5th Annual Making a Difference Conference

November 15, 2016 Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel, Marlborough
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  • 15 November

Timothy Gallagher

Assistant Director of the Office of Public School Monitoring
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
I have 10 years of classroom teaching experience both as a high school history teacher and for an alternative high school called YouthBuild. I worked for DCF for 4 years as an educational coordinator. There I did some advocacy work for students in State care and worked with LEAs to place students who were either in foster care, group homes, or residential. I have been with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in the Office of Public School Monitoring (PSM) where I started out as a reviewer for what we call Coordinated Program Reviews (CPR). These are routine reviews of public school districts and charter schools where we review for compliance in the areas of Special Education, Civil Rights and English Learner Education. I later became a supervisor for a team who conducts these reviews in the S.E. region of the state and was recently promoted as the Assistant Director for (PSM). PSM is our new name, we were previously Program Quality Assurance (PQA) which many people attending this conference might know us by.

15 November

Rich Robison

Executive Director
Federation for Children with Special Needs

15 November

Renee Williams

RTSC Project Director
Federation for Children with Special Needs
Renee Williams is the Project Director of the Recruitment, Training and Support Center (RTSC) for Special Education Surrogate Parents (SESPs), a project of the Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN). Initially introduced to the program as a volunteer in 2007, she joined the Federation in 2014 as an Outreach and Recruitment Specialist for Eastern Massachusetts. Since completing the Parent Consultant Training Institute, she has been an active Special Education Advocate and Consultant and founder of Olive Branch Advocacy. Renee served as President of the Special Needs Advocacy Network (SPaN) for four years and continues to serve as a board member.

As the Project Director and a strong advocate for children with all (dis)abilities, she has the utmost appreciation and respect for all of the SESP volunteers devoting their time to support some of the most vulnerable students across the state.

15 November


Danielle Ferrier, MBA, LICSW

Deputy Commissioner for Clinical Services & Program Operations
Department of Children and Families
Danielle has over 25 years of experience in the child welfare and human services industries, including over 15 years as a practicing clinical therapist. Her training and primary areas of focus have been with high-risk children, youth and families with a clinical specialty in trauma and attachment. Danielle joined the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in 2015 as the Deputy Commissioner for Clinical Services & Program Operations. Prior to DCF, Danielle had been the Chief Executive Officer of Rediscovery, Inc., an agency that specialized in programming and policy related to “aging out youth,” and unaccompanied homeless youth. Additional areas of professional interest and experience include early childhood development, dyspraxia and autism. She teaches at the Boston University School of Social Work in the policy department and has trained nationally on topics related to homeless youth, education and youth aging out of foster care.
Danielle holds dual master’s degrees in business from SimmonsSchool of Management and social work from Boston University, and has received the highest level of independent licensure in social work (LICSW).

15 November

Lieutenant Leonard DiPetro

Commanding Officer
City of Cambridge Police Department

15 November

James Barrett, Ph.D.

Director of School-Based Programs
Cambridge Health Alliance
Dr. Barrett is the Director of School-Based Programs in the Division of Child/Adolescent Psychiatry at the Cambridge Health Alliance and an Instructor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is the site director of the Safety Net psychology fellowship program and clinical coordinator of the Safety Net Collaborative in partnership with the Cambridge Police Department’s Youth and Family Services Unit, Cambridge Human Services and Cambridge Public Schools. Dr. Barrett is the author and developer of the Fight Navigator curriculum under the Eleanor and Miles Shore Fellowship from the Harvard Medical School to address retaliatory violence in youth. Dr. Barrett has presented at numerous national conferences on juvenile justice, gang violence, preventing retaliatory violence, juvenile risk assessment and police-mental health partnerships. He has contributed to national meetings convened by SAMHSA, the MacArthur Foundation and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He is a contributor to Psychological Services, Adolescent Psychiatry, The Community Psychologist, and The Handbook of Human Development for Health Professionals.

