Wednesday, Oct. 17 — 1-2:30 p.m.

How to Make Schools Safe, Secure and Successful

Presenters: Dr. Jill Takacs, superintendent, The SD of Jenkintown; and Dr. Tracey Severns, educational consultant, Teach4Results
For schools to be safe and successful, school leaders must address security from the “inside” and the “outside.” Participants will learn how to use low-cost, high-impact strategies to protect schools from external threats and build a school culture that improves student engagement, motivation, attendance, respect and achievement.
Room: Crystal A

Introduction to Effective Board Policy

Presenter: Heather Masshardt, director of policy services, PSBA
School boards govern effectively through adopting and revising board policies, and communicating those policies with staff, students and the school community. This session will provide an introduction to the elements of effective policies and discuss the roles of the board and administration in adopting and implementing policy.
Room: Empire A/B

21st Century Learning Work Focused on a Profile of a Graduate and the Four C’s

Presenters: Dr. Richard W. Fry, superintendent, Big Spring SD; Dr. Eric C. Eshbach, superintendent, Northern York County SD
Share experiences within a national PLC (EdLeader21) to authentically engage all learners and strategically plan systemically to address the 21st century needs of communities. Focus on embracing the concept of 21st century learning and the Four C’s that impact each child.
Room: Empire C/D

New Realities in Arts Teacher Training, Retention and Recruitment (TTRR)

Presenters: O. David Deitz, fine arts education consultant, PA Department of Education; and Paul Fox, chair for the PMEA Council on Teacher Training, Retention and Recruitment
This session will introduce literature and data used to identify current arts “Teacher Training, Retention and Recruitment (TTRR)” realities and will provide strategies to address arts TTRR needs that are collaboratively implemented by professional arts education organizations, institutes of higher education and the state department of education.
Room: Wild Rose A

School Leadership and the Transgender Experience

Presenters: Dr. John “Ed” Frick, lecturer and school board director, Elizabethtown College/Manheim Central SD; and Dr. Ron Kennedy, athletic director, Donegal SD
Given the lack of policy and effective practice surrounding the inclusion of transgender students within the learning community, this interactive, scenario-based discussion will focus on framing the issue and providing policy and practice recommendations for educational leaders charged with creating equitable and ethical school contexts.
Room: Wild Rose B

Top 10 Issues Board Members Need to Know About Special Education

Presenters: Dr. David Bateman, professor of special education, Shippensburg University; and Carl P. Beard Esq., attorney, Beard Legal Group PC
Board members need to ensure students are receiving appropriate special education services. This includes legally sufficient IEPs and appropriate progress monitoring. The focal point will be sharing information that will allow board members to ask specific questions that will minimize/reduce due process claims and reduce compensatory education exposure.
Room: Cocoa Terrace/Cocoa 1

AI Demystified: Fact, Fiction and the Future of Learning

Presenters: Charlie Reisinger, director of technology and Dr. Michael Leichliter, superintendent – both of Penn Manor SD
Artificial intelligence(AI), machine learning, robotics: Powerful technologies are redefining the future of learning, school and work. Presenters will separate myth from machine, explore how AI is dramatically altering society, and discuss how schools may organize teaching and learning to meet the challenges of preparing students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Room: Cocoa 2/3

The Empowered Superintendent for Enhancing Technological Prowess

Presenters: Dr. Peter J. Aiken, superintendent, Manheim Central SD; and Dr. Nicholas Guarente, superintendent, Greenwood SD
As the educational leader in the district, the superintendent plays a critical role in leading technology initiatives. Of critical importance, the superintendent owns the responsibility to ensure transformational uses of technology are embraced and effectively utilized/implemented. Participants will discuss the AASA/CoSN Empowered Superintendent Toolkit with PASA representatives while working towards effective digital leadership strategies.
Room: Cocoa 4


Wednesday, Oct. 17 — 2:45–4 p.m.

