A group of diverse cartoon hands clasped together in the center of a circle. Text: A Place of Belonging: Cultivating School Communities Where Strengths Are Valued, Nurtured, and Embraced. June 24-27, 2024.

Strands are mini-courses that occur each morning for 2-3 hours. Institute participants attend ONE strand throughout the four mornings. For information on an individual strand, click on the title of the strand. Please indicate your first, second, and third strand choices on the Individual Registration Form. Your strand for the week will be confirmed and emailed to you the week of June 10th.

It is important for your school team to carefully plan how each participant's strand choice will contribute to your team's overall implementation strategies that will be discussed during afternoon Team Time.

 

Strand A - VTPBIS Universal Training (for PBIS school teams ONLY)

Presenters: VTPBIS State Team Trainers

Prerequisites:

School teams must have completed these activities (with support from VTPBIS technical assistance provider) to be eligible to attend this training.

Description:

Eligible School Leadership Teams will be supported with content and facilitation needed to complete their PBIS School-wide Implementation Plan within a Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework. Restorative principles and equity considerations will be infused in the training. Teams will prepare for PBIS roll-out to staff, students, and family members.

Learning Objectives:

School Leadership Teams will:

• Develop the school-wide systems needed for equitable, fidelity-based PBIS implementation;
• Finalize and define 3-4 positively-stated, culturally responsive school-wide expectations;
• Create lessons for teaching and practicing prosocial behaviors that support the school-wide expectations;
• Establish procedures for acknowledging prosocial behaviors at the individual, classroom, and school-wide levels;
• Develop consistent practices, procedures, and a continuum of supports for preventing and responding instructionally to minor and major behavior concerns;
• Create procedures for making decisions based on data, determine school-wide data collection method, and establish data reporting procedures;
• Plan for the roll-out and first year implementation of PBIS at the Universal Level.

Intended Audience:

• School leadership teams participants should include: principal and/or assistant principal, school PBIS coordinator, Supervisory Union/Supervisory District PBIS coordinator, other representative staff members, and, if possible, student and/or caregiver/parent/guardian representative(s).
• Wondering if this strand is for you? Contact Amy Wheeler-Sutton at amy.wheeler-sutton@uvm.edu.

Strand B - VTPBIS Targeted Training (for PBIS school teams ONLY)

Presenters: VTPBIS State Team Trainers

Prerequisites:

• School is implementing PBIS at the Universal Level and has achieved a score of at least 70% on the Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) Tier 1 (items 1.1-1.15) within the past four months
• School leadership team must complete these activities.

Description:

The Targeted Training will support school teams in building and implementing (or refreshing) a system of Targeted supports based on strong Universal foundations. Teams will leave the training ready to implement Check-in/Check-out and/or Teacher Check, Connect, and Expect, and will have been introduced to other Targeted supports that can be implemented in the future. Restorative principles and equity considerations will be infused throughout the training.

Learning Objectives:

School Leadership Teams will:

• Increase knowledge and fluency about PBIS at the Targeted level of PBIS;
• Finalize systems needed at the Targeted level;
• Develop criteria and procedures for providing Targeted supports, with a primary focus on Check-in/Check-out and Teacher Check, Connect, and Expect;
• Establish how Targeted supports will provide increased instruction, feedback, and home communication;
• Develop a foundational understanding of Functional Behavior Assessment and Universal Screening and create a plan to integrate these into the Targeted level of PBIS;
• Explore how data is used to identify students, monitor progress, and evaluate implementation;
• Consider how to center equity by ensuring access, representation, meaningful participation, and high outcomes;
• Determine format/s and content for staff training and information about Targeted foundations and implementation specifics;
• Plan for roll-out of PBIS at the Targeted level.

Intended Audience:

• School leadership team participants should include: principal and/or assistant principal, school PBIS coordinator, Supervisory Union/Supervisory District PBIS coordinator, classroom teacher/s, staff member who is likely to provide Check-in/Check-out support, other representative staff members, and, if possible, caregiver/parent/guardian representative.
• This training is also appropriate for Teams who previously attended this training and who want a Targeted refresher training.
• Wondering if this strand is for you? Contact Amy Wheeler-Sutton at amy.wheeler-sutton@uvm.edu.

