BEST Summer Institute 2013


Workshop A

Introduction to Vermont Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

Sherry Schoenberg  

This workshop will provide an overview of school-wide PBIS for individuals from schools who are not yet involved with the VTPBiS efforts. Included will be an introduction to the systems, data and practices that make up the multi-tiered framework of PBIS with the overall goal of preventing and responding to challenging behavior. Hear from members of a school Leadership Team about how PBIS has reshaped the culture of their school. This presentation will include a description of the journey a school will take from exploration to implementation.

Sherry SchoenbergSherry Schoenberg is the co-coordinator of BEST, and has been a member of the BEST Team for 15 years. She has a background in children’s mental health as a direct service provider, state level program administrator, and consultant since 1982. She provides training in Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, non-violent crisis intervention, the framework for understanding poverty, and the Vermont interagency System of Care.



Workshop B

SOCIAL SKILLS TAPAS: A Sampling of Small, Savory Strategies and Curricula Designed to Build Social Competence in Students

Tracy Harris

This 90-minute workshop will provide participants with an overview of several Social Skills Programs that have been recognized by the US Department of Education (USDOE) and/or the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as exemplary or promising programs. Included in this workshop will be an introduction to three strategies designed to build social competence in students with Autism Spectrum Disorders that can be adapted or modified to benefit all students.

The workshop will outline the goals and objectives of the program/strategy, the age group for which it was designed, and the systems needed to support it. Care will be taken to introduce participants to how the program or strategy can be of benefit to the entire student population (Universal Level) as well as how it can be used for some (Targeted Level) or few (Intensive Level) students who need increasing levels of support.

Tracy Harris

Tracy Harris is a consultant for the prevention and intervention of challenging student behaviors at the Vermont Agency of Education. She came to the Agency of Education after 19 years at The Baird School and 7 years of experience in Vermont public schools.




Workshop C

Educating from the Heart-Mindfulness-based Education in K-12 Public Schools.

Marilyn Webb Neagley

Emerging research is indicating that mindfulness skills support learning through stress management, emotional regulation and increased attention. Anyone who is interested in bringing mindfulness-based education to public schools would be interested in this hour and a half interactive workshop.

The workshop will cover an introduction to: 1) current research on the benefits of mindfulness, 2) personal mindfulness skills, 3) classroom applications and 4) evaluation results. Resource information will be provided along with a (free) copy of Educating from the Heart

Marily NeagleyMarilyn Webb Neagley
is director of the Talk About Wellness initiative which works in partnership with K-12 public schools and higher education. She is also co-editor of Educating from the Heart and author of Walking through the Seasons, a book of reflections.




Workshop D

The Road to Success Isn't Always Straight: Navigating the Round-abouts and Overcoming PBIS Implementation Dips

Cassandra Townshend and Jen Bradford

This workshop will focus on one school's four-year journey through the peaks and valleys of PBIS implementation and the practical strategies they developed to combat implementation fatigue. Participants will hear how the VTPBiS State Leadership Team’s system of helping schools overcome implementation dips by practicing continuous cycles of improvement for effective PBIS implementation.

Cassandra TownshendCassandra Townshend, M.S.W., is a member of the BEST Team and works at UVM’s Center on Disability & Community Inclusion. Her background includes work as a high school social worker, elementary/middle school behavior specialist and outpatient therapist. In particular, Cassandra enjoys consulting, training and coaching schools in PBIS implementation as well as Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) Training. Cassandra earned a master’s degree in social work from Washington University in St. Louis and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Skidmore College.



Jen Bradford, BA, MAT, PBIS Coordinator, Intensive Needs Special Educator, Hinesburg Community School




Workshop E - CANCELLED

Introduction to Life Space Crisis Intervention

Ken Kramberg

Come to this workshop to learn about Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI), effective conflict management and intervention techniques for working with students who have self-defeating patterns of behavior. These strategies are extremely useful for people who regularly work with students prone to conflict and who exhibit challenging behaviors in school.

