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8:15 AM - 9:25 AM Colorado Spotlight

Making Mathematics Meaningful: Competing Priorities – Finding the Balance!

Presented by Mindy Adair

Teaching and learning mathematics is a challenging endeavor. Too often, the pendulum of education swings and we grapple with how to hang on and how to evolve. Rather than an “either/or” approach, we will consider a “yes/and both” in an effort to expand student access to mathematical content, creativity, and collaboration.

My Deaf Dad: The Only Thing He Can’t Do is Hear.

Presented by Brianna Makofske

Join us as I share my Deaf dad’s inspiring journey to through the education system without modern day supports. His success continues to break barriers and model what is possible. Let’s reflect on what was, celebrate the progress we have made, and look optimistically towards the future of special education.

From Empathy to Action: Strategies from the Students

Presented by LEAD 

Step into the LEAD (Learning and Educating About Disabilities) program’s firsthand narratives and engage in candid dialogue about actionable strategies for the practical ways educators, special service providers, and family members have helped them in their educational experiences, and how those opportunities can be established for your own community.

10:20 AM - 11:30 AM Breakout Sessions

Session 33: SDI & Tier 3 Math

Presented by Carina Kemble

Needing Specially Designed Math Instruction and/or Tier 3 Math supports? In this session participants will learn to utilize the Georgia Numeracy Project while using best math teaching practices. Participants will leave with diagnostic assessments, progress monitoring tools, and specific activities to use based on students' stage of numeracy development.

Session 34: A Student’s Voice in Transition

Presented by Yvette Plummer & Jah-Sun Collier

A former IEP student shares his transition journey. What worked, what didn’t work. How he almost didn’t enroll in college, and how he uses the Disability Resource Center as support.  He will also share his experience as a young man and student living with ASD by showing some of his YouTube videos. 


Session 35: Current Early Childhood Barriers and Innovative Solutions 

Presented by Dr. Jenna Ward & Audra Koning

Presenters will review current issues impacting early childhood, with a particular focus on universal preschool and the impact of COVID-19. Strategies to enhance adult knowledge and children’s skills in the areas of social/emotional and speech-language development will be discussed. An innovative community resource for authentic assessment will be introduced.  


Session 36: Integrated Multi-Tiered Supports for Behavior from Prevention to Intensive Supports

Presented by Kelli Smith, Sarah Cannon, & Nicole Lechman Trujillo

This presentation describes a districtwide implementation of an Integrated MTSS framework focused on academic, social, emotional, and behavioral wellness. Hear how our Student Support Services department is structured to support an integrated, tiered approach to support students from Prevention through Intensive supports.

Session 37: The Elephant in the Room

Presented by Meagan Ackerman & Maya Valdivia

This presentation aims to explore the topic of depression and mental health through the lens of educators. Depression and anxiety are prevalent mental health issues that affect individuals of all ages including adults in education. By examining the experiences and perspectives of educators, this presentation seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the unique challenges that we face. Our learning will include strategies to address depression in educational settings and a space to have conversations that are often overlooked.

Session 38: I Wanna Quit!: Professional Burnout and Healing Chronic Stress

Presented by Kim Neely, MS, CCC-SLP

Post COVID-19 shutdown, chronic stress is at an all-time high for professional educators. How can educators effectively help students when they themselves are overworked, overstressed, and under-supported? This presentation will cover the main contributors to professional chronic stress and effective individual and community-based strategies to help.

Session 39: A Dyslexia Experience + 5 New Tools That Can Transform Instruction!

Presented by Cynthia Hildner

Join this interactive workshop that may stretch what you think you know about Dyslexia. You’ll leave with a rare understanding of the hidden struggles those with Dyslexia can face. Learn powerful new tools that can help manage frustration and foster self-determination. 

Session 40: Special Education in Rural Areas: Dare to Be Different

Presented by Misty Espinoza

Special Education in rural Colorado requires a non-typical skillset. We will present creative, innovative, out-of-the-box thinking that has resulted in effective programs in the SanLuis Valley. Because it's different in rural communities, we will share solutions that stretch the imagination. Houses, hybrids and horses are involved.

Session 41: Transition Assessment: Tools and Resources for Transition Domains

Presented by Kacy Little Owl, Rachel Manzanares, Abby Rowley, & Gail Lott, EdD

Participants will:
1) Build upon their knowledge of how to begin the transition assessment process;
2) Learn how to use a transition assessment finder for locating age appropriate transition assessments;
3) Become familiar with a transition assessment bank as a tool to individualize data for the transition assessment process;  and 
4) Practice using these tools to identify needed information based on student profiles. 