The following will be handed out at the Institute (one per team):

Responding to Problem Behavior in Schools : The Behavior Education Program
by Leanne S. Hawken, Deanne A. Crone, Robert H. Horner

Strand C - VTPBIS Intensive Training (for PBIS school teams ONLY)

Presenters: VTPBIS State Team Trainers

Prerequisites:

  • The school has rolled-out PBIS at the Universal and Targeted levels.
  • The team has confirmed a score of 70% on Tier I of the Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) and completed Tiers II and III of the TFI.
  • The team has identified school personnel who can complete simple and full Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Support Plans (BSPs).
  • The school has agreed to use an information system to make data-based decisions regarding student behavior for students receiving supports at the Intensive level.
  • The team has contacted their school’s VTPBIS TA to discuss readiness for the Intensive Level and have planned with TA to complete readiness activities (approximately 2 hours)
  • School leadership teams must also complete these additional activities in advance of the training

Description:

The Intensive level of VTPBIS is designed to provide a continuum of individualized, comprehensive, and team-based interventions for students with complex issues whose needs have not been adequately addressed with less intensive PBIS interventions at the Universal and Targeted levels.

Students receiving supports at the Intensive Level of PBIS also access the interventions and supports in place at the Universal and Targeted Levels but may need further assessment and individualized planning.

The VTPBIS Intensive Training will support school teams in building and implementing (or refreshing)  a system of Intensive supports based on strong Universal and Targeted foundations. Restorative principles and equity considerations will be infused throughout the training.

Learning Objectives:

School Leadership teams will:

  • Refine and strengthen an Inventory of Targeted practices that can be adapted for individualized supports;
  • Increase knowledge and fluency about the Intensive Level of VTPBIS with a restorative approach lens;
  • Identify the systems functions, responsibilities, and roles at the Intensive Level;
  • Understand the features of individualized supports, including:

o Teaming
o Setting Goals
o Assessment
o Intervention(s)
o Evaluation

  • Intentionally explore ways to involve students and their family members meaningfully in goal-setting and intervention design;
  • Develop strategies for building effective Behavior Support Plans;
  • Explore the data systems needed to facilitate effective Behavior Support Plans;
  • Consider strategies for building community supports that can support students across home, school, and community environments; and
  • Plan for the roll-out of the Intensive level that supports equitable access to all students.

Intended Audience:

  • School leadership team participants should include: the principal and/or assistant principal, school PBIS coordinator, Supervisory Union/Supervisory District PBIS coordinator, special educator/s, classroom teacher/s, staff member trained in FBA, other representative staff members, and, if possible, caregiver/parent/guardian representative
  • This training is also appropriate for Teams who previously attended this training and who want an Intensive refresher training.

FULL! Strand D - Refreshing, Enhancing, and Deepening Universal PBIS Implementation (for PBIS school teams ONLY)

This strand is FULL! - if you are hoping to register for this strand, please contact Anne Dubie.

Presenters: VTPBIS State Team Trainers

Prerequisites (completed with TA support):

  • School is implementing PBIS at the Universal Level
  • For schools previously trained in PBIS that are no longer implementing PBIS, please contact your State TA to determine if this strand is the best option for your school.
  • School leadership team must complete these activities.

Description:

This strand will provide opportunities for schools at any level of PBIS implementation to explore ways to strengthen their Universal implementation. Teams will take a deep dive into implementation strengths and needs in the areas of equity and cultural responsiveness, student and family voice, systems, and practices in each of the Universal core components: revisiting purpose; defining and refining expectations; teaching, practicing, and acknowledging prosocial behavior; preventing and responding instructionally to concerning behavior through a continuum of supports; and making decisions based on data.

This strand will differentiate content and activities based on individual school needs and school data. Schools may choose to attend in order to address needs including: deepening an already established Universal implementation; ensuring equity and cultural responsiveness; increasing  implementation fidelity; building momentum and staff skill and commitment; responding to staff and/or administrator turnover; expanding/strengthening practices; refining systems; using data more effectively; and/or keeping up to date with PBIS best practices. Schools that have not trained at Universal for some time, that have not been able to access coaching, or that began implementing during the pandemic are especially encouraged to attend.

Learning Objectives:

School leadership teams will:

• Identify, examine, and respond to their school’s particular implementation needs;
• Refine school-wide systems, practices, and data-based decision-making processes needed for equitable, fidelity-based PBIS implementation and improved student outcomes;
• Identify and make a plan to address equity and cultural responsiveness needs;
• Explore ways to support staff around preventing and responding instructionally to concerning behaviors;
• Design a system for training and supporting new and returning staff in implementing PBIS with fidelity;
• Develop a 3-year action plan for implementation growth and professional development.

Intended Audience:

• School leadership team participants should include: principal or assistant principal, school PBIS coordinator, Supervisory Union/School District PBIS coordinator, other representative staff members, and, if possible, student and/or caregiver/parent/guardian representative(s).
• Wondering if this strand is for you? Contact Amy Wheeler-Sutton at amy.wheeler-sutton@uvm.edu.