Ken KrambergKen Kramberg is a member of the BEST Team and is one of a few internationally recognized Master Trainers in LSCI. Ken has thirty years of experience as a teacher and director of programs for children with challenging behaviors.




Workshop F

The Feelings Board:  Self Regulation through Self Awareness

Kathy Neilsen

Many children are not aware of their own feelings and the thoughts that fuel them.  They are at the mercy of their own internal responses and lack the self awareness that could help them find coping strategies. 
The Feelings Board is an interactive device that helps young children identify thoughts, feelings AND the coping strategies they can use to help themselves.
It is designed for counselors and it is also appropriate for use by parents and teachers in both group and individual settings. 

Kathy NeilsenKathy Neilsen, M.Ed., has been a school counselor for over 35 years. She has worked in elementary and middle schools and she is currently the counselor at Beeman Elementary School in New Haven, Vermont. Her interest in emotional intelligence and resilience led her to develop The Feelings Board. In addition to her work in schools, Kathy is a director of a summer camp in Colchester, Vermont.




Workshop G

Effective Lunchroom and Recess Supervision: A Three Tier Approach for S.M.A.R.T Supervision

Jon Udis

Most students love recess and lunch. It is a time to socialize with their friends, have fun and take a much-needed break from classroom demands. Most adults who supervise recess and lunch dread this duty. Classroom teachers know that what happens in the lunchroom and on the playground impacts the students when they re-enter their classroom. Administrators know that discipline and behavioral challenges escalate during these times and often require significant time, energy and resources in order to resolve.

The goal of this session is to describe a wide range of strategies that individuals, teams of supervisors and schools as a whole should consider when striving to increase pro-social behavior in the lunchroom and on the playground and decrease negative, problematic behaviors. Effective supervision practices will be described as well as targeted strategies aimed at whole school, classroom and individual student improvement. Learn how S.M.A.R.T supervision will make a difference for your school.

Jon UdisJon Udis: Prior to starting his consulting practice in 1991, Jon was a classroom teacher, principal and residential treatment director. Jon offers professional development, coaching and facilitation to a wide variety of educational, and human service agencies. Jon presents at conferences throughout North America and has taught graduate courses for ST. Michael’s College, UVM and McGill University. Jon is well known for his passion for learning, his love of teaching and his commitment to helping every child and family receive the supports needed for healthy development. Jon and his family live in Middlesex, Vermont.



Workshop H

Who am I? Is it okay to be me?

Doug Wilhelm

As a writer of realistic novels for young adults, including The Revealers and its sequel True Shoes, Weybridge author Doug Wilhelm visits middle schools and talks with students all over Vermont and the nation. His essential insight: As each child navigates the life-shaping transitions of early adolescence, he or she struggles on some level with two key questions: Who am I? and, Is it okay to be me? Focusing on these questions can open up new prospects for designing curriculum resources that connect with middle schoolers right where they are.

As a springboard for discussion, Doug will share several innovative approaches that schools have taken, and projects they’ve developed, during the past year to working with True Shoes, his 2012 YA novel that deals with cyberbullying, multicultural and racial tensions, and a controlling dating relationship. Created by a diverse array of middle schools — urban, suburban, and rural — these projects have had powerful impacts on students.

Dough WilhelmDoug Wilhelm

True Shoes, Doug Wilhelm’s 13th work of fiction for young readers, is a followup novel to The Revealers (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003), which has been read and discussed in hundreds of middle schools nationwide, including more than 100 in Vermont. True Shoes centers on how young people are integrating networked technology into their lives, using it in ways that are often creative and often cruel. The story grew out of hundreds of conversations with middle schoolers, and with adults who work with them, during Doug’s author visits to schools around the U.S. in recent years.

A full-time writer, Doug lives in Weybridge with his wife Cary, a mental-health counselor for children and families. His son, Brad, is studying law at Drexel University; his stepson Nate is an eleventh grader at Middlebury Union High School. Doug’s professional focus is on writing young-adult novels that are engaging and empowering — that combine strong narratives, and an element of humor, with an honest treatment of real challenges that young people face today. His earlier books include Falling (FSG, 2007) and Raising the Shades (FSG, 2001); nine titles in the Choose Your Own Adventure series, the newest of which is Curse of the Pirate Mist (Chooseco, 2011); and Alexander the Great, Master of the Ancient World (Scholastic, 2010).


