Saturday Sessions

9:00 - 10:00 AM Keynote Address 
Teaching with Wit and Wisdom in Times of Loss, Grief, Chaos and COVID19 by Barbara Coloroso 

This keynote presentation is about handling tough times and tough issues.  Whether it be a small crisis or a major disaster, a minor malady or a life changing event, bullying in hallways or terror in the streets, this session looks at how we as educators can use our wit and wisdom to nurture and enrich ourselves and our students as we navigate through the minor and major chaos in our lives that are compounded by the COVID19 pandemic.

10:10 - 11:00 AM Breakout Session

Including ALL Students in Their Own IEP Meetings by Jessica Peacock

If we want students to be active decision makers throughout their lives, we must start teaching self-determination skills at a young age.  I would like to share the strategies I am practicing to help students take part in their own IEP meetings- specifically elementary aged students and students with intellectual disabilities.

My Students are on IEPs; They Can’t be Gifted!  by Dr. Cynthia Rundquist, Colleen Anthony, Sarina Compoz, and Jessica Howard

Gifted students exist in every population, but one of the least likely populations to be identified are twice-exceptional (2e) students on IEPs whose giftedness is being masked by their disabilities.  This session will give an overview of 2e students, characteristics to look for, and dual differentiation strategies and support.

Building Practitioner Resilience in the time of COVID 19  by Dr. Dorothy L. Shapland

Together we will examine the impact of stress on practitioners providing services under social distancing restrictions. We will use a trauma informed lens to explore relationship building in isolation and the need for provider care.  We will provide strategies and tools for resilience building in individuals and teams.

Understanding and Reaching the Wounded Student  by Dr. Joe Hendershott

 Based on information in the presenter’s first book, this session will examine ways to reach children who are beyond at-risk. By looking at the effects of trauma on learning, relationships, and behavior, doable strategies will be shared to position cultures for social/emotional change and ensure students remain in the classroom.

11:10 – 12:00 Breakout Session


Using UDL as a Framework for Inclusive Reading Comprehension Instruction for Students with IDD by Laura K. Anderson

 Universal Design for Learning is a framework ideally suited for providing inclusive education to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Participants will have an overview of UDL and how to use UDL to develop reading comprehension activities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in inclusive language arts classrooms.

Just Because It's Not Wrong Doesn't Make It Right: Teaching Students to Think and Act Ethically by Barbara Coloroso

A workshop packed with solid practical advice on how to use the stuff of everyday life to teach our students to act with integrity, civility, and compassion. Beginning with the idea that it is in us to care, that we are born with an innate capacity for compassion, Barbara Coloroso shows educators how to nurture and guide students' ethical lives using everyday situations at home, at school, in social settings, and in the world at large. 

  • How to develop an ethic rooted in deep caring with principles, virtues, and values that are in the service to and at the service of that caring

  • The why and how to teach our students to think and act ethically

  • Nurturing in students the three antidotes (care deeply, share generously, help willingly) to the virulent agents that are ripping apart the fabric of our human relationships (hating, hoarding, and harming ourselves and others)

  • Media:  The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Indifferent—how we can help students use these tools and not be used or consumed by them.

“You’ve Got the Power!” Teaching Students Brain Physiology  by Meagan Ackerman

You will leave empowered to empower our students!  You will experience a lesson on teaching your students about their brain and why it does what it does, particularly as a result of trauma.  We will discuss and collaborate on classroom implementation so you walk out ready to go!

Using Technology Tools to Implement HLPs  by Dr. Tara Mason

Through the lens of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), this session will facilitate educators in accommodating and differentiating for high leverage teaching practices with either a Chromebook using Google Apps or an iPad with iOS accessibility features. Educators will utilize accessibility features and evaluate technology-supports with case study examples illustrating a solution linked to each of the four HLP categories,  (1) collaboration, (2) assessment, (3) social & emotional learning, and (4) instruction.


