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On March 14-16, I had the privilege of attending the 2018 Migrant Education Program and English as a Second Language Conference in Harrisburg, PA. Their theme is Education Without Borders—Together We Rise.

“School climate is about how students feel when they enter the building” Peter Dewitt.

Principal at Hatboro-Horsham High School, Dennis Williams, Jr., presented “The Climb: Engaging the Community in Meaningful Ways.” This interactive institute was designed to provide participants with the insight on engagement with families and the community, its positive impact when effectively implemented. School districts, although not always, may be unaware of how to best take advantage of community resources that are easily accessible. Best practice techniques and easy-to-use strategies were shared.

Williams firmly believes that with strong parent and community engagement, demographics do not matter! There is a big difference between parent involvement and parent engagement. Engagement means this is what we want to accomplish, and this is how we can work together to achieve it. He polled the audience to see their perspective on how well school districts are engaging in and embracing their local communities. A common response that districts were doing an average job at engaging and embracing their local communities, and when they do reach out, the reach out is focused on a specific population and not all the families within the district.

Solutions to this disconnect, according to Williams, are cost-effective and necessary because involved parents make a huge impact on the success of their students. When you engage, you spark involvement. Following these five pillars of

Ask yourself: What’s your dream/vision for parent/community engagement?

Williams’ Five Pillars of Engagement:

1: ACCESS: districts make it difficult. Make the conditions easier for parents to find information; information not presented in a way they can understand it; is

One way to address this, put a translator on the page; create pages that are easy to navigate; have a resource fair at beginning of school to educate parents on how to find information and navigate them (grades, district calendars, etc.). Provide the opportunity for parents to access information and resources. Create a clothing closet of new and gently used clothing and a food pantry for parents. Local communities and parents help to stock shelves.

2: Availability: break the barriers (child care, transportation, and work schedules) that keep parents away from school. Make food available to buy or sell during events, access certified high school kids to provide child care, and/or take the involvement/engagement to them.

3: Clear Communication means face-to-face time. Once or twice per marking period (8:30-10:00) offer the opportunity for parents to come in and meet with administrators to discuss goals, meeting that goal, and what team work is needed. At the end of the day, it is about customer service. For this parents who cannot meet in the AM, provide an afternoon or evening online chat. This cost the district nothing, just one hour or so. Know the community and know where our families go: churches, businesses, barber shop, etc. Take information to these areas so the word can get out to the hard to reach families.

4: Resources and opportunities:Invite community members in to hear out goals. Many times they can assist with reaching our vision/goals. Reach out to local businesses and see how they can bring the district  and school money.

5: 360 degree feedback (qualitative and quantitative). Every so often (every other year) a customer. When people are satisfied with a service they typically tell two to three people, but when they are not satisfied they tell 80% of the people they communicate. Questions stretch from quality of service when they call, does school provide enough information, school clean and is there someone in the building with whom their child/ren connect (for example). This should help us drive goals for the following year.

Another important component to getting parents involved/engaged is to better understand three types of parents and how to pull them to our side, to be a team member.:

1. Fully engaged: National poll 20% of parents fall into this category: emotionally attached and loyal to their child’s school. They are strong ambassadors and they will go above and beyond to promote/support the school.

2. Indifferent/emotionally and rationally neutral: National poll 57% parents here (most dangerous to a district/school). The hey aren’t necessarily negative about the school, yet they lack positive energy.

3.Actively disengaged: emotionally detached from the school. They consistently voice their negativity about the school.

Overall, this interactive session is highly valuable for administrators and educators because it brings an awareness of the importance of involving/engaging parents in our district. Meet parents where they are, so we can get information out to them. “When students feel the school is a place they belong, so then parents will feel like they belong?” Dennis Williams, Jr.

The Trouble with My Name: Keynote speaker, Dr. Javier Avila, author and Professor of English at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, PA provided a fascinating perspective of American Latinos who struggle to dispel misconceptions about their identity and their place in the world. His presentation addressed the issues of language, race, and social-injustice in what it means to be an American in the future. His message transcends boundaries of color, ethnicity, and geography by embracing a nation whose has a rich history and is colorful.

