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2013 NAREN National Conference – Presentation Descriptions

[Arranged alphabetically by Presenter Name]

Updated February 11, 2013

Want to know when your favorite presentation is scheduled?  Click HERE .

Climbing the Rough Side of the Mountain

Presented by Harvey Alston – Westerville, OH USA

This program is a highly interactive firm and spirited search for solutions. To provide a variety of educational experiences through the delivery of subjects on the cutting edge of team leadership, and to impart practical skills that will enhance the quality of life by reshaping lost abilities, heighten expectations, rebuild hope, confidence, self-respect and desire. As a result of this workshop, participants will learn to apply effective strategies and ideas on how to give better service, to enhance your communication and listening skills, to identify challenges and ways to handle them, and to understand how to develop an action plan.

Authoring Action Workshop

Presented by Nathan Ross Freeman – Winston-Salem, NC  USA

An experience in creative writing for impact communication with teens.  Experience the transformational power of words for teens.  Authoring Action (A2) Workshop participants will experience the power of A2 methods in our signature processes – “Writing to the Senses”; “Sharing Eye-to-Eye”; After School, Summer Intensive and Curriculum Supplement strategies for integrating methods in your agencies.

Brain Rules:  Plug In, Turn On – Applying the Latest Research in the Classroom

Presented by Tara Brown – Nashville, TN USA

This fast-paced engaging workshop is designed to introduce participants to the latest brain research regarding stress and its impact, social / emotional health, male / female differences, increasing attention and effort, motivation / engagement, and the power of hope in a very easy to understand way and to provide strategies to implement the information into the classroom.

Engaging Students with the Right Questions

Presented by Ryan Champeau – Waukesha, WI  USA

 Students who own their own learning will transform the learning culture of a school.  This session will provide strategies to engage all students, especially reluctant learners, with their own learning efficacy and higher achievement levels for the entire school.


Corporate Education Reform’s Winners and Losers

Presented by Angela Engel – Denver, CO  USA

This session is designed to connect values, practice and policies; promoting student-centered learning for both teachers and students that lead to the highest levels of thought, engagement, and integrity in education. Participants will learn to address the core problems facing American education today – ineffective government mandates, corporate exploitation of tax dollars and children, and the rapidly growing rate of childhood poverty. We’ll also identify the power players, shine the light on the hidden agendas and create an effective framework for moving forward. This session represents a homecoming as we begin to delve into the important and ongoing work of evolving humanity, building community, and honoring and educating our children.

Raising our Voices:  How to Organize Effectively and Love the Life of Advocacy

Presented by Angela Engel – Denver, CO  USA

 This interactive workshop/work session includes Eight Principles to lead by. Participants will learn how to say “yes” and “no”; choose productive and positive alliances; develop messages that get heard; harness the media; and inspire community engagement – so you don’t have to carry the load alone. This interactive experience results in a personalized and customized action plan for each participant. In other words — a plan to change the world and make children the priority!

Building Resilience through Rhythm

Presented by Simon Faulkner, Drumbeats in Action – Victoria Park, AUSTRALIA

 The drum is a perfect medium to engage young people – it’s exciting (cool), it’s easy to play (reduces fear of failure), it’s powerful (demands attention), and playing it is physical (releases tension). The drum has a magnetic attraction to all people, and playing it with others is a very safe way of communicating. For many of the people we work with the drum becomes an object of security and comfort.

Read for Meaning, Fluently!

Presented by Angela Flavin – Gainesville, FL  USA

Learn how to combine the research-proven strategies of teacher modeling, repeated reading and monitoring of progress into a single, powerful strategy to accelerate the reading achievements of Title I, special education, ELL and mainstream students.

I Am My Parent’s Child

Presented by Dr. Denise Folks – Baltimore, MD

A child/youth can be considered at-risk whether they live in poverty, middle class or wealth.  The social, emotional or mental issues in any family setting can cause a child/youth to seek love, power, fun and identity from people, places and things.  The decisions that they make from seeking fulfillment from the wrong sources puts them at risk.  As adults, parents, and mentors, we must begin to inventory our own lives to make certain that we are not producing at-risk children/youth.  If we are at risk, our children are at risk.

