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Leader U 2017 Sessions
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Keynote: Education in the Age of the Underdog

As we all work to make education meaningful and relevant to all learners, we must not forget the "Underdog."  Tedx Talk speaker, Dr. Ryan Jackson, shares his experiences as a teacher, assistant principal, and now lead principal as he reveals strategies for guiding the Underdog.

Speaker: Dr. Ryan Jackson (Lead Principal of The Mount Pleasant Arts Innovation Zone)

Accessibility: Students with Hearing Loss in the General Education Classroom

This session will focus on instructional strategies (e.g., acoustic highlighting) that teachers and paraprofessionals can use in the classroom to make it more accessible for students with hearing loss. We will look at the educational environment and how to make our classrooms acoustically appropriate for all students. In addition, we will discuss how best to work with the educational team including the interpreter, itinerant teacher, and speech language pathologist.

Speaker: Dr. Lynn Hayes (Vanderbilt University)

ACEs: Cultivating Roses in a Garden of Adversity

Students with ACEs, Adverse Childhood Experiences, are inherently going to display their thorns throughout their school day. Their behavior many times is an outward expression of internal turmoil. This session is designed to help stakeholders identify and eliminate what we view as thorns and instead focus on the rose possessed by students of adverse experiences. We must cultivate our strategies as administrators, teachers, and counselors to minimize the impact of behaviors while supporting students.  We MUST enrich the environment and understand the important role we can play to assist students of ACEs. You will learn to prune away reactive responses and replace them with proactive strategies. An “ACE” behavior can appear at any time, but it does not have to ruin a garden or cause us to dig up the flowers along with the weeds.

Speaker: Dr. Timothy Drinkwine (MNPS - Eakin Elementary)

Brain-Bridging Across Gaps: Our Approach to Meeting the Needs of High-Poverty and ESL Students at Jere Whitson Elementary

In a school with high poverty and more than half of its students receiving EL services, a number of gaps are likely to exist in language and vocabulary, culture, college and career planning, socio-economic circumstances, and mindset. The keys to bridging these gaps lie in developing relationships and providing opportunities that allow all stakeholders to grow in their appreciation of individualities and recognition of transferable skills. Learn about how our collaboration with local partners, our ongoing efforts to integrate technology equitably in instruction, and our teachers’ willingness to courageously invest in students’ brains and lives has helped to bring various opportunities to bridge the sometimes otherwise formidable gaps that can contribute to their inability to succeed.

Speaker: Thomas Fuhrman (PCSSTN - Jere Whitson Elementary)

Dyslexia: Identification, Instruction and Accommodations

The session outlines practices to identify characteristics of dyslexia using various sources of student information. This is followed by a practical discussion of instructional methods appropriate for students with characteristics of dyslexia. The session ends by reviewing common accommodations provided to aid students with dyslexia to demonstrate their potential in the classroom.

Speaker: Dr. Timothy Odegard (MTSU)

Full STEAM Ahead: How Adding Art to Your STEM Program Promotes a Creator Culture in a Consumer World

This course will explore the Creative Process in relation to STEM education and provide hands on training in arts integration.

Speaker: Cindy Pride (Kids on Stage Director at the Mt. Pleasant Arts Innovation Zone)

How the Competitive Teaching Model Raised Engagement and Motivation in an Urban Middle School

This session will focus on the Capstone research that Ms. Skae did for her Vanderbilt Masters program, where she developed a competitive model within her 7th grade classrooms, that focused on belonging to a team and working for collaborative success within the classroom setting. This model improved classroom behaviors and student engagement.

Speaker: Leticia Skae (ELA Teacher- MNPS)

Keeping Hope in Our Schools: Creating a College-Going Culture for At-Risk Youth

Managing change is a fundamental part of school transformation. This session provides practitioners with authentic strategies that will help school leaders transform their learning environment into an "oasis of hope" for teens who need extra academic support. You will be enlightened  as you listen to amazing  stories that will inspire you to know your "Why", keep your fire and press forward to help children maximize their potential. Key themes: Civic Engagement, Climate/Culture, Community  Partnerships, Social Emotional Learning, Post Secondary Access. 

Speaker: Dr. Ron Woodard (Maury County Public Schools' Director of Pupil Services)

Literacy Strategies for English Language Learners

With the shift toward the new Tennessee State Standards, the current focus for educators is to ensure that their students are college and career ready when they graduate from high school. Progress towards this shift in Literacy includes regular practice with complex texts and academic vocabulary. How do we make these standards accessible to students with limited English language? This session will explain the misconceptions about English language learners and offer concrete examples of how you can accommodate ELLs so that they can become successful readers in your classroom.

Speaker: Tanya Hill (ESL Teacher, Shelby County Schools)

Research-based Curriculum for High Achieving Students

During this session Dr. Paula Pendergrass will present effective curriculum resources from the College of William and Mary, Engineering is Elementary, and the Jacob's Ladder Reading Comprehension Program developed by Dr. Tamra Stambaugh and Dr. Joyce VanTassel-Baska.

Speaker: Dr. Paula Pendergrass (MNPS Encore Teacher)

Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

The focus on this session will be two-fold. First, participants will be able to understand how characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may impact learning and behavior, particularly in educational settings. With this information as a guide, participants will be introduced to evidence-based practices that can be utilized in a variety of educational settings across the lifespan that focus specifically on supporting these characteristics.

Speaker: Dr. Whitney Loring (Vanderbilt Kennedy Center)

The Power of Persistence: Promoting Motivation, Self-Regulation, and Engagement for Struggling Readers

Grit and growth mindset are all the rage right now, but does the research back the hype? This session will cover the research being conducted on strategies to promote growth mindset and perseverance for struggling readers. It will also cover tips for increasing motivation, self-regulation, and engagement to improve literacy outcomes.

Speaker: Dr. Amy Elleman (MTSU)

Why Tennessee Needs More Educators of Color:  Addressing the Mismatch Between Student Diversity and the Teachers Who Serve Them

This class will explore the landscape of student diversity in the state of Tennessee in comparison to the level of teacher diversity serving them.  Emphasis will be placed on the importance of the need to hire more educators of color and strategies to do so.

Speaker: Dr. Diarese George (CTE Teacher, CMCSS)

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