2013 Conference Schedule

Thursday, December 5  
9:00am - 4:00pm Pre-conference Speaker: Wayne Hulley
Room: Tuscany

One factor that continually surfaces as the single most influential component of an effective school is the individual teachers within that school. Ensure effective teaching in every classroom. This workshop provides tools and resources for immediate use by educators—and those who support them.

Specific attention will be paid to engagement strategies and a comprehensive framework of effective teaching that schools and districts can put into place immediately or use to generate their own models. This model is articulated in 10 design questions teachers ask themselves as they plan a unit of instruction.

We now know that effective teachers are made, not born, and that even small increments in teacher effectiveness can have a positive effect on student achievement. This interactive, engaging workshop will provide tools and strategies to enhance teachers’ pedagogical skills.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Learn a common language of instruction
  • Learn important routines, including how to be clear about learning goals connected to proficiency scales
  • Experience instructional strategies connected to delivering new content, and practice them to deepen understanding
  • Discover the importance of applying knowledge by generating and testing hypotheses
  • Learn important teacher behaviors for engagement and for building student-teacher relationships
  • Ensure high expectations for all students
Friday, December 6  
8:30am - 8:45am Opening Remarks
8:45am - 10:15am Morning Keynote: Mike Mattos
Room: Exhibition Hall

Many schools struggle to realize the powerful potential of RTI due to misguided thinking that is too focused on paperwork and protocols, too rigid to meet the unique needs of each school, and too narrowly viewed as a new way to qualify kids for special education.
In this session, Mike Mattos shares a new way of thinking about RTI, simplifying the process to four essential elements: collective responsibility, concentrated instruction, convergent assessment, and certain access.

10:30am - 11:45am

This session is intended for teachers and administrators who realize the structural change they seek will not be accomplished without first addressing the culture of their schools. Participants are presented with two different tools to assess school culture, as well as strategies for using the tools to begin making cultural changes at their schools.

In this session, participants:
• Examine the difference between structural change and cultural change.
• Consider tools to assess the current culture of their schools.
• Learn strategies and action steps to begin the process of cultural change at their schools

RTI is a collaborative process in which staff members take collective responsibility for the success of all their students. To achieve this goal, three critical teams drive the RTI process: collaborative teacher teams, a school leadership team, and a school intervention team. This breakout discusses potential team configurations, the responsibilities of each team, and practical ideas for making these teams highly effective.

Participants in this session:
• Review the responsibilities of the three essential RTI teams.
• Learn options for successful team configuration.
• Study multiple ways to create weekly collaboration time.
• Review processes to create team norms and strategies to address norm violations.

Building on the solid foundation of PLC principles, participants in this session delve into
numerous interactive activities designed to help them examine the differences in independently functioning school groups and artfully and intentionally create high-functioning school teams.

Learning outcomes for this session include:
• Engaging in user-friendly activities designed to build team capacity
• Taking an audit of a team's current reality
• Discussing ways to address conflict
• Leaving with specific next steps for strengthening team collaboration at your site.

We can predict that teams will encounter obstacles as they engage in the critical work of RTI and of ensuring that all students learn at high levels. What does the science of behavior tell us about resistance to change? How can we use this knowledge to prepare for constructive conflict and successful change initiatives? In this breakout, participants select steps for managing change and determine norms when they are broken.

11:45am - 12:45pm LUNCH BUFFET
12:45pm - 2:15pm Afternoon Keynote: Austin G. Buffum
Room: Exhibition Hall

Rather than asking, "How can we make our scores go up?" collaborative teams should ask, "What specifically do students need to master?" and "How can we, as a team, construct a plan for instruction, intervention, and enrichment to accomplish our goal of mastery for every student?"

Dr. Buffum helps teams clarify how to identify the essential knowledge and skills that students must master in order to be successful in school and in life

2:30pm - 3:45pm

Why are so many schools and districts struggling to reap the benefits of RTI? Some schools mistakenly view RTI as merely a new way to qualify students for special education— trying a few token regular education interventions before referring struggling students for traditional special education testing and placement. Others implement RTI from a compliance perspective, doing just enough to meet mandates. The RTI efforts of still others are driven by a desire to raise test scores, which too often leads to practices that are counterproductive to the guiding principles of RTI.

This session explores Professor Joan Talbert's chapter "Professional Learning Communities at the Crossroads: How Systems Hinder or Engender Change" (in Fullan, Hargreaves, & Lieberman, Eds., Second International Handbook of Educational Change, 2010). Dr. Buffum then applies these findings to the work of central office administrators attempting to implement PRTI across school districts.

In this session, participants:
• Learn the difference between bureaucratic and professional change strategies.
• Examine their PRTI implementation efforts in light of these change strategies.
• Network with other central office administrators.

After a study of state standards, Robert Marzano declared, "To cover all of this content, you would have to change schooling from K–12 to K–22 … the sheer number of standards is the biggest impediment to implementing standards." Due to this curriculum overload, secondary teachers are individually determining what they feel is important for their students to learn, thus creating at most secondary schools a system described as curricular chaos.

In this session, Mike Mattos illustrates:
• Why it is so important to provide secondary students a guaranteed and viable curriculum
• The critical skills needed to prepare students for higher education

In order to ensure concentrated instruction, teachers and students alike need to see and
understand the learning targets. This session provides specific protocols for teams to enact in a collaborative analysis of the standards leading to informed instructional decisions.

