Session Descriptions



Conference Schedule and Sessions


Wednesday – March 3, 2021

8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Virtual Exhibit Hall


8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Ask the BSE/Ask SEAP


9:00 am – 10:30 am

Welcoming Remarks and Opening Keynote


10:45 am – 11:45 am

Concurrent Sessions


11:45 am – 12:45 pm

Lunch on Your Own


12:45 pm – 1:45 pm

Concurrent Sessions


2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Concurrent Sessions



(9:00 am – 10:30 am) Welcoming Remarks and Opening Keynote

Relationships That Work: The Four Must-Have Readiness Skills for Every Educator
Adam Saenz, Ph.D., D.MIN.
Relationships matter in any field, but particularly in education. The question is: how? How do I build life-impacting relationships with students? How do I build resourceful relationships with my colleagues on campus? How do I build supportive relationships with my students’ parents? There is a framework—the practice of four essential skills that will posture and position any educator to a place of relational readiness. Join us to delve into these four essential skills!

(10:45 am – 11:45 am) Concurrent Sessions


01. Creating a Vertical Mindset Using the Superpowers of Math
Marilyn Zecher
We may consider literacy instruction as a linear incremental acquisition of skills and structures, but math is more a vertical hierarchy of concepts. It is time for us to begin looking at the foundation skills of math the way we look at the foundation skills of literacy, including the existence of a core deficit which may impact learning. We will trace foundation skills from early childhood to algebra as we explore the multisensory world of mathematics and its intersection with language domain.



(12:45 pm – 1:45 pm) Concurrent Sessions


11. Dual Capacity-Building: An Overview of the PA Landscape
Batya Elbaum, Ph.D.
In Pennsylvania and nationally, many parent engagement efforts have been guided by the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships. This presentation will crosswalk the results of Pennsylvania’s statewide survey of parents of students with disabilities with tenets of the Dual Capacity-Building Framework.




(2:00 pm – 3:00 pm) Concurrent Sessions


22. Assessment and Instruction Through the Lens of the Hourglass Figure
Carol Tolman, Ed.D.
Gough and Tunmer's Simple View of Reading identifies two major components to reading comprehension: word recognition and language comprehension. Join the speaker as she focuses on word recognition, including an outline of the “what” and “why” of basic assessment tools and instructional practices. Appropriate for educators and administrators supporting students in K-6, this discussion will center on Tier 1 word work and spelling skills, as well as how to best identify and address student weaknesses in phonology, basic phonics, and/or advanced word study.


Thursday – March 4, 2021

8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Virtual Exhibit Hall


8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Ask the BSE/Ask SEAP


9:00 am – 10:15 am

Opening Keynote


10:30 am – 11:30 am

Concurrent Sessions


11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Lunch on Your Own and Virtual Exhibit Hall


12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Concurrent Sessions


1:45 pm – 3:00 pm

Closing Keynote



(9:00 am – 10:15 am) Opening Keynote

HELP: Understanding the Fierce Urgency of Now
Ronald Whitaker, Ed.D.
In this keynote address, the speaker provides a comprehensive overview of why valuing the cultural background and norms of students and communities is a critically important professional disposition for teachers and administrators. Specifically, this presentation utilizes the Critical HELP framework to explain 1) a historical analysis of racism within an American context that still intersects in schools and classrooms, 2) the difference between equality and equity, 3) the importance of students experiencing a sense of belonging, and 4) exemplar practices that teachers and administrators can utilize in the classroom and school community. This keynote aims to challenge teachers and administrators to increase their practical and theoretical capacities to engage all learners in a manner that aligns with authentic practices pertaining to equity and social justice.

(10:30 am – 11:30 am) Concurrent Sessions


31. Avoiding Under- and Over-Identification of Students Receiving 504 Accommodations
Perry Zirkel, Ph.D., J.D.

This session will provide the latest available rates for Pennsylvania students who receive 504 accommodations (i.e., those who are eligible under Section 504, but not the IDEA); the current legal standards, including a usable form, for eligibility under Section 504; and the practical reasons and strategies for avoiding systematic false negatives and/or false positives in school and district rates of students receiving 504 accommodations.


(12:30 pm – 1:30 pm) Concurrent Sessions



43. COVID-19 Issues Under the IDEA
Perry Zirkel, Ph.D., J.D.

This session will canvass (1) federal and state guidance, (2) state complaint decisions, (3) hearing officer decisions, and (4) court decisions specific to COVID-19 issues under the IDEA. The purpose will be to determine the current legal boundaries and likely upcoming trend in the frequency and outcomes of these issues in the respective adjudicative and investigative dispute resolution avenues of the IDEA.


(1:45 pm – 3:00 pm) Closing Keynote Address

Hamish Brewer
Sometimes you need to hear things you don’t want to hear in order to move forward, to be better, and to get results. In this closing keynote address, the speaker will take you on a hard-hitting journey that will challenge you to rethink your practices, to disrupt the norm, and to change the game. Find out whether you are willing to go one more round, to advocate for every single person and child, and to take your school or organization to the next level.