Another breakout session I attended was “Strategies for Teaching Academic Language and Content to English Learners,” which was presented by Diane Staehr, President of SupportEd in Fairfax, VA. The session was framed around her book Unlocking English Learners’ Potential. We explored the three levels of academic language: word; sentence; and discourse to consider when giving reading passages to ELs.

  1. Word: general academic words, content or technical words, multiple meaning words, words with Affixes, and idiomatic phrases
  2. Sentence: grammar, syntax, language structure, conventions, and mechanics
  3. Discourse: quantity/variety of oral and written Text, organization/cohesion of ideas, and type/purpose of text

An additional area to consider when selecting text and vocabulary is the socio-cultural context. Some things to consider are the ELs background knowledge, what are the expectations for the EL, and how much knowledge does EL have in their first language.

Teaching at the word level, instructional strategies that can be used by ALL teachers of ELs, and these strategies can be embedded in the teaching of academic language of content instruction. Practice tools discussed included: Context clues; Word parts; Cognates and false cognates; and Words with multiple meanings and Teaching academic language at the sentence level.

Strategies for teaching discourse language:

Jason Fitzpatrick (Director of Student Services at PA Virtual) and Jennifer Brodhag (Director of Parent Education and Engagement at PA Virtual) presented the Parent education: Equipping Parents as Educational Partners session which discussed how teachers and schools can include parents in their child’s educational journey by equipping them with the necessary education to be effective partners with the educational system. Another key component to the success of parent involvement and engagement is to celebrate and recognize achievements. Find a variety of ways to celebrate parents’ successes.

During this session the following topics were addressed:

  1. Parents as educational and engaged partners: resources are posted in a learning management system, like Blackboard, create a parent ambassador mentor program, promote a parent and student learning lunch program (weekly 15 minute sessions that parents can ask questions—administrators or others who are able to answer teacher questions), offer professional learning for volunteers. These measures help equip the parents understand and identify their roles and responsibilities.
  2. How to equip parents to be educational partners. This involves the communication to parents so they know, understand, and find value in their roles. Ensure help and support from school administrators/teachers. Know your parents so you are better able to make decisions that effectively tap into their talents/skills. Let them know that we need them and we will equip them with what they need.
  3. How to effectively inform parents in a 21st century world and in a way for them to access and understand. It is important to reach out to parents in a variety of formats (verbal, written, etc.) and locations. Other things to consider is that the communication should be easy to understand using common terms, a variety of languages, and avoiding acronyms.
  4. How to effectively design an intentional parent education program. Incorporate parent involvement/engagement to all departments in the school, making real world connections. This helps enhance the role of parents as partners. A few things to consider” the needs of parents, their schedules and availability, understanding their educational goals/expectations, their background, and their need for child care.

Some things to consider when involving and engaging parents:

  1. What are we doing well? What is working?
  2. What would we like to change or enhance?
  3. Why are we doing this?
  4. Who do we want to collaborate with?
  5. When will it be implemented?
  6. Where will it be implemented?
  7. How will it be implemented?

Laurie Namey, Supervisor of Equity and Cultural Proficiency at Hartford County Public Schools in Maryland presented the session on Promoting Equitable ACCESS and Culturally Responsive Family Engagement Practices. Namey’s message is consistent with the other presenters of family engagement and involvement; however, she incorporates a culturally responsive approach to family involvement and engagement. She asserts that as our families change so should the way we engage and involve our families and community. Namey presented culturally responsive practices that engage/involve families while honoring their cultural differences and backgrounds. Her approaches attempt to make the school more engaging, welcoming, and accessible for all families in a district.

Looking from the outside in is how some parents view their involvement in the school community. Looking from the inside out is how the school sometimes views the parent community—the services we provide is general and should be focused. This is time consuming and difficult to achieve because of the barriers (cultural, language, conflicting schedules, etc.). Parents cannot always make it to the school. Namely suggests that in order to meet the diverse needs of our families, we should examine closely what the needs are of our families. Equity is work. What is good for most is not good for all. Access and opportunity must be considered when providing equity.

