Program Chair Featured Sessions

Program Chair Featured Sessions

Program co-chairs Claudia Rinaldi and Laura Receveur have compiled an array of fantastic sessions to serve every learner’s needs. These are the best of the best in special education! Join the dialogue and keep the conversations going with some of the biggest names in the field.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19

Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Referral and Assessment Practices

Leader: Julie Esparza Brown, Portland State University, OR

Presenter: Samuel Ortiz, St. Johns University, Jamaica, NY

Culture, language, and access to learning are critical factors in effectively supporting English learners. This session will provide participants a fundamental understanding of the impact of culture and language on academic success.  Additionally, participants will examine assessment frameworks designed to cultivate least-biased assessment practices within a strength-based, multi-tiered support system.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Identify the power of cultural and linguistic experiences in mediating learning.
  2. Identify implications and considerations for referring and evaluating English learners.
  3. Link assessment outcomes to culturally and linguistically responsive instructional practices within an MTSS framework.

How Do I Ensure FAPE in LRE With English Learners? Does One Service Trump the Other?

Leader: Maria de Lourdes Serpa, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA

This session will provide participants with an understanding of the connection among language learning laws, to civil rights laws and IDEA 2004.  We will directly address appropriate eligibility procedures as well as writing of IEP goals and objectives for English learners English proficiency needs.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Understand how language learning laws impact services for English learners with disabilities.
  2. Describe a framework for English learners to receive specially designed support services in ESL and special education.
  3. Discuss how the IEP goals and objectives need to address English proficiency levels in English learners with disabilities.

SEL and PBIS: Promoting School Programs Based on Compassion and Social Justice for All Students

Leader: Kristine Melloy, Santa Clara University, CA

Learn how to create inclusive learning environments that promote social justice. We will share evidenced-based interventions in Social Emotional Learning and Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports to promote compassion and love for and among students, positive learning environments, and students’ access to their opportunity and right to an education with multi-tiered systems of support.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Understand SEL interventions focused on teaching self-discipline.
  2. Understand PBIS multi-tiered systems of support designed to promote positive learning environments.
  3. Create inclusive learning environments that promote social justice.

Transforming Schools and Classrooms for the Future: Infusion of inclusive Practices and Technology

Leader: Lisa Dieker, University of Central Florida, Orlando

This session will focus on practice ideas to transform schools and classroom in three areas: technology, inclusion, and high learning outcomes. Come ready to laugh and learn ideas from schools across the country.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of students with disabilities using technology in inclusive settings to be college and career ready.
  2. Gain two new ideas in either inclusion or technology to implement in their school or classroom.

Technology Integration in Literacy

Leader: Leah Wood, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo

Presenter(s): Jenny Root, Florida State University, Tallahassee; Caryn Allison, Arkansas Department of Special Education, Little Rock

This presentation will describe multiple ways educators can integrate technology in literacy instruction to promote academic access and understanding for students with autism or intellectual disability. Specific topics include research-based technology interventions and supports for (a) early reading, (b) comprehension instruction, and (c) access to literacy across content areas.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Describe a technology-based approach for teaching phonics to students with ASD/ID.
  2. Describe how to use technology to teach text comprehension of grade-aligned literature.
  3. Describe how to use technology to teach expository texts and content-specific vocabulary.

The State of LD, Personalized Learning, and Student Voices: From Research to Action

Leader: Sheldon Horowitz, National Center for Learning Disabilities, New York, NY

Presenter: Lindsay Jones, National Center for Learning Disabilities, Washington, DC

Discover NCLD’s new State of LD report, test your understanding of current data, trends, challenges and opportunities for individuals with learning and attention issues, learn about the power of personalized learning for this population, and learn about drivers of success from Student Voices research.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Gain knowledge and confidence about LD and related learning and attention issues through data.
  2. Become an effective advocate for personalized learning as a key to ensuring high quality instruction for all students and protecting the rights of students with identified disabilities.
  3. Learn about the most critical and impactful drivers of success for teens and young adults with and without identified learning and attention issues.

