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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

National Experts Coming to VT on: Anxiety, Student-Centered Learning, Equity, Special Education Law

Lynn Lyons; Carol Tomlinson w/Bill Rich; Art Cernosia; Paul Gorski

In addition to the many excellent Vermont presenters the VT-HEC has scheduled for the coming year we are excited to announce a number of very special offerings by experts from around the country.

  • Anxiety – Lynn Lyons – is an author, therapist and expert on anxiety in kids & families. Lynn has been featured in the NY Times Magazine, On Point/NPR, Time & Psychology Today and is the author of Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents – 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous & Independent Children. Lynn will be coming to Stowe, VT on October 10 & 11 for the presentation Interrupting the Worry Cycle: Advanced Strategies for Managing Anxious Students (& Parents!). In addition, Lynn will be offering two webinars to support those who are working to implement her strategies.
  • Student-Centered Learning – Carol Tomlinson & Bill Rich – Carol literally wrote the books on differentiation with her latest being The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners. Carol will be teaming with Vermont’s own expert on learning and the brain & proficiency-based learning for a presentation on October 18 in Montpelier, VT entitled: Strategies for Sustaining the Student-Centered Classroom. This will be the kick-off of a three-part series with Bill following-up with two additional workshops.
  • Special Education Law – Art Cernosia – National expert on special education law & issues will be returning to Vermont on October 25 for his annual Special Education Legal Update in Montpelier.
  • Equity – Paul Gorski – Paul is a prolific writer and professor at George Mason University where he 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. The VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund is sponsoring Paul’s 2-day presentation: Advancing and Sustaining Equity Literacy on November 1 & 2 in Montpelier.  This will be followed by three more days focused on equity themes in the spring – gender, race and poverty.


Additional information and registration on

Also, check out the many other offerings VT-HEC has planned for the year covering a wide variety of topics including; trauma, early childhood, behavior, gender, special education, teaming, autism and much more.




Spring Focus on Special Education & Struggling Learners

The VT-HEC continues to focus on supporting educators and administrators who work with students with disabilities and/or have other challenges to their learning and success.  Whether it is developing programs for specific students or building the capacity of your MTSS, the VT-HEC is developing a multi-year array of learning opportunities and supports to help you move forward in a consistent manner.

Getting Ready to Learn Series: Make and Take WORKshop Series One of our most successful series for a reason. It is focused on creating materials to meet the specific needs of young students with significant learning challenges including Autism and developmental disabilities. Participants will leave with an arm-load of learning materials tailored to the needs of their kids with the greatest challenges and tips on how best to use them. This year we have added the option of earning credit focused on implementation of these concepts and materials. Led by Patty Piotrowski and Chris Knippenberg (OTR) in So. Burlington, VT (2/2, 3/13, 4/10)

Registered Behavior Technician 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 that will provide an excellent foundation of the knowledge and skills needed to implement behavior and education intervention plans. Led by BCBAs Candace Fugazy and Joanna Hull in
Colchester, VT ~ Six dates (3/10, 3/17, 3/24, 4/7, 4/14, 5/5)

A Systematic Approach to Teaching Socialization and Play for Young Learners – 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 particiants develop and plan for those students in a way that will benefit all kids. With Chris Knippenberg in Burlington, VT (5/4)

Special Education: Approaches to Case Management with an Eye to Recent Cases and Legal Requirements with Heather T. Lynn Esq. in S. Burlington (2/8) Heather will share the practical implications of recent court decisions and current regulations on the special education process, IEP development, etc. and how you can navigate the often- confusing legal waters of special education to avoid danger zones, resolve conflict and stay on a safe and productive course.

Connecting the Dots: Using Best Practices to Support Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families in Montpelier, VT ~ Three more workshop dates (2/9, 3/23, 5/3) Supporting young children and their families is one of the most important things we can do for Vermont’s future.  Next up is Jayne Singer from Boston Children’s Hospital and then Dee Smith from UVM. Don’t miss these experts as they explore the most effective practices and research findings.

MTSS Ground Level Systems Planning: What does effective, daily implementation look like? K-6 with Jen Patenaude in Rutland, VT (4/4 & 4/5) Do you need to make changes to your MTSS structure 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 that are well underway with implementing MTSS. Jen is the perfect person to lead your team to assess your needs and design the changes your system should put in place for next year.

Proficiency-Based, Personalized-Learning within an MTSS System: What does effective, daily implementation look like?  7-12 with Jen Patenaude in Rutland, VT ~ A two day offering (5/8 & 5/9) A middle/high school version of the above offering taking into account efforts toward personalization and proficiency-based learning in the complex 7-12 setting.

Go to for more information and registration

Hold the Dates: Art Cernosia – Patty Prelock

Two of VT-HEC’s Favorites Scheduled for Next Year

Patricia A. Prelock –  October 12, 2017 – Montpelier, VT – (Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BCS-CL – UVM Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Professor of Pediatrics, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences) Patty is a longtime friend and colleague of the VT-HEC and we are delighted that she has agreed to be with us again to speak on recent developments in ASD.  Patty is a distinguished national scholar, researcher and presenter who has over 155 publications and 500 peer-reviewed and invited presentations in the areas of autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities, collaboration, language assessment and intervention, and language learning disabilities. Patty is always an enlightening presenter who comes armed with a multitude of resources, references and models and a passion for her fields of study.

Art Cernosia Esq. – November 2, 2017 – Montpelier, VT – Special Education Law Update – Art is well-known in Vermont and nationally as one of the foremost experts in special education law.  Art has served as Assistant Attorney General in Vermont working at the DOE and has taught graduate courses in education and special education law. He provides training, consultation, and other technical assistance services to parent/advocacy organizations and to state and local education agencies throughout the nation pertaining to special education legal issues. Art is an engaging and immensely knowledgeable speaker who can communicate the intricacies of the law in a way that is understandable and applicable whether you are a special educator, sped administrator, principal, superintendent, related service provider, attorney or advocate.