Session Descriptions

PDE-2022-CvrPg-Header-3-9-21-01-(1).jpg

 

Wednesday, March 2

 

1:00 pm – 1:30 pm Welcoming Remarks

 

Becky Fogle, Director, PaTTAN East
Carole Clancy, Director, BSE

 

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Opening Keynote

 

Why Self-Reflection is Important
Melissa Crum Ph.D.
In this opening keynote session, the speaker will explain why self-reflection is an important practice within education, provide tools for self-reflection, and share how self-reflection impacts the classroom. Be prepared to gain new tools (or dust off old ones!) so that you can be your best self for your learning community.
 

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm Concurrent Sessions


A Culturally Responsive Approach to Transition Planning
Betty Ray Butler, Ph.D.
Research shows that culturally responsive practices play a significant role in improving post-school outcomes for youth with disabilities. Yet despite this acknowledgement, practical strategies for addressing equity in secondary transition planning remain unclear and subsequently underutilized. In this interactive session, the speaker intends to center equity-oriented language, discuss the implications of implicit bias, and introduce strategies for actively engaging culturally diverse families in the transition planning process.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Building Flexibility and Accessibility through a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Lens
Kirk Behnke, M.Ed., ATP
This session will offer an examination of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework and its application in supporting student engagement, learner variability, and building accessibility to the curriculum. The speaker will provide administrators and program leaders with existing tools to build or support their own UDL efforts, ideas, and strategies to promote flexible learning options and accessibility. Bring your questions and ideas to share with fellow participants and generate your own ideas and action items to follow through for implementation.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, School Psychologists
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational


Double Check: Coaching Teachers in Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices
Sandra Hardee
In this session, participants will be introduced to the Double Check Coaching framework, which incorporates the Classroom Check-Up Coaching Model with culturally responsive teaching (CRT) practices. The CRT practices are centered around the CARES domains: Connection to the Curriculum, Authentic Relationships, Reflective Thinking, Effective Communication, and Sensitivity to Students' Cultures.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: None


Empowering Relationships Through Mediation
Cindy Duch and Nancy Giacomini
In this session, we will explore mediation as a dispute resolution process in special education issues. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process that considers the relationship between the people advocating on behalf of the child and the school district. In this session, we will look at the benefits of mediation and how it can empower people in conflict in ways that improve relationships and restore opportunities for trust, communication, and collaborative decision-making moving forward, all while keeping the student centered in the dialogue.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational


Equity by Design
Mirko Chardin
Every student deserves the opportunity to be successful regardless of their zip code, the color of their skin, the language they speak, their sexual and/or gender identity, their religion, and whether they have a disability. If we truly want to be inclusive in our districts, schools, and classrooms, we must proactively plan for student variability and begin to see culture and diversity as an asset. This starts with examining our implicit biases, power, and privilege, and universally designing classrooms and schools so all students have equal opportunities to learn, share their voice, and work toward meaningful, authentic, and relevant goals.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational


Equity-Based MTSS: Resources and Tiered Instruction
Hollie Pettersson, Ph.D.
To provide equity-based MTSS, often long-held practices and beliefs about who can and who will succeed in our schools must be examined deeply. This demands that every student in a community is welcomed, understood, and given a sense of belonging in a system of teaching that is fluid, responsive, and dynamic. Equity-based MTSS is about opportunity, access, resource allocation, and culture. 

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Agency Staff
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational


The Impact of Language Variation on Learning to Read
Julie Washington, Ph.D.
Teaching reading to children whose language differs from the oral language of the classroom and from the linguistic structure of academic text adds an additional layer of complexity to reading instruction. It has been demonstrated that mismatches between the language variety spoken by many children in their homes and communities and the written language variety encountered in books and other text can slow the development of reading and writing. This session will discuss the role of dialectal variation on the teaching and learning of reading in young African American children.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers, and Families
  • Level of Expertise:  Basic/Foundational


The New Normal
Akbar Cook, Ed.D.
The Lights on Program implements the whole child philosophy, which involves cultivating relationships with students, community, and partner stakeholders. Lights On believes that students are more likely to succeed in academics when they attend a school or live in a community with positive climate and culture. In this session, the speaker will share how Lights On has been implemented at West Side High School and has proven to engage students, battle hunger, enhance youth social-emotional skills, build community, increase safety, and reduce crime.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational


Understanding Implicit Bias through Self-Reflection (Part 1)
Melissa Crum, Ph.D.
This workshop focuses on examining how people and experiences have shaped our individual identity formation. Using aspects of social and emotional learning, we will investigate how these experiences make each of us complex and how that complexity impacts our relationships with students, parents, colleagues, and the community where we work. Participants will identify potential challenges that can be misinterpreted by colleagues and clients, as well as opportunities to build connections with each other.

