Pre-Conferences

Last year’s Pre-Conference Sessions were highly rated, and this year’s presenters will not disappoint! Take a look at the 2019 Pre-Conference line-up:

Morning Sessions


Multiple Means of Engagement: Universally Designed SEL & Mental Health Programming

Jennifer Katz

Jennifer Katz

Within the principle of multiple means of engagement lies three critically important checkpoints for student well-being– minimizing threats and distractions, foster collaboration and community, and facilitate personal coping skills and strategies. These checkpoints get at the heart of this principle – students cannot be engaged in learning if they do not feel safe, know who they are as learners, know how to work collaboratively with others, and have skills for coping with emotional and mental health challenges. This interactive pre-conference session will introduce participants to universally designed social and emotional learning and mental health programs involving mental health literacy, dialectical behaviour therapy skills, and mindfulness practices that fulfill this principle and directly address these checkpoints. Participants will view videos of classroom implementation, will be provided with resources, and will participate in some of the activities!


Personalize Learning with the UDL Lens: Empower All Learners with Agency and Self-Advocacy Skills

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Kathleen McClaskey and Luis Perez

When each learner can understand and advocate for how they learn, barriers to learning can be removed and engagement and motivation can result. But where do you begin? Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and personalized learning can be the perfect match to have every learner realize agency and self-advocacy skills so that they can take ownership to learning. UDL leverages the latest research from the neurosciences in order to create more inclusive learning experiences, but how can we use UDL to empower every learner with the tools and skills to become independent self-directed learners with agency? In this workshop, participants will learn a clear process and a set of practical tools that can guide every learner to understand how they learn using the UDL Lens of Access, Engage and Express, gain agency in their learning and acquire the self-advocacy skills to be prepared for college, career and life. 


Transforming High School Learning Environments: Year Five of Our UDL Implementation Journey

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Dr. Elizabeth Berquist, Rene Sanchez, and Dr. Kirsten Omelan

The UDL Transforming High School Learning Environments (UDL-THSLE) project is a collaboration between César E. Chávez High School in Houston, Texas, the Region 4 (Texas) Educational Service Center (ESC), and All In, an education consultancy group. This pre-conference session will use a blended format to describe the fifth year of multi-year Universal Design for Learning project through the lens of the UDL leadership team, made up of school administrators, teacher leaders, regional support staff and UDL coaches. This session will guide participants through the phases of UDL implementation, with a specific focus on scaling UDL into practice in a large, urban high school. Participants in this session will explore a variety of resources related to UDL implementation including lesson plans, educator self assessments using the UDL progression rubric, teacher leadership PLC resources, school data, and professional learning materials. Note: This session is appropriate for those who may have attended the pre conference session in 2018. This session will specifically focus on scaling UDL in a high school. It is also appropriate for those new to UDL implementation as a second pathway will be offered to explore the phases of UDL implementation and related application in a high school. 


UDL 101

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UDL-IRN and CAST

Are you new to UDL? Join us for an introduction to Universal Design for Learning (UDL). During this pre-conference, leaders from the UDL-IRN and CAST will team up to provide participants with an overview of UDL. We’ll explore the UDL principles, guidelines, and the underlying research. We'll discuss how educators are intentionally designing learning opportunities to reduce barriers and meet the needs of diverse learners.


Afternoon Sessions


K-12, Multiple Representations Of The Same Object:  A UDL Pathway to Accessible Educational Materials

Leslie Siegel
Tara Jeffs
Janet Good

Leslie Siegel, Dr. Tara Jeffs, and Janet Good

What is your UDL mindset? Come enjoy the power of collaboration, UDL tools, and creative means for designing a UDL pathway to learning.
Rotate through stations of multiple representations of the SAME science topic/example to experience low/high tech materials, appropriate for regular education and special education students; used often at the SAME time. Examples: Arts & crafts, tactile drawings, embossed braille, 3D printing, augmented reality and virtual reality. Experience how to create multiple representations of the SAME object to meet the needs of varying student populations and how to generalize this model to other subject areas.  


Give Your Online and Blended Learning a UDL Zhoosh!

Serra De Arment
Frances Smith

Dr. Serra De Arment and Dr. Frances Smith

Bring your online or blended course(s) and syllabus(i), your preferred device, and an open mind to a preconference workshop designed to help you connect with faculty peers to think about your teaching in new, UDL-infused ways! Workshop presenters will share frameworks, enhancements, and outcomes from several UDL-focused efforts including open educational resource development; course and syllabus evaluation; and application of tools for enhanced accessibility and engagement. Presenters will guide in-session collaboration and an ongoing faculty learning community for breathing new UDL life into online and blended teaching. Participants will leave with ideas, tools, and connections for supporting that UDL zhoosh!


Teachers and Children Under Stress: the Dramatic Effect of Stress on Learning

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Dr. Susan Simmons

In recent years research on the effects of stress on learning is profound, part of the rich research on the neuroscience of learning. Stress literally halts learning. The brain is wired to trigger fight or flight in stress mode. Learning is blocked. This workshop will leave you with a clear understanding of the neuroscience, the effects of stress on learning, and how to reduce stress in school. The classroom setting can either be an extended source of stress or a haven for learning. Make yours the haven.


UDL Implementation for Administrators

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Jennifer Levine

Are you sold on UDL and ready to start implementation? Come join us for an afternoon of learning, planning, and design. Analyze your school or system’s readiness; learn about systems and infrastructure to support UDL growth; create a plan for culture change in your school. This workshop will provide you with tools (and time!) to begin building your approach to school- and system-wide improvement. Recommended audience: District leaders, school principals and administrators, and instructional coaches.


*Please note that you can only attend one morning session and one afternoon session.

Save your seat! Register here.