Keynote Address, Workshop Abstracts & Presenter Bios


Morning Keynote Address: Student Pride & Education Reform that Embraces Intersectionality & Equity

Presented by LeDerick Horne: Artist, Advocate

LeDerick provides a unique perspective on our mostly-segregated school systems and is passionate about creating a more equitable society. This emotionally-stirring talk is filled with moving verses, funny stories, and empowering information that will prepare the audience to challenge stereotypes and support the needs of people with disabilities.

Diagnosed with a learning disability in the third grade and placed in segregated classrooms, LeDerick Horne defies any and all labels. He’s a dynamic spoken-word poet. A tireless advocate for all people with disabilities. An inspiring motivational speaker. A bridge-builder between learners and leaders across the U.S. and around the world. An African-American husband and father who serves as a role model for all races, genders, and generations. The grandson of one of New Jersey’s most prominent civil rights leaders, LeDerick uses his gift for spoken-word poetry as the gateway to larger discussions on equal opportunity, pride, self-determination and hope for people with disabilities. www.LeDerick.com.


Remarks & Presentations

Spotlight Welcome Address: Premier Sponsor Portland Public Schools Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero.

Closing Keynote: Steven Holland: President, NW Disability Support; Angela Jarvis-Holland: Executive Director, NW Disability Support. “We All Belong: End Segregation Now!” group presentation from ABI’s Social Justice Youth Program/Youth Track.


Session 1 Workshops

1a. Co-Teaching in the Preschool Classroom

In this workshop, professionals from Clackamas Early Learning Department and Canby School District will share personal experiences and lessons learned after three years of co-teaching preschool. Data for students with and without disabilities will be shared, as well as information on the structures of co-teaching they have participated in. There will also be Q&A.

Presented by Jon Morris: EI/ECSE Program Coordinator, Clackamas ESD; Molly Hulett: ECSE Specialist, Clackamas ESD; Amy Altenberger: Disabilities and Mental Health Specialist, Clackamas ESD Head Start to Success; Nancy Barber: Head Start Teacher, Canby School District; Lupe Yundt: Head Start Teacher, Canby School District; Tonya Madrigal: Education Specialist, Clackamas ESD Head Start to Success

Jon Morris is a former EI/ECSE Specialist, School Age SPED Teacher, and autism specialist.

Molly Hulett has over 14 years of experience including classroom, community consultation, and co-teaching.

Amy Altenberger has been working in the field of early childhood mental health for over 20 years and has been Disabilities Coordinator for Head Start programs for over 17 years.

Nancy Barber has been a Head Start teacher for five years.

Lupe Yundt has been a Head Start teacher for three years.

Tonya Madrigal has over 20 years of experience working in Early Childhood. She has been a Home Visitor for 6 years and Education Specialist for 15 years.

1b. What is a Student Led IEP and Why Does It Matter; Top 10 ways to advocate for student inclusion

The latest research confirms benefits to students who are active in the decisions that impact them. Put the “I” back in “IEP” by learning how to increase the focus on the student’s needs and wishes. You will leave the workshop with practical tips, tools, and resources to help you and your student.

Presented by Kriss Rita: Transition Network Facilitator, Clackamas ESD; Lizzie Juaniza-Saso: Transition Network Facilitator, Multnomah ESD

Kriss Rita is a Transition Network Facilitator for Clackamas, Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, and Gilliam counties. Previously a Learning Specialist and Transition Coordinator for the Centennial School District working with students ages 16-21. She is an adjunct faculty member at Portland State University teaching Interagency Collaboration and Person-Centered-Supports. Kriss also spent two years working at the Green School Bali developing and coordinating their secondary learning support program for international students.

Lizzie Juaniza-Saso is part of the Transition Technical Assistance Network in Oregon. Her role as a Transition Network Facilitator (TNF) is to support interagency collaboration between schools and community partners, and provide resources and training related to transition services to strengthen post school outcomes for youth with disabilities. She holds her teaching license in Secondary Special Education and has taught both in an 18-21 year-old program and high school.

1c. Teachers and Paraprofessionals; Clarifying roles for success

Paraprofessionals support children with disabilities in a variety of settings. It is critical that teachers and paraeducators work well together to improve children’s outcomes and contribute to their successful inclusion. This workshop will highlight the importance of differentiation of roles and responsibilities, interpersonal skills, collaboration and administrative supports for paraprofessional-teacher teams. Tools and strategies for team-building and effective communication will also be shared

Presented by Ritu Chopra, Ph.D: Executive Director, Paraprofessional Resource and Research Center (PAR2A), School of Human Development and Education at University of Colorado Denver

Dr. Ritu Chopra’s work has focused on training of paraeducators, teachers, and administrators and paraeducator supervision in inclusive schools at the state, national, and international levels. She has published a book, several articles, and other instructional materials. Dr. Chopra is the 2007 recipient of the Sue Stuska Award from the School ParaEducator Association of Colorado (SPEAC) and 2012 Excellence in Teacher Educator Award of the Teacher Education Division, Colorado Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) for her service to the profession of paraprofessionals. Dr. Chopra currently serves as the chair for the national CEC- TED Paraeducator Special Interest Group.