  • Audience(s):  Teachers, School Psychologists
  • Level of Expertise:  Basic/Foundational

 

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm Concurrent Sessions

 

Bridging UDL and Culturally Responsive Practices
Mirko Chardin
Providing voice and choice to our learners goes beyond offering options for how they will learn or how they will express what they know or can do. It requires tapping into students’ personal egos, creating a sense of belongingness, and empowering them to co-create the education they are receiving. We can begin this work by treating our learners with the unequivocal respect and dignity they deserve and diving into their Funds of Knowledge to ensure their education is relevant, meaningful, and authentic. This session will support educators with embedding culturally responsive practices into their lesson design and instruction alongside Universal Design for Learning to create powerful instructional experiences that inspire, educate and drive students into action.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, School Psychologists
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational


Double Check Coaching: A Web-Based Tool to Support Schools and Teachers
Sandra Hardee
Building upon the session Double Check: Coaching Teachers in Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices, this session will provide participants with an opportunity to experience the online Double Check Coaching web site. Participants should have attended the previous session on Double Check or already have a basic understanding of the Double Check CCU framework. You will be encouraged to engage with the online platform with the ability to review how the Classroom Check-Up model can be applied in a digital world. Participants will be introduced to the Double Check Online coaching process, as well as to the CARES domains Professional Development modules.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Equity-Based MTSS: Transformation in Action
Hollie Pettersson, Ph.D.
Sustainable implementation is the Achilles heel of education reform. The U.S. public education system has had its share of implementation casualties and false starts. In this session, the speaker will explain how SWiFT's Transformation in Action (TA) practices help innovations last beyond "shiny and new" and instead grow to "tried and true."

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Agency Staff
  • Level of Expertise: Intermediate
     

Pathways to Post-Secondary Success
Akbar Cook, Ed.D.
Our willingness to meet students where they are is nonnegotiable. We need to find out what a student’s genius level is and harness what they’re passionate about and forge the two. In this session, the speaker will describe the importance of Individual Learning Plans. Using an Individual Learning Plan while reverse engineering how to obtain that specific living wage is the ideal way to expose our students to what post-secondary success truly looks like.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Restorative Processes to Improve Transition Experiences among Culturally Diverse Youth and Families
Betty Ray Butler, Ph.D.
Restorative processes are becoming increasingly popular among those interested in improving interactions with individuals whose culture is different than their own. However, there are numerous programs that are restorative in name and not necessarily restorative in practice. In this interactive session, the speaker will introduce key elements of a restorative approach and demonstrate how, when applied correctly, it can promote greater equity in the transition planning and improve transition experiences among culturally diverse youth and families

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Two Years of Pandemic: The State of Due Process in Pennsylvania
Brian Jason Ford and Charlie Jelley
In this session, two hearing officers will look back at the issues addressed at due process hearings during the two years of the pandemic, including timelines, transition to early intervention, pendency, and COVID Compensatory Services. Statistical information from the Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR) will also be provided.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Intermediate


Unbiased Assessment: Considering the Role of Culture and Linguistic Differences
Julie Washington, Ph.D.
Assessment of language and literacy skills in children from different cultural-linguistic backgrounds requires sensitivity to the impact of language and culture on assessment outcomes. Cultural differences and language variation can have a significant impact performance of the student, interpretation by the tester, and diagnosis of reading and language difficulties. This session will focus on contributors to bias in assessment and how to avoid them.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, School Psychologists
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Understanding Implicit Bias through Self-Reflection (Part 2)
Melissa Crum, Ph.D.
This workshop continues the self-reflection practices of part one and applies them to the ways we engage or disengage with others. Participants will examine their conflict management styles, how they respond to spontaneous challenges, and learn strategies for how to identify and manage triggers.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, School Psychologists
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
 

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Assistive Technology (AT) Strategies for an Action Plan
Kirk Behnke, M.Ed., ATP
The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework offers a pathway to address educational goals through flexible means and reduce barriers for curriculum development and instruction for all students. In addition, it provides a lens for incorporating assistive technology (AT) use as a highly flexible means for meeting students' varying needs. However, the framework specifically points out that some students need AT to be fully integrated into the curriculum and learning environments. The speaker will explore how UDL and AT provide not only access to curriculum, but progress for student success. Case examples from the US and abroad will be reviewed and discussed to focus on implementation strategy ideas, and a personalized action plan will be developed for follow-through.