THURSDAY, APRIL 20

CEC: Why We Join and Why We Stay

Leader(s): Jannis Floyd, Mansfield University, PA; Vicki McGinley, West Chester University, PA; Cheryl Zaccagnini, Shippensburg University, PA

We will discuss survey research of professional membership of two distinct groups, students with 1-5  years of membership, and those professionals with at least 15 years of active and continuous service within The Council for Exceptional Children. We will share the results of a survey that investigated why individuals join and why they may maintain their continued involvement in that organization.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Cite reasons why students and professionals joined CEC and why they stayed.
  2. Brainstorm best practices for engaging and keeping members active.
  3. Share their own stories and those of members in their state to support best models for engaging and keeping members active.

Executive Function, Persistence, and Resilience: The Keystones of Academic Success

Leader: Lynn Meltzer, Institutes for Learning and Development, Lexington, MA

This session will address the cyclical relationship that connects executive function strategies with academic performance, effort, and resilience and the implications for teaching students with learning disabilities and ADHD. Discussion will emphasize strategies for promoting metacognitive awareness, cognitive flexibility, and executive function across the content areas and grades.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Develop a deeper understanding of the impact of executive function weaknesses on the academic performance of students with learning disabilities and ADHD.
  2. Develop an understanding of ways of teaching specific strategies in a number of key executive function areas that include organization, cognitive flexibility, and self-regulation.

Planning for Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Instruction Considering Executive Function Skills

Leader: Roberta Strosnider, Towson University, MD

Presenter(s): Robin Drogan, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania; Darlene Perner, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

This session provides instruction on the presenters’ 7 Step Model to provide Universal Design for Learning lessons to students who have difficulty with executive functions such as working memory, organizing, managing time, communicating their needs, transitioning, self-regulating, and completing homework. Cognitive and metacognitive strategies will be included.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Integrate executive function skills into the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework for planning instruction.
  2. Teach strategies that will lead to improved executive functioning by their students.
  3. Use information presented to teach other professionals executive function skills methodology.

The Positive Effects of Behavior Specific Praise

Leader: Robert Gable, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA

Presenter: Lauren Collins, University of Hawaii, Honolulu

The positive effects of behavior-specific praise is one of the most widely researched strategies, yet it is underutilized in most classrooms. This session will highlight the importance of praise and its usefulness as an integral part of ‘bundling’ of multiple evidence-based strategies.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Discuss critically the use of precise praise and its impact on both academic and nonacademic behavior.
  2. Discuss ways to increase the impact of praise and when it may be counterproductive.
  3. Discuss critically strategies that can be ‘bundled’ with precise praise to increase the probability of positive student outcomes.

Stress: The Missing Piece of the LD/ADHD Puzzle. Strategies for Success

Leader: Jerome Schultz, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Students with ADHD and LD who don’t understand their learning challenges are under chronic stress that changes brains and impairs learning. Learn about the brain systems involved in the stress response, and come away with many practical strategies that can stop this self-defeating cycle in its tracks.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Understand the impact of chronic stress on brain architecture and function.
  2. Understand the relationship between stress and negative behaviors.
  3. Learn practical strategies for turning stress into the fuel for success.

Measuring Progress in Science Using Curriculum or State Standards

Leader: Kimberly Vannest, Texas A&M University, College Station

Presenter: Tufan Adiguzel, Texas A&M University, College Station

Progress monitoring academic content areas is challenging because difficulty levels of concepts and units are unequal across time. Progress monitoring content area vocabulary is a strategy helpful for measuring learning and for making instructional decisions. This session will broadly review content area vocabulary in science, discuss critical measurement issues, and review validated online tools for progress monitoring science vocabulary.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Broaden awareness of issues related to content area vocabulary in Science.
  2. Increase abilities to develop valid progress monitoring assessments.
  3. Gain exposure to online progress monitoring systems for science.

