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Collaborating with experts to support schools and deliver professional development, ensuring the success of all students.

VT-HEC Fall Focus on Special Needs

This fall VT-HEC has lined up a varied and robust schedule of professional development opportunities focused on students with disabilities, struggling learners and learners with various other challenges & needs
  • Curriculum and Instruction for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder – Kathryn Whitaker, M.Ed. -Workshops and/or Course (10/22 & 10/23 – Montpelier) Kids with ASD can be among our most challenging but Kathryn can help you design, implement and evaluate instructional systems utilizing strategies that have worked for students with these issues.
  • Orientation to Special Education – Andrea Wasson, M.Ed. & Joy Wilcox, M.Ed. – Workshop (9/27 & 9/28 – Montpelier). Are you new to special education, new to Vermont, do you have to supervise or evaluate special educators or related service providers, or do you or your staff just need to review the basics to ensure you are all using you time wisely and focusing on the right stuff? If the answer to any of these is yes, this is the offering for you and yours.
  • Addressing Educational Benefit through the Special Education Process Jen Patenaude, M.A.  Workshops (10/17, 11/8, 12/12, 1/10 – Montpelier) This is a series every special educator should be taking to improve student progress by using the special education procedures in the most productive manner. Jen is a Vermont treasure and this offering should be required.
  • Strategies for Sustaining the Student-Centered Classroom – Carol Tomlinson, Ed.D. & Bill Rich, M.A. – Three-part WORKshop series (10/18, 12/6 & 3/20 – Montpelier). Carol literally wrote the books on differentiated instruction and Bill has been working in VT for many years focused on using what we know about the brain and learning to make education work for all kids.
  • Special Education Legal Update – Art Cernosia, Esq. – Workshop (10/25 – Montpelier) Special Education law can be deadly but Art makes it easy to take.  You’ll hear what’s new, what’s coming, what to focus on and what can take a back seat.
  • Advancing and Sustaining Equity Literacy – Paul Gorski, PH.D. – Workshops (11/1 & 11/2 –
    Montpelier). Paul founded EdChange, a coalition of educators and activists providing professional development on educational equity.  This year VT-HEC is working with the VPA and other Vermont organizations to present an array of events and learning opportunities focusing on equity. These two days will focus on the foundations of Equity Literacy and how your schools can put its principals into practice. A follow-up three days is planned of the spring focusing on different equity themes – race, poverty & gender.
  • Building Collaborative Teams/Effective Partnerships: Working with Tough Teams – Alicia Lyford, M.Ed. & Joy Wilcox, M.Ed. – Workshop and/or Course (11/5 & 11/6 – Montpelier) There are few more frustrating things than a dysfunctional team and few things better than an effective one – find out the ways to ensure yours are the latter.
  • Lights, Camera, Action! Use Built-in Tools on Your Smartphone to Create Quick and Effective Learning Opportunities for Your Students – Patty Thomas, OT and Chris Knippenberg, M.S., OTR/L, ATP – WORKshop and/or Course (10/26 – Rutland) Chris and Patty have this offering down and will help you use the tools on your phone or tablet to create a variety of learning activities to meet the specific needs of your students.
  • Tips and Tools for Early Childhood Special Educators – Judith Masson, M.Ed. -Workshops (10/4 & 11/7 – S. Burlington) Judith shares practical tools, charts, forms and practices that can be tailored to your work setting and students to help make you more efficient and effective.


Trauma, Anxiety & Behavior


And there is more on the VT-HEC Drawing Board for the spring; check back often to see the latest news & opportunities. For more information and registration go to

Dealing with Anxiety in Kids & Families – Lynn Lyons

Anxiety is a persistent master. When it moves in, it takes over every part of  life from daily routines to learning, from recreation to social connections. To make matters worse, many things adults do to help anxious children can actually make the anxiety stronger.

Nationally recognized expert, therapist and author on anxiety, kids and families, Lynn Lyons, has been featured in the NY Times Magazine, On Point – NPR, Time and Psychology Today.  VT-HEC is bringing Lynn to Stowe, VT on October 10 & 11 for a presentation titled: Interrupting the Worry Cycle: Advanced Strategies for Managing Anxious Students (& Parents!).

Anxiety is the top reason that parents seek help from a mental health provider, a top predictor of developing depression in adolescence or early adulthood and is perceived as “epidemic” by educators and parents across the country. All these children put a palpable strain on frustrated, helpless parents and teachers.

In this workshop, Lynn will explore concrete and often counter-intuitive strategies that educate children and adults about anxiety and provide an “umbrella approach” that is applicable to all the anxiety disorders and OCD. She will demonstrate HOW to interrupt anxiety’s cognitive patterns with simple, process-based strategies that offer an alternative to techniques that inadvertently support avoidance of anxious symptoms.