  • Audience(s) Teachers, Families
  • Level of Expertise: Intermediate

.........................................

 

Thursday, March 3

 

8:30 am – 9:30 am Keynote

 

Ableism is the Crisis; Disability Justice is the Future: Centering Disability in Our Schools
Lydia Brown, J.D.
People with disabilities are already present in our schools and communities. Yet we face the constant presence of pervasive ableism (disability prejudice and oppression), reinforced and intersecting with other forms of systemic injustice. People with disabilities are working constantly to challenge the narratives that we do not belong in society, and to demand recognition and respect for our ways of knowing, being, learning, and relating. Disability Justice analysis enables us to understand the necessary role of ableism in shaping social thought and policy about race, class, gender, sexuality, and nation - and to challenge arbitrary notions of "normal" that undergird oppressive systems and influence our everyday lives. In this keynote session, the speaker explains how Disability Justice principles and practices offer radical and revolutionary ways of reimagining our relationships with ourselves, each other, and the communities where we live, work, and learn.

 

9:45 am – 10:45 am Concurrent Sessions

 

Anxiety, Mental Health, and Special Education Law
Erin Gilsbach, Esq.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an upward trend of students experiencing anxiety and mental health issues at a time when such issues were already on the rise. What are a school's legal obligations with regards to identifying and accommodating these needs? In this session, the speaker will discuss what the IDEA and Section 504 require with regards to accommodating students with anxiety and other mental health needs. She will discuss eligibility requirements under both laws, review applicable caselaw, and provide practical guidance for parents and schools as they navigate the often murky waters of mental health accommodations.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers, School Psychologists, Agency Staff, and Families
  • Level of Expertise: Intermediate


Building Meaningful Lives for Students with Complex Support Needs
Laura Owens, Ph.D.
Leaving school can be an overwhelming time for students with disabilities and their families. Teachers play a critical role in helping students manage this transition and ensuring post-school success. This presentation will focus on building meaningful adult lives for students with more significant disabilities. Participants will learn to develop person-centered transition plans that support employment, meaningful community inclusion and positive post-school outcomes.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, Families
  • Level of Expertise: Intermediate
     

Creating Accessible Content for ALL Learners
Mike Marotta
With our sudden move to virtual learning, one key aspect became quite clear. Many of our curriculum materials (whether we purchased them or they were created by staff) lacked basic accessibility features that would enable every student to successfully learn. We will focus on Accessible Educational Materials and Open Educational Resources (OER) to provide instructional materials. In addition to accessibility, what about engagement? Let’s explore how to utilize accessible materials to support the UDL principles of engagement, representation, and action and expression.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Critical Components of Evidence-Based Reading Instruction
Shaheen Munir-McHill, Ph.D.
In this session, the speaker will provide an overview of the components of effective foundational reading instruction. Instructional content and instructional delivery approaches grounded in the science of reading will be addressed. Focus will be given to the development of accurate, efficient word recognition skills.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, Families
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Encouraging Brave Conversations to Empower Staff and Students (Part 1)
Kent McIntosh, Ph.D.
It is important for educators to create classrooms where students feel safe and welcomed; and, it can be challenging to discuss controversial topics (e.g., race and racism) that are often avoided and require bravery to address. Many educators may feel discomfort and not know how to facilitate constructive dialogues. The first part of a 2-part session will introduce a systematic process and tools to help make discussions productive, prevent challenges, and support all students and staff feel safe and recognized.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers, and Agency Staff
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Intensifying Math Interventions: Adapting Interventions When Progress is Slow, Low, or Absent
Robin Codding, Ph.D.
It is well documented that standard protocol math interventions do not meet all students’ needs and that some students require more intensified supports. When student responsiveness is slow or absent, the intensity of an intervention can be adjusted in systematic ways using data. In this session, treatment intensity dimensions will be identified and described, examples of diagnostic assessment will be provided, and intervention adaptations will be indicated. Participants will leave with actionable steps for adjusting math interventions.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, School Psychologists
  • Level of Expertise: Intermediate
     