1d. Changing School & Systems Culture; Creating equitable environments that optimize each student’s potential

This workshop will examine how contemporary education practices, policies, and personnel positively and negatively affect students with disabilities. Participants will be asked to confront the written and unwritten cultural standards in their own schools and systems so they can create an environment that optimizes each student’s potential. Nationally recognized programs will be presented as examples of best practices and there will be a focus on creating a systemic change throughout schools and communities.

Presented by LeDerick Horne: Artist, Advocate

Diagnosed with a learning disability in the third grade, LeDerick Horne defies any and all labels. He’s a dynamic spoken-word poet. A tireless advocate for all people with disabilities. An inspiring motivational speaker. A bridge-builder between learners and leaders across the U.S. and around the world. An African-American husband and father who serves as a role model for all races, genders, and generations. The grandson of one of New Jersey’s most prominent civil rights leaders, LeDerick uses his gift for spoken-word poetry as the gateway to larger discussions on equal opportunity, pride, self-determination and hope for people with disabilities.

1e. Supported Decision-Making, Guardianship, and Everything In-Between; Balancing self-determination and the need for support

Many of us seek advice from others when we are making hard or complex medical, legal, or financial decisions. For people with disabilities, finding the right balance across the options for legal decision-making structures is critically important, especially as adolescents move into adulthood. Respecting human and civil rights, and encouraging self-reliance, independence, and dignity must all be part of the conversation.

What are the options and how can people with disabilities and their families/support team determine what is most appropriate?

Participants will learn about supported-decision-making, conservatorships, health care representation, and other alternatives to guardianship, as well as the implications of legal guardianships.

Presented by Sharon Lewis: Health Management Associates Principal; Jan Friedman: Staff Attorney, Disability Rights Oregon

Sharon Lewis is an accomplished disability policy expert who served in several Presidentially-appointed leadership roles at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2010-2016, where she spearheaded the establishment of the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making and encouraged development of alternatives to guardianship. Her experience includes a wide range of policy and program issues at the local, state and federal level including healthcare, education, employment, independent living supports, and person-centered systems. Currently she works as a consultant with states, providers, and advocates to advance opportunities for people with disabilities to fully participate in all aspects of community. As a parent to three wonderful daughters, including one who experiences IDD, she hopes to help build accepting, diverse and inclusive communities for all.

Jan Friedman has been an attorney for nearly 30 years, the last 20 representing the legal rights of people with disabilities with Disability Rights Oregon. Her work has included representing the legal rights of individuals under guardianship as well as people seeking coverage for medically necessary Assistive Technology. She has advocated for effective training, including for police interactions with people with disabilities. Currently, she serves on the WINGS’ guardianship improvement work group; the Oregon State Bar Association’s Elder Law Section Executive Committee; and the Oregon Long Term Care Ombudsman’s Advisory Committee.

1f. ACHIEVE at Highline College; Building success for all

Participants in this workshop will learn about ACHIEVE, the first inclusive postsecondary comprehensive transition program in Washington State. ACHIEVE is a community college certificate program that includes credit and non-credit classes, intensive advising, involvement in campus life, community-based internships, and assistance with job placement.  

Presented by Julie Pollard: Director, ACHIEVE; Helen Nash: Communication Specialist, ACHIEVE; Students

Julie Pollard has a master’s degree in education-learning and technology-from Western Governor’s University. She has worked with individuals who experience disability for over 20 years.

Helen Nash is a graduate of the ACHIEVE program. She recently started working for the program as the ACHIEVE Communication Specialist focusing on advocacy and outreach efforts.

1g. Disability History and Social Justice

This presentation explores the history surrounding the treatment of persons with disabilities and the legislative and civil movements related to disability awareness. Contemporary concepts of social justice are examined as the culture moves towards a vision of empowerment and disability as diversity. This presentation will also include a short video about Fairview Training Center created by ABI’s Social Justice Youth Program.

Presented by Michael T. Bailey: Author, father, former President, National Disability Rights Network

Michael Bailey’s life and work is dedicated to promoting civil rights of people with disabilities. He is the father of two adult women, one of whom is a person with Down syndrome. He is the President of the board of Disability Rights Oregon. An active member of ADAPT, he has participated in ‘actions’ and delivered trainings at dozens of national and international conferences. He is author of Special Education: A Parent’s Guide to a Child’s Success and Here to Stay: Americans with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

1h. YOUTH TRACK (16-25 ONLY): Building our Community and Power for the Day

The youth will come together and share interactive group activities to get to know each other and build their community for the day.