Strand E - Expanding and Enhancing Targeted Interventions for Social and Academic Success (for School Teams ONLY)

Presenters: VTPBIS State Trainers

Description:

In this strand, participants will explore how to broaden and enhance targeted interventions. Designed with a PBIS framework in mind, but accessible within the broader MTSS framework, participants and teams will explore ways to strengthen and build upon universal strategies while tightening up, enhancing, and developing new targeted interventions. Learning activities will focus on expanding "check-in/check- out,” using a function-based lens for matching interventions to student needs; and learning strategies for efficient group interventions to avoid the potential pitfalls of "universally individualized" interventions. Several classroom and school-wide examples will be provided.

Learning Objectives:
School Leadership teams will:

  • Expand current thinking about student needs and how to meet them;
  • Strengthen and enhance your school's inventory of targeted interventions;
  • Identify methods to collect and use data to monitor progress and make decisions about duration, modification, and fading;
  • Hear examples from multiple Vermont schools; and
  • Plan a process for supporting staff to implement targeted interventions with fidelity.

Intended Audience:

Teams consisting of PBIS Targeted coordinator/members, EST members, school counselors, special educators, administrators, other representative staff members, and, if possible, student and/or caregiver/parent/guardian representative(s).

Strand F - Everyday Equity: Achieving Equity in Your School Every Day in Every Way

Presenters: Dr. Sharla Horton-Williams and Dr. Toni Harrison-Kelly

Description: This strand will approach equity from the inside out, beginning with simple identity work to help participants identify the root of their responses to others. Equity is everyone's responsibility and is achievable through realistic, incremental changes in perspective and action. Through various interactive activities, participants will learn practical ways to apply the concept of equity to school discipline, teaching and learning, family engagement, and the school culture/physical environment. This strand provides both an on-ramp for those new to the concept of equity and a deeper dive for those who are ready to take action.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Understand and apply concepts such as equity, racial consciousness, racial humility, racial identity, unconscious bias, and deficit mindset to their personal and professional lived experiences.
  • Learn the basic steps of conducting their own informal equity audit to inform school/organizational choices.
  • Participate in guided reflection to surface current gaps in knowledge of equitable practices.
  • Begin developing an action plan for deepening personal knowledge and applying their learning to their current professional context.

Intended Audience: All educators and school professionals are welcome, and no prior training is required. We welcome individuals and teams. This strand is appropriate for all learning levels and educators with students at every grade level.

Bios:

Dr. Toni Harrison-Kelly is a 16-year master teaching veteran and education consultant, having worked with a variety of community partners and trained over 1,300 parents and teachers to date. Dr. Harrison-Kelly earned her Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction degree from Texas A&M University. She is also the Co-Founder of School Leadership for Social Justice (www.SLSJ.us), an equity firm focused on changing the story for students and for society. She currently leads the collaborative community involvement efforts of Southern Methodist University as the Executive Director of The Budd Center at Simmons College of Education and Human Development.

Dr. Sharla Horton-Williams has a 21-year career in early childhood and PK-12 education and is committed to achieving educational excellence and equity for all students - especially Black and Hispanic students who have historically been underserved in education. She has served as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal in private, public charter, and traditional public schools. Sharla earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Texas A&M University.

 

Strand G - No Such Thing as a Bad Kid: Understanding and Responding to All Students Using a Trauma-Informed, Strength-Based Approach to Create a Positive Culture in Every School

Presenter: Charles Appelstein

Description:

Strength-based practice is an emerging approach to guiding students and in particular - those with emotional & behavioral challenges - that is exceptionally positive and inspiring. This strand focused on strength-building rather than flaw-fixing. It begins with the belief that all students have or can develop strengths and utilize past successes to mitigate problem behavior and enhance academic and social functioning. Participants will learn a myriad of principles and techniques that help to "value, nurture, and embrace the strengths of every student (and their own). Techniques covered that help in this regard include decoding and reframing problem behavior, using inspirational metaphors to motivate students, creative ways to draw out and sustain strengths, using solution-focused questions, the power of rhythmic self-talk, and much more! This comprehensive strand will highlight most of the key principles and techniques of this transforming way of understanding and responding to students including:

  • What is strength-based practice & the power of a positive attitude & culture
  • The effects of trauma and positive emotions on the brain
  • Strength-based communication principles and techniques - including reframing, using solution-focused questions, positive-predicting, and inspirational metaphors
  • Encouraging growth vs. fixed mindsets
  • Self-esteem building & activities for students at-risk
  • How to help cognitively inflexible young people
  • The importance of being family-friendly
  • Why, how, and when to use incentive plans
  • The importance of controlling personal emotions (i.e., managing number one first)
  • Respectful, relationship-based behavior management & limit setting
  • A host of creative cognitive behavioral strategies.

