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VT-HEC Preview: Focus on Young Children – Birth Through Primary Grades

From Topics on Children Birth to Three to Robotics & Reading in the Primary Grades

There is much ground to cover as we work to develop our pre-school system in Vermont and refine our primary grade experience.  It always seems there is so much to learn, from what the latest research is telling us to using technology tools to make the work more efficient and manageable.

The VT-HEC maintains its long-standing commitment to young children. Since 2005 we have run an Early Childhood Pathway to Endorsement Program leading to the Early Childhood Licensing Endorsement and EC Special Education Endorsement that can also lead to a Masters degree. In addition, we offer an annual array of workshops and related single courses as we work with other providers to meet the professional development needs in this critical area. This year’s line-up includes:

  • Effective Social Communication & Social Interaction Interventions for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders with Patty Prelock, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, in Montpelier, VT (10/12) A Vermont treasure and national expert on child development, communication & ASD – One of our favorite people sharing the latest and most promising research and strategies –  not to be missed!
  • Tips and Tools for Early Childhood Special Educators, with Judith Masson in Montpelier, VT ~ Two workshop dates (9/29, 10/26) with a 1-credit graduate course option. Practical tips, processes and short-cuts that you can adapt to your setting to make your work life easier and more efficient – lots of practical ideas to put into practice tomorrow.
  • Teaching Reading Comprehension to Students Who Require More Explicit Instruction with Tina Newman, Ph.D; Heather Flynn, Ph.D; and Kimberly Marshall, MA, BCBA; in Montpelier, VT ~ Two workshop dates (10/16 & 11/13) After a very successful presentation last year, we are bringing back these folks for two days to share more in-depth strategies to teach reading to students who have learning challenges. This is the kind of specially-designed instruction every interventionist, special and primary educator needs in their tool box.
  • Coding from the Littles to the Middles: Robotics in the K-6 Classroom with Arlyn Bruccoli and Jennifer Fitch in Montpelier, VT (11/17) Hands-on opportunity to see how robots and coding can be integrated into your classroom and curriculum. Jennifer is a classroom teacher and Arlyn a media/technology master. These delightful presenters work together and can talk about their collaboration as well as the technology – plus you get to play with a variety of robots.
  • Connecting the Dots: Using Best Practices to Support Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families in Montpelier, VT ~ Four workshop dates (11/3, 2/9, 3/23, 5/3) with a 3-credit undergraduate course option. Bringing you expert perspective and information on topics important to supporting young children and their families. Knowledge that will benefit everyone working with young children.
  • Lights, Camera, Action! Using your Smartphone or Tablet to Create Efficient and Effective Learning Opportunities for your Students with Chris Knippenberg and Patty Thomas in Montpelier, VT (12/15) Video is a technology tool that that can be used creatively with all kids with a little practice to motivate, teach and demonstrate learning. Learn how in another of VT-HEC’s WORKshops.
  • Getting Ready to Learn Series: Three Make and Take WORKshops with Patty Piotrowski and Chris Knippenberg in Burlington, VT (2/2, 3/13, 4/10) – One of our most successful WORKshop series for a reason: focused on creating materials to meet the specific needs of young students with learning challenges – you will leave with an arm-load of learning materials tailored to support your toughest kids and tips on how best to use them.
  • It Came from Outer Space: Integrating Technology and Writing Across the K-3 Curriculum with Arlyn Bruccoli and Jennifer Fitch in Montpelier, VT (3/9) The title says it all…. Arlyn and Jennifer will show you how and have you practicing with the tools they use working together.
  • A Systematic Approach to Teaching Socialization and Play for Young Learners with Chris Knippenberg in Burlington, VT (5/4) Learning to interact with peers is one of the most important skills a child can learn and for some it doesn’t come easily. Chris will help you develop and plan for those students in a way that will benefit all kids.
  • Check out our other series for offerings that may also address your interests and needs including: Special Education; Trauma, Resilience & Anxiety; General Education – Proficiencies & Personalization
  • VT-HEC WORKshops are learning opportunities that are planned to have participants practicing, applying and tailoring the concepts, skills and models that are being shared for much of the day and often include a course option to support implementation in your own setting.

VT-HEC Fall Preview: Focus on Special Education

Special Education, Early Childhood, Autism, Reading, Trauma, Behavior

We hope we can help you get the year off to a great start with offerings in key areas of need that focus on gaining practical knowledge and skills as well as applying them in real ways to benefit students.

The VT-HEC began in 2000 as an effort of the VT Department of Education, VSC & UVM.  Our first program was the Pathway to Special Education Endorsement course series that continues to this day and has had over 350 completers. In addition, we have offered a selection of workshops and single courses for all those who work with struggling learners and students with disabilities.