Facilitators: Aniko Adany; Megan Price; Rachel Esteve

1i.  SESSION IN SPANISH: Incorporating Physical Therapy in Your Everyday Life

Physical therapy helps build skills for better access to daily life events, the community, and beyond. Participants of this workshop will learn how to help promote a child’s physical development during daily activity and routines. We will share tips and strategies to motivate the child’s involvement in PT, and how to focus on their interests to make it a fun experience.

Presented by Rebecca Gene Crockett, PT, DPT, MPH: Doctor of Physical Therapy

Born in New Orleans and educated at Emory University in Atlanta, Rebecca observed the high need and low supply of Spanish-speaking physical therapists. As a result, she moved to Spain for a year in order to immerse herself in the language, so excuse her strange accent and use of the vosotros. Rebecca now combines her knowledge of rehabilitation, health education, and basic Spanish to empower children of all ages and abilities to participate to their fullest in the community.


Session 2 Workshops

2a. Universal Means ALL; Assistive technology in the home and community

Educators often struggle to give all learners meaningful and engaging access to the knowledge and skills that form the foundation of a robust, inspired life. This workshop will underscore the importance of preparing the buffet of knowledge in advance to ensure equitable access. The Universal Design for Learning framework guides us to think through strategies to increase engagement, representation and expression to be prepared for anyone who might come to your table…because Universal means ALL! 

Presented by Debra Fitzgibbons: Coordinator, Oregon Technology Access Program (OTAP); Coordinator, Regional & Statewide Services for Students with Orthopedic Impairment (RSOI)

Debra Fitzgibbons’ passion for assistive technology began more than twenty years ago at Lewis and Clark Community College, where she supported learners with development disabilities. Deb earned a master’s in liberal studies, with a focus on assistive technology.  As a member of the Oregon Dyslexia Advisory Council, she was recently influential in bringing Universal Design language to legislative report. 

2b. Decoding the Individualized Education Plan (IEP); Understanding rights, law, testing, and evaluation

This vital workshop is an excellent introduction to special education law, from eligibility through developing a child’s IEP and determining placement.

Presented by Chris Shank: Special Education Attorney, Disability Rights Oregon 

Chris Shank has specialized in special education law for more than 15 years. She provides training on special education law and parental rights for parents and advocates around the state and assisted in developing DRO’s Special Education Guide for Parents and Advocates. 

2c. Kindergarten Inclusion; On track for an inclusive life

This workshop will delve into what parents can do to prepare their children and themselves for the transition to kindergarten, and how teachers and schools can better prepare to embrace all learners. Drawing from ABI’s Kindergarten Inclusion Cohort, this session will look at the skills and community connections that are necessary for advocacy and partnership at the K transition and beyond.

Presented by Jamie Burch: Projects and Community Coordinator, NWDSA/ABI; Noelle Sisk: SPED Family and Community Coordinator, Portland Public Schools

Jamie Burch has a BA in social sciences with a minor in sociology, psychology, and women’s studies and tailored her education around disability studies. Jamie is a disability rights advocate and activist, with 15 years of experience supporting and collaborating with individuals with disabilities, their families, and other professionals in the field.

Noelle Sisk works with educators and parents of children with disabilities in ways that demonstrate respect for their differing roles while simultaneously bringing them together toward the same goal: the social/emotional well-being and academic success of children with disabilities.

2d. Beyond Just “Meeting Needs”; Creating a real life

Oregon offers some of the most expansive support services in the country to both children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Oregon was the first state to create a waiver program, one of the earliest to close down its institutions, and most recently became an early adopter of the federal Community First Choice (K Plan) program. Individuals who live at home with family or on their own in Oregon are likely eligible for in-home services funded by Medicaid. But what are these medically-based, tax-funded supports really doing for you or your loved ones?  Do you know what you can–and should–expect from these services? This presentation will explore the limits (both expanded and contracted) of paid home- and community-based services, define and underscore the importance of natural and community supports, and examine a multi-faceted approach to what it means to craft a real life—not just having one’s ‘needs met’. To paraphrase the late Tom Nerney, leader of the self-determination movement, “It’s not just about the technical service of helping someone get out of bed in the morning. It’s about making sure they have a reason to.” Through that lens, let’s look at what services often are and consider what they can be.

Presented by Larry Deal: Executive Director, Independence Northwest Brokerage

Larry Deal has been serving the Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) community for over 20 years, with experience spanning Arizona, Washington, and Oregon. Since 2001, he has been working in Oregon's progressive community-led Brokerage Services system and is one of the co-founders of Independence Northwest, a Portland area non-profit serving 500 Oregonians with I/DD. He is dedicated to the concept of self-determination on individual, community, and systemic levels, and believes our community thrives when it follows a person-centered, not system-centered, approach. Larry serves as the Communications Director and President of the association of Oregon Community Brokerages.