Leadership Begins with Motivation
Danny Brassell, Ph.D.
How do we perform at our best in education and life? In an increasingly crowded world of “thought” leaders, it is now more essential than ever to create “action” leaders. In his 25 years of working with leaders from the classroom to the board room – from preschoolers to rocket scientists – this speaker has lived by the credo that “education is valuable, but execution is priceless.” Leadership begins with motivation – but it also requires a lot of perspiration. The best special education leaders inspire others to become their best. They consistently attract, prepare, and retain effective personnel who provide effective instruction, support, and services to children with disabilities. Get ready to laugh and learn in this highly engaging session, based on the speaker’s best-selling book of the same title. You will come away with practical tips for developing daily habits essential to success.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Lessons Learned from PA’s 2021 Survey of Parents of Students Receiving Special Education
Batya Elbaum, Ph.D.
Every year, Pennsylvania surveys a representative sample of parents of students in grades K-12 who are receiving special education services. The purpose of the survey is to gain parents’ perspectives on how schools are supporting parents’ involvement in their child’s educational programming. This session will highlight results of the most recent survey, with a special focus on school-family communication.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

School Climate Matters: Why All Schools Should be Assessing School Climate?
Tamika La Salle, Ph.D.
The purpose of this session is to discuss the significance of school climate data and gathering student perceptions to guide targeted, culturally and contextually relevant supports to enhance students’ academic, behavioral, and social and emotional outcomes. Implications for policy, classrooms, academics and home-school collaboration will be discussed.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers, School Psychologists, Agency Staff, and Families
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

 
11:00 am – 12:00 pm Concurrent Sessions

 

Bringing Joy Back to the Classroom
Danny Brassell, Ph.D.
Teachers are “kid-people.” They do not teach for the pay or daily accolades from society; they teach because they care about kids. Administrators lead and guide teachers in their daily endeavors. Nowhere is there a greater need for the best and brightest teachers and administrators than in the field of special education. The effects of the pandemic have placed additional stressors on families, teachers, and administrators, and led many great professionals to leave the field of education. Join Danny as he reminds educators of their importance in the everyday development of children. He’ll remind you how to laugh, sing, dance, and play in order to bring the “joy” back to the classroom.

  • Audience(s); Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Busting Myths to Build Better Math Intervention Packages
Robin Codding, Ph.D.
Prevalent myths about mathematics instruction and intervention have stagnated the application of evidence-based mathematics practices in schools. In this session, several common misconceptions will be presented along with best available evidence. Participants will leave with a list of key active ingredients for building effective mathematics intervention packages.

  • Audience(s):  Teachers, School Psychologists
  • Level of Expertise:  Basic/Foundational
     

This session has been cancelled.
Collaboration Realized: Stakeholders Engaging for Successful Student Outcomes
Melissa Diehl and Michael Stoehr
Interagency collaboration, described as a critical component of effective transition, is mandated under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by Workforce Innovation Opportunities Act and is one of the predictors of successful post-school out comes for students with disabilities. During this session, presenters from the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition: The Collaborative (NTACT:C) will highlight the interagency collaborative efforts related to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and the Bureau of Special Education (BSE) that have been occurring in Pennsylvania over the past year. Included in this discussion will be an overview of national- and Pennsylvania-developed resources and strategies for engaging stakeholders in the transition planning process at the state and local levels, including tools that promote and track effective collaboration among schools and OVR.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Agency Staff
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Cyber Options, Virtual Learning, and the IDEA: FAPE in a Post-Pandemic World
Erin Gilsbach, Esq.
What happens when a parent demands a cyber option that is available to all students, but the IEP team does not believe that it would provide FAPE? In the post-pandemic world, are schools required to provide virtual learning options to students who are not able to participate in the general education environment? Are schools still required to do progress monitoring for students who participate in a virtual environment? What happens when a student is not able to be successful in an online learning environment? These are questions that most schools and parents have never considered before, but that now come up on a regular basis. In this session, a nationally recognized speaker and special education attorney will provide an overview of recent special education caselaw regarding online learning and students with special needs. She will discuss the legal implications of cyber options available to all students and make best-practice recommendations for handling cases involving requests or recommendations for online learning for students with disabilities.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Intermediate
     