Registration will open August 10th for these Fall offerings:

  1. Trauma & Resilience– There are many introductions out there on the impact of trauma and the strategies that can help but the VT-HEC is developing an array of learning opportunities that will go much further & deeper in supporting the application of the most effective strategies and creating in-school expertise. Working with the Northeast Family Institute (NFI) and experts like Joelle Van Lent & Gillian Boudreau, we are planning a coordinated workshops series and course sequence for 2017-2018 & beyond.  


Trauma-Informed Schools – September 26 & October 23, Rutland, VT:  David Melnick of NFI will kick things off with a two-workshop series that has an extended course option.

Spring 2018 Workshops & Courses: We have three additional offerings in this series for the spring– a Part II course presented by David Melnick, a workshop series & course by Joelle van Lent and Gillian Boudreau focusing on resilience, compassion fatigue and mindfulness and Paul Foxman on anxiety.

  1. Tips & Tools for Early Childhood Special Education, September 29 & October 26; Montpelier.  Judith Mason shares practical tools that will benefit both the newest and your most veteran staff member and give them an opportunity to tailor these tools to their own settings.
  1. Special Education Orientation, October 5 & 6; Montpelier. If you, your principal or your staff members are new to your position or to VT, this session is one you want to mark on your calendar now. Andrea Wasson, accomplished special education administrator and presenter/instructor, surveys the special education rules, process and best practices to help you and your staff get off to a confident start in this complicated field. 
  1. Autism Spectrum Disorder in Young Children, October 12; Patty Prelock, one of the most knowledgeable and distinguished experts in the field, will present this “can’t miss” presentation focusing on the latest research on ASD in younger children. 
  1. Teaching Reading Comprehension to Students Who Require More Explicit Instruction, October 16 & November 13; Montpelier- with Tina Newman, Ph.D; Heather Flynn, Ph.D; and Kimberly Marshall, MA, BCBA. A very practical review of the specialized instruction needed to teach reading to many students with challenging disabilities delivered by three experts in the field – a necessity for every reading interventionist and special educator.
  1. Special Education Law Update – November 2, Montpelier – Art Cernosia is a fount of knowledge and perspective on what is important to pay attention to and what is coming down the road concerning special education & related law, court decisions and regulations. 
  1. Power Struggles: What to do When a Student Says, “Make Me!”, November 8, 2017 Killington, VT – Jon Udis. Jon shares both what not to do and the strategies that work to de-escalate the situation and get students back on track. 
  1. Connecting the Dots: Using Best Practices to Support Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families, Montpelier ~ Four workshop dates (11/3, 2/9, 3/23, 5/3) with a 3-credit course option. Covering topics important to everyone working with young children.
  • Check out our other series including: Early Childhood; Trauma, Resilience & Anxiety; General Education – Proficiency & Personalization
  • Go to for more information & registration.  Watch for the full year VT-HEC calendar


New Training for Paraprofessionals – Registered Behavior Technician

 Based on the Competencies for the RBT Credential of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board

The VT-HEC will be offering a new training based on the Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) certification of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).  The training is designed for paraprofessionals, and others desiring these competencies, working in education, mental health and related fields. It will be offered as a 40 hour training experience with an option to receive 3 college credits with some additional work.

This training will provide an excellent foundation of the knowledge and skills needed to implement behavior and education intervention plans. The course is designed to give paraprofessionals the background and basic skills necessary to implement a plan designed by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) or appropriately trained behavior specialist or professional educator.

This offering will meet the RBT training requirements and will cover the competencies set by the BACB.  The training will be offered by fully certified BCBAs. (Additional supervision and successful completion of the RBT exam is required to be officially awarded the RBT credential through the BACB).

The first session of this course is planned to be offered August 7-11, 2017 in Berlin, VT.

VT-HEC to Offer Course at Early Childhood Summer Institue

Advanced Child Development Course at Special Reduced Rate

The VT-HEC will be starting a new cohort of its Early Childhood (EC) & Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Pathway to Licensing course sequence this summer at the Early Childhood Summer Institute to be held at Castleton University in July. The VT-HEC will offer the first course in the course sequence, Advanced Child Development, at a special reduced rate for the Institute. The VT-HEC is pleased to be joining many of Vermont’s early childhood organizations, agencies and higher education programs in putting together a slate of courses focusing on preparing high quality Early Childhood Educators.

The VT-HEC EC/ECSE Pathway to Licensing program is open to Vermont educators wishing to add either the Early Childhood or Early Childhood Special Educator endorsements to their teaching license or to qualified individuals seeking initial licensure in either EC or ECSE through peer review. The EC course sequence (18 credits) and the ECSE sequence (21 credits) both begin with Advance Child Development..  All courses meet the Agency of Education competencies in EC and ECSE.

