Please continue to check this page as we are currently organizing the 2018 At-Risk & Struggling Students Conference.

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There is Power in being an Educator. During this interactive keynote address, educators will learn how to activate that power to inspire all students to be success stories.  Educators will be challenged to self-evaluate their day to day routine. Strategies will be given to build positive relationships and cultural awareness with students and staff. Who are you as an educator? We must understand our roles to positively impact our students. There are several factors that affect our view of our children that will be mapped out during this keynote also. We must recharge our batteries and renew our minds daily so our students receive our best. Educators will leave this keynote recharged and empowered to do their jobs more efficiently.



Session A: 9:00am – 12:00pm

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This high-energy presentation will shed light on new technologies and trends on the horizon (facial recognition, snapchat spectacles, wearables, etc.) to help you teach and motivate the responsible use of any digital tool – current or future – to students, families, educators and peers.

  • It will illustrate how today and tomorrow’s powerful digital tools can open windows of opportunity when used appropriately – and close them if abused.
  • It will show you how to eliminate myths of “Anonymity, “Social Privacy” and “Ephemeral Technologies” to help reduce digital abuse and create a positive (digital) environment.
  • It will help the audience understand the importance of digital legacy and how our digital actions today will be used to shape and identify who we were as digital forefathers to future generation and family.

There is no magic button to eliminate all digital abuse in your school– but there are ways to reduce it, bring accountability to those that create it, and empower those who wish to avoid it. Whether you are tech-savvy or tech-challenged, this workshop will provide you with solutions and recommendations for prevention that you can take back to your school and implement.

Led by one of the nation’s most sought after speakers in the field, author and internationally known digital safety advocate Richard Guerry, will help educators understand the latest technology trends and how to motivate positive use and prevent digital abuse. All attendees will obtain tools & guidelines that can be efficiently implemented to prevent:

  • Sextortion
  • Cyber Bullying
  • Gaming Risks
  • Mobile Malware and Security Issues
  • Poor Social Media Behaviors
  • Irresponsible Use of Any Apps
  • Creation of Inappropriate content
  • Many Other Current & Future Cyber Issues


  •  Using the “Digital Risk Assessment” with students, faculty & parents
  •  Grasp Essential cyber-danger prevention strategies every educator should know
  •  Developing a sustainable cyber-safety mindfulness in students
  •  Teaching children and adolescents the concept of “digital legacy”


In this workshop, you will learn:

  •  Tips to teach safe online gaming
  •  Insights into dangerous digital situations and trends
  •  How to help kids use tech to open windows of opportunity and reduce the risk of becoming a victim of harassment, cyberbullying, digital exploitation or social-media assault
  •  Tips for using the “Digital Risk Assessment” with students, staff and parents
  •  How to create a “culture of Digital Consciousness™
  •  Tips to eliminate myths of “Anonymity, “Social Privacy” and “Ephemeral Technologies” to help reduce digital abuse


About the Presenter

Richard Guerry is the founder of the non-profit organization the Institute for Responsible Online and Cell-Phone Communication (IROC2). Throughout the 1990’s, at the height of the technology revolution, Richard served as an interactive marketing executive. In his tenure, he encountered the darkest areas of the internet and discovered countless individuals unknowingly being manipulated and schemed, and their content being stolen and exploited. As a father of two young children, and an avid user of digital technology himself, he decided to make a change and start a new revolution centered on technology– Digital Consciousness.

In 2009, Richard left corporate America, and applied his vast experience and knowledge of internet safety to serve as the Executive Director of IROC2. He now travels across the country speaking to digital users, young and old, regarding the importance of practicing a Digital Consciousness™ in ever aspect of life to avoid any current – of future – digital disease™.

Richard is also the author of multiple cyber safety and citizenship books, and has been a featured speaker at many national conferences and conventions, including the National Conference on Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention, the International Bullying Prevention Association, and the National Symposium on Child Abuse. He has also appeared as a digital safety expert on various media outlets like CNN, Radio Disney, MTV, Parade Magazine and many other local, regional, and international networks and publications.

Richard is also the author of several books:

  • Public and Permanent™
  • Cyman Learns Cyber Smarts & Dangers
  • Cyman Learns Gaming Smarts & Dangers

Richard holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and advertising from Rider University.

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Session A: 9:00am – 12:00pm

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Session Description 

In a single school year, 1.2 million African-American students faced at least one (1) day of suspension from our nation’s public schools.  Research indicated that nearly 55% of that 1.2 million were from districts in 13 southern states, including Virginia.  Research also revealed that African-American students were suspended more than 3x the rate of Caucasian students.