15 November

Tara Sagor

Director of Training and Trauma Response
Justice Resource Center
 Tara Sagor is the Director of Training and Trauma Response for Justice Resource Institute. She received her Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Counseling Psychology from Lesley University where she is currently an adjunct professor in their graduate department. She has 14 years of experience within residential programs in various roles across departments including educationally, clinically and within the residential milieu. She has spent the majority of her professional career working with adolescents and their caregivers at the van der Kolk Center, a facility specializing in the treatment of complex trauma. She has also worked within inpatient settings and for child advocacy centers. She is trained in Sensory-Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART), Neurofeedback and Trauma-focused CBT. She has led multiple training initiatives and implementation teams to establish high standards of trauma-informed treatment within programs both internally and through her role as a consultant.

15 November

Maureen McGettigan, LICSW

Clinical Director Southeast Campus
The Home for Little Wanders
Maureen is the Clinical Director at The Home for Little Wanderers Southeast Campus in Plymouth, Massachusetts. She has 26 years of experience specializing in the treatment of psychological trauma, including 2½ years at the Trauma Center in Brookline with Bessel van der Kolk where she was Interim Director of the Child Treatment Team.

15 November

Joanna Bell

Director of Milieu Services
Walker School
Joanna Bell is the Director of Milieu Services at Walker’s Needham Campus. Starting as the Assistant Director of the Res Ed Program 4 years ago, she oversaw the programming, staffing and day to day operations of the 4 Res Ed houses. Last year, she became the Director of Milieu Services where she now oversees the milieu of the Res Ed program, Group Home program and CBAT program. She began working in this field at Franciscan Children’s Hospital 10 years ago and fell in love with the residential work with the children and families. Her passion is creating opportunity for the children in residential care and providing them with consistent access to community activities and involvement.

15 November

Judith Canty Graves

Co-author "Parents Have the Power to Make Special Education Work"
The Graves are not educators, lawyers, or clinicians. They are parents with typical jobs and interests who happen to have spent 15 years in the special education system trying to obtain an appropriate education for their son. Through trial and error, success and failure, they managed to learn what it takes to navigate the bureaucratic maze and the often hidden agenda of school culture so that their son could receive the education he deserved and by law was entitled to. The results of their journey led to the publication of "Parents Have the Power to Make Special Education Work," an acclaimed parent manual published in 2014 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Please visit their website at www.MakeSpecialEducationWork.com and follow them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/MakeSpecialEducationWork.

15 November

Carson Graves

Co-author "Parents Have the Power to Make Special Education Work"
The Graves are not educators, lawyers, or clinicians. They are parents with typical jobs and interests who happen to have spent 15 years in the special education system trying to obtain an appropriate education for their son. Through trial and error, success and failure, they managed to learn what it takes to navigate the bureaucratic maze and the often hidden agenda of school culture so that their son could receive the education he deserved and by law was entitled to. The results of their journey led to the publication of "Parents Have the Power to Make Special Education Work," an acclaimed parent manual published in 2014 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Please visit their website at www.MakeSpecialEducationWork.com and follow them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/MakeSpecialEducationWork.

15 November

Stephanie Monaghan-Blout, Psy.D.

Pediatric Neuropscyhologist
Dr. Stephanie Monaghan-Blout specializes in the neuropsychological assessment of children and adolescents with complex learning and emotional issues. She is proficient in the administration of psychological (projective) tests, as well as in neuropsychological testing. Dr. Monaghan-Blout has a particular interest in working with adoptive children and their families as well as those contending with the impact of traumatic experiences. She is a member of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI) associated with Massachusetts Advocates for Children and the Harvard Law Clinic.

Dr. Monaghan-Blout graduated from Bowdoin College in 1975 and received a Masters in Counselor Education from Boston University in 1976. She completed advanced training in family therapy from the Kantor Family Therapy Institute and, for many years, worked in community settings as an adolescent and family therapist. She obtained her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Antioch New England Graduate School in 1999. She also completed an internship in pediatric neuropsychology and child psychology at North Shore University Hospital in New York, and a postdoctoral fellowship at HealthSouth/Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital.

She joined Dr. Ann Helmus at Children’s Evaluation Center in 2003, and at NESCA in 2007. A member of the Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society Board of Directors since 2010, Dr. Monaghan-Blout has served as Chair of the Education Committee and recently completed a term as President of that organization.