Private Funding: Engage Supporters, Raise Money and Transform Your District

Presenters: Amy Billerbeck, school board president; Dr. Sharon Suritsky, assistant/deputy superintendent; Mark Miller, Eisenhower Elementary School principal; and Sheila Gorgonio, director of advancement – all of Upper St. Clair SD
As funding challenges continue, districts seek creative solutions to build and sustain important educational initiatives. Upper St. Clair SD has secured private funding for three targeted initiatives: Professional Learning Communities, Connect2USCSD and SHOP@USC. The presenters will describe the collaborative processes needed to secure private funding and implement initiatives.
Room: Empire A/B

Life Ready Graduate Program Prepares Students for an Ever-Changing World

Presenters: Dr. Brian Troop, superintendent; and Rick Hornberger, assistant superintendent of secondary education – all of Ephrata SD
Learn how Ephrata Area SD aims for higher targets through its Life Ready Graduate program created to enhance students’ knowledge, skills and dispositions beyond traditional content mastery and standardized assessments.
Room: Empire C/D

Leadership Study: How a School Community Changed School Start Times

Presenters: John Nolen, assistant superintendent; Patrick Clark, teacher; Jeff Hellrung, board president; and Matthew Daniels, student and graduate – all of Unionville-Chadds Ford SD
Unionville-Chadds Ford SD will share how changing school district start times went from a suggestion to implementation. The focus will be on how to develop the leadership needed to engage an entire community and how to navigate the challenging path that districts must travel to ensure that all stakeholders participate in and understand the rationale for any significant change. Presenters will share data on how success was measured, including multiple student wellness indicators.
Room: Wild Rose A

Investment Overview and Cash Flow Planning for Public Schools

Presenters: Patrick Sable, board member, South Park SD; and Rajesh “RC” Chainani, managing director, and Chase Byler, associate director – both of PSDLAF
This workshop is designed to educate participants on the different permissible investment options available to schools, and how they can be utilized to develop a sound investment strategy which increases earnings in every interest rate environment.
Room: Wild Rose B

Creating an Effective Parent Advocacy Group and Strategy

Presenters: Dr. Joseph Roy, superintendent; Dr. Jack Silva, assistant superintendent and chief academic officer; and Emily Schenkel, parent – all of Bethlehem Area SD
The Bethlehem Area SD (BASD) has empowered a parent-led advocacy group to advocate for BASD, to promote district programs and to aggressively support a pro-public-school agenda with local and state legislators. This session will focus on the development, infrastructure and operation of a strong and growing parent advocacy group.
Room: Magnolia A/B

Parkland Ready 21: Bridging the Digital Equity Gap Through Personalized Learning

Presenters: Richard Sniscak, superintendent; Dr. Rod Troutman, assistant superintendent; Tracy Smith, assistant to the superintendent for operations; JR Renna, coordinator of educational technology; and Samantha Edwards, technology integration specialist – all of Parkland SD
Student access to robust digital tools is key to their success as 21st-century learners. Yet many students from disadvantaged families without computers or Wi-Fi may have limited access to these tools at home. This is becoming a growing concern as curriculum resources become increasingly web-based. Learn how Parkland School District has helped to close the digital equity gap through a personalized learning approach that includes free or low-cost technology options.
Room: Magnolia C/D

Student Suicide: Facing the Reality of K-12 Mental Health Issues

Presenters: Dr. Richard Poole, director of student services; and Dr. Brandon Pardoe, high school principal – both of Williamsport Area SD
The words “student suicide” is something a teacher, principal and district administrator never want to hear, but is a reality that needs to be discussed across the state. School leaders can be prepared to deal with a tragedy like this and ensure they are using best practices in suicide prevention for K-12.
Room: Cocoa Terrace/Cocoa 1

Negotiating with a Purpose (and for the Students)

Presenters: Kenneth A. Berlin, superintendent; and Dr. Andrew J. Pushchak, school board president – both of Wattsburg Area SD
The landscape of public education is changing rapidly. School districts that stick with the status quo, including time-honored traditional labor contracts that favor adult employee convenience over student needs, will soon find themselves an endangered species. This presentation will show how to put students first in the approach to negotiating effective and affordable labor contracts.
Room: Cocoa 2/3