Learning Objectives:

After attending this strand, participants will be able to: 

  • Describe the principles of a strength-based and prevention-oriented approach to guiding students.
  • Discuss the importance of teacher self-awareness and self-management in working with students who display challenging behaviors.
  • Define a host of strength-based non-verbal and verbal interventions that help school personnel to better engage and guide students.
  • Discuss strategies and techniques for promoting the strengths and talents of the students they guide.

Intended Audience:

This strand is intended for anyone who guides students.

Bio:

​​Youth care specialist Charlie Appelstein, M.S.W., President of Appelstein Training Resources, LLC (ATR) provides expert virtual and in-person strength-based training, consultation, publications, CDs, and DVDs for individuals and groups who work with children and youth experiencing emotional and behavioral challenges. He is the author of two critically acclaimed books, No Such Thing as a Bad Kid - Understanding and Responding to Kids with Emotional & Behavioral Challenges Using a Positive, Strength-Based Approach and The Gus Chronicles I - Reflections from an Abused Kid.

Described as "the best youth care trainer in America" by Robert Lieberman, former president of the American Association of Children's Residential Centers, Charlie has devoted his entire adult career to helping children and youth struggling with emotional and behavioral challenges and those who guide them. An engaging, informative, and humorous speaker,  Charlie's strength-based approach delivers a message of hope and possibility to our most vulnerable youth and those who shape and influence their lives.

Strand H - Systems to Support Young Children: Implementing Early MTSS and Pyramid Model

Presenters: Kate Rogers and Lori Meyer

Description:

This strand is designed for administrators, PreK coordinators, educators, and others who want to explore and implement an Early Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and Pyramid Model practices for Prekindergarten to 3rd-grade students. This Strand will emphasize building systemic capacity within your SU/SD to incorporate a full continuum of social and emotional supports. Special focus will be on systems building and implementation of Early MTSS and the Pyramid Model in PreK and Kindergarten classrooms, along with aligning Early MTSS resources, supports, and services with ongoing PBIS implementation. This Strand highlights the importance of establishing a leadership team that ensures sustained commitment, timely training, competent coaching, using process and outcome data for decision-making, and developing policies and procedures aligned with high-fidelity implementation.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this Strand, participants will:

  • Learn about the five foundational systemic components necessary to implement Early MTSS that align with VTmtss and PBIS.
  • Delve into the data-based decision-making and fidelity measures used at the system and classroom levels.

Intended Audience:

This Strand is intended for administrators responsible for Preschool/Kindergarten up to 3rd grade, along with other relevant stakeholders such as PreK/kindergarten teachers, support staff, community childcare leadership/staff, early childhood special educators, speech and language pathologists, paraeducators, families, and assistant teachers.

Bios:

Kate Rogers was nationally recognized in 2023 for the Annual Pyramid Model Champion Award presented to her at the National Training Institute in Tampa, Florida. Kate dedicated her career to early childhood education for over 40 years and recently retired from her position as Early Education Manager at the Vermont Agency of Education (VT AOE). Since 2005, Kate has led the VT AOE Early Education Team to support statewide compliance and implementation of Vermont’s Universal Prekindergarten Education Law (Act 166) (PreK), federal Individuals Disabilities Education Act Section 619 and state Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE), and Early Multi-Tiered System of Supports with a primary focus on statewide implementation of Pyramid Model practices. Kate coordinated statewide Universal PreK and ECSE professional development, training, and technical assistance for school district administrators, early educators and early childhood special educators, and community-based private prequalified PreK education programs. At the national level, Kate collaborated with leaders from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Program, the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems, the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovation (NCPMI), and the Pyramid Model Consortium.

Lori Meyer, PhD. is an Associate Professor who teaches in the Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education programs in the Department of Education at the University of Vermont. Dr. Meyer’s research focuses on young children with disabilities and their families within the context of pre-kindergarten and early elementary experiences. Specifically, she is interested in contemporary classroom environments and processes used by administrators and teachers to meet the social-emotional needs of young children with delays or disabilities. As a former inclusive early childhood teacher, Dr. Meyer is dedicated to increasing the use of evidence-based/recommended practices in the field of early childhood intervention and translating research into practice.