Visit the VT-HEC website for more information about the EC/ECSE program:

The Early Childhood Summer Institute at Castleton is a true collaboration among many of Vermont’s Early Childhood organizations and programs.  It is designed for Early Childhood Educators (birth through grade 3) working in public schools, private early childhood and after-school settings and the administrators who support them.  There will be over ten courses offered on the Castleton campus during the week of July 24-27, 2017. The VT-HEC is proud to be participating in this effort by starting the new EC/ECSE cohort at this event at a greatly reduced cost.

To register for any of the courses offered at the Early Childhood Summer Institute or for more information go to:


Tina Newman: Reading Comprehension for Students w/ ASD #vted

Tina Newman
Reading interventions that are specifically tailored to the student with ASD are critical

VT-HEC presents a workshop Reading Comprehension & Autism Spectrum Disorders on April 3, 2017 in Montpelier, VT. The day is designed to develop greater teacher competency in addressing the unique learning profiles of students with ASD; students who may have mastered the techniques of decoding text, but struggle with comprehension. This dynamic learning opportunity will include discussions of methodologies to improve student learning within the broad curriculum domain of reading comprehension skills.

The essential building blocks of successful reading comprehension will be reviewed including vocabulary, background information, literal comprehension, main idea, and the application of cognitive strategies to support reading comprehension. In addition, data collection procedures and the use of curriculum-based progress monitoring tools and standardized assessments to track student progress. will be addressed.

Dr. Tina Newman is a licensed clinical child psychologist who specializes in assessment and intervention with children who have individual learning needs. Dr. Newman received her Ph.D. in School/Applied Child Psychology from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and completed postdoctoral work at Yale University.

Dr. Newman held appointments as a Psychologist at the British Columbia Children’s Hospital, Sunny Hill Health Center for Children and as an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale University, Child Study Center. Her research pursuits included assessment and intervention with children who have individual learning needs, including multiple exceptionalities (e.g., areas of both strength and weakness) and circumscribed interests in autism spectrum disorders. Her clinical work included comprehensive assessments of children with complex learning profiles. She currently provides consultation and training for The Center for Children with Special Needs in Glastonbury, CT.

for more information:

Preview – Technology Tools & Assessment – Chris CichoskiKelly

woman typing on laptop and media icons fly off

Matching Technology Tools with the Assessments You Need for your Students

Join Chris CichoskiKelly in an exploration of how you can use technology to design and organize assessments that meet the needs of you and your students. Over two days of workshops Chris will review over a dozen tools that will help you tailor assessments to your content and your students’ goals.

Chris will review tools that can help educators develop and manage learning scales and performance tasks and assist with proficiency-based grading. There are tools that will make learning goals and progress clearer to students and parents and help teachers and students better focus their efforts. Many of these tools can involve students in the assessment process and increase their participation and learning.

Among the tools Chris will be reviewing are: PlayPosit; Socrative; Quizlet; Plickers,  Goobric, Flubaroo and Kahoot.  You will learn how to make creative and tailored use of Google Forms and Sheets, better use Excel for graphing and help make more efficient use of checklists and rubrics. Improve your assessments and keep your date organized with the right tools.

The workshops are on February 3 and March 17 (new date) ; to get the most from this offering take it as a 3 credit course through which you will get support from Chris for the application of the tools you select to your own assessment goals. In addition, you will be able to see how your fellow students are utilizing these tools in different ways.

Chris’s workshops and courses have gotten rave reviews from past participants:

This course was amazing!! The knowledge I gained has been so incredibly useful; we can see that it is clearly benefiting the students.

So many skills and tools. all kinds of useful shortcuts and small ways I can assess and analyze assessments. This class is my favorite one I’ve ever taken as an adult!

I immediately began integrating the tools I learned about into my practice. I am so impressed by the breadth of this course.

I had knowledge of google tools before, but I would say my knowledge tripled or more, and that I have applied that knowledge daily both in my professional life and my personal life.

 It is the most applicable course I have ever taken. I used what I learned immediately.


Preview: Peg Dawson – Executive Skills Coaching #vted


If coaching executive skills were a football game, this would be the playbook

The most informative, practical guide available on the topic
Invaluable to teachers, counselors and school psychologists who work with students with executive skills deficits
Translates cutting-edge research into meaningful, practical, well-organized and easy-to-implement strategies

Smart but Scattered co-author, Peg Dawson, is coming to VT-HEC on February 2 & 3 to share her celebrated program on coaching for improvement of Executive Skills.  With co-author, Richard Guare, their books have covered the critical importance of Executive Skills for success in the 21st Century for kids, tweens, teens and adults. They cover how to assess those skills and how to develop programs to improve them. Peg will be here for a two day workshop on how to coach improvement in executive skills with a follow-up course option where you can be coached on implementing their program by the author who wrote the books on coaching and executive skills.

