What we will cover

The theme of the 2010 conference is “Effective Educational Practices in Special Education: Weaving the Threads for Success.”

The Summer Institute will provide all participants an opportunity to explore, learn and share successful collaboration strategies for effective teaming outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities. Participants include families, educators, support staff, and service providers who are highly motivated to strive for Special Education Excellence.

Act 48 Credits will be available to all teachers. In addition, paraeducators can also receive credit toward yearly required training hours.


  • Keynote Speaker
  • Young Adults &Transition: Preparation for Adult Living, Self Advocacy and Building Friendships
  • Parents and Families asTeam Leaders: Success Stories
  • Paraeducators: Strategies for EffectiveTeaming
  • Successful Strategies for Education


The Institute will be hosted byThe Jones Center and Bloomsburg University, Department of Exceptionalities Programs and held at Bloomsburg Area High School, on Friday, July 9, 2010, 7:45am to 4pm.

Coffee and tea was available during registration. *No food or drink of any kind is permitted in the newly renovated auditorium.

8:00 - 4:00 Service/Vendor Fair (gym)
7:45 – 8:30 Conference Registration, Registration for Act 48 Credit & Paraeducator Training Hours
8:30 – 8:45 Opening Remarks: President David Soltz, Bloomsburg University, Mr Frank Williams, IU #16
8:45 – 9:40 Keynote Speaker: Dr. Regina Palubinsky
10:00 – 11:30 Sessions I
11:30 – 12:30 Lunch and Service/Vendor Fair
12:30 – 1:45 Sessions II
2:00 – 2:45 Keynote Speaker: The Fabulous Three
2:30 – 3:00 Closing Remarks: The Jones Family, Conference Evaluation
3:15 – 3:30 Act 48 Credit & Paraeducator Training Hours Sign Out



Young Adults &Transition - 10:00 - 11:30 am (90 minutes)

  • Title: Mentor for self-determination (M4SD)

  • Presenter:
    Debbie Leasure, Mentoring for Self-Determination

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Participants will learn the need to start planning at least 5 years before graduation and the impact proper planning can have on graduate’s everyday life. 
    2. Participants will learn how to access Adult MR Services, what services are available and an individual’s rights. 
    3.  Participants will gain a general understanding of the MR funding sources, the difference between Base Funding and the (2) MR Waivers, Person Family Directed Support (P/FDS) Waiver and the Consolidated Waiver.

    Description: A Family Connection is an informal discussion created and presented by parents with children with exceptionalities.  Our organization, Mentors for Self Determination (M4SD), is a partner in The PA Training Partnership for People with Disabilities and Families.  We are trained on the PA MR System by the Institute on Disabilities, Temple University.  The information provided to attendees is approved and funded by the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP).  M4SD’s mission is to provide current and accurate information regarding the PA MR System to families and individuals with exceptionalities with a focus on self-determination and everyone living an everyday life.  M4SD also mentors families on an individual basis, providing information and resources so families have the knowledge necessary to resolve their issues and concerns regarding the MR System.
    At a Family Connection, we discuss the importance of planning... Why people need to register with their County MR Office?  Who to contact?  What is the next step?  What is the PUNS Form (Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services), what is the (3) categories of need mean, and why it is so important to have an up to date PUNS in the Transition Planning Process?  We discuss the MR Waiver Application process, a brief description of the (2) MR Waivers the Person/Family Directed Support (P/FDS) & Consolidated Waivers, what are the waiver service definitions and what impact these services can have on an individual fulfilling their vision of an everyday life.  The importance of the Individual Support Plan (ISP) and we thread the theme of Person Centered Thinking and Planning throughout the discussion. 
    As we proceed through the presentation, the audience has the opportunity to ask questions, express concerns, we answer the attendee’s questions, (if we do not know the answer, we record their contact information and provide them with answers/ resources, contacts, etc. at a later date).  M4SD provides attendees with several handouts supporting the facts and information discussed during the Family Connection.