Scheduling issues: provide more than one time to meet with parents. For example, meet with the parent and the learner at times that are convenient for them—home, school, local cafe, etc.

Involving and engaging parents in our schools can have a tremendously positive impact. Ask parents: “What barriers do we present for our students and families?” Invite parent and discuss this with them. If transportation is an issue, provide busing to families to these events. Remember that attendance to our events does not equal a love, commitment, or acceptance of our schools and districts. Empower our parent partners, build trust with them, and remove barriers.

Breaking down walls such as with a parent who has had poor experiences with schools. Sometimes it requires teachers and administrators to conduct home visits or meeting with parents in every day clothing because they parent is less intimidated.

As educators we know:

-that our families love their kids and they are strong advocates for them.

-we see things from our own perspectives.

-students and families populations are changing rapidly from the way the communicate                             and problem solve.

-that the traditional family is evolving and changing.

-authentic family engagement is diverse and unique in every family.

The list of what we know is limitless. Since we know all of this, it is time to show that our parents and families, regardless of their diverse needs, feels accepted in the school and its community. Lead with our eyes and ears, seeing and hearing what our families need. Involve our families by engaging. (Doing with them) to create a genuine partnership. Figure out what issues are important to them, build trust, and engage them with information that is valuable to them.

Educating our parent and equipping them with the knowledge to empower them as valuable members of our school community can have long lasting effects for their students and for the parent, as well. Parents will see the value in their role and the value of their role in their student’s education. As a result, the parent’s opportunity to learn a long side of their student and be a positive role model is powerful.



  • Conference Report for attending PA Conference for Kindergarten Teachers
  • Attended on Thursday, February 8, and Friday, February 9, 2018
  • South Western School District personnel that attended were:  Katrina Small, Brittany Miller, Lucy Neiderer, Kristy Schrum, and Eric Klansek



We attended the Pennsylvania Conference for Kindergarten Teachers in Harrisburg. Jack Hartmann began the day as the first keynote speaker, where we were provided with live demonstrations on incorporating kinesthetic movement with phonological awareness. These songs and dances can be incorporated during morning meetings, skill work time, and as brain breaks.

Next, we attended a session with Mary Amoson on games and activities for sight word fun. During this time, we learned games to play in small groups, whole group and as a form of assessment. We were provided with materials to take away from the session and utilize in our own classrooms.

Following this session, we went to a session lead by Crystal Radke on hear it, say it, learn it: phonemic awareness. This presentation affirmed that at South West, we are providing best practices when instructing early literacy skills.

The last session of the day was presented by Palma Lindsay focusing on emergent reading. During this time, we saw engaging activities that would help develop a love of language.

The keynote on Friday was with Crystal Radke. She shared tips on staying positive even when it feels like you are performing a juggling act. This first session for the day was focused on literacy and interventions for reading time. We heard about the RTI tiers and some good ideas for collecting and using student data.

The second session discussed guided reading and what it should look like in the kindergarten classroom at different reading levels. We were able to pull out things to bring back to South West and build fluent kindergarten readers.

The focus of the third presentation was phonics and making it fun for students. We have been able to successfully implement the ideas from this session in our own classrooms since we came back from the conference. We have a sight word rotation that allows students to be hands on while practicing their sight words.

The last session was focused on technology, as well as writing. We were introduced to many great websites that can be incorporated to our school day. The writing piece assured us that we are providing best practices in kidwriting. Overall, we felt that we were able to bring back new and innovative ideas to incorporate into our kindergarten classrooms.

iXL Live

I attended iXL Live and it was a great way to learn about all of the features of iXL and how to use it in my classroom. Some of the interesting things I learned were all of the topics that iXL now offers including: Spanish, English, Social Studies, Science and Math. The main presentation was about how to use the data that iXL can collect and offer in your classroom. One of the things that I liked was when the presenter let us know that iXL is designed to support a teacher, not replace.