Session 42: Making Disability a Comfortable Conversation in Our Schools and Communities

Presented by Lindsey Blankenship & Kati Cahill

Creating S.P.A.C.E in an educational and community program that focuses on making disability a comfortable conversation.  Learn how we implement Sotrytelling, Permission, Acceptance, Curiosity and Education into our programs.  We will also identify what "Safe Spaces" are.  Small group discussions will be held as well.


11:45 AM  - 12:55 PM Breakout Sessions

Session 43: Paraprofessionals in Rural Community

Presented by Crystal Mares, Lori Torres, & Stacey Holland

Paraprofessionals in Rural Colorado: Moving on Up Effective paraprofessional need initial training, on-going professional development, opportunities for growth. Paraprofessionals in rural Colorado rely on community connections to succeed. We all know each other so the student are "ours". This dynamic allows us to be passionate and effective. 

Session 44: Navigating the Shadows: Understanding the Impact of Trauma on Childhood Brain Development and Learning 

Presented by Tara Butler

Dive into the fascinating journey of how the brain develops and explores its intricate responses to danger. Our evolving understanding of trauma has changed how we see the broader impacts of trauma beyond initial reactions. Explore the impacts on learning by emphasizing resilience as a crucial skill for navigating life's challenges.

Session 45: Retirement Process Meeting

Presented by PERA

Congratulations! You are approaching your career finish line. If you’re within 0-7 years of retirement, this presentation will help create your retirement action plan, walk you through the application process, and cover other things you’ll need to know as you take this important step on your PERA journey.


Session 46: Importance of Emotional Differentiation in the classroom

Presented by Jess Martinez

We need to differentiate not only academically for our students, but emotionally as well. In my presentation I plan to explain emotional differentiation, why we need to emotionally differentiate, and how this emotional differentiation can affect our culture and our students’ futures.

Session 47: Creating Inclusive Post-Secondary Environments for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

Presented by Jeanine Coleman, Claire Wagner, & Morgan NcNeill

The positive impact of post-secondary education is well-documented. Historically, people with intellectual disabilities have had limited access to higher education, which has limited their access to career opportunities, often resulting in poverty.  In this session, we will present a new and innovate post-secondary program for students with intellectual disabilities.

Session 48: Differentiated Writers Workshop

Presented by Jen Jones & Rebecca Eldridge

Teaching writing to students with significant learning disabilities can be an overwhelming task.  Through the method of structured Writer’s Workshop implemented daily, measurable progress can be seen in students that have resisted writing for years.  Participants will learn the steps of Writers Workshop and the secret to its success. 

Session 49: Inclusive Communities that Work!

Presented by Jennifer Moriarty & Jace Smykil

Unified Theatre offers students with all abilities the opportunity to assist instructors in preparing, organizing, and delivering theatre course curricula. The ultimate culmination has is a fantastic high school plays for the entire community to enjoy.  We are sold out full house every year (theatre has over 400 seats)! This class is comprised of peer coaches that assist students Developmental Disabilities improve their social and behavioral skills by being mentors in our theatre program. Acting partners are trained by the instructors throughout the season about best strategies to use with a variety of different needs. This is a touching and fun program for all. The goal for the students in class is to break down all social barriers and to improve work competencies and empathy for all students.

Session 50: Math intervention that maintains high expectations of students

Presented by Juliana Tapper

Are your students many grade levels behind in math? Attend and learn the difference between “just in case” and “just in time” math intervention along with a step-by-step guide to follow as you create your own intervention plan while keeping the focus on grade level content. It can be done!

Session 51: Building Nurturing Relationships with Families of Preschoolers

Presented by Cristina House & Kiki McGough

Family recommended practices and standards are outlined in ECE as foundational for professionals. Join us to review standards, understand a tiered approach to building family relationships and create a tool to increase your family outcomes. 

Session 52: Stranger Things: Eleven Legal Decisions

Presented by Dr. Jacque Phillips

Ever feel like you are in the Upside Down? In this session, "Eleven" actual cases will be presented that will guide you to avoiding alternate reality and to remaining mindfully present for legal compliance. 

Session 53: Community Circles and Mindfulness in the Classroom (Programming for K-12)

Presented by Alys Low & Lesley Rodell, LCSW

This session will introduce the basics of implementing Community Circles and Mindfulness into any type of classroom (K-12) in order to increase student engagement, sense of belonging, and overall academic and social success. The presenter will provide general information, review the benefits of both, and introduce evidenced-based strategies that can easily be implemented after the session. Additional resources will also be provided for further information and implementation. 

8:15 AM - 9:25 AM
10:20 AM - 11:30 AM
11:45AM - 12:55 PM
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