Workshop I

Understanding and Supporting Students who have Experienced Psychological Trauma

Margaret Joyal

This presentation will provide an overview of the impact of psychological trauma on development and learning.  Strategies for identifying and
supporting children who have experienced trauma will be highlighted. Participants will understand what it takes to create a trauma informed
school system that can adequately screen for trauma and support families and children.

Margaret Joyal

Margaret Joyal, MA is the current Director for Washington County Mental Health Services Counseling and Psychological Services, and co-founder of LINCS adult trauma treatment program. She has held leadership roles in a number of mental health clinical settings in Vermont. In addition to her clinical leadership she is a member of the Vermont Association for Mental Health, the National Association for Rural Mental Health and has been held key positions with the Vermont Psychological Association, the North American Masters Psychologists, for which she served as President and is the current Past President, and is Chair of the Adult Outpatients Director’s Group, a committee of the Council for Developmental and Mental Health Services. Ms. Joyal is a major resource for training and informing trauma related services in the state and has provided trainings and workshops on recent advances in trauma treatment, effects of psychological trauma, treatment of PTSD, and treating survivors of childhood abuse. She is a current Consultant Trainer for the Center for Crime Victim Services and the Agency of Human Services. Ms. Joyal serves on the State of Vermont, Agency of Human Services Trauma Workgroup which has been charged with transforming state-based services to become more trauma informed across Agency programs.


Workshop J

Understanding Conflict and Using It to Improve the Family/Professional Relationship

Vermont Family Network Staff

Even with the very best communication, conflict is normal and inevitable. The more we recognize and understand the different styles of
managing conflict that we and others use, the better we become at responding to it. In this participatory session, you'll be guided
through a process of self-discovery and growth that will include identifying your own conflict style.


Workshop K

Team Initiated Problem Solving (for People working with PBIS schools)

Nicole Mondejar

Team Initiated Problem Solving (TIPS) provides a model for teams to use as they look at school-wide discipline data from SWIS (or it’s equivalent) for problem-solving and decision making. The purpose of this session is to describe specific steps for problem identification; facilitate access to the right information at the right time in the right format; and describe a formal process that a group can use to build and implement solutions. Specifically, this process is designed to help school leadership teams to:
—Prompt & support the team facilitator, minute taker and data analyst to prepare for meetings
—Use a Meeting Foundations Checklist
—Prompt the use of the TIPS model during meetings
—Create data-based decision-making rules
—Help teams stay focused during meetings
—Use an electronic Meeting Minute format

This workshop is intended for VTPBiS Coaches, PBIS SU/District Coordinators, PBIS School Administrators, and PBIS School-Based Coordinators

Nicole MondejarNicole Mondejar, MHA, has been working in children's mental health for 15 years in a variety of roles serving children, youth and families while collaborating with school teams and the local system of care. Nicole served for 7 years as the Director of the ACES Program at Washington County Mental Health where she coordinated services for children experiencing a Serious Emotional Disturbance and Autism Spectrum Disorders, their family and their school to deliver an individualized set of services designed to prevent placements outside of their community. Nicole has served for the past two years as the Administrator of Early Childhood Programs at Washington County Mental Health and is also a PBiS Implementation Coach for the Lamoille Region.


Workshop L

The Mindful Classroom

Tiffany Cassano and Tracy Penfield

Mindfulness is in the classroom is a growing movement throughout the United States that falls within the social emotional learning spectrum. Years of research demonstrate that mindfulness teaches students about self-awareness, increases a sense of calm and improves impulse control and self-regulatory responses.

This hour and half workshop is designed to provide an introductory of the benefits and practice of mindfulness in the classroom. Educators will have the opportunity to experience a mindfulness lesson that can be transferred to the classroom setting.