Dr. Monaghan-Blout is the mother and stepmother of four children, and the grandmother of six. She is also an avid ice hockey player and devotee of science fiction/fantasy literature.
Recent Presentations

Lawrence Schools, sponsored by Federation for Children with Special Needs:
Evaluating The Difficult, Tough to Diagnose Kid. August 21, 2015

NESCA Conference: Addressing Students’ Educational, Emotional, andTransition
Needs: Practical Strategies for Special Education Advocates and Attorneys:
Psychological Testing in Special Education Evaluations. September 11, 2015

Wachuset Regional School District:
Anxiety in the School Setting; Identification, Management, and Interventions. With Dr. Angela Curry, Ph.D, December 10, 2015

15 November

Danielle Hardin

RTSC Project Associate
Federation for Children with Special Needs
Danielleis the Project Associate for the Recruitment, Training and Support Center (RTSC)for Special Education Surrogate Parents (SESPs), a project of the Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN). Initially introduced to the program as a SESP volunteer in 2014, she joined the Federation as an employee in February 2016 and completed the advocacy training through the Parent Consultant Training Institute at the Federation. Danielle previously worked at the Home for Little Wanderers, for 11 years, as the Administrative Specialist/EA to the Vice President of Risk Management, Evaluation and Outcomes. Danielle has a passion for technology, giving back and connecting people and organizations through networking.

15 November

Megan Ronzio

Program Director
Special Education Surrogate Parent Program/ EDCO
Through a grant of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, EDCO Collaborative's Special Education Surrogate Parent (SESP) Program appoints trained volunteers to act as special education decision-makers for students who have no parent or legal guardian. In addition, the SESP Program conducts outreach efforts to DCF offices and to school districts across the state by offering trainings and informational materials. The SESP Program works in partnership with the Massachusetts Federation for Children with Special Needs, which is responsible for volunteer recruitment, training and support.


15 November

Stephen Spaloss

Regional Vice President
City Year
Stephen began his service in 1990 as a corps member and soon emerged a leader. In 1991, he became the very first alumni to serve as Program Manager where he was responsible for the service and leadership development of ten young people. Stephen was also the first alumni Executive Director of City Year Boston. In addition to a number of leadership positions within the City Year organization, Stephen has helped found several City Year sites including Providence, San Jose and Philadelphia and supported the launch of City Year’s 15th site, City Year South Africa in Johannesburg. His contributions were recognized in 1997 when he was named the Founding Co-Executive Director for City Year Philadelphia. Stephen went on to join the headquarters team to support the overall management and support of the sites.


15 November

Sara Burd

District Leader of Social Emotional Learning
Reading Public Schools
Sara Burd has been working in the counseling and education field for over 10 years. Sara is a licensed school guidance counselor, school adjustment counselor/social worker, supervisor of student services and Registered Drama Therapist. Sara currently serves as the District Leader of Social Emotional Learning in Reading Public Schools. She has been a member of the Behavioral Health and Public Schools Task force and was appointed by the Secretary of Education to the Safe and Supportive Schools Commission. Sara is an adjunct professor at Lesley University and teaches for LIfTS- The Lesley Institute for Trauma Studies. Sara oversees the 5 year School Climate Transformation Federal Grant Program in Reading, implementing a Multi-tiered System of Supports across the district and is a Youth Mental Health First Aider through the Project Aware grant program where she and her team have trained over 500 adults in less than 2 years to be Youth Mental Health First Aid certified. Sara practices mindfulness with staff every morning in the district and teaches yoga to preschoolers through the Yoga4Classrooms program. Outside of work, Sara enjoys seeing the world through the eyes of her 3 year old daughter!

15 November

Marta Gredler

Project Director, Office of Social Emotional Learning and Wellness
Boston Public Schools
Marta Gredler serves within the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Office of Social Emotional Learning and Wellness as the Project Director of BPS C.A.R.E.S. Her primary responsibility is coordinating a capacity building initiative that is focused in 10 schools as well as supporting district staff in assessment of and intervention in addressing the impact of trauma with our students, families, and school staff. For the previous five years, Marta managed a federal Full-service Community Schools (FSCS) Initiative that fostered the integration of wrap-around services and programming to meet the needs of students who were dis-engaged, chronically absent, struggling academically, and at-risk of dropping out. A primary issue facing all 3 FSCS schools was the level of trauma that students and families were experiencing which led her to write and secure a grant for BPS C.A.R.E.S..