2e. Increasing Student Voice: Meaningful Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) use for academic and social success

This workshop will explore practical strategies for helping students who use AAC to really find their voice. The ideas to be explored will include effective collaboration with families, peer modeling, core words, and the critical role of the general education teacher. If you are an educator or a parent, you will leave with practical strategies so the AAC device actually gets used!

Over the past seven years, West Linn-Wilsonville has deconstructed the old model of special education, with every student attending their neighborhood school. WLWV schools emphasize the power of belonging, diversity, and equity for all children. Workshop participants will benefit from the experiences of WLWV educators who have successfully embraced inclusion.

Presented by Jennifer Ziolko: Special Education Instructional Coordinator, West Linn-Wilsonville School District; Stephanie Clawson: Special Education Instructional Coordinators, West Linn-Wilsonville School District

Jennifer Ziolko has a master’s degree in special education and assistive technology. She coaches teachers throughout West Linn-Wilsonville in the use of assistive technology and augmentative/alternative communication, as well as access to general education for all. Jennifer has led workshops for parents about increasing the effectiveness of AAC in home settings and how to maximize the learning at school. Jennifer is a leader in the state of Oregon in Augmentative Communication implementation.

Stephanie Clawson has a master’s degree in special education with an emphasis on behavior and autism supports. Stephanie leads formal and embedded professional learning in effective behavioral supports, understanding that behavior is communication. She facilitates advanced learning around intensive behavioral supports for staff throughout the district and helps increase access to general education for students throughout the district.

2f. College and Community Studies Program at Portland State University; Building an inclusive college experience

This workshop will examine how Portland State University is building capacity to offer an inclusive, four-year college experience for students with intellectual disability. Students will share about their experiences attending college classes, working part-time while in school, managing their supports, learning to do things for themselves, and exploring the campus community. Project staff will share about PSU’s accomplishments and future goals in supporting student success.

Presented by Sue Bert: Co-Director of Career & Community Studies, Portland State University; Ruth Falco, Ph.D: Director, Research Center on Inclusive and Effective Educational Practices, College of Education, Portland State University; College student TBA

Sue Bert has over 20 years of experience preparing teachers at Portland State University and specializes in areas of secondary transition, person-centered planning, self-determination, partnerships with families, as well as collaboration and consultation in secondary schools. In addition to her Think College work, Sue co-leads the Secondary Dual Educator Program, a teacher preparation program for inclusive educators at the secondary level at PSU’s Graduate School of Education.

Ruth Falco’s experience includes teaching students with significant disabilities, preschool through post-secondary, personnel preparation and professional development for special and general educators, family support and advocacy for inclusive education, and research regarding effective and inclusive education for students of all ages.

2g. YOUTH TRACK (16-25 ONLY): Youth Voice, Youth Rights

This workshop will focus on disability rights and social justice. Youths will explore what these concepts mean to them personally and as a community, so they can share their perspective.

Facilitator TBA

2h. SESSION IN SPANISH: Behavior is Communication; Strategies to understand your child & increase their tools and skills

Difficult behavior often meets a need. Once the need is understood, we can identify what skills to teach the child, what supports are needed, and what barriers could be reduced. Participants at this workshop will learn to look at behavior as a form of communication and increase their skills at understand nonverbal communication.

Presented by Rita F. Hernandez, MS CCC-SLP: Behavioral Consultant and Licensed Autism Specialist

Rita has over 20 years of experience working within school districts and as an independent contractor. Through her business Speech Associates LLC, she contracts with Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas County Department of Developmental Disabilities. She is bilingual English/Spanish and has extensive experience working with Spanish-speaking families of children and adults with a variety of developmental disabilities.


Session 3 Workshops

3a. Having High Expectations; Students with intellectual disability are going to inclusive college

This workshop will explore the national movement to create inclusive college options for students with intellectual disability (ID). The latest compelling research on student outcomes will be reviewed along with other resources that support access to higher education for students with ID. Specifically, participants will learn about:

  1. The current status nationally in the area of higher education for students with ID
  2. Specific pre- and post-college outcomes for students with ID
  3. National resources that support access to college for students, families, and professionals

Presented by Debra Hart: Director of the Education and Transition Team, Institute for Community Inclusion at University of Massachusetts; Think College National Coordinating Center

Debra Hart has over 30 years of experience working with youth and adults with disabilities, their families, faculty, and professionals that support youth in becoming contributing valued members of their community via participation in inclusive secondary and postsecondary education, and competitive integrated employment.

3b. Rules of Engagement with Paraprofessionals; Tools for teachers and families 

Paraprofessionals are integral part of special education services. Teachers often find their role as supervisors of paraprofessionals challenging. This workshop offers research-based knowledge and skills for teachers to help them in structuring and directing the work of the paraeducator as well as providing ongoing coaching, feedback, and support.