In this session, participants:
• Identify the types of achievement and specific learning targets embedded in the Common Core Standards.
• Experience the collaborative process of deconstructing standards and creating an
assessment roadmap for units of study.
• Examine planning templates and websites to ensure quality lesson design aligned to

Concentrated instruction is an essential component of behavioral RTI as well as academic RTI. The research base and historic implementation of behavioral RTI are at least as robust as those related to academic RTI. Based on the tenets of positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS), behavioral RTI has the potential to positively change the culture, climate, and academic environments of schools.

Participants in this session:
• Review the critical components of Tier 1, 2, and 3 interventions within a behavioral RTI
• Examine universal screening tools that help schools make data-driven decisions about
students and behaviors that require more attention.
• Discover the value in the initial steps of implementing behavioral RTI.

3:45pm - 4:30pm

A collaboration time for your team. Presenters are available for help in team discussions.


Saturday, December 7  
7:15am - 8:00am BREAKFAST
8:00am - 9:30am Morning Keynote: Laurie Robinson
Room: Exhibition Hall

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9:45am - 11:00am

Once a collaborative team has identified what is essential for all students to master and has built common assessments that tells it "where each student is" relative to each essential skill or learning target, the team needs to practice using these data in a significant way.

This session provides a data set and protocol for examining the data in order to target
interventions/enrichment and identify effective teaching strategies. Participants engage in a role-playing activity and should therefore attend with other members of their school or team, if possible.

Participants in this session:
• Practice answering the questions, "How do we respond when students haven't learned?" and "How do we respond when they already know it?"
• Experience a process for responding to common assessment data sets, for both student and adult learning.
• Gain insights into current assessment practices.

Data is a four-letter word at many secondary schools. Too many secondary schools are creating RTI assessment processes that are too complex, burdensome, and disconnected from school interventions. Participants in this session learn a simple, practical protocol for transforming common assessment data into meaningful information to guide effective interventions.

As a result of this session, participants can expect to:
• Address the question, "How do we respond when students haven't learned?"
• Experience a process for responding to common assessment data sets for student and
adult learning.
• Gain insights into current assessment practices.

The first step in producing quality assessment tools is becoming assessment literate as a team. This session, a follow-up to Laurie Robinson's keynote, explains what it means for teams to converge and illustrates accurate assessment practices—from beginning to end.

Through this instruction, participants come to:
• Know the appropriate roles of formative and summative assessment.
• Experience the process of designing, analyzing, and responding to common assessments.
• Gain new insights on how the four C's of PRTI create powerful convergent assessment

In this breakout session, participants explore practical ways to universally screen and monitor student progress in reading, math, and behavior. Participants also consider inexpensive and efficient tools available to screen and monitor students' work. Additionally, Chris Weber shares methods and tools for further diagnosing student needs.

11:00am - 11:45am LUNCH BUFFET
11:45am - 1:15pm Afternoon Keynote: Chris Weber
Room: Exhibition Hall

How do we guarantee that all children learn at high levels? Chris Weber addresses this vital question and explains the critical role of support professionals in the RTI process, including counselors, psychologists, librarians, and speech therapists.

In this session, participants:
• Learn how to create a system of supplemental and intensive interventions.
• Identify students in need of extra help.
• Determine the proper intervention(s) for each child.
• Create processes for quality problem solving.
• Determine when special education identification is appropriate.

1:15pm - 2:40pm

Learn how to create a highly effective, systematic intervention program and gain practical, proven intervention strategies for elementary or secondary school students. Dr. Buffum shows participants how to create a tiered system of interventions that provides supplemental and intensive support to students when they are not successful. He presents the characteristics of effective interventions and demonstrates models for both elementary and secondary students.

The most significant difference between a traditional school and a PLC is how the site responds when students don't learn. As Richard DuFour says, "Don't tell me you believe all kids can learn; tell me what you are doing about the kids who aren't learning."

In this session, Dr. Buffum illustrates:
• Characteristics of effective interventions as participants consider the efficacy of their
schools' current intervention programs
• How these characteristics can be embedded in your own school's response to intervention by examining successful elementary and secondary level models

The greatest obstacle most secondary schools face when implementing RTI is not what to do when students need additional time and support but how to create time during the school day to provide that needed help. The traditional secondary master schedule is often counter-productive to this end.

This breakout explores ways to create intervention time for teachers during the day, when students are required to be at school. Participants in this session learn:
• How to create flexible time to regroup, reteach, and enrich students during the school day
• Options for designing a master schedule that provides intervention and elective options
for at-risk students
• How to use flexible time to also meet the needs of students who are already proficient

Okay, we have our data; now what do we do? Behind every set of data is a child. The focus of this session is "instructional responsiveness" as a way of serving that child. Differentiation can be a daunting task without first creating a clear instructional roadmap. Establishing a "tight" curriculum is a necessary first step, followed by instructional strategies to support student diversity.

As a result of this session, participants can:
• Identify multiple ways to assess student learning through content, process, and product according to student readiness, interest, and an accurate learner profile.
• Experience the powerful connections among PLC, RTI, and differentiation.
• Leave with multiple examples of how to differentiate and scaffold essential learning.

How can RTI and special education supports truly reach their potential in the early elementary grades? This breakout session allows participants to create a plan for ensuring that every student leaves kindergarten, first, second, and third grades on track to learn at high levels throughout their elementary and secondary journeys.

2:55pm - 3:55pm Closing Keynote: Chris Weber
Room: Exhibition Hall

Implementing RTI can be daunting. The key is to break the process down into meaningful bites. In this session, Mike Mattos assists participants in creating practical action steps to implement the four C's of RTI: collective responsibility, concentrated instruction, convergent assessment, and certain access. Participants leave with a doable implementation plan and the inspiration needed to get started.