Schedule of Events

A scheduling calendar.

9-9:45 a.m.: Check-in
10-10:15 a.m.: Welcome - Andrew P. Daire, Ph.D., Dean, VCU School of Education
10:15-10:45 a.m.: Keynote Address - Ashley Bland (M.Ed ’16)

11 a.m.-12 p.m.: Session One

  1. An Overview of Tiered Supports for Undergraduate Students in Education
    Presenter: Kris Herakovich-Curtis; Kim Dupre; Anna Hebb, Ed.D.
    Session Description: “When we meet a student who does not yet read well, we teach that student to read. When we meet a student who does not understand how to multiply, we teach that student. But when we meet a student who misbehaves, we punish that student.” (Hattie, 2022). Let’s change this dynamic! Using a powerpoint presentation, documents to support content teachers can take back to school, and engaging activities to reinforce learning, we will review the VTSS framework and tiered supports. Teachers will understand the importance of teaching behavior expectations for all students to create an equitable learning environment, reduce time on discipline, and create a positive school climate built on student and family voice. Incorporating a few evidence-based classroom practices, we will model how teachers can build their toolbox to encourage student learning. An overview of how to integrate social emotional learning into the classroom will support teachers in infusing this work without sacrificing instructional time. Family engagement tips will help teachers build relationships with students so they better understand their background, needs, and desires.
  2. Implementing Special Education Instruction & Services Post-Pandemic
    Presenter: Tameka Burroughs
    Session Description: The session will explore some of the concerns with students having disabilities returning to school by specifically discussing some identified concerns from all constituents impacted including students, parents/guardians, related service providers, and special education teachers and case managers. The lecture-style presentation will provide an opportunity to address some pressing concerns with the post-pandemic return, while providing suggested resources and strategies to use within the classroom setting and school environment to minimize the impact of identified concerns. For example, the concern with student’s having experienced regression during the pandemic. A suggestion during the presentation would include instructional suggestions to reintroduce previously learned information using a variety of instructional methods. The session may also include some active discussion and engagement through answering questions and providing specific examples from participants.
  3. Return to Learn – Lessons Learned, Opportunities, and Challenges of Post-Pandemic Instruction
    Presenter: Thomas Connolly, Ed.D.
    Session Description: This will be a lecture/discussion-based presentation. Session attendees will learn how DHS handled specific challenges and be able to discuss/share their own experiences. Session attendees will also learn innovative practices that were born out of the 2020 shutdown that influenced full-time face-to-face instruction.

12-12:45 p.m.: Lunch during Alumni College. A boxed lunch will be provided for all registrants.
12:45-1:30 p.m.: Panel Discussion

1:45-2:45 p.m.: Session Two

  1. Culturally Sustaining Practices for Elementary Multilingual Learners
    Presenters: Luciana de Oliveira, Ph.D.; Jia Gui; Destini Braxton; Tara Willging
    Session Description: Culturally sustaining pedagogies (Paris & Alim, 2017) address the multiethnic and multilingual nature of many classrooms and help sustain “the cultural and linguistic competence of their communities while simultaneously offering access to dominant cultural competence” (p. 95). These pedagogies maintain (hence the word sustaining in its title) the practices of students while also expanding their repertoires to include “dominant language[s], literacies and other cultural practices” (p. 95) so students are also able to critique such practices. This presentation describes ways elementary teachers have continuously supported multilingual learners through culturally sustaining teaching practices. Presenters identify these practices that promote learning through language and learning about language by elementary teachers: a kindergarten teacher and a fourth-grade teacher in Indiana and a fifth-grade teacher in Florida. We draw from results of qualitative case-studies (Creswell & Poth, 2018; Merriam, 2001) to examine how these teachers draw on students’ cultural and linguistic affordances in classroom instruction. We looked at what was happening within specific classrooms to provide a comprehensive, holistic description of instruction in action (Merriam, 2001). We share excerpts of classroom instruction to showcase these teaching practices and discuss implications for classrooms in Virginia and beyond in the context of the new WIDA 2020 Standards.
  2. “We’re Not Giving Up on You!” Employees with ASD and Success in Employment Prior to and During COVID-19: Qualitative Case Study
    Presenters: Carol Schall, Ph.D.; Paul Wehman, Ph.D.; Vicki Brooke; Jennifer McDonough
    Session Description: In this lecture and discussion, we will provide an overview of a recently completed qualitative study of five youth with ASD who acquired and maintained employment prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. With so much emphasis on what is wrong with individuals with ASD, there has been very little note of what success in adult life should be for these youth. The purpose of this cross-sectional case study was to collect the perspectives of individuals with ASD who are successfully employed to understand their perspective. The results identified six major themes participants reported as contributing to their success. Each theme will be discussed and implications for special and general educators, parents of individuals with ASD, and potential employers will also be presented. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about the skills and abilities of individuals with ASD in the workplace and consider their role in preparing their students and/or children with ASD for employment in community-based settings. Finally, we will discuss the impact that employees with ASD have on their co-workers and employers. The ultimate message of this session is one of hope for youth with ASD to become full participants in their lives and communities.
  3. Enhancing Your Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices Through Action Research
    Presenter: Hillary Parkhouse, Ph.D.; Alma Kenup; Victoria Case; and Jesse Senechal, Ph.D.
    Session Description: This session will introduce teachers to what action research is and how they can use it to become more culturally responsive educators. VCU faculty will first describe how action research works, the theory and research behind it, and how teachers can use it within their specific contexts in order to create more culturally responsive classrooms. Then several experienced action researchers from Richmond area secondary schools will share how they designed and carried out action research projects and the impacts these had on their culturally responsive teaching practices. The presenters will summarize their two-year projects, the impacts on themselves and students, and advice for others interested in trying out action research. We will then ask audience members to brainstorm how they might apply this model in their own teaching contexts, and offer a chance for them to ask the presenters questions that arise as they consider using action research for culturally responsive teaching. The session will be discussion-based to allow audience members ample opportunity to ask questions.