Discovering Analytics that Inspire Student Success

Presenter: Dr. Doug LaFleur, president/founder, Eidex LLC; Dr. G. Brian Toth, superintendent, Saint Marys Area School District
These are challenging times to run a school district. School leaders are expected to perform major feats – often with limited resources. They are faced with increased accountability for student outcomes, difficult financial decisions, the need to correlate expenditures with achievement and more. School entities may be swimming in a sea of data, but are they using it to their advantage? Learn how to tell the district’s story and show how data can work efficiently – whether at the district, building or student level.
Room: Cocoa 4


Wednesday, Oct. 17 — 7-8 p.m. Evening Sessions

School Safety and Security Update

Presenter: Heather Masshardt, director of policy services, PSBA
Act 44 required school entities to appoint a School Safety and Security Coordinator, established the School Safety and Security Committee for the state, apportioned new grant funding for school safety and security, and established the Safe2Say anonymous tip program through the PA Office of the Attorney General. Join us for an overview of what school entities should know and have acted upon at this point; the emergency planning and school safety requirements already in place, in addition to the new resources, requirements and funding, as legislation unfolds in the coming months.
Empire A

Board Policy Planning, Review and Implementation

Presenter: Davelyn Smeltzer, senior director of governance services, PSBA
School Boards govern effectively through adopting and revising board policies, and communicating those policies to staff, students and the school community. This session will provide an in-depth look at effectively reviewing, revising and implementing policy, using current policy topics. This is an interactive workshop for attendees who are already familiar with the basic elements of board policy.
Empire B

Understanding the Dangers and Benefits of Social Media in Community Engagement

Presenter: Brianna Crowley, director of education and training, PSBA
District leaders are faced with an increasing amount of misinformation and conflicts occurring on social media platforms. This session will help you understand the different social media platforms, how they are used, and general strategies leaders can utilize for engaging with the community through social media platforms.
Empire C

The Impact of School Board Culture

Presenter: Will Smeltzer, training specialist, PSBA
Culture plays a crucial role in the performance of school boards. This session will provide an overview of the characteristics of high-functioning, high-performing teams and what school boards can do to deepen team commitments and improve their efficiency and overall effectiveness.
Wild Rose A

Pursuing Equity: Equity Discussions Across Pennsylvania

Presenter: Dr. Heather Bennett, director of school equity services, PSBA
At PSBA we define equity as the just and fair distribution of resources based upon each individual student’s needs. Equity is a movement forward in Pennsylvania. This interactive session seeks to bring together school leaders throughout Pennsylvania to discuss and share best practices, concerns, goals, and resources on equity. This presentation will approach two learning objectives. First, participants will network with other districts committed to pursuing equity across the state. Second, participants will share stories regarding their districts’ equity programs and exchange best practices.
Wild Rose B

Thursday, Oct. 18 — 8–9:15 a.m.

PSBA School Law Update

Presenters: Stuart L. Knade Esq., senior director of legal services, PSBA; and Erin D. Gilsbach Esq., president of the Pennsylvania School Board Solicitors Association
Hear a review of judicial and legislative developments that have an impact on school governance and liability exposure.
Room: Crystal A

School Safety and Threat Mitigation in Rural Schools Today

Presenters: Dr. Mark J. Kudlawiec, superintendent, Chestnut Ridge School District; and David Heller, safety consultant, Tip of the Spear Solutions
The presentation would enable any school district the capability to develop a state-of-the-art crisis prevention plan. It will also bring to light the perceptions of safety as well as positive and negative risk factors that superintendents, principals, teachers and students observed and viewed in their rural schools.
Room: Empire A/B

Public Access to Social Media Posts and Personal Email Accounts

Presenters: Falco A. Muscante Esq., partner; Michael L. Brungo Esq., partner; and Peter J. Halesey Esq., associate – all of Maiello, Brungo and Maiello, LLP
Social media posts and personal email accounts of elected officials and school administrators and employees may be open to the public under the Right to Know Law. Many times, elected officials have the mistaken belief that the public has no right to see these communications, but the Office of Open Records and the courts have a different view.
Room: Empire C/D