Before joining the staff of Boston Public Schools ten years ago, Marta was the founding Executive Director of Boston’s Full-service Schools Roundtable. Her prior experience includes six years at Lesley University where one of her roles was managing the state-funded Advancing the Field grant that supported non-traditional students working in early childhood to return to college to earn an Associates or B.A. degree. During this period, Marta also taught 2 graduate level Education courses- Family, Schools, and Community and Leadership in Early Childhood Education as an adjunct faculty member.

After earning a B.A from Clark University with a dual major in Education and Child Psychology, Marta began her professional career as a Kindergarten teacher in a Model Cities program in Worcester, Massachusetts and subsequently received her M.Ed. from Antioch University.

15 November

Mary Ellen Shaw

Principal of K-8 Therapeutic School
Fall River Public Schools
I have been an educator for 33 years, working primarily with children with trauma histories. For the past six years I have been the principal of the Stone Therapeutic Day School, which we have taken from a 6 to 8 middle school to a K to 8 model.

15 November

Marlies Spanjaard

Director of Education Advocacy
The EdLaw Project
Marlies Spanjaard is the Director of Education Advocacy for The Edlaw Project, an initiative of the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts and the Committee for Public Counsel - Children & Family and Youth Advocacy Divisions. EdLaw advocates for the education rights of Massachusetts’ highest risk children. As the Director of Education Advocacy, Ms. Spanjaard is responsible for supervising staff attorneys and interns, making program-wide policy decisions, and conducting state-wide trainings on education-related issues with a specific focus on representing court-involved youth. Prior to serving as coordinator Ms. Spanjaard was a staff attorney at the Edlaw Project and, in that role, represented students in school disciplinary hearings, special education team meetings, and administrative hearings before the Bureau of Special Education Appeals. Ms. Spanjaard has trained a wide variety of audiences including parents, youth workers, students, and lawyers. She presented at two well-attended and well-received sessions at the 2015 COPAA Convention and is presenting on an upcoming COPAA Webinar. Ms. Spanjaard also serves as an adjunct instructor at Wheelock College in the Juvenile Justice and Youth Advocacy Department. She earned her J.D. and her M.S.W. at Washington University Law School and George Warren Brown School of Social Work in St. Louis, Missouri.

15 November

Paige Parisi, RYT-200

Director of Human Resources
Federation for Children with Special Needs
Paige Parisi has been practicing yoga for 28 years and became a Kripalu certified yoga teacher in 2013. Paige has studied with teachers from a variety of yoga schools, including specialized training to teach yoga to people with a variety of medical challenges. Paige is dedicated to bringing the many benefits of yoga to each person in the way that will serve them best.

Paige also received a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in 1997 and has worked at Massachusetts Advocates for Children and is currently the part-time Director of Human Resources at the Federation for Children with Special Needs. She was the RTSC Project Director from 2013-2015 and also a volunteer SESP. Paige has provided pro bono legal services for several years at Massachusetts Advocates for Children and more recently at the Disability Law Center.

15 November

Lucie M. Kasova, E-RYT 500

Lucky Me Yoga
Lucie Kasova, E-RYT 500 is known for her teaching style that integrates yoga and mindfulness, encouraging a sense of inquiry in her students. Her approach emphasizes the power of breathwork as a transformational tool. She continues to study with and assist Yoganand Michael Carroll, the Dean of the Kripalu School of Yoga. A 2013 and 2016 recipient of a Teaching for Diversity grant from the Kripalu Yoga Teachers Association, she is currently pursuing Advanced Certification in the Pranakriya Yoga School and Teacher Certification in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction from the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Lucie teaches classes and workshops in the U.S. and Europe.
More info at luckymeyoga.com

15 November

Youth MOVE

Massachusetts members

15 November

Janie Crecco

Training and Support Specialist
Federation for Children with Special Needs
Janie Crecco is the Training and Support Specialist at RTSC. She is a graduate of George Washington University and has graduate degrees from Yale University and Simmons College. She presents SESP Orientations and Trauma and Learning trainings throughout the state. Janie answers questions and addresses concerns about special education procedures and social-emotional learning. She hosts the monthly webinars and is the Editor of the monthly Consider This.... She is the parent of two brothers adopted from the Department of Children and Families.