One of the great ideas that was shared was about creating graphic organizers for when a student gets a questions wrong. iXL not only gives them the mathematical explanation behind the problems, but it also explains in words how to complete it and the justification of each step. Maureen, the presenter, talked about a few examples other teachers had come up with and this is something that I am going to adapt into my own classroom.

Another big topic of the presentation is the diagnostic piece of the program. It is aligned to the Pennsylvania standards and you can track the progress and grade level the students are currently working at. The diagnostic section is something that can stay up to date with the students completing only 10-15 questions after the initial reading. At this point in time the program is only set up like this for math, but English is coming soon. Unfortunately, there is currently no correlation data between the diagnostic and the Keystone, because there have not been enough studies done.

iXL is truly a smart program in that it will meet at student at their learning level and will move them up only when they are ready. The students have a smart score based on the level of questions that they are answering correctly which then will give information back to the teacher. The teacher can also see data in real time of what the students are working on. The program will also alert you if a single or group of students are stuck on a particular thing that you can pull them aside to work on. It is a program that allows me to do more small group instruction rather than whole group.

As I reflect on the conference I am finding myself more excited to push to get iXL in all classrooms at South Western. It offers great things for the lower levels such as audio versions of all the questions for grades K-5. It would also allow us to track the skills students have mastered throughout their schooling. It is a program that I am currently using in my classroom and with the information I learned at the conference I am sure I can now use it more effectively.

On March 1st, I had the opportunity to participate in an Internet of Things professional development at the LIU.  The workshop focused on using a Raspberry Pi to develop STEM related activities using coding language and physical computing.  The presenters were Jigar Patel and Eric Yoder from IU11.  Below is an outline of the topics covered:

  • Getting started with paper circuits
  • Getting started with breadboarding circuits
  • Understanding the basics of how microcontrollers work
  • Getting started with the Raspberry Pi
  • Using the Pi for entry level student activities (controlling LEDs and adding components)
  • Starting to code with Scratch, Python, and Node-red
  • Internet of Things

For $35, the Raspberry Pi opens up a wide range of educational possibilities for students interested in computer programming and engineering.  We discussed how the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi allows for the basic understanding of how circuits, buttons, and switches work but also for more advance coding with languages frequently used in major industries  and companies today.  Many schools now have STEM, STEAM, or STREAM coordinators that utilize Raspberry Pi’s for large chunks  of their curriculum due to their versatility and low cost.  These courses foster 21st century skills in their students such as team work, critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving.  Below is a link to the presentation used at the workshop, as well as, resources for getting started with the Raspberry Pi, project ideas for students, and different coding languages.


I attended a conference on higher-education pedagogy and one of the sessions I went to was “The Paradox of Play: how encouraging playfulness in students can lower barriers to learning and lead to better work.” The main idea behind this session is that there is such a thing as playful learning and that it has a place in the classroom.

The first discussion was about space and the comment that struck me the most was that the “space tells you how it wants to be used.” It made me think about my classroom and what message is my space portraying? I also thought about our spaces such as our collaboration rooms, furniture nooks, cafeteria, library, etc and thought again about what the space is saying about its purpose. Within that, we must consider and carefully design spaces to have the greatest capacity for meaningful interactions.

Further, incorporating play–tinkering, brainstorming, prototyping with no to low stakes in the classroom encourages risk taking, experimentation, trial and error, and playfulness– all of these 21st century skills that we are trying to add into our classrooms. In this session we had a chance to play. We were given a random card– my group was “save the whales” and we had to design a prototype that would solve this problem. Eventually, we were also given a constraint (ours was that it had to glow in the dark) and then we had to incorporate that into our design as well. Not only was this a fun and enjoyable activity, but it also sparked some thoughts for me.