Successfully Dealing with Stress  during Difficult Times

Presented by Marcus Gentry – Chicago, IL  USA

This workshop will discuss the development of attitudes and procedures that allows individuals to get the best out of any conceivable situation, allowing them to effectively handle crisis using the Triple A method. This method deals with three primary areas: The Assessment, the Adjustment and the Activation/implementation. Participants will be able to increase their comfort level with managing the unexpected by being able to accurately assess levels of danger/concern, as well as how to determine the best viable options.

 Marcus Gentry, aka Dr. Respect, is a professional Speaker, Transition Strategist and Consultant who has been working with schools, corporations, community groups and families for over 25 years  around the world creatively inspiring his audiences to have breakthrough experiences.

12 Life Twelve Lessons from the Airport for Traveling Well through Life

Presented by Marcus Gentry – Chicago, IL  USA

This session is designed to help participants successfully manage the transitions in their life’s journey. This will be done by assisting the audience in clarifying their vision & direction while reviewing the necessary steps for successful travel in life. We will have an interactive discussion, using as our foundation, the very familiar experiences of traveling through the airport.

Marcus Gentry, aka Dr. Respect, is a professional Speaker, Transition Strategist and Consultant who has been working with schools, corporations, community groups and families for over 25 years  around the world creatively inspiring his audiences to have breakthrough experiences.


Beyond Poverty:  Brain-Inspired Ways to Understand and Respond to Poverty

Presented by Heather Higgins – Baltimore MD  USA

Poverty has a synergistic and pervasive impact on children’s brains.  In this workshop, participants will learn the specific differences developing brains exposed to poverty have, the impact of those differences in the classroom, and the unique interventions that can be used to overcome poverty’s effects.


Jack’s Brain, Jill’s Brain:  Why Gender Differences Matter

Presented by Heather Higgins – Baltimore, MD  USA

 This workshop introduces participants to the rapidly emerging research on how the brains of females and males are developmentally, structurally and functionally different. Based on these differences, participants will learn academic approaches customized to the distinctly different learning styles of girls and boys. In addition, this session will acquaint participants with the practical application of gender research to behavioral and emotional interventions with a focus on helping both sexes maximize their potential.

Starting a State Chapter

Presented by Kim Hoffman- Green Bay, WI  USA

 Have you considered starting a NAREN (National At-Risk Education Network) chapter in your state?  Marty Gholston, the current NARENWICH (NAREN WIsconsin CHapter) President, will work with interested parties to explain what is involved and what having a chapter can do for you and educators like you in your home state.

Feeding Your Brain

Presented by Debra Ingersoll – Magdalena, NM  USA

 Food/diet directly impact brain function, which in turn, impacts learning and behavior.  At-risk kids are often unable to access the best food choices, but intervention can be effective.  This presentation will look at how food and diets impact major brain function, including learning, emotional regulation and behavior.  Participants will take home usable tips and strategies for feeding the brain for better outcomes.

Change Your Language, Change Their Lives: What Adults Can Say Differently Today to Transform the Tomorrows of Our Youth

Presented by Frank Kros – Baltimore, MD USA

Neuroscience discoveries have revolutionized our understanding of how the brains of our chil-dren learn and grow. In particular, brain research reveals how the specific language used by adults who teach, mentor and counsel youth has a much more profound effect on their devel-opment than previously realized. Learn the four powerful “Languages of the Brain” that will transform the lives of the children you serve. Walk away with a new way of talking to youth that builds resilience, promotes intrinsic motivation, enhances cognitive stimulation and creates kaleidoscope thinkers. What you say matters, more than you ever knew!