What other have said of this work:

A unique and marvelous book that presents a coaching model for students with executive skills deficits including those that have ADHD. It is the most informative, practical guide available on the topic –  filled with strategies that can be readily implemented.  Russell A. Barkley, PhD, ABPP, Dept. of Psychiatry, Medical University of So. Carolina

If coaching kids with executive skills deficits were a football game, this would be the playbook.  It provides both theory and the details on how to implement a coaching program… synthesizes cutting-edge research on learning and the brain into an accessible approach. As a student of child development and the brain I strongly recommend it  Thomas (Lee) Reynolds MD,  psychatrist, North Canton

invaluable to teachers, counselors and school psychologists who work with students with executive skills deficits… provides constructive, step-by-step guidance on what it means to  have an executive skills deficit and how to implement an effective coaching program.  Peter Farrel, PhD CPsychol, FBPsS, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

for more information –



VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund

Expanding VT-HEC’s Capacity to Provide Quality Professional Learning Opportunities

The VT-HEC Board of Directors has established the VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund for the purpose of advancing the goals of the VT-HEC to provide high quality professional learning opportunities to help ensure the success of every Vermont student.  The VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund will be focused on developing new professional learning programs in high need areas and supporting increased access to current VT-HEC offerings.

So far in FY’17 the VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund is supporting:

  1. the new VT-HEC Early Childhood Workshop series, Connecting the Dots, which will begin on November 30, 2016 with the workshop, Strengthening the Foundations for Best Practice and Effective Curriculum with Jim Squires.
  2. a limited number of scholarships for our Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education endorsement pathway and other courses and workshops.
  3. development of a new program focused on Trauma-Informed Schools. This will include a series of graduate courses partnering with Northeast Family Institute as well as related workshops.  The first course, Developmental Trauma and Trauma-informed Schools:  Theory, Practice, Implementation, will start this spring. The first workshop, Truama-Informed Care, is scheduled for November 9 & 10.
  4. development of a professional learning offering for paraeducators and others based on the Registered Behavior Technician competencies of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. We hope to begin offering this course in the spring of 2017.


You Can Help….

Please make a tax-deductive contribution to help us expand the impact of the VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund so that we can offer additional scholarships and develop new programs to meet the most critical professional learning needs in education in Vermont.

If you are going to make a donation this tax season please consider helping us help those that educate and support Vermont’s children and youth. Go to:


Conversation with Early Childhood Special Education Graduate Amy Emerson

The VT-HEC is proud of its program graduates.  Many chose to take their coursework and continue on their career path.  Our agreements with our partners in the state colleges allows this to happen in a seamless and personalized way.

Below is an interview with Amy Emerson. Amy went through the VT-HEC pathway to licensure program in early childhood special education , and transferred those credits towards her masters degree in education at Lyndon State College. She is currently a licensed Early Childhood Special Educator working at Blue Mt. School.

Congratulations, Amy!


Conversation with Amy Emerson, March 1st, 2016

How did the VT-HEC program work for you as an adult student?  

I started the program when my daughter was 18 months old. It really worked well for me. I was able to work on the weekends and could do the work at my own pace and when my child was asleep. As a Mom, I appreciated the flexibility. It was also nice to be surrounded by people in similar situations.  The instructors understood adult learners – assignments were doable and they understood the demands of everyday life. But it was not busy work; it was quality.  I even had my son in the middle of a course, and due to the flexibility, I was able to continue my work.

How did the VT-HEC pathway to licensure program prepare you for your career and current position?

I feel the program prepared me really well for my practice. During my studies, I was able to use my life experience, my job, to do part of my work. This was valuable.  And, I ultimately ended up with my early childhood licensure.  It was great to get there from where I left off with my bachelors degree. I did not have to start over or do a lot of extra work to begin the program.  And, I was able to take all of my credits through VT-HEC and plop them into the master’s program at Lyndon State College.

Is there anything else you want to say about your experience in the VT-HEC pathway to early childhood special education licensure program?

During the sequence of courses in the early education program, I decided I wanted to pursue my special education endorsement. The VT-HEC program Coordinator was amazing. The support I received from VT-HEC was so great. I felt like I was a person and not a number. They cared about me and were willing to walk me through the steps I needed to take. And, I am so glad I took the route I did instead of peer review. I learned so much.