An Introduction to the Foundational Reading and English Learner Practice Guides

Leader: Joseph Dimino, Instructional Research Group, Los Alamitos, CA

Presenter: Carolyn Denton, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston

During this session, participants will be introduced to the research-based Recommendations and Action Steps addressed in two practice guides: Effective Literacy and English Language Instruction for English Learners in the Elementary Grades and Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Understand the purpose of the Practice Guides.
  2. Understand Recommendations and Action Steps.
  3. Evaluate the research upon which the Recommendations and Action Steps are based.
  4. Identify instructional activities addressed in the guides.

Voices From the Field: Educators With Disabilities

Leader: Jennifer Diliberto, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Presenter(s): Mary Ruth Coleman, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Kathryn Haselden, Francis Marion University, Florence, SC

This session will provide an opportunity for educators with disabilities to share their unique perspective of working with individuals with disabilities while managing their own challenges related to their disability. The 1-hour session will include an overview of research surrounding educators with disabilities, a Q&A session with the facilitators, and an open Q&A session at the end for questions from the audience. The panel participants will share strategies that make them a successful educator. Additionally, panelists will discuss how their disability supports their working with individuals with disabilities.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Generate ideas to support individuals with disabilities in overcoming the challenges they face in school and professional lives.
  2. Identify strategies to strengthen the capacity of their school, professional development, and/or program to support educators with disabilities.

FRIDAY, APRIL 21

Building on Strengths: MTSS for ELs as a Schoolwide System

Leader: Grace Zamora Duran, OSEP, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC

Presenter(s): John Hoover, University of Colorado, Boulder; Leticia Grimaldo, The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, UT at Austin; Lucinda Soltero-Gonzalez, University of Colorado, Boulder; Sylvia Linan-Thompson, University of Oregon, Eugene

Educators may struggle to appropriately meet the needs of ELs and overlook the resources ELs bring to the classroom. Three model demonstration projects, funded by Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education, will highlight lessons learned using schoolwide MTSS and present student and teacher outcomes.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Understand about implementing and sustaining schoolwide MTSS for ELs.
  2. Understand the importance of high quality core instruction, language and literacy skills, data-based decision making, leadership, and partnerships to best serve ELs.

Exceptional Lives, Exceptional Stories

Leader: Jennifer Diliberto, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Presenter(s): Mary Ruth Coleman, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Kathryn Haselden, Francis Marion University, Florence, SC

This session will provide an opportunity for individuals with disabilities and their families to share insights regarding life with a disability. The 2-hour panel includes individuals with various disabilities and their family. We will recruit participants from MO and YIC recipients. Session leaders will facilitate a discussion in question-and-answer format. The facilitators will ask structured questions and allow time for questions from the audience. We will summarize insights gained from panel discussions and conclude with time for informal conversations with families.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Be aware of ways a disability affects an individual’s daily life.
  2. Identify strategies for working with parents of individuals with disabilities.

RTI’s Second Decade: Evidence-Based Directions for Grades 1-12

Leader: Russell Gersten, Instructional Research Group, Los Alamitos, CA

Presenter(s): Sharon Vaughn, The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk/UT, Austin; Jade Wexler, University of Maryland, College Park

Trends in findings from rigorous research on RTI (including the national evaluation) will be used to provide  guidelines that you can use in your school or classroom. New approaches to screening, importance of vocabulary and comprehension in interventions  and directions for RTI in secondary schools emphasized.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Understand problems with current screening procedures.
  2. Identify suggestions for using RTI in secondary schools.
  3. Understand the most recent reviews of the rigorous research on RTI.

How Can We Do Both Inclusion and Special Education?