Giving a Fish a Bath: The Untold Story of the Adolescent Mind

Presented by Heather Higgins – Baltimore, MD USA

Ever think the adolescent mind was impossible to understand? Recent discoveries in neuroscience offer exciting insights into how the brains of our teens really work and the special “brain-based” challenges facing adolescents as they mature. This workshop reveals why teens are especially vulnerable to drug use, high-risk peer influences and depression as well as the proactive measures adults can take to minimize a teen’s exposure to these dangers. This seminar also addresses the often mystifying role of hormones on adolescent development and focuses on the key roles that stress and sleep have on teen learning processes. In addition, the workshop offers strategies compatible with the many strengths and opportunities available during this miraculous developmental period, including helping teens to develop positive character traits. If you’ve ever thought that the adolescent mind could not be understood, this workshop will arm you with the latest insights and information on knowing and empowering the teenage brain.


Trauma, the Brain and Learning: How Adverse Childhood Experiences Impact Your Students

Presented by Frank Kros – Baltimore, MD USA

Key discoveries in neuroscience have revealed a more comprehensive and sophisticated understanding of the impact of trauma on the developing brain. With incredible specificity, scientists have mapped how the experience of trauma in childhood changes the growing brain and predisposes it to both learning and behavior vulnerabilities in the classroom. Child abuse, neglect, death, family separation and disaster experiences each can produce severe stress in the brain. The body’s physiological response to stress impacts the brain at a highly vulnerable period in its development. This overwhelming exposure to physiological stress in the brain results in enduring alterations in brain structure and function and often leave students struggling to find the relevance of school.. These alterations pave the way for “inward directed” problems like depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and post-traumatic stress disorder and/or “outward directed” problems such as aggression, addiction and impulsiveness. Understanding the specific consequences of trauma on the growing brain can significantly inform inclusion strategies, instructional techniques and behavioral interventions that keep students feeling safe, motivated to learn and successfully achieving goals.

What Every Brain Should Know: What to Teach Your Students about Neuroscience to Boost Performance

Presented by Frank Kros – Baltimore, MD USA

Students can benefit significantly from understanding how her/his own brain works. In this workshop, you’ll learn the 12 Foundational Principals of Great Young Brains and how to share this exiting information with them in a fun and engaging way. We’ll explore how to improve mood regulation, boost motivation, improve decision making and lower stress. Teachers will learn how to assemble a “brain curriculum” and arm students with an “Owner’s Manual” for the adolescent brain!

GOAL Academy:  Building on Students’ Strengths

Presented by Terri Martinez-McGraw - Pueblo, CO USA

GOAL Academy is a premier provider of high-tech/high touch educational delivery to at promise students.  We provide students with intensive academic and social/emotional support.  Wrap around services are an essential element in generating student success.  GOAL graduated 12% of its student population last school year by teaching toward the strengths of our students.

What Are They Thinking? – Using Cognitive Behavioral Interventions with Youthful Offenders

Presented by Steve Parese – Danbury, NC  USA

 Special education students are hugely over-represented in the juvenile justice system, and once there, have a strong chance of spending at least a year in the adult correctional system before they reach 21 years of age. Rather than learning from their mistakes however, many slip into thinking and behavioral patterns which actually justify and encourage further criminal behavior.

 Drawing from both educational and criminal justice research, this highly interactive workshop first explores this distorted thinking, then offers two cognitive behavioral strategies — cognitive skills training and cognitive restructuring — for addressing the problem before it is too late.

“What Really Matters” Reducing Stress by Reprioritizing

Presented by Steve Parese – Danbury, NC  USA

Educational professionals have a strong desire to help others. Unfortunately, this generous motive puts us at high risk for stress and burnout, especially when we choose urgent tasks over important ones.

Drawing in part from the work of Dr. Steven Covey, this interesting workshop will first explore four types of stress which can easily overwhelm helping staff. To remedy this, it then offers specific strategies for prioritizing work tasks according to what is truly important, rather than what is simply most urgent. Attendees leave with a deeper understanding of their own motivations and a plan to stay focused on what matters most.

“When I Was Your Age…” – Supervising a Multigenerational Workforce – Administrative Focus

Presented by Steve Parese – Danbury, NC  USA

Stodgy Seniors, bossy Boomers, self-centered Gen X, whiny Gen Y…. and now the iGeneration, too? It can be easy to rely on such negative stereotypes when we lack a deeper understanding of each generation’s unique values and perspectives.

