Advocate. Network. Innovate.

2024 Breakout Sessions for May 30, 2024

9:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m. 

10:30 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.

2:00 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Thriving in Education

Dr. Andria B. Saia, IU 15; Dr. Nikole Hollins-Sims, Hollins-Sims Consultation

How to intentionally thrive in our roles in education despite all the changes we have faced and will face.

Understanding Your Organization's Capacity

Dr. Kevin Roberts, IU 15; Maria Hoover, IU 15

This workshop will highlight a process to support a structured analysis of your organization's capacity. This analysis supports the development of revision of your organization's strategic plan / organizational goals.

Failing to Train is Training to Fail – Required Staff Trainings and Legal Implications

Jeremy Freeland, IU 15; Gareth D. Pahowka, Stock and Leader

This session is dedicated to a review of essential training for school staff, delving into their critical importance and the intricate legal ramifications associated with them.

Strengthening University Partnerships as a Recruitment Tool for Related Services Professionals

Gina Meissler, IU 22; Sarah Ryden, IU 22; Karen Sandone, IU 22

The need for related service providers such as Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, and Physical Therapists continues to grow at a faster rate than newly trained professionals entering the field. The Bucks County Intermediate Unit has worked to significantly increase partnerships with University pre-professional programs in these disciplines to attract graduates to our job postings, to ensure that these candidates are well prepared to serve the needs of our students, and to improve understanding at the university level of what their students need in order to be prepared for a practicum experience in an intermediate unit setting. This presentation will outline the correlation between the increase in university partnerships and the increase in qualified job applicants over a three year period, the advantages of partnering with universities, and lessons learned to improve these partnerships over time.

Ecosystems at Scale: What, Who, How and Why your Job Alike Would Benefit?

Becky Gibboney, IU 17; Ben Smith, IU 12; Lexie Konsur, IU 19; Stephanie Scwab, IU 23; Dr. Robert Scherrer, IU 3

Join us in an enlightening session as we delve into the world of ecosystems. Meant to describe a complex network, an ecosystem can bring increased communication, innovation and collaborative problem solving. Learn from the STEM Point of Contact network how to bring together schools, businesses, community organizations, government, and other key stakeholders. We will discuss how to get started, connecting with stakeholders, and driving an agenda with various goals.

Building Team Cohesion in the Workplace Using DiSC

Rae Ann Crispell, Dr. Alan Hack, IU 16

Assessing team dynamics has the power to help teams understand their leadership styles and improve synergy, communication, and productivity in the workplace. Through the use of the DiSC Assessment, find out how one intermediate unit is using the tool to reshape the conversation around developing new and existing teams. In this session, participants will engage in an interactive conversation focused on self-reflection, building and developing leaders throughout a service agency or school district, identify workplace challenges (and opportunities), better understand their own team dynamics, and learn strategies to capitalize on the strengths of a cohesive team.

Indirect Cost Calculation

Gina Brillhart, IU 13

This session will provide an overview of the indirect cost calculation and a discussion on how IU’s are maximizing their indirect rates.

Audit Updates

Timothy Sawyer, Barbacane, Thornton & Company

Panel discussion on innovation and the role of the business office

Daren Moran, IU 15;  Brian Snyder, IU 16; Jon Rice, IU 10

The ability of an IU to be entreprenurial is dependent on many factors, a critical one being the support and creatvitiy of the business office. BMs from several IUs will discuss how they support innovation, cooperative purchasing and supporting BMs of your districts.

Effectiveness of Professional Learning on Student Outcomes

Dr. Demetrius Roberts, IU 24; Karissa Lookingbill, IU 24

Establishing a data-driven culture represents a significant shift not only in collecting data, but also how that data is used to drive teaching and learning. In our work, one question continues to come up: how can we ascertain the effectiveness of professional learning in enhancing student outcomes? In this session, participants will collectively explore strategies for assessing the impact of professional development on student growth and achievement. Strategies will be shared by the presenter with their impact on measuring the effectiveness of student outcomes in addition to collaborative activities promoting participant sharing of promising ideas, practices, and strategies.