Strand I - Envisioning An Interconnected Future: Schools, Mental Health Partners, and Community Members All Working Together (for School Teams ONLY)

Presenter: Ami Flammini

Description:

As mental health needs continue to grow, schools, community mental health agencies, and community members must work together. This strand will guide teams through the necessary systems, data, and practices to build an interconnected system in which mental health partners, community members, and schools collaborate to meet all students' social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs. Participants will begin by thinking about mental wellness and hear an overview of what it means to be interconnected. Teams will assess current interventions, explore creating a common language around selected interventions, and appraise and assess what is currently available to support the mental wellness of youth, families, and staff. Participants will gather baseline data using a school/mental health implementation inventory and identify possible data sources pointing to youth mental health needs. Finally, teams will review their district/school and community data to begin the gap analysis process leading to the creation of a vision of an interconnected future and identifying bold next steps. Teams will have time to share with other participants to celebrate and learn from one another.

Objectives:

  • Describe an integrated way of work using enhanced features of MTSS/PBIS that include an eye on mental health.
  • Identify how an integrated system could benefit your community/district/school needs.
  • Know how to assess what’s in place and how to create a gap analysis based on school and community data.
  • Identify tools and resources to support the next steps.

Intended Audience:

Participants must attend this strand as a team. Consider a team that includes a school administrator and a district administrator who oversees student services. Also, the team will benefit from having a teacher, community mental health/DA partners, school-based clinicians, school counselors, psychologists, community members, family/caregivers, students, etc. If you plan to have students and/or a caregiver/family member join as a part of your school team, they can attend at no cost (please contact Anne Dubie).

Bio:

Ami Flammini’s extended and varied experiences in the field of social work have given her an understanding and deep respect for the role of systems in creating lasting individual and organizational change. Ami has worked in education for the past 30 years, including sixteen years in the field serving kindergarten through twelfth grades, focusing on work in alternative schools. She is in her fourteenth year of supporting state, regional, district, building, and individual work through the Illinois/Midwest PBIS Network. Ami has a passion for work focused on supporting youth with tier 3 needs, creating trauma-informed environments that focus on belonging and equity, and working to create partnerships between schools and communities. Ami has experience in project and grant management and has served as the director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services pre-service training program. She also worked for six years as a psychotherapist, focusing on work with adolescent girls. Ami also has extensive training in a psychotherapy model based on supporting people to recognize their own inner wisdom. Additionally, she has training in Morita and Naikan therapy, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Motivational Interviewing, PATH, MAP, RENEW, and Wraparound.

Strand J - Classroom Practices to Foster Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Growth

Presenter: Nicole Peterson

Description:

Decades of research have connected student outcomes to teacher quality (e.g., Darling-Hammond, 2000) and thus, efforts to increase teachers' acquisition of new skills and support their implementation of best practices are critical. Outcomes for students who engage in patterns of challenging behavior are particularly dismal (Sutherland et al., 2008) and are often attributed to a teachers' lack of knowledge of evidence-based practices (Ficarra & Quinn, 2014) and their ability to employ evidence-based practices effectively (Gable et al., 2012). Within a tiered system of support model, effective tier 1 school-wide supports are separate from class-wide supports, which are more nuanced to the particular learning environment including the teacher's response to the expressed social, emotional, and behavioral needs of their students. Foundational tier 1 classroom practices that are positive, proactive, and have an instructional focus have been shown to improve student outcomes, both academic and behavioral (e.g. Lewis et al., 2004; Simonsen et al., 2008). Across four days, strand participants will engage in professional development opportunities designed to

  1. strengthen their understanding of evidence-based practices to support the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students in classroom settings and
  2. develop systems to strengthen the quality of practice use and promote sustainability.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe how a data, systems, and practices framework, when applied to a classroom setting increases equity and outcomes by meeting the needs of all students.
  2. Identify and describe characteristics of evidence-based preventative and responsive classroom practices to support student's social, emotional, and behavioral needs.
  3. Increase understanding of data collection tools and procedures used to scale habits of effective classroom practices.
  4. Develop an ongoing plan to strengthen the use of evidence-based practices in the classroom that includes the dissemination of knowledge, a plan for data collection, and the development of systems to support sustainment.

Intended Audience:

Classroom teachers, SEL Coaches, and any educator (K - grade 12) who wants to improve their use of positive and proactive classroom practices to create nurturing environments. While not required, we recommend that individuals attend as a team with someone else from their school.