As a mainly PBL designed classroom, I often find that my students struggle with coming up with the initial ideas. They are so worried about having a “good” idea that they won’t simply brainstorm and produce many ideas, and thus have trouble getting started. One of the quotations shared with us in the session was that “the trick to having good ideas is not to sit around in glorious isolation and try to think big thoughts. The trick is to get more parts on the table.” I am pondering if there is a way to incorporate this low stakes braininstorming/prototyping into my classroom and then whether this would help with the actual production of ideas for our research and projects.

PSEA Special Education Conference – February 3, 2018

On February 3, 2018 the Park Hills Special Education team attended the PSEA Special Education Conference in Bedford, PA. There were four breakout session times and one whole group session. Below are notes from each session that we attended.

Posted By: Lauren Cromer, Heather Cooper, & Ashley de Salis

Keynote Presentation: Special Education Evolution – From Pioneers to Trailblazers

Ann Hinkson-Herrmann

This session provided participants with a view on how special education has changed over time. The speaker shared lessons learned from the pioneers and the impact these practices have had on the trailblazers.The 3 highlights included the evolution of equity among all students, the use of person first language (child first, disability second), and a discussion on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).   

Brown vs. the Board of Education blazed the trail for special education. Separate but equal was deemed inappropriate for all people no matter race, gender, disability, or any other difference. That case allowed for more legislation that eventually led to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). 

It was also shared that Pennsylvania is in the process of changing the diagnosis of “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability” in all special education documentation.

We were additionally reminded to use person first language in all communication. We should not refer to students as “LS” students; rather they are students in learning support. 

Breakout Session: When All Else Fails

Dr. Gina Scalia

This session was presented by Dr. Gina Scalia from East Stroudsburg University. The session was focused on thinking about what is below the surface when we become frustrated in the classroom. At the beginning, there was a discussion about our personal goals in Education and what roadblocks we need to overcome to get there. Dr. Scalia reminded us that what we do today can improve our tomorrow. The challenges that were discussed include multiple expectations, students’ social understanding, traditional zero tolerance policies, and differing visions of discipline. 

One highlight of the session was a discussion of the five attributes of successful schools. These included leadership, high expectations, ongoing evaluation, goals and direction, and being secured and organized. When discussing leadership it was explained that leaders need to be strong, visible, convey the school’s goals successfully, collaborate with teachers to enhance their skills, and they need to discover and solve problems. 

The session ended by reminding us that in order to successfully make a change we need to have a vision, skills, incentive, resources, and an action plan.

Breakout Session: Introducing a Student with Behavioral Challenges into the Classroom

Deliliah R. L. Wilcox

Our Beliefs Lead the Way

  • All individuals have strengths and can be motivated
  • How we view someone affects the way we work with them
  • Positive therapeutic relationships are based on uncompromising respect, unconditional positive regard, and upholding an individual’s dignity
  • Behavior is one of the most honest forms of communication – listen to the ‘between the line’ messages

What May be Causing Challenging Behavior?

  • Inappropriate coping mechanisms
  • Communication deficits
  • Misunderstanding of social norms
  • Learned patterns
  • Trauma

Where Should You Start?

  • Review all documents (ERs, RRs, IEPs, FBAs, PBSPs)
  • Ask for current medication list
  • Review trauma history (if applicable)
  • Put in place reinforcers/motivators
  • Set up team meeting
  • Plan for data collecting

Steps for Introduction

  • Set up the environment (reinforcement-rich, pre-arrange peer interactions, safety first)
  • Introduce peers (alert students to the change, focus on strengths, identify peer mentors, evaluate potential risks and make seating adjustments)
  • Student integration (visit the classroom, make a plan for breaks and assistance, identify a safe zone, provide ample reinforcement to student and peers)

The Following Days/Weeks

  • Have a plan (explain routines and expectations, communicate change, structure up unstructured time, have a crisis plan)
  • Collect data (get a new baseline, monitor changes, make adjustments as needed)
  • Build a therapeutic relationship (check-in often, be approachable, actively listen, acknowledge interests and progress, set goals and follow through)
  • Teach coping/calming & self-regulation strategies (identify triggers, pre-teaching is key, practice and reinforce self-calming)
  • Teach alternatives (create a plan with replacement behaviors, involve the student, practice the plan, reinforce replacement behaviors, even small victories)