  • Title: Students On-Campus Achieving Results:  Project SOAR

  • Presenters
    Dr. Patricia Arter, Marywood University, Special Education
    Sarah O’Brien, graduate assistant for SOAR, Marywood University, Special Education
    Ellen Cummings, Transition Specialist
    Ellen Dente, Autism Coach
    Mary Murphy Fox, NEIU Early Intervention Supervisor NEIU 19

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Participants will discuss the importance of age-appropriate peers and real-life contexts for young adults with autism.
    2. Participants discuss opportunities for successful competitive employment and higher education experiences for individuals with autism spectrum disorder.
    3. Participants will discuss ways to support behavioral and social skills training for young adults with autism.
    Description: Marywood University and Northeastern Intermediate Unit 19 (NEIU) began an innovative Autism support classroom on Marywood University’s campus in Scranton, PA for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) ages 18-21. This model program is intended to 1) provide valuable experiences with age-appropriate peers and real-life contexts; 2) support behavioral and social skills training; 4) create a welcoming collaborative environment with cooperation of MU faculty, staff, students, NEIU personnel, and students with ASD; 3) demonstrate the efficacy of this approach; and 4) provide resources and training for educators and employers.

     Students On-Campus Achieving Results (SOAR) program incorporates a half-day of academics and half-day of vocational training on campus. This project utilizes an innovative, individually designed academic curriculum delivered in a campus-based classroom that allows students with ASD to be served in the least restrictive environment with their age-appropriate, non-disabled peers as mandated by IDEIA (2004). The half-day vocational training program utilizes a variety of sites available on campus including maintenance, clerical, and housekeeping and food service. Program development, perspectives from faculty, students, and NEIU, and the successes and challenges of two year implementation will be shared.


  • Title: The discovery of transition: The key to success in public schools

  • Presenter:
    Dr. Michael Koury, Children’s Service Center

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Participants will learn about the difference between No Child Left Behind Act and President Obama’s  New School Reform.
    2. Participants will gain an understanding regarding the relationship between academic  success and transition, and the key components to successful transition.

    Description: The presentation will review the No Child Left Behind Act and although its intent was good what it failed to take into account to accomplish its goals. President Obama’s new school reform will be reviewed and its emphasis on Transition outcomes. The audience will be shown the connection between the two Bills and how academic standards and transition are interwoven to have a better probability for a successful outcome. Key components of transition will then be discussed.

  • Title: Trinity House: A housing option for young adults with disabilities

  • Presenters:
    Linda Baker, Parent
    David Gates, Pennsylvania Health Law Office
    Rich Kisner, Director, Columbia County Housing and Redevelopment Authority

    Learning Objectives:
    1.  Participants will learn about using waiver monies for housing for young adults with disabilities.
    2.  Participants will discuss the development of peer relationships with caregivers.
    3.  Participants will discuss legislative and community partnerships forged in developing the Trinity House model.

    Description: Linda Baker and the other parents and professionals will talk about Trinity House, where young adults with disabilities will be able to rent apartments, choosing to live alone or with roommates, paying for their housing with consolidated waiver monies. Baker and other parents worked with governmental offices and jumped through legislative hoops to make it to this point, with "groundbreaking" (beginning of remodeling) taking place at the beginning of May. 

  • Title: Transition from school to adult living: A team approach

  • Presenter:
    Andy Hergan, IU #16 Transition/Interagency Coordinator and Consultant

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Participants will gain insight into the essential threads to successful participation in post-secondary education or training, employment, and community living.
    2. Participants will be able to identify factors that influence student involvement in
    transition related services.
    3. Participants will learn important practices and strategies to help students reach their goals for life after high school.

    Description: Transition is the process of preparing students for life after high school including successful participation in post-secondary education or training, employment, and community living. Student, family, school and community factors all influence student involvement in transition related services. A panel of presenters from local transition teams will share important practices to help students reach their goals for life after high school.


Parents and families as team leaders - 10:00 - 11:30 am (90 minutes)

  • Title: Parents sharing success stories!

  • Presenter:
    Tami Williams, IU #16

    Learning Objectives:

    Participants will learn from parents, educators, support staff, and individuals with disabilities about the “collaborative threads” necessary for students with disabilities to be successful in the home, school, and community.

