VKC at 2020 Tennessee Partners in Education Conference

VKC at 2020 Tennessee Partners in Education Conference

Several staff members representing the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC), its Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (VKC TRIAD), and Transition Tennessee were present for 2020’s Partners in Education (PIE) Conference Jan. 27-30 at Nashville’s Music City Center.

The theme of the conference was “Stronger Together” and included the focus areas of multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) academics and non-academics, early childhood, postsecondary readiness for students with disabilities, special education: a continuum of service, accountability, and compliance in special education, increasing access to core instruction, culturally inclusive practices, early literacy, and gifted services and programming.

The Tennessee Department of Education partnered with Transition Tennessee to co-host the 2020 PIE Pre-conference, titled “Passport to the Future.” The goal of the pre-conference was to highlight evidence-based practices that prepare students with disabilities to be successful in postsecondary education, employment, and independent living.

As part of the pre-conference, Transition Tennessee put together a special panel and created a video titled “Working Together: Partnering with Families to Improve Transition Outcomes.” Families are a critical partner throughout the entire transition planning process. They are an integral part of their child’s life, and their support is a key factor in successful post-school outcomes. More than ever, collaboration between schools and families is needed. The panel of parents discussed their perspectives on transition and how educators can partner with and empower families during the transition planning process.

Moderating the panel was Elise McMillan, J.D., director of the VKC’s University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. Panelists included Robyn Lampley, co-chair of the VKC Community Advisory Council (CAC); Tamara Tuckson, a CAC member; and Robbie Pinter and Tommy Lee Kidd, parents of young adults with disabilities.

Plenty of Transition Tennessee, Next Steps at Vanderbilt, and Tennessee Disability Pathfinder staff members also participated in breakout sessions throughout the day. VKC-affiliated staff members are bolded below:

  • “Supports and Partnership Tour”: Shimul Gajjar and Erin Maves, Transition Tennessee
  • “Designing Meaningful Independent Studies for Students with Disabilities: A New Way to Teach Critical Skills and Self-Monitoring Strategies for Postsecondary Life”: Lauren Bethune-Dix, Ph.D., Next Steps at Vanderbilt, and Cassandra Hall, Vanderbilt University
  • “Campfire Discussion Session: Collaboration Between Schools and Providers of Pre-ETS”: Jessica Awsumb, Ph.D., Transition Tennessee, and Blake Shearer, Tennessee Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services
  • “Campfire Discussion Session: Developing Job Opportunities for Students”: Shimul Gajjar and Erin Maves, Transition Tennessee
  • “Preparing for the Future: Connecting the Dots to Services & Supports”: Megan Hart, M,Ed., Tennessee Disability Pathfinder, and Lauren Pearcy, Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities

The PIE Conference began the following day on Jan. 28. Several VKC staff members participated in some of the 140-plus breakout sessions held over the three days of the conference, some of which included:

  • “I Play, You Play, We All Play in the Preschool Classroom”: Ali Spidalieri, M.Ed., BCBA, and Alacia Stainbrook, Ph.D., BCBA-D, VKC TRIAD
  • “I Have Something to Say!”: Kristin Dorris, M.S., CCC-SLP, VKC TRIAD, and Susan Usery and Alison Gauld, Tennessee Department of Education
  • “Making Circle Meaningful and Inclusive”: Ali Spidalieri, M.Ed., BCBA, and Phara Williams, Tennessee Department of Education
  • “Administrative Perspectives on an Intensive Partnership to Build Capacity for Tier 3 Behavior Intervention”: Lauren Weaver, M.S., BCBA, and John Staubitz, M.Ed., BCBA, VKC TRIAD; Carl Boynston, Bledsoe County Schools; Shea Hennessee, DeKalb County Schools; and Shelly White, Lakeland Elementary School, Shelby County
  • “Adapting Reinforcement Systems for Middle and High School Students in Both General Education and Comprehensive Development Classroom Settings”: Lauren Shibley, M.S., BCBA, LBA, VKC TRIAD; Shea Hennessee, DeKalb County Schools; and Marsha Grim, Spring Hill Middle School, Maury County
  • “Tier II Interventions: Social Skills for Small Groups”: Kristin Dorris, M.S., CCC-SLP, Verity Rodrigues, Ph.D., and Laura Corona, Ph.D., VKC TRIAD, and Emily Lanchak, Tennessee Behavior Supports Project, Vanderbilt University

Last Updated: 1/31/2020 9:09:03 AM

Go to the news and video index