Through humorous activities, entertaining music, and relevant research, attendees explore the historical, social, and media forces which shaped each generation.  We compare and contrast their needs, perspectives, and issues, focusing on strategies to successfully supervise members of each group.

 Bridging the Gap between Common Core State Standards and Secondary At-Risk Students

Presented by Harriet Porton – Timonium, MD  USA

This presentation is designed to demonstrate how to help high school at-risk students and their mildly cognitively-impaired peers meet the challenges set by the forthcoming CCSS.  Using “Letter from Birmingham Jail” as the example, participants will be given strategies to help students use critical thinking skills to explore this text.

Behavior, Communication and Poverty: It’s More than Income Level

Presented by Grace Roscoe, PhD – Elkridge, MD  USA

Are educators sending mixed messages to students?  Communication is a key factor in one’s behavior regardless of age, ethnicity, financial status, teacher/student, parent/child relationships, etc.  This presentation addresses this issue, pinpointing areas of poverty – it is more than income level – focusing on:  Effective Communication, Communication Styles, and Circle of Leadership – 9 Phases.

Lessons Learned from Little Johnny – Letting Go of Preconceived Expectations and Finding Success in the Classroom

Presented by Angie Shockley and Sandy Schmiedeknecht – Davis, WV USA

Young teachers can quickly become overwhelmed and disenchanted when they realize their classroom includes students who are not excited to be there.  We will discuss strategies to help these teachers be better prepared and more successful in classrooms, including those of at-risk students.

25 Free Brain-Based Strategies to Reach, Teach and Protect the Whole At-Risk Child

Presented by Dr. Stephen Sroka – Lakewood, OH  USA

This workshop will offer the opportunity to “share and care” with a conversation to discuss the ideas addressed in the keynote and will include 25 free brain based learning strategies to help reach, teach and protect the whole at-risk youth- socially, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

This workshop will deal with the barriers that hamper safe and effective education, and offer suggestions, based on research and reality, to help you make your schools, homes and communities safe and healthy where students can learn more and live better.

The Power of One – the New RX for At-Risk Youth:  Relationships

Presented by Dr. Stephen Sroka – Lakewood, OH  USA

This is a high-energy, motivational, multimedia education presentation that is research-driven and reality-based. It integrates cutting-edge research (including social intelligence, stress management, communication strategies, brain based learning, media and cultural literacy, character education, resiliency, and youth and asset development programs) and humor and inspiring real-life stories to facilitate learning about the whole person and the students’ mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and physical health needs and their relationship to academic and life success. The program is filled with,” tips from the trenches” to help build relationships, partnerships, and leadership for all educators of at-risk youth.

The participants will leave with an unforgettable message filled with an incredible sense of hope and joy that with education, helping one another and believing in yourself, you can change schools, communities and lives.

Change is inevitable, growth is optional. You have the Power of One to change the future. Let’s start today!

Pure, Upright, Whole & Free!  Utilizing a Spiritual Perspective to Accomplish Perfect Behavior and High Achievement

Presented by Paul D. White – Ventura, CA

To create high-achieving learning environments that are 100% free from issues of gangs, drugs, race, violence, and vandalism, you first have to change the culture and thinking (of students and staff) that cause these issues.  Safety, respect, and high achievement are “effect”, not “cause”.  They are the effect of anchoring every school activity on a solid foundation of moral values, personal accountability, and the conviction that every student has a God-given right to overcome any challenge.  [One of People Magazine/CBS News’ “top 5 Stories of the Year”.  Abundant proof from 25 years in the toughest public schools.]

Positive Peer Culture:  A Game-Changer for At-Risk Students

Presented by David Wood – Yardley, PA

Positive peer culture teaches students to lead and support themselves and one another through peer mentoring, role modeling, and positively redirecting peers.  This session will focus on how to create a positive peer culture model, how to teach it, and how to sustain it within a program and a partnership through specific examples of strategies and interventions.