Encouraging Brave Conversations to Empower Staff and Students (Part 2)
Kent McIntosh, Ph.D.
The second part of this 2-part session will give educators an opportunity to review and practice activities included in a Center on PBIS Guide for discussing race, racism, and important current events in the classroom.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational


PAIN. POWER. HONOR.: Transformative Actions That Lead to Learning
Andratesha Fritzgerald
Controversy is born the moment dreamers begin taking actions to invite the marginalized ones into the secret society of success. It takes bravery to dream beyond the locked gates of educational access for all. When we say “all” we need to be brave enough to identify the students who the system has not traditionally served. It’s more important than ever that we recognize that our systems are not socially just or equitable for students with disabilities, English language learners, LGBTQ students, students who experience trauma, students who are economically disadvantaged, and Black and Brown students. This workshop will cover stories and strategies to actualize the pathway to access and success for all learners.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Put Me in Coach: Developing and Nurturing Effective Teams
Mike Marotta
Effective technology services are much more than just knowing the latest apps. Are you effectively and consistently considering assistive technology (AT) for every student? Does every staff member know what they need to know to ensure that every student gets what they need? This session will dive deep into these questions and more as we discuss how to build district capacity to effectively provide AT services to meet the needs of every student through coaching. As the backbone of this session, we will use the Seven Daily Drivers outlined in Nathan Lang’s book, Everyday Instructional Coaching, to develop a roadmap for supporting the effective use of technology in our schools. Using guided discussion prompts and group activities, participants will leave with a plan to effectively support educators in meeting the needs of their students.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, Agency Staff
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Skill-Building to Confront Ableism and Build Anti-Ableist Praxis
Lydia Brown, J.D.
Participants will have the opportunity to explore everyday ableism in their own lives and experiences, and to develop key skills and strategies for disrupting ableism and practicing Disability Justice in schools, including in curricular and pedagogical development, educational advocacy, and youth development/self-advocacy support.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, Families
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Two Stories: How an IU Team Overcame Barriers and Opened Doors for Collaboration With Families
Batya Elbaum, Ph.D., Christopher Wolfel, Ed.D., Caterina Campbell, and Nikki Huggan
Two stories, told through the eyes of an intermediate unit (IU) executive director and the parents he listened to, illustrating the importance of LEAP (Listen, Empathize, Agree, and Partner) when school personnel work with families. Learn how these school-family partnerships increased a sense of power, belonging, access, and fun for families. Also, learn how these partnerships created opportunities for the school entity to enhance programs and services for children and families.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, Families
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational

 

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm Luncheon Address


Attract, Prepare, Retain: Re-envisioning Pennsylvania’s Approach to Special Education Personnel
Carole Clancy and Laurie VanderPloeg
The many unfilled positions and high attrition rates among special education personnel is having a direct impact on children with disabilities. The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education (BSE) is poised to address these issues by focusing on strategies to attract, prepare, and retain (APR) personnel. The BSE’s APR Steering Committee will utilize input and feedback from a cross-section of stakeholders to envision innovative practices, policies, and procedures to effectively address these matters and position Pennsylvania once again as a leader in special education. This session will highlight the current work both nationally and here within Pennsylvania to address these critical needs.


 

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm Concurrent Sessions

 

Assessment of Foundational Literacy Skills: Purposes, Considerations, and Processes
Shaheen Munir-McHill, Ph.D.
In this session, the speaker will engage participants in an analysis of the various types of instructional decisions that require the assessment of reading skills and explore how those purposes inform decisions about tool selection and interpretation. Focus will be given to the use of universal screening tools for the purpose of early identification of potential instructional needs and diagnostic assessment for the purpose of instructional planning and modification.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, School Psychologists
  • Level of Expertise: Intermediate