15 November

Seyfarth Shaw

Visionary Sponsor

At Seyfarth Shaw, we are leading the way to deliver legal services more effectively, more efficiently, more transparently.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP provides thoughtful, strategic, practical legal counsel to client companies and legal teams of all sizes. With more than 850 attorneys in the U.S., London, Shanghai, Melbourne and Sydney, we offer a national platform and an international gateway to serve your changing business and legal needs in litigation, employment, corporate, real estate and employee benefits.

Jason Hayes Foundation

Visionary Sponsor
The Jason Hayes Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was established in loving memory of our son, brother, and cousin, Jason.

Our Mission

Our goal is to support and enrich the lives of children and young adults (ages 5-18) who have had experience early childhood trauma. This includes but is not limited to children who have:
  • been the victims of physical and/or emotional abuse
  • experienced chronic homelessness
  • resided in a home with substance abuse
  • been placed foster care system
Public health professionals, psychologist, early childhood development experts, and neurobiologists have established a connection between early childhood trauma and educational, behavioral, emotional, and social problems that arise later in life.
However, while Jason was alive, and still today, many of these children’s actions are misunderstood and consequently ineffectively handled. Because incorrectly identifying an underlying cause for such actions and lead to additional trauma for these children and young adults, we work to provide
  • scholarships for children and young adults to attend camps and programs that specialize in emotional and/or behavioral needs that are a result of early childhood trauma
  • grants to non-profit camps that specialize in or promote the attendance of children with emotional and/or behavioral needs
  • grants to programs and organizations that actively reach out to and provide training for parents, educators, and other professional who are in close contact with and provide support for the special needs of these children and young adults
  • support for programs and organizations that provide outreach to teens and young adults who are aging out of the system
  • online resources for parents, foster families, adoptive families, educators, counselors, and other professionals who regularly interact with and provide support for children and young adults who have experienced early childhood trauma

Justice Resource Institute

Visionary Sponsor
For over 40 years, JRI's mission has been to work in partnership with individuals, families, communities and government to pursue the social justice inherent in opening doors to opportunity and independence. With over 100 diverse programs across three states JRI is committed to excellence and deliver target services that support the dignity of each person. JRI offers clinically sophisticated, specialized residential and day schools. All are fully accredited and provide an array of educational, clinical and vocational services. Our schools specialize in trauma-informed treatment utilizing the ARC (Attachment, Self Regulation and Competency) framework which helps students cope with traumatic histories, develop self regulation skills, increase interpersonal skills and gain competency and independence.

NESCA: Neuropsychology and Education Services for Children and Adolescents

Leader Sponsor
NESCA is a pediatric neuropsychology practice and integrative treatment center in Newton, Massachusetts, serving clients from 18 months through young adulthood and their families. Founded in 2007 by Dr. Ann Helmus, the practice includes experienced neuropsychologists and other skilled practitioners. From the first, we've worked very hard to set new standards for strong evaluations conducted with genuine warmth in a “non-clinical,” low-stress environment, with the goal of creating enduring and productive relationships with the people we serve.

NESCA provides: Neuropsychological Evaluations, Psychological testing, International Evaluations, Transition Assessment, Consultation and Planning, Behavioral services, Integrative Treatments including Yoga and Acupuncture, School Consultations and Parent Trainings.

The Boston Foundation

Leader Sponsor
The Boston Foundation is:

A manager of charitable assets
A major funder of nonprofit organizations
A civic leader and convener

In 2015, the Boston Foundation celebrated its 100th Anniversary as the primary philanthropy for Greater Boston—from the earliest days of responding to human need, to seeding innovation through grants for fresh ideas, to helping change the very systems that affect the lives of everyone in our city and region. Learn more about our Centennial events.
Today, we are one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation. Our donors meet their own philanthropic goals, while adding to the Foundation’s overall strength. We also play a major civic leadership role for our region through publishing fresh research, convening people to discuss our region’s challenges and creating powerful agendas for change.
A Strategic Focus on People and on PlaceAll of the work of the Boston Foundation is guided by two main strategic goals that reflect our deep commitment to strengthening our communities:
  • Greater Boston residents are successful and thriving
  • Greater Boston communities are vibrant
Through these goals, we seek to have a profound impact on important areas of community life—including dramatic improvements in education and health attainment; safe and vibrant neighborhoods; robust arts and cultural opportunities; and a regional economy that enables everyone to thrive.
Read our Mission and Value Statements.
High Impact Giving
In 2012, the Boston Foundation and The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI) merged, with TPI operating as a distinct unit of the Boston Foundation. TPI pioneered the field of strategic philanthropic advising over 20 years ago and remains a national leader today. Through its consulting services and its work to advance the broader field of strategic philanthropy TPI has influenced billions of dollars of giving worldwide. TPI’s Center for Global Philanthropy promotes international giving from the U.S. and local philanthropy around the world.
Charity Navigator 4 Star rating sCF Standards seal GuideStar Exchange seal
For more information about the Boston Foundation call 617-338-1700.For more information about TPI call 617-338-2590.
For more information about using our available conference space call 617-338-2677.