Resilience Can Be Taught: Four Keys to Unleashing Resilience

Presenter: Christian Moore, founder, WhyTry organization
Drawing from the vital skills of resilience in WhyTry Founder Christian Moore’s book, The Resilience Breakthrough: 27 Tools for Turning Adversity into Action, this engaging presentation empowers participants to learn resilience and deliver these skills to students of any background and learning style, enabling them to thrive in both school and life.
Room: Wild Rose B

Integration of STEM and Dual Enrollment in K-12 Education

Presenters: Travis Waters, superintendent, Steelton-Highspire SD; and Ryan Korn, director of secondary school services and partnerships and John W. Friend, associate vice president of secondary programs and partners – both of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
The presentation will inform the audience of Harrisburg University’s STEM-focused initiative in the K-12 setting. Learn how Harrisburg University’s dual enrollment program can be used to integrate STEM education into schools. Participants will also learn about the use of Summer Exploration Camps and STEM Science Nights as ways to introduce K-12 students to STEM.
Room: Magnolia A/B

Redesigning Elementary Schedules for More Collaboration, Arts and Social-Emotional Learning

Presenters: Dr. John Toleno, superintendent; Dr. Andrew Kuhn, director of curriculum and instruction – humanities; and Dr. Sean Gardiner, director of curriculum and instruction – STEM – all of Upper Merion Area SD
Upper Merion Area needed more elementary teacher collaboration time for consistent effective instructional practice and more proactive attention to students’ social emotional learning. Learn how the district added to the time students were at specials (art, music, physical education, library), to build in teacher collaboration time. By starting the school day in morning meeting as a universal (Tier I) support for all students, educators could focus on targeted (Tier II) behavioral interventions for those demonstrating such needs.
Room: Magnolia C/D

Open Education Resources Support Equity and Rigor Focus

Presenters: Mark B. Miller, school board director; Dr. David Baugh, superintendent; Conor Corey, math interventionist; and Josh Gerloff, math interventionist – all of Centennial SD
Learn how the Centennial SD is using Khan Academy, a free online educational resource, to personalize and increase student achievement in mathematics. This multiyear, teacher-led plan supported by the board and administration ensures that regardless of zip code, students are learning and schools are increasingly focused on the needs of individual learners.
Room: Cocoa 1

Responding to Claims of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct in the #MeToo Era in the Public School Setting

Presenters: Jennifer Gornall, Esq., Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, P.C.; Mark Wassell, Esq., Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, P.C.
The impact of the #MeToo movement has rippled into the public school setting. The heightened awareness of sexual harassment issues leads to more complaints being lodged by both students and employees. This presentation addresses the importance of having legally compliant policies and procedures in place to ensure school officials are responding appropriately to complaints.
Room: Cocoa Terrace

Thursday, Oct. 18 — 2–3:15 p.m.

Featured Sessions
  • Dr. John Gerdy
    Founder and executive director of Music for Everyone, a nonprofit dedicated to cultivating the power of music as an educational and community building tool
    Room: Crystal A
  • Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools, Today
    Speaker: Thomas Murray, Director of innovation for Future Ready Schools, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education, located in Washington, DC
    Having no historical precedent, the current speed of technological breakthroughs has lead to the coming age of workplace automation, dramatically altering the world of work that our students will enter upon graduation. With the vast disparities of inequity that have existed for centuries, all that is known about how students learn, and the predictions regarding the world that our students will face tomorrow, utilizing a traditional, one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and learning is educational malpractice. Built upon the foundation of leadership and school culture, a redesigned learning experience fundamentally shifts the teaching and learning paradigm to one that is personal, while altering the use of authentic assessments, how technology is leveraged, the spaces in which the learning occurs, the way educators grow professionally, how schools collaborate with the community, and ultimately, the sustainability of the system as a whole. In this session, Murray will dissect these eight keys, which each serve as a puzzle piece for redesigning the learning experience, to unlock tomorrow’s schools so that today’s modern learners leave ready to create new industries, find new cures, and solve world problems. We must create tomorrow’s schools today and you are part of the solution.
    Room: Empire A-D
  • Pennsylvania’s Political Landscape in an Election Year with Dr. G. Terry Madonna
    Speaker:Dr. G. Terry Madonna – professor, Franklin and Marshall University
    With the 2018 elections on the near horizon, including races for governor, U.S. senator, and other key state and national offices, Dr. Madonna will deliver an update and commentary on the commonwealth’s political environment, going into the November elections. He will highlight what to expect leading up to the election, and the impact on education in the future, based on the outcomes.
    Room: Magnolia A-D

Thursday, Oct. 18 — 3:30-4:45 p.m.