Final Thoughts

  • All behavior serves a function
  • Function drives intervention
  • New patterns of behavior can be established if treated by their functions
  • Know your goals – what is negotiable and what is non-negotiable
  • Consider the individual’s needs, strengths, and limitations when looking at interventions
  • Therapeutic relationships are a vehicle for change

Breakout Session: Classroom Management Strategies for Supporting Students with Problem Behaviors or Behavioral Needs

Dr. Laura C. Moran

This session was a great follow-up to the prior session on behavior planning because Dr. Laura Moran from PaTTAN spoke about the research and a toolkit that we can use to improve our practices with students who have behavioral concerns. Simonsen developed five top practices to use as a continuum of strategies to acknowledge appropriate behavior and to respond to inappropriate behavior. In addition to the powerpoint presentation, more information is available on PaTTAN’s website: The Classroom Management Toolkit. The 5 modules included in the toolkit are (1) Maximize Classroom Structure (2) Classroom Rules (3) Actively Engage Students in Observable Ways (4) Use a continuum of strategies to acknowledge appropriate behavior (5) Use a continuum on strategies to respond to inappropriate behaviors. Thoe first four modules are focused on prevention while the final module focuses on intervention. Any teacher or administrator can work through the modules in order or enter the program at any module.

In the area of classroom rules, she pointed out that the school rules should transfer to what that looks like in each area of the building. It was mentioned that we should state 3-5 goals positively. 

Dr. Moran also mentioned that we need to use response cards or Kahoot type activities to get students actively involved in the classroom setting. 

One strategy that was shared was “SLANT.” Sit up, listen, ask/answer, nod/note, and track the teacher. It should be explicitly taught to the students and then reinforced. 

Teacher praise has the strongest evidence base for student motivation. 


Breakout Session: The Foundations of Reading – Preventing Early Reading Failure

Dr. Pam Kastner

This session covered the foundations of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.  This session combined hands on activities and discussion of theory.  We “made” a Scarborough reading rope, which was enlightening as we got to visualize and feel how the strands of reading all work together.  We were reminded that if one strand is weak then you do not have a skilled and fluent reader.  The big ideas presented in the session were:

  • Research has much to tell us about a proficient reader’s brain.
  • Research tells us much about what happens with poor readers.
  • Best practice have been identified to teach all students, including those with reading disabilities.
  • We know how to teach most students.

Dr. Kastner presented a strategy that is currently being used by researchers in an inner city school district in our area.  This strategy is very phonics focused and teacher directed.  Students utilize all modalities as they practice reading strategies.  

Dr. Kastner has twice followed up with the group and emailed multiple resources.  Overall, this session was a spectacularly informative lesson on early reading interventions and these interventions could be used to assist students in upper grades who need phonics and phonemic awareness.  

Dr. Kastner also gave a plug for the 2018 Literacy Symposium at PaTTAN Harrisburg in June.

Brittany Lyden and Jessie Gobrecht attended the QPR, Question. Persuade. Refer. workshop on January 25, 2018 at Spring Forge Intermediate School of North Eastern School District.  This workshop was for School Social Workers and a guest.  However the content of the training is applicable to anyone inside or outside the school setting.

The strategy QPR is used when dealing with a suicidal student.  The training run by Gavon Martin III, stresses how important it is for the person the child reports the suicidal feelings to, to stay with the student and have a discussion, rather than calling the counselor or psychologist.  If a child selects you to tell that he or she is feeling suicidal then call the office for a coverage and take the time to sit with the child and simply ask questions.  Example questions are:

You know when people are upset as you seem to be, they sometimes wish they were dead.  Do you feel that way? Do you have a plan? How long have you felt this way?  Have you told anyone else?  Do  you have weapons in the house?  Who supports you at home and at school?