Dr. Nancy Rappaport

Friend of RTSC

PPAL- Parent/Professional Advocacy League

PPAL- Parent/Professional Advocacy League provides connection to parents, youth and professionals on supporting youth with emotional, behavioral and/or mental health needs. PPAL is a statewide family run organization that educates, collaborates and advocates for children mental health. PPAL network is large and knowledgeable to support the steps needed to access care, and feel informed on decision making.

Rise Above Foundation

Rise Above provides youth in foster care opportunities that give them a sense of normalcy, provide comfort, and build self-esteem. By funding individual wishes for requests like prom expenses, soccer registration, and clarinet lessons, Rise Above strives to provide positive experiences for foster children. Learn more at www.weriseabove.org.

Federation for Children with Special Needs

Since 1974, the Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN) has grown from a grassroots parent group to a nationally recognized organization serving more than 45,000 families and their children with special needs annually. Recognized locally and nationally as a pioneering organization that advocates for quality education, strong parent participation and access to quality health care services for all children, especially those with disabilities, our mission is to provide information, support, and assistance to parents of children with disabilities, their professional partners, and their communities. We are committed to listening to and learning from families, and encouraging full participation in community life by all people, especially those with disabilities.

Contact FCSN at www.fcsn.org  

Special Needs Advocacy Network, Inc.

SPAN works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, and to act as a primary resource for advocates, parents, and other professionals who are pursuing knowledge in the area of special education.

Recruitment, Training and Support Center

The Recruitment, Training and Support Center (RTSC) for Special Education Surrogate Parents (SESPs), is a project of the Federation for Children with Special Needs a nonprofit organization. Our primary mission is to recruit community volunteers willing to make a difference in a child’s life by becoming an SESP for children in state care or custody that require special education services.

Federal education law requires a student's parents or guardians be included in the special education decision-making process. However, children in state custody may not have anyone to fill that role. Students who qualify for SESPs face many challenges including special education needs, the lack of a parent or legal guardian to advocate for them and frequent home and/or school changes. Some have had traumatic experiences including abuse, death of a loved one and separation from siblings and friends. For these children, an appropriate education can be a lifeline to the tools they need to grow into successful adults.

SESPs are volunteers who assist in making educational decisions for individual students. Once appointed these volunteers have the full legal authority of a parent or legal guardian to attend Team meetings, approve or reject Individual Education Plans (IEPs), and, if necessary, file a complaint or appeal. On average an SESP only spends about 20-30 hours a year volunteering their time.

RTSC strives to meet the needs of these students by recruiting volunteers from across the state and providing them with the training and support they need to be effective SESP. We host 2-3 Orientation Trainings each month throughout the state of Massachusetts. 

Contact us if you are interested in learning more about the program and/or would like to sign up for an upcoming orientation.

INDEX/The Autism Insurance Resource Center

INDEX provides information and referral for people with disabilities in Massachusetts. The Autism Insurance Resource Center is a resource for consumers, providers, clinicians, employers, and educators on issues related to medical insurance for autism treatment.

Supporters of the Autism Insurance Resource Center

Purple Umbrella Jewelry

Unique handmade jewelry
"many artists under one umbrella"

Justice Resource institute

For over 40 years, JRI's mission has been to work in partnership with individuals, families, communities and government to pursue the social justice inherent in opening doors to opportunity and independence. With over 100 diverse programs across three states JRI is committed to excellence and deliver target services that support the dignity of each person. JRI offers clinically sophisticated, specialized residential and day schools. All are fully accredited and provide an array of educational, clinical and vocational services. Our schools specialize in trauma-informed treatment utilizing the ARC (Attachment, Self Regulation and Competency) framework which helps students cope with traumatic histories, develop self regulation skills, increase interpersonal skills and gain competency and independence.