Tiffany Cassano

Tiffany Cassano, has a background in regular and special education and has worked in Vermont schools for 13 years.  She currently supports school districts and professional staff in their implementation of PBIS and provides training in Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions.  She works with the BEST team as a PBIS coach and trainer.


Tracy PenfieldTracy Penfield has been a performer and educator of dance since 1980. Tracy has since danced with thousands of people, in community workshops, school residencies, performances and celebrations. In 1989, she founded Pendium, a multi-disciplinary company featuring poetry, storytelling, movement and dance experienced through a variety of programs and videos. She has completed over 70 residencies in schools and colleges throughout New Hampshire, Vermont and Montana.

Working in schools has given Tracy ample opportunity to observe behavior among young people that sets up lifelong patterns. Tracy has found pre-teens and teens to be hungering for expressive arts programming. she develop Safe Art, a program designed to create confidence in relationship choices through understanding dating violence, domestic violence, and sexual assault via prevention, intervention and expressive arts programming, which she offers to middle and high schools, colleges, domestic violence networks and community organizations.


Workshop M - CANCELLED

Coming and Going: Prioritizing School Connections for Students in Out of Home Care

Joan Rock, Jesse C. Suter, Jessica Strolin-Goltzman, Kristen Hayden-West

Students who remain in a familiar and consistent educational setting ultimately have higher graduations rates and better academic outcomes than students who have frequent school transitions. Although school stability is important for all young people, it is crucial for youth whose lives have been disrupted by multiple family moves, foster and kin placement transitions, and/or residential treatment. With each school change a child loses approximately six month of educational progress which strongly relates to success when transitioning to adulthood. This workshop, presented by UVM’s VT-FUTRES (Fostering Understanding to Reach Educational Success) project team, will feature compelling data and activities that explore the emotional and academic impact of school instability on students. Project staff will share proven strategies from the Rock the G.R.A.D.E.S. toolkit which classroom teachers and administrators can use to reduce unneeded transitions for children and lessen the trauma of educational moves when they do occur. There will be a focus on collaborations between schools, families, and social services to reduce moves as well as addressing the trauma of school change to reduce impact on the student and the class.

1. Participants will understand the multiple issues that arise for a child when they experience educational instability.
2. Participants will learn how cross-sector networks can collaborate to reduce the number of changes for students.
3. Participants will learn about interagency agreements designed to support educational stability.
4. Participants will learn specific strategies to help maintain children in stable schools settings and strategies for providing continuity in school transitions when necessary.

Joan Rock
is the Senior Implementation Coordinator with the VT-Futres project at UVM and a veteran Resource Coordinator with Vermont DCF. She has 30 years experience in the child protection field and has been a champion of improving educational stability for youth for nearly a decade.



Jesse C. SuterJesse C. Suter is a Co-Principal Investigator for the VT-FUTRES grant and Project Evaluator. He is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont assigned to the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion. His work involves the development, research, and evaluation of school-based interventions for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. 


Jessica Strolin-Goltzman,
is a Co-Principal Investigator for the VT-FUTRES grant and Project Director. She is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Vermont. Jessica teaches and conducts research focusing on trans-disciplinary evaluation and treatment interventions in child welfare, substance abuse and school based services. She has practiced professionally with children and youth in child welfare, schools, juvenile justice, and substance abuse treatment programs.


Kristen Hayden-West shares the Implementation Coordinator role for the VT-FUTRES project. Her background with serving youth includes 17 years as a Program Coordinator at HowardCenter’s Child, Youth and Family Services and teaching at the high school and adult level. She brings experience in youth mentoring, kinship care, community engagement, and collaborative networks.




Workshop N

Universal Screening: A Process for Early Identification of Students at Risk of School Failure Due to Social, Emotional and/or Behavior Problems

Howard Muscott and Members of the VTPBiS State Team

The purpose of this workshop is to describe the features and provide examples of an early nomination and activation system that has been used within the PBIS-NH initiative to help schools across New Hampshire determine students who have not responded to core instruction for behavior. Participants will learn of the three pathways (teacher nomination, behavioral indicators, and systematic screening) used for the early identification of those students at risk of school failure and how Targeted (EST, PBIS) teams are using that data to match students to appropriate evidenced-based interventions and supports. Examples of procedures, forms, and screening data will be shared along with lessons learned from implementation in NH.

