education in the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph (MO). Since 1996, FIRE has provided over $5 million to support inclusive learning opportunities for hundreds of students K-12. FIRE funds make it possible for schools to hire special educators and para-educators, acquire technology and resources, and provide professional development so learners with intellectual disabilities can learn, grow and thrive in Catholic schools. We believe that inclusive education fosters a culture of acceptance and compassion where ALL students grow together in faith, knowledge and friendship. In addition to supporting inclusive education in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, FIRE is pleased to partner with two affiliates: FIRE Foundation of Northeast Iowa (Archdiocese of Dubuque) and FIRE Foundation of Central Illinois (Diocese of Springfield).

Conference Highlights

Tours of Inclusive Schools

Presentations by National Inclusion Experts

Practical Approaches to Create Successful Inclusive Learning Environments

Funding Models for Supporting Inclusion

Networking with Other Inclusion Advocates

Inclusion as an Opportunity to Live and Teach Our Catholic Faith

Strategies to Support the Unique Needs of Diverse Learners (Down syndrome, Autism, ADHD, Sensory and Behavior Disorders, and more)

Conference Flyer

Keynote Presenters

Nicole Eredics is an educator who advocates for the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education classroom. She draws upon her years of experience as a full inclusion teacher to write, speak, and consult on the topic of inclusive education to various local and national organizations. Nicole uses her unique insight and knowledge to provide practical strategies for fully including and instructing students of all abilities in the classroom. She is the author of a practical new guidebook for teachers and parents called, Inclusion in Action: Practical Strategies to Modify Your Curriculum. For more information, go to

Dr. Raul Escarpio is the director of Shepherd Educational Consulting (CatholicEd4All), a faith-based consulting company that works with Catholic dioceses, schools, and families nationwide to help implement systems in schools where students with disabilities can thrive and succeed. He is a product of Catholic schools and served as an educator in the public-school system with students of all ability levels for over 13 years. He later made the transition to the college level where he now prepares special education teachers. During his current time as a college professor, he has become involved with community groups that support families of children with special needs including chairman of the board for a parent resource center in Miami that services parents of children and adults with disabilities.

He sits on the National Catholic Education Association’s (NCEA) Exceptional Learners Committee and the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC) Honors Committee. Furthermore, he hosts a weekly podcast on Catholic special education (CatholicEd4All) where he interviews nationwide leaders in Catholic special education including archbishops, superintendents, directors, teachers, and students. These guests share best practices in creating inclusive schoolwide programs. He has also been married for the past 18 years and has a 11-year-old son.

Dr. Escarpio’s presentations are generously sponsored by RCL Benziger

Conference Registration

Registration for the conference is $349.  BONUS: Parents who meet qualifications & register by December 15 will receive a discounted conference rate of $249.
Register for the Conference
Parent Qualifier Form

IMPORTANT:  Parents may register for the conference under the parent rate however the qualifier form MUST be submitted at the time of the registration.
If a parent does not qualify we will contact them directly.

Hotel Reservations

Courtyard Kansas City at Briarcliff
4000 North Mulberry Drive
Kansas City, MO 64116
$159 per night
Reserve Your Rooms Online Now
(room rates are available until January 27, 2017)

Tentative Agenda

Monday, February 18, 2018
3:00 pm:  Registration
4:00 pm:  Opening Presentation
5:00 pm:  Welcome Cocktail Reception

Tuesday, February 19, 2019
7:00 am – 7:45 am:  Registration / Attendees are on their own for breakfast
7:45 am:  Conference Welcome & Blessing
8:00 am:  Load Motorcoaches for Inclusive School Tours
9:00 am – 10:15 am:  Inclusive School Tours
10:45 am – Noon:  Inclusive School Tours
12:30 pm:  Lunch at the Courtyard with a Keynote Speaker
1:45 pm – 3:00 pm:  Breakout Sessions
3:15 pm – 4:30 pm:  Breakout Sessions
5:30 pm:  Off Site Reception

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
7:00 am – 8:00 am:  Attendees are on their own for breakfast
8:00 am:  Blessing
8:05 am:  Keynote Presentation
9:30 am – 10:45 am:  Breakout Sessions
11:00 am – 12:15 pm:  Inclusion in Action Sessions
12:30 pm  Lunch with a Keynote Presentation
1:15 pm – 2:30 pm:  Breakout Sessions
2:45 pm – 3:00 pm:  Conference Wrap Up

Sample Sessions
The conference will offer content covering a broad range of inclusion topics. The FIRE team is currently scheduling keynote and breakout presenters. A final schedule will be released in December 2018. Here’s a small sample of sessions offered in 2017:
  • Co-teaching / the Teacher and Para-Educator Team
  • Overcoming Objections to Inclusion
  • Dollars and Sense of Inclusion
  • Understanding Behaviors to Simplify Inclusion
  • ADHD in the Classroom: Strategies for Success
  • Utilizing Differentiated Instruction to Meet All Students’ Needs
  • Peer Mentoring
  • Building Capacity of Catholic Schools to Serve the Needs of Students with Disabilities
  • Anxiety and ADHD: Minimize Interference with Learning, Maximize Performance
  • Fostering Language and Social Development
  • Inclusion as a Mandate of Our Catholic Faith

Contact Information

FIRE Foundation
20 West 9th Street
Kansas City, MO 64105
816.756.1858 (ext. 253)
[email protected]

“…our communities are still struggling to practice a true inclusion, full participation that finally becomes ordinary, normal.  And this requires not only technical and specific programs, but first of all recognition and acceptance of faces, tenacious and patient confidence that each person is unique and unrepeatable…” – Pope Francis, June 11, 2016

Thank you to these sponsors for their generous support of this conference.

SAVE Foundation