Bio:

Nicole Peterson, Ph. D., is a research associate at the University of Connecticut who works across interdisciplinary teams. Her research interests include measurement validation, teacher professional development, and classroom behavior supports. Nicole is also a member of the Northeast Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (NEPBIS) leadership team, which supports PBIS implementation at the regional level. Nicole’s teaching experience includes elementary general and special education as well as higher education. Nicole completed her Ph.D. in special education at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Strand K - Building a Community of Care and Belonging Through Play

Presenter: Howard Moody

Description:

Connection and belonging are core needs for everyone and are crucial in creating a supportive, dynamic learning environment. Creating an environment of safety, trust, and engagement is the foundation for fostering healthy relationships among students and adults. One key and powerful way to make this environment of trust and engagement is using well-led play. Play helps create a social and emotional learning environment of cooperation, active engagement, joy, and social connection, thus creating a Community of Care and Belonging. As we build our play community in this strand, we will discuss challenges faced in appropriately adding play to the busy days of school. We will explore how to deal with challenging and disrupting behaviors within play. We will also explore games that can be used for outdoor and indoor recess, games that can be used for transitions, and games to help regulate energy.

Objectives:

Utilizing a variety of engaging play strategies, participants will:

  • Learn several strategies to engage students through playful movements such as brain breaks, mindfulness activities, energizers, ice breakers, circle games, active games, theater games, team building games, free play, and imaginative play.
  • Learn strategies for honoring voice and choice which fosters safety and internal control, all while having fun ourselves.
  • Understand the neuroscience of play, the value in progress risk-taking, and how to lead play with trauma-informed awareness
  • Learn how play supports any SEL program, Responsive Classroom curriculum, or restorative circle practices.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to brainstorm and share resources

Intended Audience:

Appropriate for everyone. During this strand, participants will have the opportunity to join breakouts for different groups so they can explore adapting and applying what they have learned specifically to the age group that they work with.

Bio:

Howard Moody has been leading workshops for over 35 years with an emphasis on play, connection, and engagement. Howard has been a faculty member at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies for over 21 years and he is the co-founder of The Adventure Game Theater, an extraordinary improvisational learning process for teens that has been featured on PBS and NPR. Howard is the Staff Coordinator of Retribes two Rites of Passage summer teen camps, The Adventure Game theater and Inner Journeys, in Underhill VT. Howard has also recently self-published The Heart of Play Games Manual, Over 200 Activities for Connection and Joy, which focuses on bringing Social Emotional Learning and Mindfulness into the practice of leading games.

Strand L - Holistic Restorative Practices Foundations

Presenters: Camille Koosmann & Jessica Villeneuve

Description:

Restorative Practices (RP) first came to schools over 30 years ago as an alternative way to respond to harm that was relational, non-exclusionary, and based on a dedication to healing and growth instead of punishment and shame. Research has linked RP with improved school climate, greater school connectedness, increased student attendance, improved test scores, increased graduation rates, reduced discipline referrals, reductions in violent and serious incidents, and decreases in punitive and exclusionary discipline responses. In this strand, participants will receive an introduction to Restorative Practices (RP) as well as explore and practice the ways that RP, trauma-informed practices, mindfulness, SEL, and equity all weave together to build and strengthen the skill, motivation, and capacity for all members of a school community to thrive. As the field of RP has evolved, emphasis has shifted on how to use the principles of restorative approaches to transform climate and culture so that less harm happens, students and adults are more engaged in learning and more willing and able to participate in difficult conversations. From this shift a new field has been born—Holistic Restorative Education (HRE). This approach recognizes that educators cannot meet their students’ needs well if their own needs are not being met, and therefore, seeks to change systems and practices that are more human-centered and support the needs of everyone. During our time together participants will learn practical ways to create a powerful shift in school culture and increase engagement, collaboration, and active responsibility. While not an exhaustive training in all aspects of HRE, this strand intends to position participants to lead restorative change in the schools and/or classrooms where they work.

Objectives:

By the end of this strand, participants will have:  

  • Learned the foundational aspects of building a restorative school through collaborative naming of needs and strategy development.
  • Explored the significance of creating a holistic restorative community through participation in check-in circles, progressive risk-taking activities, and applying the Balance in the Process to teaching.
  • Defined Restorative Practices (RP) in a manner relevant to school staff, students, and the community, addressing the "why" and "what" of its implementation.
  • Examined foundational theories like Affect Theory, Social Discipline Window, and Compass of Shame to inform restorative practices.
  • Practiced Restorative Communication and informal conversations using the P.A.I.R. Up! model and Restorative Language Tool Box.
  • Emphasized the importance of "Optimistic Closures" in restorative and SEL-centered schools.
  • Developed a vision for integrating restorative practices into teaching and sharing insights with other teams and educators.
  • Reviewed real-world accounts of schools implementing restorative practices and explored tools for measuring effective implementation.

