PreConference Workshops

Friday, February 14
8:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Cost per person: $189.
By advance registration only. Select one of six.
Add $30 fee if you are not attending the conference.





1. Dial Down the Stress Without Dumbing Down School

In this two-part workshop, you will learn about the science of stress and what neuroscience and education experts say works best to decrease student stress and anxiety and increase engagement in learning and mastery. Part I will explain the latest research on the effects of stress on the brain. Part II will highlight school-university partnerships, online data tools, the science of learning, and best practices from hundreds of schools across the country for making positive change in policy and practice to reduce stress in schools.

Daniela Kaufer, PhD, Acting Associate Dean and Professor, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley; Author, "Stress, Social Behavior, and Resilience" (2015, Neurobiology of Stress); Margaret Dunlap, MA, School Program Director, Challenge Success, Stanford University; Former Teacher; and Ian Kelleher, PhD, Head of Research, Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School; Co-Creator of Neuroteach Global; Co-Author, Neuroteach: Brain Science and the Future of Education (2016); Co-Editor of “Think Differently and Deeply” (2013, CTTL Journal)



2. I'm Not Okay: How to Help Students Navigate Their Mental Health

Fifty percent of lifetime cases of mental illness develop by the time a child is 14 though the underlying symptoms have likely disrupted the classroom and a child's potential years prior. When students suffer, they are not fully available to learn and often find alternate and often destructive ways to manage the corresponding emotions. We certainly can not deny that the ripple effect of mental health concerns are widespread, but what are we doing to collectively manage the situation each day at school? This workshop is a wonderful way to kick start your learning and networking at the conference. We will break the ice with fellow attendees during interactive activities, learn the basics of trauma and top mental health concerns, and take away a series of concrete answers. Specifically, you will learn how to build emotion regulation skills early and often; discover how to bring mental health lessons into your curriculum; find out how to spot red flags to alert you to potential safety concerns; and take home many more strategies and resources to integrate into your day to help you help your students.

Paula Prentis, LMSW, Licensed Social Worker; Co-Founder, Your Self Series, a company that provides social emotional learning curriculum and a corresponding free website,, that contains free content to teach young teens about health and mental health; Expert in whole child health and wellness, social-emotional learning, adolescent development, and how to build connections in the classroom to optimize learning and life potentials; Co-Author, Reach Before You Teach: Ignite Passion and Purpose in Your Classroom (2013)





3. All Learning Is Social and Emotional

Academic learning may be the explicit focus of schooling, but what teachers say, the values we express, the materials and activities we chose, and the skills we prioritize all influence how our students think, see themselves, interact with content and with others, and assert themselves in the world. While social and emotional learning (SEL) is most familiar as compartmentalized programs or specific interventions, the truth is, all learning is social and emotional. This workshop makes the case for taking a deliberate approach to the "hidden curriculum" already being taught, presenting a five-part model of SEL that's easy to integrate into everyday content instruction. Our children's and emotional development is too important to be an add-on or an after thought, too important to be left to chance. This integrated approach to SEL empowers every teacher to help students develop skills that will serve them in the classroom and throughout their lives.

Doulgas B. Fisher, PhD, Chair, Department of Educational Leadership, San Diego State University; Classroom Teacher, Health Sciences High and Middle College; Co-Author, All Learning is Social and Emotional: Helping Students Develop Essential Skills for the Classroom and Beyond (2019), Building Equity: Policies and Practices to Empower All Learners (2017), Visible Learning for Literacy, Grades K-12: Implementing the Practices That Work Best to Accelerate Student Learning (2016), Visible Learning for Mathematics (2016), Better Than Carrots or Sticks: Restorative Practices for Positive Classroom Management (2015), and Rigorous Reading (2013)





4. What I Wish My Teacher Knew: A Strengths-Based Approach to Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom

As educators, we see the impact of trauma every day on students’ behavior, engagement, and academic readiness on campuses and in the classroom. This informative and engaging workshop will help you seek solutions and build relationships and environments that will allow all students to thrive. You will walk-away with a deeper understanding of the impact of trauma on student learning and behavior, as well as research-based practices and strategies that you can begin to implement in your classroom immediately as part of a trauma-informed approach.

Joelle Hood, EdD, Co-Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer, Thriving YOUniversity; Certified Life Coach; Consultant; Professional Learning Designer and Facilitator; Winner of Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year; Janeen Antonelli, MA, Co-Founder and Chief Culture Coach, Thriving YOUniversity; former Teacher, Principal, and County Office Administrator; Professional Learning Designer and Facilitator; and Jessie Fuller, MA, Co-founder and Lead Learner Coach, Thriving YOUniversity




5. The Teen Brain: Strategies for Stress Reduction and Depression Management

The teenage years are some of the most stressful of a person’s life. With pressure about grades at school, parents who just don’t seem to get it, dating, and friends who drive you crazy, it’s no wonder they’re stressed. This two-part workshop will provide interventions and strategies to help teens manage their feelings of anxiety and depression. Teen Psychotherapist Gina Biegel will show you how to use mindfulness skills to help teens manage stress from school and social media to avoid self-harming behavior. Social Worker Katie Hurley will draw on the most effective and up-to-date techniques—including cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness—designed specifically for teens to show you how to help teens conquer depression. Get information about depression—its symptoms, causes, and risk factors—so you can identify the differences between normal stress and depression and help spot the signs of depression in the classroom.

Gina M. Biegel, LMFT, Psychotherapist; Researcher; Founder of Stressed Teens, which has been offering mindfulness-based stress reduction for teens (MBSR-T) to adolescents, schools, and professionals; Author, Be Mindful and Stress Less (2018) and The Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens (2017); Co-Author, The Mindfulness Workbook for Teen Self-Harm (2019); and Katie F. Hurley, LCSW, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist; Parenting Expert; Author, The Depression Workbook for Teens: Tools to Improve Your Mood, Build Self-Esteem, and Stay Motivated (2019)





6. Using the Neuroscience of Anxiety, Socio-Emotional, and Mental Health in Reading and Learning Disorders to Rethink 504 and IEP Accommodations (For Teachers and Special Educators)

You will learn about neuroscience research that has informed our knowledge about the neuroscience of learning in the realms of anxiety, social-emotional and mental health for all students, particularly those with learning challenges. This information will be translated for educators to increase their understanding of the power of accommodations from IEP and 504 plans in providing opportunities for all learners to demonstrate their potential. Working in groups with educator facilitators, participants will apply this knowledge to a diverse mix of case studies. A panel question-and-answer period wraps up the session.

Fumiko Hoeft, MD, PhD, Director, Laboratory for Educational Neuroscience (, University of California, San Francisco; Professor and Director, Brain Imaging Research Center, University of Connecticut; Nicole Ofiesh, PhD, Director, Schwab Learning Center; Senior Research Scientist, CAST; Founder, Potentia Institute; Founder and Director of the UDL Innovation Studio, Stanford University; Author, Teaching for the Lifespan (2016); and Nancy Redding, MEd, Fellow, Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators; Co-Author, Patterns for Success in Reading and Spelling (2019)