Presented by Ritu Chopra, Ph.D: Executive Director, Paraprofessional Resource and Research Center (PAR2A), School of Human Development and Education at University of Colorado Denver

Dr. Ritu Chopra’s work has focused on training of paraeducators, teachers, and administrators and paraeducator supervision in inclusive schools at the state, national, and international levels. She has published a book, several articles, and other instructional materials. Dr. Chopra is the 2007 recipient of the Sue Stuska Award from the School ParaEducator Association of Colorado (SPEAC) and 2012 Excellence in Teacher Educator Award of the Teacher Education Division, Colorado Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) for her service to the profession of paraprofessionals. Dr. Chopra currently serves as the chair for the national CEC- TED Paraeducator Special Interest Group.

3c. Visions, Values, Belief in the Early Years; Building a whole life with your child in the center

This workshop will introduce the concept of Person-Centered Planning and the value of this process for individuals, family members, and teams. In this interactive hour, participants will practice hands-on tools to assess individual skills and strategies that help support a person to move towards a full life.

Presented by Emily Harris: Program Manager, WISE  

Emily Harris has had the good fortune to be affiliated with people with disabilities throughout her life. She has experience as an employment consultant and as a positive behavior support consultant with individuals, families, and employment agencies in the Pacific Northwest. Emily is committed to the concept of inclusion and full participation and knows that employment is critical to equity. Emily is a primary trainer and the manager for the Oregon Employment Learning Network (OELN), a Person-Centered Planning facilitator, and teaches the spring quarter of the Clark County Highline Employment Professional Certificate Program.

3d. It Starts with Infants and Their Caregivers; Foundations for a lifetime of inclusion

Parent-infant interaction is a reciprocal process involving an exchange of behaviors between the adult caregiver and the infant or toddler. The behavior of one affects the behavior of the other. Warm and positive, emotionally-responsive interactions between adult and child provide the foundations for positive social-emotional and communication development. In this workshop, participants will identify five key interactive behaviors and ways to encourage them for all infants and toddlers and their caregivers.

Presented by Leslie J. Munson, Ph.D: Professor Emeritus: Department of Special Education, College of Education, Portland State University; Ruth Falco, Ph.D: Director: Research Center on Inclusive and Effective Educational Practices, College of Education, Portland State University

While at Portland State University, Leslie J. Munson participated in the development of the Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education Program, the Infant Toddler Mental Health Graduate Certificate Program, and the Master’s in Early Childhood: Inclusive Education and Curriculum Instruction. She taught courses in early intervention, early childhood special education, child development, and infant development. With colleagues, she developed the parent-infant interaction curriculum that focuses on increasing positive behaviors during activities. She co-authored the behavioral health screening tool. She is coauthor of ASQ:SE-2 Learning Activities and more. She continues to write and consult.

Ruth Falco’s experience includes teaching students with significant disabilities, preschool through post-secondary; personnel preparation and professional development for special and general educators; family support and advocacy for inclusive education; and research regarding effective and inclusive education for students of all ages.

3e. Inclusive Positive Behavioral Instruction and Supports; Tools for parents and teachers

This workshop will present strategies and tools that parents and teachers can use to support students with behavioral needs in general education classrooms. The focus of this session is the use of effective individualized positive behavior supports that promote learning in inclusive settings.

Participants will engage with a person-centered positive behavioral framework for preventing problem behaviors, promoting positive behaviors, and effectively responding to students exhibiting challenging behaviors. A strengths-based approach—built on the assets of the student and their family—will be presented. The roles of educators and family members will be discussed. Practical tools and strategies for both families and educators will be shared. 

Presented by Sheldon Loman, Ph.D.: Associate Professor, Portland State University

Sheldon’s areas of instruction and research include inclusive practices for students with severe disabilities, positive behavior supports, and educational systems change. He has helped establish inclusive processes with school districts in diverse urban settings.

3f. Radical Self-Care Basics; Creating a life you don’t need to retreat from

Relax, deeply breathe, smile and laugh more! This experiential workshop will explore radical self-care basics. Participants will be encouraged to connect with something precious and joyful about why they are here in this world and at this conference. 

We will invite in poetry, music, movement, mindfulness, and authentic connection. We will call on the power of our inner wisdom to assist in making a commitment for addressing the real and profound stress many of us experience.

Integrating the latest neuroscience research, the most effective mindfulness practices, and the healing power of a caring community, this workshop is designed to be a safe place for everyone to come as they are and lay down their burdens.

Participants will learn what works for their unique nervous system and life style, and perhaps try something new. Self-care has little to do with “treating” oneself or spending money on a “spa day”, and a whole lot more to do with parenting oneself and making everyday choices for long-term wellness.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare,” said Audre Lorde, the radical 60’s activist who fought for inclusion before it was called that.