Intended Audience:

This strand is recommended for all educators who desire a comprehensive introduction to restorative practices and principles to lead school change. This strand is also for teachers who wish to use the restorative approach to transform their classrooms. No prior experience is needed and those already familiar with the use of RP will have ample opportunities to share their experiences and develop a deeper understanding.

Bios:

Camille Koosmann is a restorative practitioner, trainer, and coach who has been in the field of restorative practices since graduating from Champlain College in 2016. Camille has worked to apply restorative approaches in many settings, most recently in K-12 schools throughout Vermont. Camille formerly led the Restorative Practices in Schools program for the Franklin Grand Isle Restorative Justice Center, serving as the school-wide restorative practices coordinator for Bakersfield Elementary Middle School as well as providing support, training, and coaching to nine other schools in Franklin and Grand Isle counties. Currently, she is the Youth Team Development Coordinator and school trainer for Starling Collaborative.

Jessica Villeneuve taught high school Global Citizenship for over a decade. During that time, she spearheaded the school’s efforts towards Restorative Practices to better address issues of inequity and conflict. From there, she began to present to a wider audience on the powerful impact of these processes. By becoming an administrator, Jessica began training teachers to implement restorative approaches in their classrooms and thereby decreasing behavior referrals and increasing the strength of the learning community. In the role of school administrator, she loved being able to work closely with families and community stakeholders to repair harms and work towards restoring relationships. As someone who has taken on a wide range of roles in schools, from paraeducator and tutor to teacher to principal, she brings a deep understanding of the complex challenges facing schools today and brings empathy and understanding to her work. She is the Director of Events for Starling Collaborative.

FULL! Strand M - Embedding Function-Based Thinking within Restorative Approaches

This strand is FULL! - if you are hoping to register for this strand, please contact Anne Dubie.

Presenters: Jon Kidde and Jeremy Tretiak

Description:

The PBIS Framework can be seen as an "umbrella" to hold effective practices. Within this umbrella, there is an increased awareness of the value of aligning function-based thinking and restorative approaches. This evolution has led to increased conversations about the overlap and integration of restorative practices and, in particular, the FBA process. Through a strengths-based orientation, participants will explore how person-centered function-based thinking and restorative approaches aim to promote inclusion, and access to educational and social opportunities, and help to identify barriers to access while offering strategies an individual can take to strengthen belonging and promote active accountability. In this strand, participants will gain a foundational understanding of function-based thinking within a trauma-responsive framework, explore relevant research on how to leverage restorative approaches to enhance and align the evolution of PBIS within the school and classroom community, and share their experiences integrating Function-Based Thinking within Restorative Approaches by discussing case examples and system-level efforts to promote this work.

Objectives:

Through a shared learning environment rooted in collaboration, participants will:

  • Increase their understanding of a whole school restorative approach and function-based thinking.
  • Practice restorative communication strategies that can be used to understand the root causes of behavior
  • Explore the application of an integrated approach using case studies/examples to identify and begin to address the unmet needs of all parties.
  • Create a template/roadmap that integrates Function-Based Thinking and Restorative Approaches
  • Identify system changes needed to do this work well and plan to address them.

Intended Audience:

Small school teams preferred or individuals who support students with behavior concerns. Administrator attendance with the team is highly encouraged.

Bios:

Jon Kidde has been exploring the concepts of restorative justice (RJ) for 22 years and has played a critical role in the conceptualization, application, and enhancement of restorative justice within different contexts—education, justice, and within organizations in several states. Jon is currently an independent consultant focused on restorative justice and school discipline and juvenile justice reform living in Vermont. Jon received an MSW degree from the School of Social Welfare at the University of California – Berkeley. He co-authored Restorative Justice: A Working Guide for Our Schools with Rita Alfred during the initial implementation of RJ within the Oakland Unified School District. He is a Certified Dialogue Education Teacher.

Jeremy Tretiak is an Implementation Coach and Trainer for Vermont PBIS. He has been working in the field for nine years, during which he has been a classroom teacher and worked in both direct service and consultation roles with children, families, and schools. Jeremy earned his BS from St. Lawrence University and an MA in Education from Johnson State College. He has been a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst since 2015 and is also a Licensed Behavior Analyst in Vermont. He has extensive experience training and supporting school staff in the theory and implementation of principles and practices of Applied Behavior Analysis and PBIS.

FULL! Strand N - Beyond Behavior Plans: The Power of Effective Tier One in Transforming Your Classroom/School-wide Culture (for School Teams ONLY)

This strand is FULL!

