Presentations are designed specifically for the professional development needs of an audience. My presentations include keynotes, conferences and workshops, district or school level professional development opportunities, as well as with various advocacy organizations.

Some of my most requested presentations include:

Inclusive Practices during Distance and Hybrid Learning

In this presentation I share the information I have co-created as a part of the TIES Center at the University of Minnesota. As a member of the Distance Learning Leadership Team I have been a part of researching, authoring and publishing products for instructional teams to meet the needs of students with significant cognitive disabilities during the time of distance and hybrid instruction. This presentation can include understanding the use of the 5C Process, or the 5-15-45 Tool ; ideas regarding utilizing and supporting paraprofessionals in their roles; as well as specific strategies for expanding instruction and enhancing opportunities and engagement of students while learning is pivoting between home and school.  

What Success Looks Like

In this presentation I share a lifetime of experiences and stories, highlighting the learning that has come from working with numerous teams to develop effective systems of supports for children with the most complex of needs. This presentation will educate participants about the magic that happens by establishing new standards of a three-pronged approach:  Thinking, Talking, Writing and Acting in strength-based ways; writing a “Working IEP” which is educationally relevant and departs from the deficit-model of practice; and the creation and maintenance of truly collaborative teams, inclusive of parents.

This presentation will share stories of students whom have been historically served in self-contained, segregated settings for their entire school careers, that are now successfully included within general education classrooms and settings 100% of their day, with full access to academics and engagement in grade-level content. The impact of this new way of thinking is immediate, often allowing children to be successfully transitioned to the general education academics and environment within one month of applying the new paradigm.

This presentation will not only inspire you, but give you specific tools and strategies that can be immediately implemented for any student, no matter how complex their learning or behavioral needs may be. The stories shared will leave you confident that all truly means all, and that there are few barriers to the establishment of inclusive communities.

Student-Centered Planning and Learning

This workshop examines the science and art of including students with disabilities through the lens of student centered planning and learning. Accessing academics to the fullest extent requires intentional collaborative teaming between educators and families; innovative curricular design and support; and specifically-designed instructional strategies, tools and curricular adaptations. Special attention and hands on examples for writing what I call a “Working IEP’, a strengths-based IEP designed specifically for use in general education classrooms and environments – are built into the presentation.

This session also covers how to foster natural peer supports and friendships; the effective use of paraprofessionals; and how integrating assistive technology can ignite student participation and provide an outlet for independence.

Participants come away with specific tools they can employ immediately, as well as hope, direction and inspiration for educational success.

Teachers as Leaders of Inclusive Schooling: What, Why and How 

The shift to more inclusive service delivery for students with disabilities in general education classrooms and settings necessitates a fundamental shift in the sharing of roles within schools. In this presentation, participants will recognize the essential leadership contributions of teachers in the realization of inclusive schooling and identify conditions and actions which support their work as collaborative teacher leaders.

Participants are led through a series of activities and reflective practices to better understand:

  • what teacher leadership is;
  • the primary means by which teachers lead effectively;
  • teacher leadership practices in the context of daily work in inclusive schools;
  • conditions that support and constrain the work of teacher leaders;
  • the comprehensive rationale for teachers as leaders of inclusive schooling;
  • how to create targets of change and follow-up plans to advance the work of teacher leaders for inclusive schooling.

This presentation allows educators to re-frame their practice while recognizing their full potential.

“Working” IEPs”

This presentation focuses on what I call a “Working IEP” –  one that is person-centered, strength-based, and considers the whole child across the entire day. By learning to write IEPs in this fashion, educators are prepared to think about all the possibilities that exist within general education classes and settings, understand how to create meaningful and true access to academics for any learner, and build individualized education plans that successfully support students with disabilities in inclusive settings.

Participants will learn how to create a collaborative team, truly empower parents as equal partners, and write paperwork that supports increasing independence and learning across all available learning environments for absolutely any student. Also included in this presentation are strategies and examples of successful use of assistive technology to meet the needs of students and the educators that support them.

It is a presentation that will change your paperwork, as well as your possibilities.

Job-Embedded Paraprofessional Development

This presentation is based on the curriculum: Supporting Students With Disabilities in Inclusive Schools: A Curriculum for Job-Embedded Paraprofessional Development (Ghere, G, York-Barr, J, Sommerness, J. 2002) . Through this presentation, paraprofessionals and the educators who direct their work are given the skills and strategies to understand inclusive practices, what to teach, and how to teach to students they support.

Topics covered include:

  • Why we include kids with disabilities;
  • learning opportunities for students;
  • natural cues, consequences and supports;
  • the use of prompts, waits and fades;
  • individualized adaptations;
  • understanding behavior as communication;
  • the importance of student relationships and peer supports.

The presentation is tailor-fit to the needs of the group, and allows many opportunities for paraprofessionals, to understand the complexities of an inclusive service delivery, and empower them in their ever increasingly complex role.

This presentation allows paraprofessionals to shine, and students to prosper.

Best Practices for Writing 504 Plans, and How to Effectively Collaborate with Parents

In this presentation, I cover legal aspects of 504 plans, as well as best practices for writing a 504 plan that is based on student individual needs. This presentation can include specific ideas, considerations and strategies when writing a 504 plan for students (e.g. information about students with ADHD as an attribute, traumatic brain injury, executive functioning needs, anxiety, concussions, etc.).

Educators will understand the importance of effectively collaborating with families, as well as strategies to consider to ensure that 504 plans are successfully implemented in practice and appropriate for meeting individual students’ needs.

This presentation covers the basics, as well as specific strategies that match your school’s culture and service delivery.