Saturday Sessions

8:15 AM - 9:25 AM Breakout Sessions

Promoting Student Engagement Through Gamification 

Presented by Diana T. Sylvander; Angela Ubben; Rebecca Reed; Rachel Moothead & Michele Clark


The session offers novelty ideas for energizing educational practices! Participants will explore elements of gaming that can be incorporated into classroom activities to build student engagement while maintaining the academic rigor. A ready-to-implement, editable gamified resource (including strategies to reach EL students and digital content) will be offered!

Disleksick: Now What? The Umbrella that Bridges it Together

Presented by Tammy Curran & Gay Carlson


The term dyslexia may be an intimidating word when it comes to teaching students who are diagnosed with dyslexia. These students can be reached within the classroom if the teacher has the proper tools. In this session, we will discuss the components of reading and how to teach reading within the classroom.

12 #teacherlife Hacks

Presented by Carina Kemble, Ed.S.


Looking for ways to make your life a little easier? I’ve got 12 teacher hacks for you! They range from Life Skills to Paperwork to Behavior Hacks. These simple strategies are both low and high tech and will undoubtedly make life a little easier to handle! 

Experiential Outdoor-based STEM Activities with Diverse Students

Presented by Lynn Knight


This workshop will share with hands-on activities and examples, of how experiential, outdoor based learning imprints on students’ lives and shapes their understanding of themselves as well as supports deeper understanding in academic content. Participants will learn how to design STEM/STEAM lessons that are connected to nature. 

Building a Collaborative Bridge between Home and School

Presented by Erin De Assis

Even though school and home are their own lanes of responsibility in theory, they are most certainly intertwined. Yet limited resources, specialized curricula, and society's exhausting pace, create a gap between these two worlds. Now more than ever, collaboration between educators and families holds the key to meaningful student success.

From Failure Self-Determination Grows

Presented by Lori Y. Peterson & Matthew Wood 


“Failure” is an everyday occurrence that carries a range of emotions. The very thought of failure reduces motivation and can keep students from attempting tasks. Learn how to help students use a step-by-step process to set and attain goals, build self-determination skills and use failure as an opportunity to grow.

A New Comprehension Model for Specific Learning Disability Evaluations

Presented by Veronica Fiedler & Dr. Peter Thompson

This presentation will focus on using the Building Blocks of the Brain Model to guide IEP teams through determining special education eligibility. Using this new neuroeducational framework to individualize evaluations for SLD and Traumatic Brain Injury eligibility, the BBBM guides IEP teams in building a comprehensive BoE for special education eligibility decision making.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Family Engagement

Presented by Sandra Rasmussen

Family engagement improves academic outcomes, however, culturally and linguistically diverse families demonstrate lower levels of family engagement in special education, despite valuing education and supporting their child’s academic success. This session will explore models and recommendations for family engagement in relation to culturally and linguistically diverse families.

Difference or Disability: Why Does it Matter

Presented by Alex Anttila

This presentation guides teachers through a series of discussion questions surrounding their comfort and knowledge of the factors that influence student success. These factors include socioeconomic status, race, and teacher characteristics. Teachers will reflect on how their experiences influence their teaching, student participation and their perception of student success as it relates to special education identification.

10:20 AM - 11:30 AM Breakout Sessions

Help Children Learn to Generalize Self-Regulation Skills

Presented by Briana Makofske

Often times, students have difficulty applying learned coping, and self-regulation strategies in the classroom. This presentation offers ways to incorporate reasonable challenges in a small group setting to help students problem-solve and practice their learned strategies, while dysregulated, successfully. Increasing the likelihood, they can do it, independently, in other environments.

Engagement Structures for Mathematics: Quick Wins for All 

Presented by Juliana Tapper

Experience four low and no prep engagement activity structures you can use with any math content in any classroom setting (in-person, virtual, or hybrid) to increase engagement of your students with diverse learning needs. This session will use secondary math examples, but elementary educators are welcome to attend.

Fostering Social Acceptance of Students with Disabilities

Presented by Rebecca Canges

Since the authorization of IDEA, schools have made progress in the inclusion of students with disabilities and their methods for supporting their academic needs. But, are the students socially accepted by their typically developing peers? This presentation will offer specific strategies teachers can implement to increase the awareness and social acceptance of students with disabilities at their school.