One possible explanation is that there are seemingly two (2) types of student discipline at work in our schools. First, Criminalized Discipline, which uses punitive-based measures like suspension, expulsion, or referral to law enforcement, and secondly, Medicalized Discipline, which uses solution-based measures like medical attention and/or psychological intervention.  Code violations by minority students are viewed as conditions that warrant Criminalized Discipline; whereas, code violations by non-minority students are viewed as conditions that warrant Medicalized Discipline.  In this session, Dr. Noel will take a serious look at the role Implicit Bias; a lack of Equity & our lack of Cultural Competence plays on the actions & decisions of school staff, based on what they see.

Learning Objectives:

In this session, participants will learn about topics that include, but are not limited to:

  • Understand how our Implicit Bias influences our actions.
  • Discern   why we should stress Equity over Equality.
  • Learn   the Cultural Competency journey
  • Discover  the importance of being “color brave”.
  • how our Mindset impacts the emotions & feelings of students.

About the Presenter

The two most important days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out WHY.” This quote by Mark Twain perfectly captures Dr. William Noel’s personal calling and dedication to working for children.  That higher calling and dedication is “WHY” Dr. Noel remains committed to being an influential role model for all students, but especially for our (sometimes) Hard-to-Reach students.

Dr. Noel emphasizes the importance of connecting with our Hard-to-Reach students through establishing genuine relationships, and teaching them to make better decisions.  He will be the first person to debate that knowing WHO we teach may be more important than WHAT we teach.

Dr. Noel began this exciting journey first as a substitute teacher, then an Alternative Education teacher, Social Studies teacher, coach, Assistant Principal, and now Director.  When asked by a colleague if he was going to miss teaching now that he is an administrator; Dr. Noel replied, “I will always be a teacher; just no longer from a classroom.”

Session A: 9:00am – 12:00pm

Session Information Coming Soon!

Session A: 9:00am – 12:00pm

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From the author of the international best-selling book Discipline with Dignity, this session is loaded with strategies, techniques, and ideas designed to prevent motivation and discipline problems in the most difficult classrooms. Discover and practice specific strategies and techniques designed to change attitudes and ignite a passion for success. This practical, informative session will transform the lives of your most disruptive students.

Recognize underlying causes of student misbehavior.
Identify 3 places to build relationships.
Describe merits of values vs. rules.
Demonstrate 8 steps to diffusing any student.

About Brian Mendler

Brian Mendler trains tens of thousands of educators a year and is a highly regarded dynamic speaker. Through his affiliation with Teacher Learning Center, he provides staff development training for K-12 educators and youth service workers throughout the world with a focus on how to be successful with even the most difficult students.

Brian is a certified K-12 and special education teacher with extensive experience working with challenging students in general ed, self-contained, and inclusion settings. In his training sessions and books, he draws on his own experience as a very disruptive student with severe undiagnosed ADHD and reading difficulties.

Brian is the author of several books including That One Kid and The Taming of the Crew. He has also co-authored Strategies for Successful Classroom Management, Power Struggles 2nd Edition, and the bestseller Discipline With Dignity 3rd Edition: New Challenges, New Solutions.

Session B: 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Educators and counselors can use this trending topic of this TV series to expand the conversation about suicide prevention and examine how students perceive the topic of suicide. For many, this series is bringing up topics of conversation such as suicide, self-harm, bullying, sexual assault, and the choices we may make.  This is an opportunity to check in with student perceptions and evaluations of the series and to possibly reset any misperceptions surrounding what they have watched – including the process of seeking help. Ultimately, this could improve the existing framework for suicide and self-injury among secondary students.

Session B: 1:00pm – 4:00pm

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Learn how to help at-risk students succeed in your classroom. It’s clear that students from poverty are habitually at a disadvantage when it comes to education, and educators can find it challenging to motivate such students become positively engaged in their own learning. Above all, Boykin advises educators to avoid giving up on “difficult” students by deciding that certain students “can’t be taught.” Craig’s father abandon him at birth, his mother started using drugs when he was in the 3rd grade. In 3rd grade Craig was held back, placed in special education and diagnosed with a learning disability. Craig also repeated the fifth grade and dropped out in high school. In the workshop you will learn how the motivate the unmotivated Craig’s you teach daily. Today Craig is known as Mr. GEDTOPHD, and credits two very inspiring educators who made him desire more!


Attendees will be able to:

(1) Understand “cultural poverty.”

(2) Discern and unlearn misperceptions about poverty.

(3) Adopt strategies to reach low-income families even when they appear unresponsive (and without assuming, if they are unresponsive, that we know why).

(4) Identify and respond when colleagues stereotype poor students or parents.

(5) Fight to keep low-income students from being assigned unjustly to special education or low academic tracks.

(6) Make curriculum relevant to poor students, drawing on and validating their experiences and intelligences. Most important, we must consider how our own class biases affect our interactions with and expectations of our students.