Institute for Health and Recovery

The Institute for Health and Recovery (IHR) is a statewide service, research, policy and program development agency. IHR designs its services based on an understanding of he impact of trauma. IHR's mission is to develop a comprehensive continuum of care for individuals, youth, and families affected by alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, mental health problems, violence/trauma and HIV/AIDS. IHR also houses the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's FASD State Coordinator, who will be represented by a Parent Advocate at this event.

Dare Family Services

Dare Family Services is an Intensive non-profit Foster Care agency.

NAMI Massachusetts

 NAMI Mass is the Massachusetts chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community of hope for all of those in need. NAMI also provides free education and support programs for people living with mental health conditions and their families and caregivers.

Department of Children and Families

Memories of Luv, Where Learning Is Fun!!!

Memories of Luv, Where Learning Is Fun!!! makes Personalized Educational Placemats! Placemats that provide the fundamentals of Abc's, Numbers, Colors and Shapes.

Walker, Inc.

Walker is a leading not-for-profit organization providing intensive, highly specialized therapeutic and academic services for exceptionally vulnerable yet resilient children, teens, and families facing complex mental health,
emotional, behavioral, and learning challenges. Founded in 1961, Walker’s evidence-based programs positively impact thousands of children, teens, and families each year throughout Greater Boston, the North and South Shore as well as in Central Massachusetts. Walker provides services through campuses in Needham and Watertown, community-based clinical, home-based, parent education and youth development programs, professional seminars, consultations, and coaching.

Silver Lining Mentoring

Founded in 2001, Silver Lining Mentoring (SLM) empowers youth in foster care to flourish through committed mentoring relationships and the development of essential life skills. SLM offers two primary services: Community Based Mentoring, a one-to-one mentoring service for youth ages 7 and older, and Learn and Earn, a matched-savings and life-skills mentoring program for young people ages 16 and older who are preparing to, or who have “aged out” of the child welfare system.

The EdLaw Project

The EdLaw Project is a partnership between the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts and the Children & Family and Youth Advocacy Divisions of the Committee for Public Counsel Servicesfocused on combating the School-to-Prison pipeline for indigent, court-involved youth through trainings for juvenile justice and child welfare attorneys; technical assistance for youth, parents, community organizations; and direct education advocacy.

Registration, Continental Breakfast, Exhibitors & Networking

08:00 AM 08:30 AM


08:30 AM 08:45 AM General Session


Opening Remarks

08:45 AM 09:00 AM General Session


Morning Keynote Address

09:00 AM 10:00 AM General Session



10:00 AM 10:15 AM Courtyard

Reducing Juvenile Arrests: The Cambridge Safety Net Collaborative

10:15 AM 11:45 AM Princess Room

Cambridge, MA Police Department will present an integrated police and behavioral health model with demonstrated success in reducing juvenile arrests, improving youth-police relations, and creating a coordinated support network.

Approximately 60-70% of youth involved in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosable behavioral health disorder. Police are often the first point of contact for youth with behavioral health conditions, but lack training on how to identify and best intervene. However, officers do have tremendous influence on whether youth are diverted and referred to appropriate services or arrested and detained in the juvenile justice system. The police and behavioral health integration model created by the Cambridge Safety Net Collaborative prepares officers to intervene with youth with behavioral health conditions and collaborate with service providers. In this model, the officer does not hand-off the youth to providers, but remains involved in a case management capacity. Case examples and outcome data will be presented to illustrate how this model has been able to reduce juvenile arrest rates, improve youth-police relations, and increase service utilization for involved youth in the city of Cambridge.


Writing Effective IEP Goals

10:15 AM 11:45 AM Salon A

Participants will learn about the three parts of the IEP that contribute to effective goals for students:
• Current levels of performance and the importance of using objective data to determine whether a student is performing at grade level.
• The importance of specific and measurable IEP goals.
• The service delivery grid and its importance in supporting effective goals.

The Graves will discuss the details of each with examples of weak goals and compare them to effective goals. They will analyze an example of a service delivery grid to see how it coordinates with the goals it is supporting. They will also discuss IEP progress reports and how parents and caregivers need to study them carefully. Goals found in actual IEPs will illustrate the difference between weak and strong goals.