Basically all the adult has to show is caring and concern.  The adult needs to persuade the child that he or she matters and that the adult cares about them.  Listen to their problems and give them your full attention.  Offer hope in any form.  Don’t rush to judgement, and remember suicide is not the problem, only the solution to a perceived insoluble problem.  Finally go with them to find help.  “Will  you go with me to find help?”

The final step is to refer.  Suicidal people often believe they can’t be helped, so you may have to take them directly to a person who can help.  Remember since almost all efforts to persuade someone to lobe instead of attempt suicide will be met with agreement and relief, don’t hesitate to get involved or take the lead.  Remember statements like, “I want you to live,” or “I’m on your side, we will get through this.”

Brittany and Jessie plan on offering some type of training in QPR in the future here at SW in an effort to reduce the stigma attached to the word suicide and people’s reluctance to talk about it.

Oppositional, Defiant, and Disruptive Children and Adolescents

Speaker: Robert J. Marion, M.S., NCSP, ABSNP

December 15, 2017


Attended by: Cari Friddle, Lori Holland, and Summer Borden


  • Treatment Approaches to Oppositional Children
    1. Relax, Reframe, and Cope → teach children these steps — teach relaxation techniques, reframe the problem, and learn to cope
    2. “The outcome of a behavior is dependent on the emotional response of the adult”


  • Promoting Pro-Social Emotions
    1. “The more pro-sociality of a strong reciprocity is manifested, the more coherent and permanent the group affiliation.”
    2. Punishment can cause shame! BUT, with conduct disorder, it causes spite!
      1. Time out does not work. Instead, focus on solutions. Maybe make a “thinking area” that the student goes to in order to discover a solution.
    3. Continuously teach emotional vocabulary → this allows the student to learn how to communicate what they are actually feeling.
      1. Use paint sample cards to walk through the different ‘degrees’ of a given emotion. Help the student discover what level of an emotion they are feeling, and learn to decipher this independently.
      2. Play emotional regulation games
        1. http://harvardmagazine.com/2011/01/gaming-the-emotions


  • Six Steps to Emotional Literacy
    1. Relate word to student personal experience
    2. Associate the word with a color, design, picture, or animal
    3. Relate the word to current topics
    4. Homework in order to involve parents in learning the word
    5. Group discussion of the word
    6. Make the word a spelling word and use the word in writing assignments


  • Strategies for Stress Management
    1. Controlled Breathing → explain the rationale, demonstrate, introduce relation words, and have the child demonstrate
    2. Relaxation Training → explain rationale, get comfortable, demonstrate, and practice
    3. Thought Stopping → Explain rationale, demonstrate, chose method, introduce replacement thought, have child demonstrate, and practice. Use scheduled practice because people are often poor planners
  • Parent Training is KEY
    1. Provide psychoeducation to parents
    2. Teach parents how to use praise, active ignoring, and timeout in effective ways
    3. Practice with parents using role play
    4. Teach parents to NEVER ask unanswerable questions, and to NEVER attend to the problem behavior.
    5. “Never in correction do we HAVE to mention the infraction” — focus on what the child SHOULD be doing, not what they are doing wrong — provide information on the solution only.


  • Common Functions of ODD Behaviors
    1. Control
    2. Reduction of Anxiety
    3. Avoidance
    4. Escape


PBEA 2017

On November 17th, I attended the Pennsylvania Business Education Association state conference in Grantville.

Session 1 – Teaching Financial Literacy

Dr. Matt Rousu from Susquehanna University shared various way to engage students when teaching financial literacy.  He provided examples from music, video, tv, movie clips, and shared some resources that he also created himself.  He also shared the website www.criticalcommons.org as a great resource to use when teaching economics.

Session 2 – Building an Entrepreneurship Class for College Credit

This session was the main reason I attended the conference.  Our department is creating an Entrepreneurship course for the 2018-2019 school year and we are looking to partner with someone to offer college credits.

