Arizona’s IDEA Conference

Update: Moving to Virtual Format for 2020

Special Education Stakeholders,

Due to the inability to ensure the safety of participants relative to COVID-19 and the variability of school re-entry plans, ADE/ESS has made the decision to cancel the IDEA Conference in August 2020. The plan for this year was to provide a joint conference, combining the best professional development and spirit of the annual Transition Conference and Directors’ Institute. However, we want to assure you that the IDEA Conference will be back in 2021 and we look forward to coming together with the special education community in Arizona to learn, connect, and share.  

Even though the in-person IDEA Conference has been canceled, we would still like to share content with you all virtually throughout the 2020—2021 school year. We are currently working to develop a year-long schedule that encompasses state and local experts for both the secondary transition and special education director strands – and all sessions will be FREE for participants! We are anticipating a kickoff to the IDEA Virtual Conference year in late August – stay tuned for additional information!

We appreciate you all and look forward to the year ahead. As always, questions can be sent to the IDEA Inbox.

Arizona’s IDEA Conference
Converging Ideas: Connections for Student Success


The new combined conference will maintain special education administration and secondary transition strands, including national and local experts. There will also be sessions specifically targeted to youths and young adults with disabilities as well as family members/caregivers.

Why Combine?

Although ADE/ESS has been invested in and very proud of its historical dual conferences, in recent years these events have been held close together in the calendar year. This was largely due to the rising costs of hosting a professional development event at a conference center during the “peak” season in Arizona. Keeping costs reasonable and aligned to the State rate, and also avoiding summer holiday time for school staff meant that these huge events were held almost back to back. This has been a tremendous resource cost for ADE/ESS, as well as for special education professionals who wanted to access content at both events. Combining both conferences in a venue capable of hosting more participants allows for an efficient use of resources and time and allows participants to access even more quality content at the same time!

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