Presented by Kristy Hellum, MFT: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist; Dr. Neera Malhorta: Professor, Portland State University

Kristy is a poet, storyteller, parent of an artist who was born with a little something extra, dancer, and psychotherapist specializing in celebrating the resiliency of the human spirit. She has been facilitating “playshops” for stress reduction, mindfulness-based self-healing, and encouraging the creative imagination for over 25 years.

Dr. Malhotra teaches Kundalini Yoga at Mt. Scott Community Center, Portland OR and Mandala Yoga Center. Her classes primarily focus on mindfulness, meditation, and Pranayama (focused breathing exercises) to connect with one’s own sexuality and gender. She merges Kriyas (yogic exercises) and mediations that primary focus on self-healing, pleasure, sexuality, and relationships.

3g. Dynamic Moderated Discussion: Inclusive Systems Change; Reaching and teaching every child takes all of us

This “Fishbowl” session will allow a dynamic group of leaders, policy-makers, parents, and professionals to share their ideas for change and hopes for inclusion. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a dialogue about creating change and best practices that support inclusion of all students in pre-schools, schools, transition, and higher education.

Moderated by Sharon Lewis: Disability Policy Expert; Participants include Heather Lindsey: Secondary Transition Liaison Office of Student Services, Oregon Department of Education; Guadalupe Guerrero: Superintendent, Portland Public Schools; Jennifer Spencer-Iiams: Assistant Superintendent, West Linn-Wilsonville School District; Stephanie Smith Lee: Senior Policy Advisor & Chair, National Down Syndrome Congress, Think College Accreditation Workgroup; Early Childhood Expert TBA

Sharon Lewis is an accomplished disability policy expert who served in several Presidentially-appointed leadership roles at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2010-2016, where she spearheaded the establishment of the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making and encouraged development of alternatives to guardianship. Her experience includes a wide range of policy and program issues at the local, state and federal level including healthcare, education, employment, independent living supports, and person-centered systems. Currently she works as a consultant with states, providers, and advocates to advance opportunities for people with disabilities to fully participate in all aspects of community. As a parent to three wonderful daughters, including one who experiences IDD, she hopes to help build accepting, diverse and inclusive communities for all.

Heather Lindsey provides technical assistance to school districts, parent organizations, and participating agencies to support to ensure a solid understanding of secondary special education, transition regulations, and implementation of evidence-based transition services. Before joining the Department of Education, Mrs. Lindsey was a Counselor Specialist for Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation, assisting transition-aged students in developing vocational goals and assisting in the successful transition from secondary education to postsecondary training and employment.

Guadalupe Guerrero has a BA degree in History at UCLA, and two master's degrees from Harvard University—one in School Leadership and Principal Certification and one in Educational Policy and Management. He started his education career as a teacher in San Francisco and Boston. He came to Portland from the San Francisco Unified School District, where he served as Deputy Superintendent of Instruction, Innovation, and Social Justice for five years.

Jennifer Spencer-Iiams earned degrees in general education, special education, administration, and educational leadership at the University of Oregon. She worked for Woodburn, David Douglas, and Springfield School Districts before coming to West Linn-Wilsonville Schools to lead their Special Education Department 7 years ago.

Stephanie Smith Lee has over 35 years of public policy experience including serving in senior staff positions in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Since her daughter, Laura, was born with Down syndrome in 1982, she has led many successful disability advocacy efforts at the local, state, and Federal levels. As the Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the US Department of Education, Ms. Lee directed the policy development, program planning, monitoring, evaluation, research and implementation of IDEA, the Federal special education law. As Senior Policy Advisor for the National Down Syndrome Society, she advocated with Congress and directed a postsecondary project that developed inclusive postsecondary programs in various states. She led the successful effort to amend the Higher Education Act (HEA) to obtain federal financial aid and model programs for students with intellectual disability (ID). She continues that leadership role as Co-chair of the Inclusive Higher Education Committee on behalf of NDSC. Ms. Lee also chairs the National Coordinating Center Accreditation Workgroup that is developing model accreditation standards for these programs.

3h. YOUTH TRACK (16-25 ONLY): Amplifying Your Voice to Create Power

Through spoken word, art, and creativity, this session will engage youths to design a vision for their future and provide tools and encouragement to share their dreams.

Presented by LeDerick Horne: Artist, Advocate

Diagnosed with a learning disability in the third grade, LeDerick Horne defies any and all labels. He’s a dynamic spoken-word poet. A tireless advocate for all people with disabilities. An inspiring motivational speaker. A bridge-builder between learners and leaders across the U.S. and around the world. An African-American husband and father who serves as a role model for all races, genders, and generations. The grandson of one of New Jersey’s most prominent civil rights leaders, LeDerick uses his gift for spoken-word poetry as the gateway to larger discussions on equal opportunity, pride, self-determination and hope for people with disabilities.