Data Privacy in an Online World: A Legal Overview of Applicable Laws
Erin Gilsbach, Esq.
Student information is being shared more often than ever before, and parents, educators, and school leaders need to be aware of the rights, requirements, and shortcomings of federal and state laws protecting student data privacy. In this session, a nationally recognized speaker and special education attorney provides an overview of applicable state and federal law, reviews best practices regarding the safeguarding of electronic student data, and provides insight as to the future of the law in this area.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Intermediate
     

Examining Perceptions of School Climate Through a Cultural Lens
Tamika La Salle, Ph.D.
In this session, the speaker will focus on how to gather, evaluate, and use school climate data to guide targeted decision making. This session will focus on practical applications of school climate data that educators can use at the classroom and school levels.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational


Frontline Perspectives: Attracting, Preparing, and Retaining Special Education Personnel
Christine Moon and Tim Krushinski
Addressing the special education personnel shortages local education agencies (LEAs) face is of utmost importance. A panel consisting of novice and veteran special education personnel will provide beneficial perspectives, strategies, and resources on effective preparation, ongoing professional development, and what is needed to sustain individuals in their positions.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

It’s In There: Accessibility Features Across Platforms
Mike Marotta
With so many apps and software tools available for our technology today, it is sometimes difficult to know what might work for an individual. But wait…what about built in accessibility features? These supports are built into every computer and mobile device platform, yet many people don’t know what they already have! Come participate in this BYOD session as we dive deep into the built in accessibility features of your devices (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Chromebook) to explore options to support individuals in the areas of reading, writing, vision, physical access, and more!

  • Audience(s): Teacher, Agency
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational


Middle School Success: The Path to Graduation Partnership with Institutions of Higher Education
Amira Hill-Yancy, Ed.D., IHE Professors
Middle School Success: The Path to Graduation (P2G) provides professional development and coaching using evidenced-based instructional and adult learning practices that build the capacity of schools to address the academic and behavioral needs of middle school students with disabilities, in particular, students identified with emotional disturbance. To extend adult learning opportunities, the P2G Team partnered with Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) to help prepare preservice teacher and teacher education programs by creating professional development resources that prepare preservice teacher to better analyze critical data that impacts graduation and dropout rates, with consideration of practices that support culturally responsive education. IHE professors will share the learning products developed from the partnership.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Moving From "Can" to "How" – Transition to Employment for Students with Complex Support Needs
Laura Owens, Ph.D.
Addressing the needs of youth and young adults with complex support needs has continued to raise challenging questions, particularly as they transition out of school into the world. Who exactly are individuals with complex support needs; and, can they achieve successful post-secondary outcomes for further education/training, competitive integrated employment, and community engagement after high school? The answer is a resounding, YES! We need to increase our expectations and shift our mindset to change from “can” to “how” we support individuals with complex support needs to successfully transition into the world of work and community engagement. Session participants will be provided with examples of effective practices and strategies to assist in developing goals around supporting students with complex support needs.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, Families
  • Level of Expertise: Intermediate


Parents as Partners
Danny Brassell, Ph.D.
Students succeed when parents, teachers, and administrators work together. Join Danny as he shows you how to attract greater family engagement, utilize parental expertise, and recognize parents’ efforts.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, Families
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Stand: Personalize Your Protest with UDL and Antiracism
Andratesha Fritzgerald
There is an art and a science to taking a stand for equity. It takes both skill and will to be intentional about making a difference in dismantling racism and ableism in educational settings. This session will equip participants to begin building techniques to stand against racism and oppression with instructional and professional intentionality.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational

 

.........................................

 

Friday, March 4

 
8:30 am – 9:30 am Concurrent Sessions

 

A Culturally and Linguistic Responsive Approach to AAC
Gloria Soto, Ph.D.
In the US many clients in need of AAC services come from culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds. Although in principle, service providers may see the need to preserve their clients’ heritage languages and cultures, they may lack the knowledge and means to do so. Both intrinsic (e.g., second language competency, beliefs, mindset) and extrinsic factors (e.g., available technologies) may account for service providers’ clinical decisions and choices on language use. Appropriate AAC service delivery to clients from CLD backgrounds requires not only appropriate technologies but also research-based evidence on the efficacy of intervention approaches. In this seminar, the speaker will describe the principles of a culturally and linguistically responsive approach to AAC and the existing evidence supporting that course of action.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, Families
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Designing Instruction for All Learners Across the Three Stages of Learning (Part 1)
Andrew Bulla, Ph.D.
In this presentation, the speaker highlights best practices in analyzing instructional content and designing curricula and associated instructional materials to teach a variety of skills to learners with and without autism. The presenter will share a variety of sample materials and resources to ensure our instruction produces the outcomes we want. Part 1 will focus on analyzing larger instructional goals into specific component skills, prescribing the associated learning channels, and conducting a features analysis for complex skills.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational


