special workshops

Registration Opening Soon

Pre-Conference Workshops 
Thursday, November 20, 2014
8:30 AM - 12:35 PM
Cost per person: $199
(By Advance registration only. Select one of the six. Add $25 if not also attending the conference.)



Do you have students who appear to have no interest in their own education? Do they appear dull, unfocused and lifeless in class? Are teachers frustrated with how to reach these students and break through the apathy and distraction? Today’s student brains are different than in past generations. Raised on technology, socially connected via multi-media, and with an entertainment orientation toward learning, these brains are easily bored by traditional lecture-based learning. They present in the classroom as unmotivated, apathetic and indifferent to their educational career. But you can conquer the curse of boredom and inattention, transforming them from “passive to passionate” with the strategies taught in this workshop. Dr. Kros will show you how to engage students every lesson, no matter what the content. You’ll learn the tools for putting students in charge of their own learning and turning their motivation level “upside down.” Most important, you’ll get the skills to put fun and excitement into your lessons without “losing control” of your classroom and you will dramatically increase student retention while you are doing it. You’ll love how your students respond to these strategies!

Frank J. Kros, MSW, JD, Certified in Applied Educational Neuroscience; Child Advocate; President, The Upside Down Organization; Executive Vice President of The Children’s Guild; Co-Author, Creating the Upside Down Organization: Transforming Staff to Save Troubled Children (2005) and The Upside Down Organization: Reinventing Group Care (2008)



How often do we tell our kids to "pay attention" compared to how often we actually teach them to pay attention? Mindfulness training does just that by teacheing basic skills for paying attention in the present moment. The research is clear; mindfulness boosts executive functioning, mental health, classroom behavior and more, all while reducing stress. This workshop is designed to introduce and deepen understanding of mindfulness and the research underlying it, but also to teach best practices for integrating mindfulness into the classroom and school as a whole to promote learning and cognitive development.     
Christopher Willard, PsyD, Clinical psychologist and educational consultant in the Boston area; Board Member, Core Faculty at The Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy; Author, Mindfulness for Teen Anxiety (2014) and Child's Mind: Mindfulness Practices to Help Our Children Be More Focused, Calm and Relaxed (2010) 



Part I: 8:30 – 11:30 am
Teaching the Stressed, Wired and Distracted Teenage Brain

Dr. Stixrud will first review our current knowledge about the enormous power and potential of the adolescent brain, as well as its heightened vulnerability to the negative effects of stress, insufficient sleep, chemicals, 24-7 technology use and multitasking. He will then offer ideas for engaging hard-to-engage students, for helping students find their own motivation to learn, and for managing students who have a particularly difficult time focusing, organizing themselves, and completing their work. A strong emphasis will be placed on the use of tools such as movement, meditation and the arts for increasing the young brain’s availability for learning during this talk.

William R. Stixrud, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, George Washington School of Medicine; Adjunct Faculty, Children’s National Medical Center

Part II: 11:35 am – 12:35 pm
How to Study Less and Learn More: Talking to Teens About Learning and the Brain

Teenagers often resist the information they most need to know—a rule that applies as much to brain science as to everything else in adolescent life. This talk helps teachers interest students in the practical lessons of neurology and psychology, and offers research into sleep, study strategies, exercise and multitasking. By presenting brain science in ways that sound most persuasive and practical to teens, teachers can enhance their learning and help soothe the stresses of adolescent life.

Andrew C. Watson, MEd, Founder and President; Former Dean of Faculty, The Loomis Chaffee School; Named “2011 Teacher of the Year” by Loomis Chaffee Student Council



Part I: 8:30 – 11:30 am
The Neuroscience of Reading: Using Research to Understand Reading Development and Difficulties

Can brain-imaging tools determine who will be a struggling reader or who will improve reading skills? Neuroimaging tools offer promising potential to explore how we identify and remediate reading difficulties across ages. You will learn about the most current research related to identification and remediation from an education neuroscience perspective. Dr. Christodoulou will include topics such as new research on whether brain imaging can identify struggling readers, how the detection compares to using standardized behavioral assessments, what the future may hold for identification of reading difficulties, how intervention impacts brain systems and whether neuroimaging can predict who will improve reading skills.

Joanna A. Christodoulou, EdD, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorders, MGH Institute of Health Professions; Co-Author, “Auditory temporal structure processing in dyslexia: Processing of prosodic phrase boundaries is not impaired in children with dyslexia” (2013, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience)

Part II: 11:35 am – 12:35 pm
The Typlical and Atypical Reading Brain: Developmental Evidence from Infants, Preschoolers and School-Age Children

Dr. Gaab will give a comprehensive overview about the typical and atypical reading brain. She will present recent research on early identification of reading disabilities in the pre-reading and infant brain, the identification of the underlying neural mechanism of comorbidity of developmental dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the potential use of music based tools for diagnosis and remediation of reading disabilities and will discuss the need of a bidirectional bridge between neuroscience and education.

Nadine Gaab, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School; Faculty, Harvard University Graduate School of Education; Co-Author, “Functional Characteristics of Developmental Dyselxia in the Left-Hemispheric Posterior Brain Regions Predate Reading Onset” (2012, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)


(Grades 6 through College)

This highly engaging pre-conference session explores the necessary steps for implementing effective integrated STEM education. Building on the latest research in STEM education and how the student brain learns, you will experience an environment most conducive to the development of STEM literacy, interest, engagement and smart thinking as well as ways to meet Common Core and Next Generation Standards. 

John T. Almarode, PhD, Assistant Professor, College of Education, James Madison University; Co-Author, Captivate, Activate, and Invigorate the Student Brain in Science and Math, Grades 6-12 (2013), “Future of Education for STEM Talented Adolescents” (2013 Study by the National Science Foundation), "Out-of-School Time Science Activities and Their Association with Career Interest in STEM” (2011, International Journal of Science Education) and "Specialized Public High Schools of Science, Mathematics, and Technology and the STEM Pipeline: What Do We Know Now and What Will We Know in 5 Years?" (2010, Roeper Review)


Note: The pre-conference workshop "Organizing Students: Benefits of Planning and Music Skills for Academic Success" has been cancelled.