    Description: This interactive panel discussion consisting of a parent, a regular education teacher, an itinerant autistic support teacher and a student share their successes in the schools, the home and the community. The audience will be encouraged to share their successes.

  • Title: Successful early childhood transitions

  • Presenter:
    Jan Salwocki, IU #16, Early Intervention Program Supervisor

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Participants will learn about the transition policies of the PA Bureau of Special Education and The Bureau of Early Interventions for young children.
    2. Participants will learn about the policies and strategies for success transition into the public school.

    Description: This session will focus on the transition process from early intervention services (3-5) to school age services. Information will be provided about the Bureau of Special Education and the Bureau of Early Interventions procedures for the transition process. Additionally, the transition planning that occurs in the child's year before school will be highlighted.

Parents and families as team leaders - 12:30 - 1:45 am (75 minutes)

  • Title: Maneuvering through the intervention system: Help for Parents

  • Presenter:
    Victoria Wilcox

    Learning Objectives:
    1.  Participants will discuss service provision  for their child with special needs.
    2.  Participants will discuss their roles and responsibilities in working with service providers, related services, legal paperwork and assessment.
    3.  Participants will discuss coping mechanisms and options as their child with special needs moves through the education system.

    Description: The road from assessment to special education services can be bewildering and frightening.  Participants will talk with a parent who has negotiated the early intervention and public school maze of services, speaking to family stress around diagnosis, handling the onslaught of forms and information, reading assessment reports, developing IFSP/IEP goals that reflect family priorities, transitions, dealing with a variety of service providers and functioning as their child’s advocate and case manager.

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  • Title: Weaving the threads for success in transition programs for children with autism and their families

  • Presenter:
    W. Emeka Obiozor, Department of Exceptionality Programs, Bloomsburg University

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Participants will understand the challenges confronting families and parents of children with autism.
    2. Participants will learn the best methods to approach the problems posed by autism disorder to the child.
    3. Participants will engage in interactive session to understand recommended practices and strategies to deal with the tasks and challenging behaviors confronting children with autism.

    Description: Families and parents of newly diagnosed children often know little about autism disorder. There are several challenges the family and parent of children with autism encounter daily as they strive to provide external structures for the child to be successful at home, school, playground, and community setting. The presentation shall also highlight transition strategies for children with autism so that they could be involved in their life decisions and activities, whether they have mild or severe autism disorder.  Participants shall understand better the roles they could play starting from the child’s birth, to the period of diagnosis, treatment and transition from adolescent to adulthood.

  • Title: School-based ACCESS Program

  • Presenter:
    Joseph P. Matz, Central Administration, Pocono Mountain School

    Learning Objectives:
    1.  Participants will learn about the purpose and function of the School Based ACCESS Program.
    2.  Participants will learn the facts about eligibility and dispel some commonly held information about the use of ACCESS funds in schools.

    Description: This presentation will cover the SBAP program, including 1) the history of Pennsylvania participating in the program, 2) an over view of the program,3) who can participate in the program (district, IU's, charter schools and approved private schools), 4) what services can be billed for and the qualifications needed (student must be chapter 14 and have MA), and 5) how reimbursement is obtained and what the funds can be spent on.


Paraeducators: Strategies for effective Teaming - 10:00 - 11:30 am (90 minutes)

  • Title: Positive Behavior Support (PBS): Preventative approaches and techniques (Limited to the first 30 paraeducators registered for the conference. Textbook provided for participants)

  • Presenter:
    Tim Knoster, Department of Exceptionality Programs, Bloomsburg University

    Learning Objectives:
    1.  Participants will learn Positive Behavior Support (PBS), including Rapport Building, Establishing Clear Expectations and Positive Reinforcement.
    2.  Participants will learn basic re-direction techniques, including Planned Ignoring/Pivoting and Stop-redirect procedures.

    Description: This is a session for paraeducators/teachers relating to the simple principles of preventing challenging behaviors and using positive behavior supports. Presenter will provide a skill building presentation for a targeted population of participants. This will be a basic/pragmatic hands-on session of general preventative approaches coupled with some basic re-direction techniques. Presenter will focus on three interactive preventative approaches (Rapport Building, Establishing Clear expectations and Positive Reinforcement (with 4 to 1 ratio) in tandem with two standard re-direction techniques (Planned Ignoring/Pivoting and Stop-redirect procedures). Participants will be given a copy of the Teacher's Pocket Guide book as the presenter will explicitly describe these practices in that book.