Preparing for Any Safari: Universal Design for Learning

Tanya Morret, IU 12; Jaclyn Deardorff, IU 12

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) supports diversity, adaptability, engagement, and interconnectedness to create rich and inclusive environments for our students. Active learning is a non-negotiable for a thriving student ecosystem. Hear from trail guides the best ways to prepare students to learn via engagement, representation, and action/expression in any environment.

Suspension and Expulsion in Preschools

Roseanna Mitsch, IU 22; Patti Quick, IU 22

In this session, participants will receive an overview of data related to suspension and expulsion in preschools. The Bucks IU's model for preschool inclusion will be discussed and the presenters will share the outcomes of children who attended IU-operated inclusive classrooms after being expelled from a community preschool.

PDE: Systems to Support Social-Emotional Wellness: Resources to Use in Your Schools

Dr. Scott Kuren, PDE; Elisa Steele, Regional Educational Laboratory (REL)

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Education (PDE) in partnership with the Regional Education Lab (REL) will share our research-practice partnership's systems approach to supporting social-emotional wellness in Pennsylvania schools. We have engaged our IU partners across the Commonwealth to develop resources that can support educators to understand the landscape of evidence-based social-emotional wellness programs and to use data to inform programming. In this session, we invite you to learn about our systems approach, explore new resources, and apply tools from our resources to consider how you can make social-emotional wellness efforts more evidence-based and cohesive.

Reaching Our Students: Mental Health in a Three Tiered Public Health Model in Schools through Project AWARE

Dr. Pia Houseal, IU 23

This presentation will address the benefits of a comprehensive approach to mental health in K-12 schools starting with a solid foundation in Tier 1, including universal screening for depression and anxiety. Presenters will discuss how to start and where to go for school and district staff considering increasing their attention to comprehensive mental health approaches, including prevention, intervention and support in a multi-tiered response to students with specific attention to suicide prevention and intervention. Practical strategies built on best practices in the school-based supports for social and emotional well-being and risk assessment will be shared with lessons learned at the conclusion of academic year one of the Project AWARE grant. Unique inclusiveness and equity considerations in the three intermediate unit catchment area of the current AWARE grant given to MCIU, CLIU and LIU will be addressed.

Mindfulness – Based Interventions for Emotional Regulation: Caring for Trauma Affected Youth

Dr. Laura Sharp, IU 12

The session Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Emotional Regulation: Caring for Trauma-Affected Youth will provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the benefits and practical applications of mindfulness in working with traumatized youth. Together, we will explore trauma’s impact on the developing brain and the emotional well-being of children and adolescents. Participants will gain an understanding of the various manifestations of trauma and potential impacts on the educational performance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal and intrapersonal functioning of young people. The role of mindfulness as a non-intrusive intervention that promotes emotional regulation and builds resilience in trauma-affected youth will be explored. The fundamental principles of mindfulness will be discussed. An overview of different mindfulness-based interventions suitable for trauma-affected youth, including art-based activities, mindfulness meditation, body scans, breath awareness, and gratitude and self-compassion practices will be provided. There will be emphasis on the importance of tailoring these interventions to meet the specific needs of trauma impacted youth. Participants will engage in experiential exercises, allowing them to explore the benefits firsthand and understand the power of mindfulness from the perspective of the youth they work with.

Finding the Diamonds in the Coal Dust

Dr. Jennifer Leese, IU 12; Sonia Pitzi, IU 12

This session will share approaches for IUs to assist LEAs In meeting mandates for children experiencing homelessness or in foster care. During this interactive session, participants will work from a list of the top 10 best practices and strategies that may be customized for your IU and LEAs. Through conversations and interactions, participants will learn more about McKinney Vento and ESSA mandates that impact our districts and how we can support them in navigating this terrain.

Building a Registered Behavior Technician Program

Jen Hertwig, IU 22; Jen Schmidt, IU 22; Jenn Copeland

This session shares strategies to build a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) program to improve morale, retain staff and improve student outcomes in IU operated special education programs. Additionally, the presentation will cover how the Bucks IU turned the RBT program into a registered apprenticeship.