3-4 p.m.: Session Three

  1. RTR Teacher Residency: Supporting Teacher Professionalism Through Reflective Practice
    Presenter: Lisa Abrams, Ph.D.; Kim McKnight, Ph.D.; and Jesse Senechal, Ph.D.
    Description: Alternative models of teacher preparation, such as teacher residency programs, have become prominent models to address the challenges of recruiting and retaining teachers in hard-to-staff schools. The residency model shifts the responsibility of preservice preparation from the university to the classroom mentor or coach. A cornerstone of the coaching model is engaging in reflective practice alongside the beginning teacher. These conversations and side-by-side work yields benefits for pre-service and in-service coaches. This session focuses on the central role of reflective practice in teacher development and professional growth. Session participants will learn how different tools and strategies have supported the development of beginning teachers prepared through a residency model. We will extend these ideas and strategies to in-service teachers to discuss how they can support student learning by (re) engaging in reflective strategies. The session centers on teachers’ voices. Using a discussion-based model we will explore excerpts from conversations with pre-service teachers and their mentors to illustrate the impact on reflection on developing effective practice.
  2. When We Do It for the Culture: The Intentional Centering of Blackness in School-Based Mental Health Systems
    Presenter: Shenita Williams
    Session Description: Mental health services are often underutilized by Black students because selected programs and services are not designed nor implemented with the Black student in mind (Hatcher, 2017). The continued use of Eurocentric theories as the dominant explanation and understanding of behaviors of persons of African descent is ineffective, inappropriate, and dismissive of cultural differences (Hatcher, 2017). Afrocentricity places African ideals at the center of any analysis that involves African culture and behavior (Asante, 1987). Afrocentricity is a way of thinking, acting, and living to advance social justice and human rights that honors cultural uniqueness, personal strengths, and community development (Bent-Goodley et al., 2017; Borum, 2017; Hatcher et al., 2017). Given the minimal research in the extant literature about how the mental health needs of Black students are addressed through school-based mental health (SBMH) systems, my research (and this presentation) aims to help schools create inclusive and effective SBMH systems that consider the cultural influences and mental health needs of Black students. Using a lecture-style format, participants are introduced to Afrocentricity and its use as a framework for meeting the mental health needs of Black students.
  3. Design-Thinking for Educators
    Presenter: Brandi Daniels
    Session Description: Design-Thinking for Educators will fuse the following delivery methods during the session: lecture-style, discussion-based, and activity-driven with volunteers from the audience. Inspired by an academic partnership with VCU's da Vinci Center for Innovation, Design-Thinking Educators will help bridge the education field and its challenges from a deficit language to a values, skills-based perspective. The lecture-style presentation will help to illuminate connectors for content connections and participant engagement via shared learning and experiences (i.e. storytelling). The Universal Design for Learning topic along with Bolman & Deal's Four Leadership Frames for collaboration and productive conflict will be explored as well.