Promoting the Early-Literacy Skills of Young Children with Disabilities: Read It Again!
Laura Justice, Ph.D.
Read It Again! is a freely available evidence-based tool designed to promote the early-literacy skills of young children, including those with disabilities. In this session, the speaker provides an overview of the tool, implementation guidance, and instructional targets. Evidence concerning impacts on early-literacy skills is summarized. Participants will walk away with a well-developed understanding of how to use Read It Again! to promote early-literacy skills in classroom, clinic, or home-based settings.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, Families
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational


Same but Different Math: A Language-Based Routine to Promote Equity in the Classroom
Sue Looney, Ed.D.
Same But Different Math is a powerful routine for use in a math classroom. This routine can immediately be added into an educator’s toolbox for developing conceptual understanding of important mathematical ideas. In this session, the speaker will provide teachers with the information they need to confidently use this routine with their students. By presenting the research behind comparative thinking, educators will understand the power of the routine. Beyond establishing the rationale, the speaker will walk participants through specific examples of when to use this routine, how to use this routine, and how to make specific connections to their learners.

  • Audience(s): Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational


Sound Walls: What Is a Sound Wall All About?
Mary Dahlgren, Ed.D.
In this session, the speaker will describe the reasoning behind the sound wall setup. We will build both portions of the sound wall with the consonants and the vowels. The discussion of
English Learner considerations will be woven into the explanation of the sound wall.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational


Team-Initiated Problem Solving: TIPS for Effective Teaming
Erin Chaparro, Ph.D.
In this presentation, the speaker will provide an overview of the Team-Initiated Problem Solving (TIPS) framework. Examples and nonexamples of Tier 1 precision problem statements will be presented. Free online resources to support your Tier 1 Schoolwide PBIS teaming will be shared.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers, School Psychologists, and Agency Staff
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Trends and Outcomes Specific to Transition Issues in Mediation and Due Process
Patricia Andrews, J.D.
This session will focus on legal issues regarding transition requirements under the IDEA. The speaker will describe IDEA legal requirements for transition, explain how legal requirements should be implemented, and describe what hearing officers and courts are holding with regard to transition issues.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Unified Champion Schools: Bringing School Communities Together Through Meaningful Inclusion
Michael Bovino
Please join us to learn how the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools (UCS) program is bringing together school communities and helping students meet their social and emotional needs. At a time where we need more unity, as well as when students are trying to regain connectivity after the disruptions in the social fabric caused by COVID-19, UCS provides schools with enriching, inspiring, and transformational programming. UCS utilizes fully inclusive Unified Sports, youth leadership, and activities designed to educate, inspire, and engage all students with and without disabilities. The session will provide information about the structure and effectiveness of the three UCS components, how they are implemented, and success stories from different schools throughout the state about the positive impact on students and overall climate. It also will showcase how UCS is conducted in high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools in different settings: cities, suburban, towns, and rural.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers, School Psychologists, Agency Staff, and Families
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

What Bothers Me About This Parent and Why? Cultural Self-Awareness in Working With Families
Elizabeth Harry, Ph.D.
In this session, the speaker will explain the meaning of cultural self-awareness as it applies to professionals in special education. The concept of culture will be applied not only to individuals, but also to the field of special education. Participants will discuss how cultural values and practices affect professionals' interactions with parents. Participants will apply these considerations to a case study of parent-professional interaction and will consider how they would react in a similar situation.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

 
9:45 am – 10:45 am Concurrent Sessions

 