Navigating Legal Minefields: Lessons Learned from Recent Employment Litigation

David Walker & Chris Harris, Stock and Leader

Join us as we dissect recent lawsuits for lessons learned (the hard way) and explore best practice suggestions on how to mitigate risk and avoid similar litigation.

How to Build a Successful Vendor Partnership

Jared Mader (IU12), Ben Smith (IU12), Ken Zimmerman (IU13), and Keith Royer (IU13)

In this session, members of the PAIMS Vendor Partnership Committee will share the work that they've done as a job-alike to develop and grow successful vendor partnerships that benefit both the vendor and the PAIU. We will share the PAIMS Vendor Partnership Protocols, sample contract agreements, vetting matrices, and much more. Come and learn how to grow partnerships within your own job-alike!

HB 1507: A Student-Centered Learning Trojan Horse

Dr. Becky Henderson, IU 7; Tracy Rains, IU 8; Dr. Brian Stamford, IU 3, Dr. Demetrius Roberts, IU 24; Ken Zimmerman, IU 13 

Shifting away from the traditional focus on seat time, now allows LEA’s to start focusing on how to make Student-Centered Learning (SCL) more prevalent throughout PA. Under the STEMinPA umbrella, both PAIMS and PAIUCC combined efforts in March of 2023 with a commitment to fostering a shared understanding of SCL terminology and collecting stories and insights on SCL from across the Commonwealth. In 2024, a SCL Leadership Team was formed charged with overseeing subgroup committee work in order to meet the outcomes and deliverables identified in this work. In this session, participants will learn from the Student-Centered Learning Leadership Team about the specific SCL outcomes and committee work as well as receive an invitation to be part of SCL moving forward.

AI Could Do That

Nicole Bond, IU 12; Brenda Calhoun, IU 8; Erin Cummings, IU 24

This session explores the applications of AI within Pennsylvania intermediate units. With roles spanning communications, business services, human relations, and special education (to name a few), the session intends to delve into how AI can enhance and streamline your team and roles. Attendees can expect insights into the potential impact of AI on operations, fostering more efficient communication strategies, optimizing business processes, and improving human resource management as well as the opportunity to share-out how you’re using AI in your current roles.

Communication Remix: Unleashing AI Magic

Melissa Smith (CCIU - Assistant Director, Communications, Marketing & Engagement) and Dr. Bernadette Boerckel (CSIU, Chief Outreach Officer)

Embark on a vibrant journey into the future of communication with AI's dynamic influence. Explore the playful side of AI's impact on language processing and communication strategies. Celebrate the unique touch communicators bring to the mix and get swift insights into integrating AI tools for instant innovation. Join us for a captivating blend of tech and human magic, shaping the future of communication! [Description developed by AI.]

Storytelling in the Digital Age: Harnessing Podcasts for Impact

Brandon Langer, IU 23

Discover the power of storytelling in education. This presentation focuses on the opportunity for educators, leaders, and organizations to own their own narratives through podcasting. Learn the essentials of launching your educational podcast – from conceptualizing ideas to creating engaging content. We'll highlight how to intentionally shape your stories to reflect organizational values and connect deeply with your audience. Whether you're new to podcasting or seeking to enrich your storytelling techniques, this session offers practical insights and tools to effectively use podcasts as a transformative tool.

ADA Compliance, Communications, and WCAG 2.0 Requirements

Robyn Gross, IU 22 & Tracey Johnston, MoJo Active

How does ADA Compliance impact your communications platforms and practices? How will the new Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) impact your website? This session will cover a variety of topics related to accessibility for websites, PDF files, closed captioning for videos, Alt-text for photos and images, social media, and more. [i.e., Inaccessible online forms, lack of alt text, poor color contrast, missing captions or alt text, absence of section tabs and keyboard navigation... if any of these items give you pause, this session might be for you.]


2023-2024 Aspiring Leaders Cohort - Wrap-Up Session

Kim Talipan, IU 21; Dr. Brad Landis, IU 23

Special Thanks to our 2024 Conference DIAMOND Sponsor:

Thank you to the following 2024 Conference GOLD Sponsors:

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