About the Presenter

Every now and then you come across an individual who lives a humble life. Yet, his very presence strikes a chord within you. Craig’s story is one that moves, touches and inspires audiences. It’s a story about determination and personal accountability. It’s a story about a young man who refused to accept his current situation.  Although Craig has risen to high levels of success as an acclaimed author and professional speaker, it’s his down-to-earth personality that endears him to those that come across his path. His message is very simple… Change Is Possible! When Craig speaks, he reaches the hearts of his audience to motivate change in themselves and their community.

Craig has devoted his life to creating lasting change for those who desire it; Craig has risen to the national stage by delivering an inspirational message which tells people how to shake off mediocrity and live up to their greatness. It is a message that Craig has learned from his own life challenges and one he is helping others apply to their lives. Craig’s personal mission in life is to provide hope to individuals who feel that their current situation is hopeless. Craig travels the country presenting his seminars and workshops. Craig has published five books since 2013 and he has been featured on talk shows, won various awards, and his story has been shared in many inspirational magazines and across the web.

Session B: 1:00pm – 4:00pm

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Boys are held back in school twice as often as girls. Boys also get expelled from preschool nearly five times more often than girls, and they are diagnosed with learning disorders and attention problems at nearly four times the rate of girls. Boys are more likely to drop out of school, and make up only 43 percent of college students. Millions of boys are being lost along the path to academic success and career achievement in today’s knowledge economy. Teacher bias regarding behavior, rather than academic performance, penalizes boys as early as kindergarten. On average, boys receive lower behavioral assessment scores, and those scores affect teachers’ overall perceptions of boys’ intelligence and achievement.

Rather than penalize boys’ high energy – as traditional classroom methods often do – successful teachers are learning to take advantage of male liveliness, curiosity and thirst for competition. Unless educators stop to consider whether traditional methods are working for both genders, boys will continue to get the short end of the educational stick.

This session will helps educators understand the structural, chemical and processing differences between boys’ and girls’ brains. It helps educators support boys’ developmental needs, while teaching them social /emotional competencies. Attendees will discover innovative strategies, as well as group and individual interventions, to help boys achieve their highest academic potential.


  • Explain how boys’ brains work including the chemistry and structure.
  • Identify the differences in the ways girls and boys focus.
  • Recognize the role of hormones, specifically testosterone and dopamine
  • Demonstrate classroom strategies to support boys’ developmental needs
  • Contrast the difference between natural aggression and bullying.

About the Presenter:

Steph Jensen, MS, LPC is an award-winning author and international speaker recognized for her insight and understanding of relational aggression. She combines 15 years of practice in the fields of education and counseling with research, practical strategies and humor to address challenging behaviors and build positive relationships with kids. She has held positions as classroom teacher, education consultant and international speaker. She holds a master’s degree in clinical counseling, focusing her efforts on adolescent and family issues.

In recent years, Stephanie has applied her passion for adolescents to focus on the dynamics of relational aggression, social-emotional learning, and positive behavior interventions. She is the author of Thrive in the Hive: Surviving the Girl’s World of Good and Bad Relationship Bee-haviors, Mom’s Choice Award-winning Princess Priscilla and the Bully-Bee Day, Princess Priscilla and the Mood Ring Rainbow and her latest: Princess Priscilla and the Great Beezilla!

Session B: 1:00pm – 4:00pm

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Can responsibility be taught? How can educators move from “making” students behave to helping students learn self-management? this is a major, but necessary, paradigm shift – moving from enforcement to a focus on student growth and providing essential life skills.  In this session, Larry Thompson will discuss how traditional discipline practices actually allow students to continue using those exits to avoid responsibility.  He will also share six essential practices that will close those exits and help students learn self-management – Benefits for Changing Behavior, Clear Expectations, Emotional Control, Consistency, and Leadership in Challenging Moments.


In this session, you will learn how to:

  • Adopt best practices for creating a school’s culture in which students take ownership of their actions.
  • Master techniques for dealing with different low-to-high-intensity discipline cases.
  • Close exits on the road to responsibility with emotional control.
  • Adopt methods to drastically decrease disciplinary referrals to the office.
  • Cultivate clear, appropriate and consistent expectations to prevent and address disruptive students behaviors.

About the Presenter

Author of Roadmap to Responsibility and Give ‘em Five, Larry Thompson, M.Ed., is often called upon to deliver keynote presentations for state and national education conferences because of his knowledge, humor and passion for assisting today’s students. He has helped thousands of educators and schools throughout North America break away from their traditional discipline models to a model that creates a responsible climate and responsible students. Larry has served in a wide variety of roles in education – from special education teacher to alternative and traditional high school principal. As creator of the Responsibility-Centered Discipline program, Larry understands that systems must be created that can be realistically implemented and sustained