  • Title: Roles of paraeducators in the educational and personal growth of students

  • Presenter: John Deppen, IU#16, Transition/Interagency Coordinator & Consultant

    Learning Objectives:
    1.  Participants will gain an understanding of the roles of paraeducators in social, as well as educational, growth.
    2.  Participants will learn strategies including, Circle of Friends and mapping social networks.

    Description: The session will focus on the role paraprofessionals play in the educational and personal growth of their students. Discussions will identify how paraprofessionals can expand their circle of influence through social development tools and making use of naturally occurring opportunities for social and emotional growth.

Paraeducators: Strategies for effective teaming - 12:30 - 1:45 PM (75 minutes)

  • Title:“But they are not sitting quietly in their seats.” The paraeducator’s role in the specials (Art, Music & PE)

  • Presenters:
    Mark Jones, Art Teacher, Bloomsburg High School
    Suzann Schiemer, Physical Education Teacher
    Andrea Welch, Music Teacher

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Participants will acquire information related to the role of the paraeducator in the specials.
    2. Participants will acquire facilitation strategies to enhance students’ participation and independence in the specials.
    3. Participants will share their experiences as paraeducators in the specials with regard to student behavioral expectations and when it is appropriate to intervene.

    Description: Every paraprofessional has realized that the rules and expectations in an art/gym/music class are very different from the regular classrooms that the paraprofessionals are based in. The presenters will share expectations, ideas and examples for the para-professionals to use in these settings to help adjust to the different expectations and responsibilities to become a strong part of the Elementary/Middle/High Team.

  • Title: The why and how of data collection for paraeducators.

  • Presenter:
    Maureen Walsh, Department of Exceptionality Programs, Bloomsburg University

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Participants will acquire information related to the role assessment data plays in decision-making for students with disabilities.
    2. Participants will learn how to conduct behavioral assessments by using various observational recording systems.

    Description: Paraeducators are often the eyes and ears of the classroom.  This session will emphasize the importance of the paraeducator in assisting the classroom teacher with data collection procedures.  Paraeducators will have an opportunity to learn how to keep anecdotal records in addition to learning a variety of observational recording systems such as: event, interval, time sampling, duration and latency recording.


Successful strategies for education - 10:00 - 11:30 am (90 minutes)

  • Title: Response to Intervention (RTI) in the secondary level and creating a good transition plan for all students

  • Presenters: 
    Tom Barbush, Principle, East Junior High School, Pocono Mountain School
    Jon Reifer, Supervisor of Special Education, East Junior High School, Pocono Mountain School

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Participants will gain an overview of Elementary, Intermediate and High School intervention strategies.
    2. Participants will learn several effective intervention strategies at the the junior high level.
    3. Participants will learn how to effectively implement transition plans.

    Description: In the Elementary Schools, the Instructional Support Team (IST) is very effective in providing interventions for kids prior to any type of testing being done.  As students move to Middle or Intermediate schools, the IST may not be part of the school's programs.  In this presentation, strategies in the Middle Schools will be presented.  Students then move to High School and teaming is no longer in place.  Creating a child centered supportive atmosphere is still an essential part of any child's development.  Working RTI into the High School level can be challenging, but also can be done. 

  • Title: The spectrum of perspective taking: Keys to the social world

  • Presenters: 
    Patty Martz, CSIU
    Shanna Hess, CSIU

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Participants will be able to identify the different levels of perspective taking for social thinking.
    2. Participants will be able to identify key components to social perspective taking.
    3. Participants will be able to identify strategies for teaching perspective taking skills to individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

    Description: This session will provide an overview of social awareness and perspective taking skills. These skills are important for an individual to be a successful participant in the social community at large. In addition, strategies for teaching these skills to individuals on the Autism Spectrum of all ages will be presented.