Howard MuscottHoward Muscott
of the New Hampshire Center for Effective Behavioral Interventions and Supports (NH CEBIS) has been training and supporting PBIS implementation in New Hampshire schools since 2002 and will share lessons learned – the challenges and successes of building effective and efficient tier 2 systems.




Workshop O - CANCELLED

Networking to Become a VTPBiS Exemplar School

Members of the State PBIS Leadership Team

This session will provide participants an opportunity to share issues, concerns, ideas and insights about what it takes to be a VTPBiS exemplar school. Members of the VTPBiS Exemplar state team and from VTPBiS Schools will facilitate this session.


Workshop P

Second Step: Skills for Social and Academic Success

Michele Ricci and Julie Cleary

Second Step is an evidenced based social skills curriculum for use in pre-k-grade 8.  At this workshop Michele will provide an overview of Second Step and how it is used as a teacher delivered school-wide strategy for the teaching of social skills. She  will review how it can be used as a targeted strategy for students with patterns of challenging behavior.  There will be ample time for questions and the ability to examine Second Step kits.  Participants will also be given strategies for meeting the readiness criteria for making this a valued and actively used intervention.

Upon successful completion of the readiness checklist, schools will be entered into a drawing to receive either individual grade level kits or a complete school-wide set prior to the beginning of the next school year.

Michele RicciMichele Ricci,
has been the Principal at Stockbridge Central School since 2008. She is the VTPBiS School Coordinator for Stockbridge and the SU Coordinator for Windsor Northwest SU. Prior to administration, she was an elementary school counselor for ten years and used Second Step as part of her guidance class curriculum. She was trained as a trainer for Second Step in 2004. Her focus has and continues to be on social and emotional learning and helping students to reach their full potential.


Julie ClearyJulie Cleary ,
is the VTPBiS School Coordinator for Bethel Elementary School




Workshop Q

Gaming. Good games lead to good learning. Or do they?

Jane Wilde, Sally Bisaccio and Mike Beardsley

Recent research highlights the potential of gaming principles to promote good learning. Gaming teaches kids persistence in the face of difficulty, creative problem solving, collaboration, self efficacy, leadership, and promotes reading and writing skill. Games engage and motivate students across the spectrum of academic performance from at-risk to exceptional students. But online games promote "screen time," may include violence, involve interaction with strangers and present the potential for bullying.

So what does this mean for education?  What does gaming have to do with school?

Participants in this workshop will
• experience the games their students are playing such as - Portal, Minecraft and World of Warcraft.
• identify the qualities that make these games fun and "educational."
• discuss risks associated with violence and bullying.
• connect with school based programs that integrate games and gaming principles into academic curriculum.
• consider adopting a new relationship with failure - one that can promote perseverance and competency.
• hear what educational leaders like JP Gee and Sasha Barab can tell us about gaming and learning.
• be among the first to hear the results of a pilot project in gaming to be conducted this spring in the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union.

Jane WildeJane Wilde
is a self proclaimed gamer and geek. She is also a 30+year veteran educator. She began her teaching career as a special educator specializing in autism. Having taught every grade from K-12, she now teaches teachers. She is on the faculty of Marlboro College Graduate School and is an adjunct professor at University at Albany.


Sally BisaccioSally Bisaccio
is a tech integration specialist for the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union. She has worked for the district for the past thirteen years, focusing mostly on technology integration in the elementary grades.



Mike BeardsleyMike Beardsley
currently teaches a 4/5 Classroom at Putney Central School, a PBiS school. He has over 25 years experience teaching grades 3, 4 and 5. Mike is active in bringing technology into the classroom, and is currently in the MAT program at Marlboro College Graduate Center.