Conference Schedule

Oh the Mountains We Can Climb

Keynote Speakers

We are excited to announce our Keynote Speaker! Here is one example of the wonderful General Sessions you can look forward to!

General Session Titles
Presenter(s) Names
Session Abstracts
Undefeated: An Inspirational Experience in Teamwork Patrick Mulick The pasion and precision of one can effect change on the masses, and so it is YOU who can effect change within your team. Are you ready to be that person? Maximize your environmental impact by creating a home field advantage in which your colleagues and students can win! From administrator to paraeducator, we all play an integral role in supporting our students’ success, bringing new meaning to how we “positively reinforce” each other. Get your cheer in gear as Patrick takes you through an inspirational experience in teamwork that will not soon be forgotten. You will learn, laugh, and most definitely you will leave yelling "WOOO!"

Session Samplers

We are excited to share with you Session Samplers! These are a few of the outstanding presentations that you can look forward to selecting from this Spring. Check back for the official schedule that will be coming soon!

Session Titles
Presenter(s) Names
Session Abstracts
The Importance of Education Ethics to ESPs Audrey Haskell, Patty Barrette Many ESPs don't realize that they are held to the same ethical standards and educational ethics codes as certified employees. This session will look at the importance of ESPs knowing and adhering to those ethical responsibilities.
Reflections, Lessons, and Setbacks: What Paraeducators Need Now Kent Gerlach This session will examine what we have learned regarding paraeducator employment, training and supervision in the past twenty five years. The presenter has spent 25 years supporting paraeducators, and has advocated the need for training, policy and supervision guidelines and state-wide initiatives and legislation. A summary of recent legal and ethical issues will be examined including the need for continued advocacy. The importance of training administrators and teachers will be emphasized. An assessment tool designed for districts to examine paraeducator issues will be distributed.
Educating the Whole Student! It Takes a Village! Doreen McGuire-Grigg, Robert Browning Why do you do what you do? Learn the “why” of what you do each day for student success! During this highly interactive session, we will explore the role of paraeducators in educating the whole student and the importance of teamwork, collaboration, communication, and conflict management.
Providing Effective Financial Support to Paraprofessionals Gwenda Cuesta, Patricia Camacho This session will look at the pros and cons of various funding models used and discuss the lessons learned from managing Career Ladder Programs for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Using Play to Teach EVERY Child Kirstin Rossi Within this session, participants will learn why play is an integral part of learning for students. Current research regarding play, to target all areas of development will be discussed. Participants will learn different strategies, interventions, and supports to engage all children in play to effectively target specific learning goals connected to standards and/or IEP goals and objectives.
Tricks, Tips, and Modifications Tina Pizzitola, Holly Fitzgerald This hands on session will introduce you to new and unique ways to reinforce instruction with students. Each participant will leave the session with several items they have created to use in the classroom immediately. We will show you how to transform free or nearly free materials into useful tools.
Ten High Impact Instructional Strategies to Increase Academic Performance and Promote Student Independence Margaret MacDonald Learn and apply ten highly effective, research-based instructional strategies that increase student academic performance and promote student independence. This highly interactive session will provide information and examples on how to embed into your practice high impact instructional strategies such as: setting a purpose, modeling and guided practice, highlighting and underlining, predicting, visual instructional plans, task analysis, giving directions, activating prior knowledge, questioning, and advanced organizers.
Doing the Math! Effective Paraeducator PD to Strengthen Instructional Practices in Elementary Mathematics Karen Mutch-Jones, Myriam Steinback Paraeducators offer valuable support to students struggling with mathematics, but seldom receive targeted PD. Our Doing the Math with Paraeducators project offers practice-based PD to increase mathematics knowledge and instructional strategies. Through video clips and vignettes, we share activities along with research showing improvements in paraeducators’ math confidence, learning, and classroom roles, as well as challenges and helpful teacher supports. Session participants will discuss dilemmas and successes, while considering PD implications for their education setting.
Creating Digital Materials Christine Macfarlane Frequently, educators and therapists need to create instructional or recreational materials for students with disabilities. Many free tools exist to create digital materials that would allow a student to access the curriculum or engage in leisure activities. This session will highlight available tools, strategies for creating materials, and justification for providing and creating accessible materials.
Bridging Quality Education through Assistive Technology Katie Olson, Levi Benner How do you determine how to best support your students engagement in their education? Take a walk through the advancement of simple assistive technology devices to high tech platforms increasing the independence and productivity of students. Learn about what laws enacted the support of these tools and how this has changed over the years. We will also review various options to purchase this technology with shrinking budgets.
Managing Tantrum/Meltdown Behaviors Paul Bates Participants will learn the difference between tantrum/melt-down behaviors and the strategies that are used in each situation. Some behaviors are exhibited for attention and some are processing difficulties. By close observation and utilizing these strategies, paraprofessionals will be able to manage and in some cases eliminate them.
Strategies for Preventing Problem Behavior Emily Sobeck The role of paraeducators within the school structure has evolved (Douglas, Chapin, & Nolan, 2016), with paraeducators providing both academic and behavioral support to students with disabilities (Tews & Lupart, 2008). In many situations, paraeducators serve as the primary behavior interventionist (Fisher & Pleasants, 2012). In this session, participants will learn 10 easily implemented antecedent behavior strategies to help prevent challenging behavior across all environments. Participants will also learn steps to execute the strategies effectively.
Collaborating with Routine Reflections Rosemarie Hoye It is critical to assure that paraprofessionals are trained sufficiently, so all students may benefit from the expertise of a collaborative team of educational providers. My thesis project designed a training package that includes the research-based proposition of follow-up coaching. The project also urges teachers to participate in this coaching relationship and provides them with the skills they need to nurture this relationship. The web-based professional development course functions as the vehicle to educate teachers and paraprofessionals in the process of this particular coaching relationship.
Communication Strategies for Teacher/Paraeducator Teams Jean Fay, Saul Ramos, Maria Communication is the key to relationships and strong, successful teacher/paraeducator teams. Learning effective communication skills and strategies improves the working environment for educators as well as the learning environment for students. A learning environment enhanced by improved communication is vital to the success of our students.