3i. SESSION IN SPANISH: Information, Tools & Advocacy; A walk through the IEP

Parents are the experts and number one advocates for their children. It’s never too early or too late for a parent to be an informed decision-maker for their child’s education. This workshop will teach parents how to be effective and equal members of the special education team by fully understanding their child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). We will focus on parent participation and concerns, students’ strengths, present level, goals, accommodations/modifications, and more.

Presented by Maria Rangel: Bilingual Outreach Coordinator, NWDSA/ABI

Maria Rangel provides support, advocacy, education, and training to families of individuals who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Maria started and manages the first Spanish-speaking program for Northwest Down Syndrome Association and ABI.


Session 4 Workshops

4a. Setting Up Social and Behavioral Support Strategies so Everyone is Included in Preschool and Kindergarten (LEAP Model)

Do you want to help your children be more successful in a mainstream classroom? Incorporating LEAP strategies has been a game changer for Cherry Park Elementary where 75% of students live below the poverty line and 26 different languages are spoken. Cherry Park Elementary is in the fourth year of LEAP implementation in preschool and has seen dramatic increases in school readiness. Last year, 100% of students who learned these strategies in preschool reached reading benchmarks in kindergarten. Students who lacked basic skills, social awareness, and connectedness are thriving. Many students who were identified as special education at age 3 have reached their goals and no longer need a special education plan. Inclusion has increased and the skills being taught in the classrooms are benefiting all students—not just in preschool but beyond.

Join Cherry Park Elementary staff from the David Douglas School District to learn how they are providing their all-inclusive preschool and kindergarten students with the necessary social skills, routines, and supports to successfully access their education. This presentation will consist of sharing research-based and practical strategies to use every classroom setting.

Presented by Kate Barker: Principal; Max Striplin: Teacher, Cherry Park Elementary

This is Kate Barker’s 28th year in education and 16th as a principal. She is a champion for her very diverse community and loves nothing more than supporting her students’ growth.

Max Striplin is an Early Childhood Special Education teacher with a M.S. in early intervention. Max has been teaching preschool-age children with and without disabilities for 9 years. He finished the LEAP training to fidelity two years ago and loves sharing and learning about inclusion in the early grades.

4b. Employment First; What does success look like?

Employment First is a movement; it’s a value and an idea. What does that look like for people with disabilities, their families, and those in their support circle? This workshop will use the principles of Employment First as the basis of discussion of examples of successful practice from across the country.

Presented by Jenny Stonemeier: Executive Director, Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE)

Jenny has spent her career working alongside and on behalf of people with disabilities, their families, and communities. Jenny has worked as a private advocate for families, a project director at the Wisconsin Parent Training and Information Center, and director of education policy at TASH and the SWIFT Center. In 2016, Jenny’s policy work with the SWIFT Center was honored by the Zero Project—an International NGO monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Jenny is also the mom of two school-aged kids; her teenage son is on the autism spectrum.

4c. Oregon ABLE Savings Plan; Saving for your future without jeopardizing your benefits

The Oregon ABLE Savings Plan is a way to save for eligible expenses, invest in your future, and keep the benefits on which you rely. Learn about the Oregon ABLE Savings Plan from the inside out and learn how families and self-advocates use the plan in their own lives.

Presented by Tobias Read: Oregon State Treasurer & Board Chair, Oregon 529 Savings; David Bell: Deputy Director, Oregon Savings Network; Steve Holland: President, ABI/NWDSA & Director of Treasury & Risk, Campbell Global LLC; Daniel Jarvis-Holland: PSU college student

Tobias Read was a member of the Oregon House of Representatives from 2007–2017.

David Bell helped develop and launch the Oregon ABLE Savings Plan. He is an adjunct professor at Portland State University in the School of Business Administration. Previously, David was the Director of Operations for the Global Youth Empowerment division of Operation HOPE, an international nonprofit focused on financial empowerment and capacity building. David is the chair of the Oregon Jump$tart Coalition and a founding board member of Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network.

Steven Holland is a graduate of the University of Oregon with a degree in finance and holds a CFA Charter. He has volunteered with NWDSA/ABI since 2002, serving at different times as board member, Treasurer, and President. He is a former President of the Portland Society of Financial Analysts, and he currently serves on the Rivermark Community Credit Union’s Supervisory Committee.

Daniel Jarvis-Holland's bio not provided.

4d. How to Use Goals in the IEP to Drive Success in an Inclusive Placement

This workshop examines how strong, inclusive goals will drive the IEP. By understanding the present levels of performance and aligning goals to an inclusive academic setting, powerful goals specific to your student/child will be achieved.

Presented by Noelle Sisk: SPED Family and Community Coordinator, Portland Public Schools

Noelle Sisk works with educators and parents of children with disabilities in ways that demonstrate respect for their differing roles while simultaneously bringing them together toward the same goal: the social/emotional well-being and academic success of children with disabilities.