Rob Donatelli from Dallastown High School presented this session.  He currently teaches and Entrepreneurship course that partners with The University Of Iowa to offer 3 college credits to students who successfully complete the course curriculum and pass the required exam and the conclusion of the course.  Rob gave an overview of the curriculum provided by the University of Iowa as well as how he was able to change pieces of it to make it fit his constraints.  Teachers must complete a graduate training course through the university to be eligible to teach the course for college credits.  Students have the option to take the test at the end of the course and do not need to apply or submit payment for the 3 credits until they receive their test score.

Rob is a great resource and I will be working with him as well as the university to get our course up and running.

Session 3 – Information Session & Focus Group

This session was led by Dr. Emma Fleck who is the director for the Center for Economics, Business, and Entrepreneurship at Susquehanna University.  She shared information about the Center as it is new this year.  The Center will be providing on site classes and session to assist business teachers with their curriculum and content.  She provided the website as well as other places to obtain information for those that are not location near the Selinsgrove area.  She then asked for suggestions from the attendees as to what the Center could do in the future to better support business educators.  Their future plans are to implement online sessions for those that are not located near Susquehanna.

Session 4 – Business Classroom Environment and Student Motivation

This was the only session available during the time slot and I quickly learned that it was geared toward middle school level students.  Tim Dershem from Greenwood High School presented the session.  He gave ideas to help motivated students in business courses.  However, Greenwood is a 7-12 high school and he mainly teaches the middle level student, so a lot of his ideas here centered on that age group.

The conference ended with a luncheon and business meeting to discuss current PBEA issues.


School-Age Stuttering Therapy: A Practical Approach

Dr. Scott Yarus

Pattan- York Learning Center



Focus of Therapy is on:

  • Reducing Impairment
  • Reducing Negative Reactions
  • Reducing Activity Limitations and Participation Restrictions
  • Reducing Adverse Impact


Assessment includes:

  • Impairment-collect in multiple locations as true stuttering varies
    • Non-Stuttered Speech-language based, trying to form thoughts, can  be used to hide stuttered behaviors
    • Stuttered Behaviors-knows what they want to say but can’t get it out (frequent interjections, prolongations, part word repetition, blocks)
    • “Loss of control”-feeling you have in these moments (hitting a patch of ice while driving)
    • Physical Tension
    • Check frequency, type, secondary features
  • Reactions-child’s thoughts and feelings about their stuttering
  • Adverse Impact-how does the environment respond to their stuttering


“If the pain of change is greater than the pain of staying where are you, change will never happen”

  • Readiness is the key to the success of stuttering therapy.
  • Measure and document adverse impact to determine if child is ready for therapy.


Foundations necessary for effective stuttering treatment:

  • Learn about speaking (Speech Machine-Brain and the Respiratory, Phonatory, and Articulatory Systems) (how voice works-bumpy, high, low, stuck, etc)
  • Learn about stuttering (what happens when we stutter, types, teach the teacher, explore the moment, how to change moment)
  • Learn about why and how therapy works-no secrets in therapy…know the information…fact sheets for all techniques
  • Learn about limitations of therapy-no practice or use of techniques makes them not helpful, techniques are 100%


Stuttering Modification: Change timing and tension

  • Cancellation: after a moment of stuttering (desensitizing, intentional coping)
  • Pull-out: during a moment of stuttering (notice tension, ease the tension, move forward)
  • Preparatory Set: before a moment of stuttering (easing in, starting without tension)
  • Pausing-natural and appropriate phrasing
  • Light contact-preventing tension, but very hard to do


Behavioral Concerns-

  • Fear-face the fear of stuttering, desensitization
  • Hierarchy- least feared situation and build up to greatest fear
  • Be comfortable with silence-pausing game
  • Interact with other stutterers-all ages (National Stuttering Association-link child with another person who stutters with similar interests. Regulated)


Environmental Issues- help the children educate the people in their environment

  • Parents- just want you to make it go away. Education is key (Stuttering can’t be fixed but can be managed.)
  • Teachers- taught old information from the 1930’s/40’s. Re-educate on the new ideas of stuttering.
  • Peers- significant higher rate of bullying toward those who stutter.

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