Leader: David Scanlon, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA

Presenter(s): Sheri Berkeley, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA; Mary Beth Calhoon, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL; Anna-Maria Hintz, University of Siegen, Germany; Michael Paal, University of Siegen, Germany

How are IEP goals and FAPE meaningfully addressed in inclusion?  Lessons from a system where inclusion has emerged over time (USA) and one more recently begun (Germany) reveal both how inclusion challenges providing individualized instruction and what to do about it. Panelists will discuss best practices with the audience.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Compare and contrast the missions of special education (FAPE) and inclusion.
  2. Identify best practices for inclusion and special education.

Legal and Ethical Dilemmas: Tips for Avoiding Personal and Professional Liability

Leader: Constance Lyttle, Urban Special Leaders of Tomorrow (USELT) Project at Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Presenter(s): LaTwyne Wise, USELT at Drexel University/Philadelphia School District, PA; Guy Desjardins, School District of Philadelphia/Edison High School, Levittown; Mauria Uhlik, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA/District of Columbia Public School, Washington, DC

Special educators are unwittingly placed in a position of trust and their actions are subject to constant scrutiny in a profession fraught with practical dilemmas. In this interactive session, participants will apply IDEA mandates and CEC’s Ethical Principles to every-­day special education predicaments and learn tips to avoid professional liability.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Review the nature of ethical dilemmas that special education leaders encounter in urban school settings.
  2. Demonstrate skills required to effectively transcend ethical dilemmas to better serve the needs of diverse students with disabilities and their families, by applying IDEA Mandates and CEC’s Ethical Standards to ethical dilemmas and practicing legally compliant decision ­making.

The VIP Experience: Global Inspiration and Opportunity

Leader: M. Christopher Tabakin, iHi International, Inc., Exton, PA

What is the VIP Experience? Participants will take an international journey to explore the experiences of Vulnerable International People (VIPs). Eyes will be opened to the experiences of others in different countries and cultures. We will explore opportunities and discuss how international exposure can develop skills in special education services and beyond.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Identify at least three benefits to expanded worldview for international/cultural exposure or work.
  2. Articulate at least one VIP experience that impacted them and what feeling it elicited.
  3. Identify one opportunity they have to apply their skills in a new or unique way at home or abroad.

Using Think Alouds and Read Alouds to Support English Learners With Disabilities

Leader: Amy Maynard, Lasell College, Newton, MA

Presenter: Claudia Rinaldi, Lasell College, Newton, MA

This session will provide participants with a model using Think Alouds and Read Alouds to increase reading comprehension skills in inclusive settings for English learners with disabilities. Strategies for preservice course integration and professional development for teachers in the field will be presented.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Identify the steps for a think aloud in an inclusive or special education self-contained class with English learners.
  2. Identify the steps for a read aloud in an inclusive or self-contained class with English learners.
  3. Take ideas for adaptation and accommodations for both strategies for students with moderate disabilities.

SATURDAY, APRIL 22

Increasing Interactions in the Collaborative Classroom:  Easy Steps for Raising Achievement

Leader: Rebecca Hines, University of Central Florida, Orlando

Looking for new simple ways to maximize your partnerships? Experiencing a lack of overall engagement by students?  If either of these are on your radar, increasing interactions may be the solution.  Physical space, interaction patterns, and evidence-based strategies will be examined in this session.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Gain two strategies for conferencing with students in collaborative classrooms.
  2. Gain two strategies for promoting student-to-student interaction.
  3. Understand need for increased interactions for raising achievement.

Effectively Integrating Technology Across the Curriculum

Leader: Diana Rogers-Adkinson, Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau

This session will provide participants with a model for infusing educational technology across the academic curriculum. Strategies for professional development of both student and faculty as well as tools for measuring student outcomes will be included.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  1. Identify the key components of an infused model for preparing educator candidates with technology skills.
  2. Learn the 4 pillars of an effective educational technology model based on the EDConnect federal initiative.
  3. Learn tools for effective out of class professional development for faculty and staff.
  4. Develop systems of measurement of student outcomes for accreditation purposes.