1:10 – 2:00 Breakout Session

Inclusion Do's, Dont's & Do Betters! by Toby Karten

An inclusion environment provides not only access to a learner, but also a path to achieve progress. Whether instruction is delivered in a brick and mortar classroom or online, it is important that teachers are never overwhelmed by the complexities that inclusion presents, but are instead prepared with a palette of strategies. Learn what to do, what not to do, and what to do better. Positive attitudes, evidence-based practices, such as differentiated instruction, universal design for learning, understanding by design, team planning, and administrative supports are viable ways for learners to thrive in today’s inclusion classrooms. Together, we highlight practical interventions that collaboratively transform the challenges into inclusion successes! 

  • Vary instruction & assessments for practice, repetition, and enrichment

  • Relate to students’ lives; e.g., culture, ethnicity, gender, abilities, families 

  • Teach basics and 3Rs across curricula with evidence-based UDL practices 

  • Set up a pleasant atmosphere with active learning opportunities and connections 

  • Increase student and staff self-awareness with ongoing reflection 

  • Communicate & collaborate with colleagues, students, families, related service providers…!

Mathematical Identities: Honoring Development, Navigating Differences, Structuring Delivery  by Mindy Adair, Ph.D.

Mathematical development is complex. Students, parents, and teachers often believe that conceptual understanding is to be mastered immediately, and procedural fluency should follow a scheduled time frame. The reality is, that is not how mathematics works! Understanding how cognitive development, individual differences, and pedagogical practices influence our mathematical identities is critical!

Exploring Brain Development, Executive Function and Emotional Regulation by Heather Hotchkiss

Participants will learn about the Building Blocks of Brain Development to understand the cognitive, academic and behavioral needs of children. We will explore brain development and higher order thinking skills (executive function and emotional regulation). Resources will be shared that include strategies and suggested assessments related to the Building Blocks.

Trauma Informed Practices by Bill Brown, MSW

Trauma informed practices aligns well with Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) creating a continuum of interventions and positive classroom environments. Participants will learn about the impact of trauma including, how the brain is impacted, ways to identify trauma responses/behaviors, strategies and interventions, how to use self-regulation/co-regulation to assist students in crisis.


2:10 – 3:00 Breakout Session

Beginning Communicators: Assessment and Strategies to Facilitate Communication by Diane Carroll, Ph.D. and Dr. Robin Brewer

Teaching communication skills to students with significant cognitive disabilities can be challenging for teachers and families, particularly when students are at the initial stages of intentional communication. This session provides an overview of communication assessments to determine a student’s skill level, and suggested strategies to build the student’s communication skills.

Not This, But That – Meeting Needs of All Learners by Courtney Berry, EdD and Jeanne Bonds, EdS 

How can we shift our thinking to move beyond basic accommodations to create opportunities for our struggling students to experience deep thinking?  At times, accommodations can fail to achieve the outcome they intended. In this session of “Not This, But That….”, two national presenters will provide an understanding of how to better match student skills with practical classroom applications in order to enhance student learning.

Resilience Can Be Taught: 10 Strategies Proven to Motivate Any Student  by Christian Moore 

Learn strategies to build resilience, strengthen relationships, andinspire every student. These strategies have helped students in over 20,000schools/organizations in areas of academic success, dropout prevention, and classroommanagement. Engage students using visual metaphors, videos, music, and activities.

Emotional Literacy: Acknowledging Feelings and Fear Everywhere by Caron A. Westland, Ph.D.

Learn the science and strategies to integrate emotional literacy everywhere.  While some of our students might not be able to pick up the social cues, they can be taught emotional intelligence skills.  Learn how to teach students to name and express emotions across the curriculum.

3:10 – 4:00 Final Keynote
Yes, We Can: Yes, They Will! SE Collaboration: Individualizing, Smiling, & Learning Together! by Toby Karten

Collaborative input and support between and among general and special education staff, related service providers, co-teachers, administrators, team members, curriculum coordinators, grade level teachers, instructional support staff, students, peers, families, communities, and organizations moves EVERYONE forward. Explore how these positive relationships are continually and collaboratively strengthened, while smiling! Bottom line: Professional collaboration is the educational climate that propagates student achievement in school and life. Experience how to effectively: 

  •  Act as a team to establish norms and routines that honor each learner’s SDI 

  •  Organize supportive school and virtual environments with preparation, planning, and partnerships 

  •  Achieve parity with respectful communication, connections, and collaboration 

  •  Establish and facilitate ongoing teacher-student, student-student, and home-school individualization, TOGETHER!