Trauma-Informed Instruction Must be Collaborative Emphasizing Neurodiversity

Presented by Dr. Tara Mason

Students' trauma-related behaviors are negatively impacting their academic and social/emotional outcomes in our schools. The effects of student trauma are far-reaching, resulting in behavioral outbursts and poor academic achievement. To address the trauma experienced by many of today’s students, particularly students served in special education, special education teachers must learn strategies for: collaboration, neurodiversity frameworks, and trauma-informed best practices. Research suggests that one of the most impactful approaches to trauma-informed instruction utilizes a neurodiversity, growth mindset, strength-based framework, which encourages students to see themselves as powerful and increasingly successful in their academic learning. Gathering together these various insights from theory and research, participants in this session will learn about strategies to implement them in their K-12 classrooms or teacher preparation programs.

Post-Secondary Support in a Post-COVID World

Presented by Tara Hitzig & Stephanie Deker 

Students with special needs benefit from transition activities and practice prior to graduation. Because of the pandemic, many of these opportunities did not exist for high school seniors. Learn about strategies and options to prepare for post-secondary success.

Identifying, Referring, and Servicing Dually Identified EL/SPED Students

Presented by Fran Herbert & Lynda Idle 

Participants will explore how educators can use comparative data to meet the needs of English Learner (EL) students in making informed decisions about referrals to special education thereby reducing disproportionality.

Re-Set? You Bet! Implementing a Trauma Informed Practice

Presented by Nicole Crain-Girten

When children are dysregulated, challenging behavior may follow. The Re-Set Process is a cohesive approach to supporting students with regulation issues due to trauma - through both proactive and reactive methods. Rooted in science and grown in the real-life of schools, Re-Set is a promising method for changing how students and adults interact; it is both regulation and relationship-based. This session will overview the process and also offer specific guidance on implementing Re-Set as a whole class, proactive practice - something so necessary in today's schools.

Session To Be Announced. 

11:45 AM  - 12:55 PM Breakout Sessions

Penguins & Aliens

Presented by Jean Rice

The trials and joys of raising a child with disabilities. As a mother I evolved into a person who fought, persevered, and clearly found delight in bringing a child with Autism and cognitive impairments through the various facets of life on into adulthood. Throughout this presentation I will share little snippets and relevant stories when words or concepts were misunderstood by our daughter, Allicia. This presentation is meant to bring hope of creating an understanding that a disability does not need to define the person and to also help others understand the person, the humor, and the personalities of people that just happen to have an unique way of learning and have been labeled with a disability.

Now What? Next Steps in Trauma-Informed Practice Implementation

Presented by Marni Choice-Hermosillo, PhD, NCSP

Has your staff been trained in trauma-informed practices? Are you trying to determine your next step in this process? This presentation will outline research on best practices in trauma-informed practice implementation. The focus will be on the newly developed Trauma-Informed Practices Implementation Model, the research behind the model, and practical implications that will help guide you with your next steps.

Applying Theory One: So, All May Learn

Presented by Philippe Ernewein

As educators, we know better than most that there is no “average” person. Each one of our students learns, grows, and develops in their own unique way. Yet, we operate in systems designed for a mythical “average.” One simple first step is to learn and apply Theory One coined by David Perkins in his book Smart Schools. This session will start with a theoretical overview and move to practical classroom strategies that teachers can use on Monday.

Five Manageable Steps to Meaningful Inclusion

Presented by Kara Halley & Charlie Buckley

Decades of evidence show that inclusive education leads to better outcomes for students with and without disabilities. However, students with significant support needs continue to be segregated. In this session, five steps to meaningful inclusion for these students will be discussed. Participants will apply these steps to students they support.

The Power of Special Interests: Leveraging Passions to Increase Autistic Student Engagement

Presented by Laura K. Anderson

In this session, participants will learn about the role special interests play for autistic individuals and how to use those special interests to increase student engagement. Drawing from both research and the presenter's personal experiences as an autistic person with special interests, participants will understand how special interests are powerful tools for communication and teaching.

Identifying and Supporting Twice Exceptional Students

Presented by Cynthia Rundquist & Robin Greene

Twice-exceptional (2e) students are students who are both gifted and have a learning difference or disability. They are often unidentified and not supported. Without support these children suffer emotionally and academically. This presentation will focus on ways to find, identify, and support our 2e students.

Early Literacy for Bilingual Learners: What Matters Most? 

Presented by Kimberly McDavid Schmidt; Ekta Ghosh & Anna Handy

This session examines how the science of reading applies to early literacy instruction for emergent bilinguals. In addition to decoding, research shows that oral language development, cultural and experiential knowledge, and cross-linguistic transfer is especially important for emerging bilinguals. We will practice concrete strategies in each of these areas

To Be Announced.