Lynn will offer proven strategies that help children manage anxiety, change their relationship to worry, and prevent lifelong patterns that lead to depression, avoidance and other physical and emotional challenges.

Lynn will also be offering two follow-up webinars to those attending the Stowe presentation. These webinars will support those that are working to implement Lynn’s strategies to develop effective plans and address the challenges they are encountering.

More information and information can be found here:

VT-HEC in Rutland/Killington

Jen Patenaude, Bill Rich, Jon Udis & David Melnick

Every year the VT-HEC has gotten requests to hold more events in the Rutland/Killington area and this year we have made a special effort to do just that with 13 days scheduled; including major offerings with some of our finest presenters covering many of our most requested topics: Trauma, Proficiencies & Personalization, Behavior, Advanced Assessment and MTSS. In addition, these offerings provide extended learning opportunities and/or support for implementation in your own setting. We hope to see you there.

Developmental Trauma and Trauma-Informed Schools: Transforming Knowledge into Action Presenter: David Melnick, LICSW September 26 & October 23, 2017 ~ Rutland Holiday Inn

This workshop with course option will focus on the global impact that chronic traumatic stress has on the developing child through examination of the “Seven Domains of Impairment” and their application by educators in schools.
Click Here for More Details and Printable Flyer

Spring: Level 2 Course on Creating Trauma-Informed Schools for completers of Course I

The Why, What, and How of Taking a Brain-Based Approach to Student-Centered, Proficiency-Based Learning – WORKshops Designed by Bill Rich

Overview of Series:
Each WORKshop will begin with compelling activities and findings about the remarkable adolescent brain, followed by guided application devoted to participants accessing resources, ideas, and each other to draft and refine products they’ll use back in their settings with their learners. Throughout the series, we strive to model what we teach. One of the greatest compliments we’ve received came from a participant who wrote, “Your medium is your message.” Come learn how to take a brain-based approach to student-centered, proficiency-based learning…by experiencing it. Click Here for More Details and Printable Flyer
WORKshop 1: The Fundamentals of Brain-Based Learning Design (October 4)
WORKshop 2: Designing & Using Learning Scales that Create Competence (November 14)
WORKshop 3: Keeping It Real: The Promise and Perils of Performance Assessment (March 7)
WORKshop 4: Pulling it All Together: Just How Great Can Learning Get?  (May 11)

Power Struggles: What to do When a Student Says, “Make Me!” Presenter: Jon Udis – November 8, 2017 ~ Killington Mountain Lodge

During this engaging and fun seminar, participants will:  explore assumptions about why adult-student power struggles occur; learn adult responses that escalate the conflict; and learn multiple strategies for avoiding and minimizing power struggles, as well as skills that de-escalate and productively resolving the conflict. Participants will also develop a take-home strategy to use during the next power struggle. Click Here for More Details and Printable Flyer

The following workshops will be open for registration in December.

Cognitive Profile Analysis for Struggling Learners: Advanced Assessment Topics
Presenter: Jen Patenaude – March 28 and 29, 2018 ~ Killington Mountain Lodge

If you are interested in learning how to use comprehensive evaluation information to deepen your understanding of varied learning disability profiles to provide more diagnostic, targeted programming, this workshop is for you! An overview/ comparison of most current measures of cognitive abilities, discussion of the causal relationship between cognitive and academic achievement abilities, selective decisions for choosing the tools that best align with evaluation concerns, and review of common learning disability profiles and suggestions for subsequent program planning will be covered.  This workshop is designed for experienced practitioners with a solid foundational understanding of norm referenced assessments and comprehensive evaluations.

MTSS “Ground Level” System Planning – What does effective, daily implementation look like K-6? Presenter: Jen Patenaude – April 4 and 5, 2018 ~ Holiday Inn, Rutland, VT

 Audience: This workshop is designed for K-6 systems. We strongly suggest you attend with a team that might include: building administrator, classroom teacher, interventionist, special educator, guidance counselor/behavior specialist, district level coaches and district administrators. 

Do you need to make significant changes to your MTSS infrastructure and systems in order to more effectively implement multi-tiered programming designed to serve all students?  If so, this intensive two-day workshop is the perfect time to plan for the next school year.  Strategies and suggestions shared are drawn from the collective experience of schools from across Vermont well underway with MTSS.

Proficiency-Based, Personalized-Learning Within an MTSS System – Grades 7-12
What does effective, daily implementation look like in grades 7-12? Presenter: Jen Patenaude – May 8 and 9, 2018 ~ Holiday Inn, Rutland, VT

Audience: This workshop is designed for 7-12 systems. We strongly suggest you attend with a team that might include: building administrator, classroom teacher, interventionist, special educator, guidance counselor/behavior specialist, district level coaches and district administrators. More Details Coming Soon!

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