Finally, the Graves will conclude with several ideas for what parents and caregivers can do to ensure that appropriate goals are written for their child. After the presentation there will be time for participants to ask questions and have a discussion.

Please visit their website at www.MakeSpecialEducationWork.com and follow them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/MakeSpecialEducationWork.

A copy of Parents Have The Power To Make Special Education Work will be provided to attendees of this workshop!


Neuropsychological Assessments of Students with Complex Trauma: Helping Developing Brains Get Back on Track

10:15 AM 11:45 AM Seminar Room

Significant adversity during the early years of life may significantly alter the trajectory of normal brain development, leading to a wide range of problems including emotional dysregulation, attachment and socialization issues, and learning problems. This workshop will start by educating caregivers, teachers, clinicians and advocates about the impact of growing up in traumatic circumstances (emotional, social, environmental and medical) on children’s brains. It will then discuss how a neuropsychological evaluation can pinpoint areas of particular challenge for the individual child, which can then assist with the development of effective services.


Congregate Care: Creating a Supportive Living Environment

10:15 AM 11:45 AM Salon E

Our Panelists will discuss life in a residential congregate facility focusing on the academic and out of school time – what activities are typically available before and after classes, academic and therapeutic supports throughout the day and weekend, community integration, and what happens during the summer months.

Facilitator:  Danielle Hardin 


Lunch/ Exhibits/ Book Signing

11:45 AM 12:45 PM

This is a great opportunity to enjoy your lunch, network with other attendees, and visit our many exhibitors.  

Judith and Carson Graves will also be available for a book signing beginning at 12:20pm. Their book Parents Have The Power To Make Special Education Work will be provided to attendees of the Writing IEP Goals workshop.  Others will be able to purchase the book at a discounted conference rate.

Afternoon Welcome

12:40 PM 12:45 PM General Session


Afternoon Keynote Address

12:45 PM 01:45 PM General Session

Breaking Codes: Helping Young People See Their Potential.



01:45 PM 02:00 PM Courtyard

Trauma Sensitive Schools: Promising District Models

02:00 PM 03:30 PM Salon E

Three visionary leaders in social-emotional learning and trauma-sensitive schooling will present their successes and challenges during the process of moving from zero tolerance discipline to compassionate accountability. Sara Burd, District Leader of Social Emotional Learning, Reading Public Schools; Mary Ellen Shaw, Principal of Stone K-8 Day School, Fall River Public Schools; and Marta Gredler, Boston Public Schools will share their knowledge on how to prioritize, operationalize, integrate, and evaluate the structures and systems necessary to create a school with a safe and supportive environment that keeps kids in school and out of the PK to Prison Pipeline.

Facilitator:  Janie Crecco


Every Student Succeeds Act – What does this mean for kids in foster care?

02:00 PM 03:30 PM Seminar Room

In December 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law, replacing No Child Left Behind (NCLB). ESSA makes some significant changes to current law at both the federal and state level.. This workshop will give participants a summary of the new law and discuss the various provisions as they relate to children in foster care.


Refill Your Well: Yoga and Meditation Practices for a Healthy Response to Stress

02:00 PM 03:30 PM Salon A

Are you coping with stress overload? Wanting greater ease, confidence and resiliency? Join Paige Parisi and Lucie Kasova for this experiential workshop and learn techniques and strategies for stress management and self-regulation of the nervous system—practices that can be used by caregivers, teachers and students. The presenters will also discuss how students with trauma and other disabilities can benefit from even the simplest yoga practices.

Through supportive practice sessions that include explanation, demonstration, and group practice, you'll learn a variety of breathing techniques that can be used as a primary tool for regulating the nervous system, thinking, emotions and life energy. You'll learn simple meditation skills for relaxing mind and body, while building focused attention from which one can respond more effectively to challenging situations. You will gain basic understanding of the techniques and practical suggestions on how to incorporate what you learn into daily life.

No previous experience in yoga or meditation is necessary.


Hear youth perspective - I am without a home

02:00 PM 03:30 PM Princess Room

Learn directly from youth that have been supported / lived in foster care. Youth and Young adults themselves give you understanding on what worked and did not work well in care. Youth discuss school, home and systems with the audience as youth adults now.