Building Bridges Audrey Haskell This session will help define the rolls and responsibilities of paras working beside the classroom teachers and their special education supervisors. The goal is to build strong, collaborative education teams by using tips and examples combining respect, communication and sharing of information and experiences.
Autism: What it Means to Us, What it Means to Them Patrick Mulick More than just an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders, but in-depth guide of how the world looks to the individual with autism, and how we should be looking back. Simple strategies are shared through explanation, demonstration, and role playing. This equipping and inspiring workshop is one that you will be talking about for a ways to come.
Promoting Independence for Students with 1:1 Paraeducators Patrick Mulick Our success as educators will not be measured by how student perform in our presence, but rather in our absence. For a student who is assigned a 1:1 paraeducator, getting them to do more on their own can be difficult if the whole school team is not intentional with how this support is utilized. Join Board Certified Behavior Analyst Patrick Mulick as he takes an engaging look at the best practices in building student independence.
Training for Paraeducators Working with ELLs is a Sound Investment for Everyone Shawn Pennell, Toni Rader Paraprofessionals are a vital part of the American education system, acting as cultural/linguistic liaisons between ELLs and schools. Due to changing demographics it is imperative that paraeducators become proficient in theories and strategies to help ELLs succeed with Academic Content Standards. A study of 57 paraprofessionals found that when given instruction, paraprofessionals actively apply principles from SLA theory and use teaching and learning strategies intended for use with ELLs when instructed how to do so.
The Comprehensive Training Opportunities for Paraeducator (Co-TOP) Model Ritu Chopra Increased employment of paraeducators has brought the issue of their training and effective supervision to the forefront. The presenter will highlight the distinction between the professional and paraeducator roles and responsibilities as well as the related liability and ethical issues. Additionally, the presenter will share research-based paraeducator supervision related functions and interactive tools for the licensed professionals to direct and support the work of the paraeducator and build collaborative working relationships among team members. The presenter will also discuss the critical role of the teachers and district leaders’ in providing high-quality training to paraeducators.
Paraeducator Practices in One State: Implications for Policy Sarah Douglas This session will highlight findings from a statewide survey in Michigan to administrators, teachers, and paraeducators. Findings will address the current training, supervision, and evaluation practices across Michigan from the perspectives of administrators, teachers, and paraeducators. Policies related to each finding will be provided with connections to implications in other states.
Paraeducator Training Curricula – Current Strengths and Challenges with Available Materials Sarah Douglas Paraeducator training is essential to quality special education services. Yet educators, often lack the knowledge required to select or create materials for paraeducator training. This presentation will provide results from a review of 26 paraeducator training curricula and their alignment to professional standards, legislative requirements, and research recommendations for paraeducators.
Ohio Partnership for Excellence in Paraprofessional Preparation: A Model for District Improvement Judith Monseur, Barbara Phillips This session describes a project partnership between a university and local school districts designed to effectively employ and deploy paraprofessionals as a component of overall district improvement to support the delivery of instruction to all learners, particularly those with disabilities and learning difficulties. Presenters will share the university-district partnership model, successes and challenges, and tools and resources developed as part of the project.
National Intervener Credentialing: Professional Development Linda Alsop, Marilyn Likins Have you ever thought you’d like to work with children who are deafblind? Have you been intrigued by the stories of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan? If so, becoming an intervener might be a good carreer path for you. An intervener is someone who works one-to-one with a child who is deafblind, and who has training and specialized skills in deafblindness. This session will explain the role of interveners, and discuss current efforts to professionalize intervener services. An intervener training program available through Utah State University will be describes, along with how graduates of the program can obtain the National Intervener Credential, offered the National Resource Center for Paraeducators. Finally, videos will be shared of interveners working in classrooms with students who are deafblind.
Work Shouldn't Hurt - Creating a Pain Free Environment Lauren Samet, Jessica Simms There are some situations in which work and pain go together, like playing football, boxing or doing mixed martial arts. However, this should not be the case in our schools. Pain should not be a part of educating students and certainly should not be the source of pain on a daily or long-tern basis. Just as schools are a smoke-free and drug-free environment, they should also be a pain-free environment. Too many paraprofessionals and educators have pain that is work-induced and is accepted as part of the job. Pain should not be part of the cost of education.
The Trauma-Informed Paraeducator Dr. Will Henson This session provides paraeducators with the information, strategies, and tools they need to become trauma-informed and support children with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
Bullying:The What,Who and Why. Understanding and Responding Dr. Ashleigh Molloy By understanding the characteristics of bullying, you can identify bullying behavior and provide effective interventions that can minimize its effects and reduce occurrences. Participants will acquire competencies that will enable paras to affect positive change in the classroom environment. Creation of a safe space is necessary for successful learning and paras are essential partners.
Communication Strategies for Working with Learners with Multiple Disabilities and Severe Communication Challenges Linda Alsop Have you ever wondered how to communication with students who have severe communication challenges? This presentation will focus on methods and strategies for working with children and youth with multiple disabilities and severe communication challenges. Basic communication techniques will be explained, and effective strategies for interacting with these learners will be described. During this session participants will have the opportunity to practice their skills at identifying communicative behaviors and determining communicative intents in those learners who are most challenging to interact with.
How to Create a State Wide Initiative to Support and Enhance Paraeducators Professional Development Dr. Jonelle Adams This workshop will provide an opportunity for attendees interested in planning a state wide initiative to come together and discuss ways to improve the professional development of paraeducators. Participants will learn what key strategies can support a successful initiative. Discussion will focus on five strategic steps: 1) Effectively defining the need for state wide funding and support 2) Developing critical momentum and launching state wide partnership 3) Preparing the plan and outcomes for securing support and buy-in 4) Making the "ask" and initiating legislation 5) Staying the course with collaboration and compromise.