Presenter: Gregg Stoller

Description:

Historically, MTSS models estimate that at any one time, 1% to 5% of students may need tier 3 interventions. With some schools now reporting upwards of 20% of students requiring tier 3 supports, many are finding their systems overwhelmed by a large increase in serious interfering behaviors, a drop in staff morale, and an erosion of the learning community. While schools have responded by hiring behavior analysts, focusing on SEL, restorative practices, and trauma, for many educators, these new initiatives, rather than being viewed as supports, are resulting in “initiative fatigue” and a further sense of isolation.

This strand will expound on the theory that the efficacy of any school-wide initiative is predicated on there being a strong foundation of tier 1 interventions in place.  Participants will come to understand that tier 1 is not only a list of routines and procedures, but a powerful tool to create community and a positive school culture.

Participants will be introduced to a fresh look at the power and efficacy of tier 1 interventions in transforming classroom and school-wide culture which will result in significantly reducing interfering behavior.

Learning Objectives:

Through the use of lectures, small group discussions, and team-focused projects, participants will leave this workshop with:   

  1. A new understanding of tier 1 interventions.
  2. New and helpful ways of understanding student behavior.
  3. Research-based intervention ideas that they will find effective in building community and reducing interfering behaviors in their classrooms and in their schools.
  4. A new sense of hope about their work and an excitement about implementing changes in their practice and their school community.

Intended Audience:

Due to the collaborative nature of this strand, participants must attend this strand as a team.  While an administrator's attendance is not mandatory, it is highly suggested that an administrator be a part of the team.

Bio: 
Gregg Stoller MSW, BCBA, LBA is an educational and behavioral consultant living in southern Vermont.  He is a licensed school counselor, social worker, and BCBA with 35 years of experience working in schools and mental health settings.  Gregg is a strong believer in inclusion for all students and was instrumental in the creation and oversight of the WSESU’s specialized inclusion program for neurodivergent students (STEP).  As the chair of the district’s Social Emotional Academic Development committee, Gregg developed expertise in the area of SEL assessment and spearheading SEL initiatives.  Gregg has been a PBIS coordinator and is trained as an instructional coach.  His passion is providing training and coaching to educators with a focus on assisting them in improving their practice which results in a measurable and significant impact on their students.

Strand O - Cultivating Trauma Responsive Schools: Supporting the Development, Connection, and Engagement of All Community Members

Presenter: Joelle van Lent

Description:

Striving to meet widely varying needs and create a community with a strong sense of belonging and engagement has never been more complex. We have gained amazing wisdom and exciting new approaches through the challenges of the past few years to be able to offer a school community and learning experience that celebrates neurodiversity, as well as engages all community members in consideration of vulnerabilities connected to exposure to trauma, mental health, and other stressors. This strand will pair understanding of the impact of stress and adversity on development with practical strategies that promote the resilience of all students. The strategies will focus on emotional regulation, relational health, and executive functioning skills for students that can be offered in a universal manner. Participants in this strand will receive efficient tools to increase the knowledge base of staff, including those with expertise in trauma-responsive schools and those who are newly engaged in this learning. In addition, participants will receive tools to discuss compassion satisfaction and vicarious trauma to increase the resilience of the adults who work in our schools.

Learning Objectives:

By attending this strand, participants will:  

  • Learn about various forms of stress and the impact of exposure to trauma on child development, specifically focusing on emotional regulation, relational health, identity formation, and executive functioning.
  • Gain insights related to how healthy motivation develops, as well as obtain strategies to promote increased motivation and engagement for students experiencing stress and adversity.  
  • Examine concepts related to the use of trauma-responsive discipline to promote student engagement and diminish inequities within a school community.  
  • Increase understanding of the factors essential to building a culture of community care, including the risks for compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout. This strand will include strategies to promote the well-being of school professionals.

Intended Audience:

This strand is appropriate for those who are relatively new to the topic of resilience and trauma-responsive schools, as well as those who have developed more advanced expertise. The information will be relevant to preschool through grade 12, as well as examples provided for this full range. The ideal participation option is for a school team to attend the full strand together, however, that is not required.

Bio:
Dr. Joelle van Lent, Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist with over 25 years of experience working with children, families, and child-serving agencies.  Dr. van Lent has expertise as a therapist, clinician, evaluator, consultant, and trainer.  Her work focuses on child and adolescent mental health, family therapy, trauma, and neurodivergence.  Dr. van Lent’s approach is geared toward fostering resilience and creating communities that support healthy development.  She is currently in private practice based in the northwestern part of Vermont and works across the state with schools and agencies.