Featured Sessions
  • Dr. John Gerdy
    Founder and executive director of Music for Everyone, a nonprofit dedicated to cultivating the power of music as an educational and community building tool
    Room: Crystal A
  • Creating Future Ready Schools and Classrooms
    Presenter:Thomas Murray, Director of innovation for Future Ready Schools, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education, located in Washington, DC
    When we analyze the US education system and classrooms across our nation, we see dramatic differences and gaps in innovation. Side-by-side images of classrooms from 1918 and one from 2018, yields eerie similarities in many schools today, even with the 100-year difference. What can be done? How can schools and classrooms transform from those from the industrial era where desks are in rows, students are facing forward, and have teachers always front and center to ones that are learner-centered, personalized, and leverage the power of technology? Districts and schools across the nation are transforming into ones that are Future Ready, revamping such aspects as teacher empowerment, personalized professional learning, innovative learning spaces, community partnerships, digital learning initiatives, among others. This session will inspire school leaders and provide free tools and resources to empower them to transform their districts, schools, and classrooms into ones that better prepare students for the world they face tomorrow.
    Room: Empire A-D


Friday, Oct. 19 — 9–10:15 a.m.

Engaging Your Community to Support Facilities Upgrades

Presenters: Dr. Brian K. Griffith, superintendent; Jefrey Wall, business manager (retired); Chris Houser, board president — all of Penns Valley Area School District
The Penns Valley Area School District has recently been successful in completing a $18.5 million renovation and addition project to its high school.  After a thoughtful public input process, the District was successful in approving and completing a project with little push-back from the community.  This session will provide attendees with the process used to gain a larger percentage of community support to fund and complete the project.
Room: Cocoa 1

School Security in the Age of Fear

Presenter: Dr. Ziad Munson, school director, East Penn SD
Security is an increasingly important factor in school governance and administration, but school security discussions remain reactive and are seldom evidence-based. This presentation provides an overview of peer-reviewed research on school security as a starting point for deepening the response to security threats in an age of fear.
Room: Cocoa 2

Aligning Goals: Leveraging the Comprehensive Plan for Strategic Planning and Alignment

Presenter: Brianna Crowley, education and training manager, PSBA
District leadership invests significant time and resources to create a comprehensive and/or strategic plan that guides both short-term and long-term goals for the district. The comprehensive planning process should serve as the foundation for leadership alignment with the board. This presentation helps district leaders understand the process for aligning board and governance goals with the strategic planning of the district and community.
Room: Cocoa 3

The Mindful School Leader: Responding to External Complexity Through Inner Clarity

Presenters: Dr. Timothy Steinhauer, superintendent; Dr. Ronald P. Davis, assistant superintendent for secondary education; and Dr. Marybeth Irvin, assistant superintendent for elementary education – all of Mt. Lebanon SD
The role of a school leader is complex. This external complexity requires internal clarity. Research-based mindfulness practices are a strategy to develop, gain and improve clarity. Developing personal skills and assets, removing impediments, and practicing regularly can improve performance and enhance mental and physical well-being.
Room: Cocoa 4

In the Pursuit of Equity: Defining Equity in Pennsylvania

Presenter: Dr. Heather Bennett, director of equity services, PSBA
This presentation will discuss equity in the Pennsylvania context through an historical and present-day analysis of Pennsylvania’s education system, changing demography, and opportunity and achievement gaps between districts, schools and groups of students. Furthermore, this presentation will discuss the multiple equity issues that affect these gaps.
Room: Cocoa 5