General Schedule

Below is a general outline for our schedule for our 2018 schedule. You can also check out the schedule from a past conference or view some of the presentations from past conference here and here .

Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to get updates on this years conference (including updates on the conference schedule)!

Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

Thursday, April 26st, 2018
4:00-7:30PM Registration
4:30-7:30PM Leadership Networking Session
Friday, April 27th, 2018
7:00AM–5:00PM Registration
7:15-8:30AM Buffet Breakfast
7:00AM-6:30PM Exhibits
8:00–9:45AM Introduction, Welcome
Logistics, Introduction of LAC, General Session
9:45-10:00AM Break
10:00AM-11:30AM Session 1
Session 2
Session 3
Session 4
Session 5
Session 6
11:30AM-1:00PM LUNCH (On Your Own)
1:00-2:30PM Session 7
Session 8
Session 9
Session 10
Session 11
Session 12
2:30-3:00PM Break
3:00-4:30PM Session 13
Session 14
Session 15
Session 16
Session 17
Session 18
Session 19
Session 20
5:00-6:30PM Reception
Saturday, April 28th, 2018
7:00AM–5:00PM Registration
7:15-8:30AM Buffet Breakfast
7:00AM-5:00PM Exhibits
8:00-9:45AM Introductions and Welcome
9:45-10:00AM Break
10:00AM-11:30AM Session 21
Session 22
Session 23
Session 24
Session 25
Session 26
Session 27
Session 28
11:30 AM-1:00PM LUNCH (On Your Own)
1:00-2:30PM
Session 29
Session 30
Session 31
Session 32
Session 33
Session 34
Session 35
Session 36
2:30-3:00PM Break
3:00-4:30PM
Session 37
Session 38
Session 39
Session 40
Session 41
Session 42
Session 43
Session 44
Session 45
5:00-9:00PM Special Event
Sunday, April 29th, 2018
7:00AM-8:30AM Registration
7:15-8:30AM Buffet Breakfast
7:00AM-2:00PM Exhibits
8:00-9:45AM General Session
9:45-10:00AM Break
10:00AM-11:30AM
Session 46
Session 47
Session 48
Session 49
Session 50
Session 51
Session 52
Session 53
11:30-11:45AM Break
11:45AM-1:15PM
Session 54
Session 55
Session 56
Session 57