4e. So Your Child/Student with Intellectual Disability is Thinking about College; An introduction to postsecondary education for students with ID

What’s next; what’s possible? This workshop—geared towards students, parents, and professionals new to the field—will examine postsecondary education options with national experts. Over 260 colleges and universities now offer postsecondary education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities. A national overview of current college options and how to find them, model programs, federal financial aid, and other resources will be provided. Suggestions will be offered regarding the foundational skills students should acquire in K-12 education to be prepared for success in college.

Presented by Stephanie Smith Lee: Senior Policy Advisor & Chair, National Down Syndrome Congress, Think College Accreditation Workgroup; Debra Hart: Co-Principal Investigator and Director of Education and Transition, Think College, Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston

Stephanie Smith Lee has over 35 years of public policy experience including serving in senior staff positions in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Since her daughter, Laura, was born with Down syndrome in 1982, she has led many successful disability advocacy efforts at the local, state, and Federal levels. As the Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the US Department of Education, Ms. Lee directed the policy development, program planning, monitoring, evaluation, research and implementation of IDEA, the Federal special education law. As Senior Policy Advisor for the National Down Syndrome Society, she advocated with Congress and directed a postsecondary project that developed inclusive postsecondary programs in various states. She led the successful effort to amend the Higher Education Act (HEA) to obtain federal financial aid and model programs for students with intellectual disability (ID). She continues that leadership role as Co-chair of the Inclusive Higher Education Committee on behalf of NDSC. Ms. Lee also chairs the National Coordinating Center Accreditation Workgroup that is developing model accreditation standards for these programs.

Debra Hart has over 30 years of experience working with youth and adults with disabilities, their families, faculty, and professionals that support youth in becoming contributing valued members of their community via participation in inclusive secondary and postsecondary education, and competitive integrated employment.

4f. Augmentative and Alternative Communication in Early Childhood

For young children who have complex communication needs (CCN), Augmentative and Alternative Communication in early childhood creates a pathway to inclusion and participation in the social fabric of the home, schools and childcare centers, and the community. This collaborative workshop will focus on introducing AAC, the Communication Bill of Rights, and how you can help your child access AAC supports across home, school, and community. A special emphasis will be on identifying resources in the Pacific NW to help participants advocate for children with CCN. There will also be a discussion session at the end of the session, meant to give participants voice and ask for specific resources. 

Presented by Sam Sennott Ph.D: Assistant Professor of Special Education, Portland State University; Melissa Pebly: Instructor/Cohort Leader, Department of Special Education, Portland State University

Samuel Sennott’s work focuses on augmentative and alternative communication, Universal Design for Learning, and assistive technologies. He co-created the original Proloquo2Go for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

Melissa Pebly’s interests are related to literacy for students with significant disabilities, augmentative and alternative communication, and supporting inclusive opportunities for students with complex needs.

4g. Supporting Children and All Their Diverse Needs in a Fast-Moving 3-6th Grade Classrooms

This workshop will explore tools, examples, and inspiration from teachers and parent experts. Low-tech strategies and examples of modified curriculum will be shared to help students achieve success without a migraine.

Presented by Ann Donaca-Sullivan, M.Ed: Lead Placement Coordinator & Professor, Concordia University, Parent; Jo Sigmund, M.Ed: edTPA Coordinator & Professor, Concordia University, Elementary Educator

Ann Donaca-Sullivan is Wellness Director at NWDSA and founder/director of Bike First! which teaches people who experience disabilities to ride traditional bicycles. Teaching and inclusion have been her passion for over 30 years.

Jo Sigmund is the founder of The Emerson School, a Project Based k-5 charter school located in NW Portland. Equity in education has been her focus for her more than 30 years in the field.

4h. Universal Design and Successful Technology Interventions; What are they and how do we incorporate them into middle school classrooms and beyond

Interactive workshop: Bring your mobile devices. This workshop will show how technology and Universal Design can support inclusion and differentiation for every student in the middle school classroom and beyond. 

Presented by Lori Cooney: Project Coordinator & Universal Instructional Design Specialist Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston

Lori directs grant activities for Future Quest Island, an online, universally-designed and fully-accessible college and career readiness adventure for middle school students funded by the Federal Office of Special Education Programs. She has 20 years of extensive experience in designing and delivering professional development for educators on instructional resources, universal instructional design, inclusive educational practices, individualized learning plans, curriculum development, course redesign, technology integration, and assessment strategies for students from cradle to college. Lori also works across multiple projects on the Education & Transition Team at the ICI and is a local and national speaker on universal design with technology and college and career readiness for middle school students.

4i. YOUTH TRACK (16-25 ONLY): Better Together; Art-based community-building

In this workshop, participants will explore community circles and ways you can support yourself and each other. Let's get creative so youths can thrive, not just survive!

Facilitator Steven Jackson

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