  • Title: School-based Behavior Health: Providing a new model of social-emotional support for students

  • Presenters: 
    Kelly Perales, LCSW, Associate Clinical Manager, Community Care Behavioral Health
    Anne Katona-Lynn, Educational Consultant for Autism/Team Leader for Behavior-Central Region, PaTTAN

    Learning Objectives:
    1.  Participants will gain an overview of the components of the SBBH Team Program.
    2. Participants will be able to identify the differences between traditional Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services (BHRS) and the SBBH Team Program.
    3. Participants will be able to discuss the interface of SBBH with education services and systems including School-wide Positive Behavior Support.

    Description: Historically, mental health services have been provided to students in a more clinical setting and/or in the community.  In schools, the system of support if often fragmented between mental health providers and school personnel. Often there are different people providing different services in a manner that is not cohesive and collaborative.  This presentation will provide an overview of School-based Behavioral Health, and the new direction and models of providing mental health and social-emotional learning support to students with severe emotional/behavioral disorders. 


Successful strategies for education - 12:30 - 1:45 am (75 minutes)

  • Title: Verbal behavior: An evidence based approach for teaching language

  • Presenters: 
    Lori Chamberlain, The Pennsylvania Verbal Behavior Project
    Valerie McAnnaney

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Participants will gain an understanding of the verbal behavior approach.
    2. Participants will learn how verbal behavior teaches language skills.
    3. Participants will be able to discuss how the verbal behavior approach is individualized and evidenced-based.

    Description: Verbal behavior programming is guided by the principles of applied behavior analysis.  Applied behavior analysis is a research based strategy that is effective in teaching children with language delays to communicate, learn new skills, and develop appropriate behaviors. The goal of this training is to provide a brief overview of Verbal Behavior, introduce the basic concepts of applied behavior analysis, and offer strategies that have been proven successful when working with a child with language delays. Hands on activities will be interspersed throughout the session to assist in the understanding of the basic concepts of verbal behavior and applied behavior analysis. Some strategies that will aid in working with a child with language delays will be practiced as well.

  • Title: Safe Crisis Management: De-escalation techniques

  • Presenters: 
    Roxanne Stoker, Children’s Service Center
    Kelly Nice-Martini, Children’s Service Center

    Learning Objectives:
    1.  Participants will learn non-verbal, para-verbal and active listening techniques to de-escalate situations.
    2.  Participants will learn verbal interventions to de-escalate situations.
    3.  Participants will learn techniques to use for low functioning individuals.

    Description: This presentation will focus on a variety of non-verbal, para-verbal, active listening and verbal techniques used to avoid escalating behaviors of students with special needs.  Lecture and role-playing will utilized to demonstrate how body language and prompts can affect behaviors of students, as well, tone , rate, and volume of speech. This presentation will also focus on active listening techniques and verbal interventions to help address problem behaviors and avoid escalated situations. This presentation will also offer some suggestions on addressing students that are lower functioning in order to avoid the use of physical interventions.

  • Title: Social-emotional learning for all students: New Standards

  • Presenters: 
    Anne Katona-Lynn, Educational Consultant for Autism/Team Leader for Behavior-Central Region, PaTTAN
    Regina Palubinsky, Special Assistant to the PA Secretary of Education

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Participants will be able to identify the proposed new School Climate Standards and Interpersonal Skill Standards.
    2. Participants will be able to identify the key components of the Resiliency Framework within a Standard Aligned System and how the proposed standards will fit in.

    Description: Social behavior problems are becoming more and more of a concern for all students and schools.  In Pennsylvania, there is a Standards Aligned System for teaching the academic portion of education but the Social Emotional Learning has not been addressed in the standards.  In the near future, the State Board of Education will approve the new Social Emotional Learning standards that will build resiliency within ALL students.  This session will provide an overview of the new proposed School Climate and Interpersonal Skills Standards and how they will support social-emotional learning within PA schools.  It will also provide an overview of the Resiliency framework to support social-emotional learning.

This event will take place at the Bloomsburg Area High School, 1200 Railroad St. Bloomsburg, PA

Please note - you should print the registration form on legal size paper due to the layout of this year's program.

Click here to download the registration form