Bilingual AAC: Strategies for Assessment and Intervention
Gloria Soto, Ph.D.
This session will focus on specific strategies that educators and clinicians can use to support home language maintenance as well as the acquisition of English. The speaker will describe the key characteristics of dual-language development in children who use AAC, discuss the role of language sample analysis in a bilingual AAC evaluation, and provide different approaches to address home language in AAC intervention.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, Families
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Designing Instruction for All Learners Across the Three Stages of Learning (Part 2)
Andrew Bulla, Ph.D.
This presentation highlights best practices in analyzing instructional content and designing curricula and associated instructional materials to teach a variety of skills to learners with and without autism. The presenter will share a variety of sample materials and resources to ensure our instruction produces the outcomes we want. Part 2 will build on the material from the first presentation and instruct attendees on how to use outcomes from the analyses. Attendees will learn how to program across three stages of learning: Acquisition, Practice, and Application. Specific evidence-based strategies will be highlighted including mathetics, frequency-building interventions, and delayed prompting.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Intermediate
     

Lead With Grace: Leaning Into Necessary Soft Skills for Success
Jessica Cabeen
Do you love what you do, but at times struggle with the necessary interactions and communication skills that could elevate interactions in all aspects of your life? The speaker shares practical examples from her successes and epic failures of utilizing skills to build authenticity, vulnerability, and empathy in day-to-day interactions. Participants will walk away with practical tips and ways to apply these skills in their communications, relationships, and when navigating the world of social media.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

Meeting Families Where They Are: Cultural Reciprocity in Action
Elizabeth Harry, Ph.D.
The principle of cultural reciprocity will be explained as a contrast to the concept of cultural competence, emphasizing that one cannot be truly competent in many cultures. Four steps will be outlined reflecting progress toward developing reciprocal interactions that focus on learning what families really believe and want for their children and engaging in a genuine exchange of information on both sides. By meeting families where they are, professionals can act as co-advocates, establishing mutually agreed on goals that are attainable because they reflect mutual respect for different perspectives. These principles will be illustrated through short research-based vignettes.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

No More Key Words: Support for Math Story Problems That Works!
Sue Looney, Ed.D.
In this session, participants will explore what does and does not work in supporting students as they solve math story problems. By unpacking key research outcomes, participants will explore two different strategies for immediate use in the math classroom: visualizing story problems and 3 Reads.

  • Audience(s): Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational


Secondary Transition: What Would YOU Do?
Patricia Andrews, J.D.
Participants will review current cases involving secondary transition and discuss the expected or unexpected outcome of the case. The presenter will include an opportunity for discussion and interaction around each case presented.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational


Sound Walls: It is Posted, Now What?
Mary Dahlgren, Ed.D.
This session will describe the daily routines of working with a sound wall, moving from the readiness phase to implementation. As part of the implementation, we will discuss high frequency words and how to introduce them with a sound wall. Finally, we will look at some writing samples and the insights we can use from this information for instructional planning.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational
     

TIPS for Tier 2 Intervention Assistance Teams
Erin Chaparro, Ph.D.
Starting with a brief overview of Team-Initiated Problem Solving and Check-In, Check-Out, a Tier 2 intervention, we’ll introduce intervention fidelity. What is it? When should it be monitored? What types of data are used? Participants are encouraged to bring questions from their own implementation. Free online resources to support your Tier 2 teaming will be shared.

  • Audience(s): Administrators, Teachers
  • Level of Expertise: Intermediate
     

Vocabulary Instruction Through Quality Read-Alouds
Laura Justice, Ph.D.
Vocabulary skills are fundamental to basic human communication, but are also instrumental to skilled reading comprehension. Improving vocabulary skills in the preschool and early primary grades is an important means for enhancing future reading comprehension. This session provides an overview of vocabulary development during early childhood, and also identifies strategies children use to learn new words. Evidence-based strategies are described for using read-aloud sessions as a means to improve vocabulary skills. Participants will leave equipped to implement quality vocabulary instruction through read-alouds at home and in the classroom.

  • Audience(s): Teachers, Families
  • Level of Expertise: Basic/Foundational

 

11:10 am – 12:10 pm Closing Keynote Address

 
Dream Big, Live Colorfully, Lead Boldly: Developing Your Best Self at School and at Home
Jessica Cabeen
Today’s educators have pressures that can become barriers to maintaining wellness in all aspects of life. In this keynote session, we will explore ways in work and life to set your own goals and priorities in the different quadrants of balance (positional, personal, professional, and passion). We will learn ways to manage processes more effectively so you can be present at the moment; diffuse difficult situations with families, staff, and parents; so, you can leave school at school and rekindle your own passions so your students and staff can see the real you.