Atlantic City Campus, Stockton University
Conference Day 1 – May 21, 2024
Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:30 am – 9:00 am
Opening & Welcome
9:00 am – 9:15 am
Keynote Presentation: 9:15a.m. 10:30 a.m.
Keynote Presenter: Christopher Donoghue, Ph.D., Sociology, Montclair University
Keynote Title: Moving Beyond Bullies and Victims: A Different Perspective
Concurrent Workshop Sessions I: 10:40 am – 11:55 am
Presenter: Jill Kuppel, School Climate State Coordinator, NJ Department of Education,
Workshop Title: Selecting Evidence-Based Bullying Prevention Interventions Based on School Climate Data
Workshop Description: So much data, so many programs! Do you ever feel overwhelmed by data? Do you often wonder how to select the most helpful bullying prevention program to best serve the needs of your district or school? This session will help you pinpoint relevant school climate data points and review existing programs so that you can use that information to select meaningful programs for your school district. This workshop, provided by the New Jersey Department of Education’s Office of Student Support Services, will also provide National and State resources that will help you lead your school climate improvement efforts.
Presenter: Phyllis Alongi, PhD., LPC
Workshop Title: Post-Pandemic Paralysis: Addressing Psychological, Social, and Emotional Fallout.
Workshop Description: This interactive presentation is designed to address the subject of how the pandemic has affected our students and school community by exploring the following questions through the lens of current insights and trends. How has the school climate and community changed since COVID? Why aren’t students, faculty, and staff rebounding? Why is there an increase in negative student behaviors and attitudes? Why is the rate of mental health diagnoses increasing? What the hell are we going to do about it? This reciprocal dialogue will include strategies for reengaging and reconnecting with students, working with parents, co-creating a safer school climate, and preventing faculty and staff burnout. Join me and join the conversation!
Presenter: Scott Hirschfeld, NJ Division of Civil Rights
Workshop Title: Affirming LGBTQIA+ Students in School (For primary educators)
Workshop Description: This interactive workshop explores strategies for fostering greater visibility and affirmation of LGBTQIA+ people and topics at school. Participants will deepen their understanding of LGBTQIA+ identities and terminology, identify ways to respond effectively when anti-LGBTQIA+ bias is expressed, and learn how the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination protects the rights of LGBTQIA+ students.
Lunch: 12:00pm – 12:45pm
Concurrent Workshop Sessions II: 12:50 pm – 2:05 pm
Presenters: Jane Webber Ph.D., LPC & Jeanette Torruella, Ph.D., LAC
Workshop Title: Transforming Bullying into Buddying Through Expressive Arts Experiences
Workshop Description: Imagine the school climate if students’ fears about bullying could be transformed into feelings of safety and support! Polyvagal theory views safety and connectedness as essential human needs especially in schools. This session integrates polyvagal theory and expressive arts into buddying exercises that strengthen student connection, coregulation, and empowerment. We will present two buddy-building experiences, sand tray mini moments and sculpting feelings, that increase prosocial interactions and connectedness.
CMI Presenter: Judith Springer, Psy.D. & CMI
Workshop Title: Strategies for Addressing Bias-Based Bullying in Schools
Workshop Description: At least half of bullying episodes involve some form of bias- involving race, religion, ethnicity, gender, disabilities, age, socio-economic status or perceived sexual orientation. Bullying prevention cannot be effectively done without specifically addressing issues of bias. In this experiential, interactive workshop, participants will:
Presenter: Scott Hirschfeld, NJ Division of Civil Rights
Workshop Title: Affirming LGBTQIA+ Students in School (For secondary educators)
Concurrent Workshop Sessions III: 2:15 pm – 3:30 pm
Presenters: Sireen Sawalha & Dr. Lindsay Warren, NJHeart
Workshop Title: Talking About Antisemitism and Anti-Muslim Discrimination
Workshop Description: The session will provide a brief overview of the history of antisemitism and anti-Muslim discrimination, as well as strategies on how to facilitate discussions on the topics, including the current conflict in Gaza, by centering the conversation on the humanity of the communities.
Presenter: Lorraine Gehrig Mullins, LCSW, Care Plus NJ
Workshop Title: Helping the Helpers: Strategies to Promote Wellness for School Mental Health Professionals
Workshop Description: This interactive workshop is appropriate for administrators, supervisors and school mental health professionals who are committed to taking care of themselves and their school communities in stressful times. Helping professionals routinely demonstrate tremendous empathy and compassion in times of stress and conflict. They often respond to other’s needs without a second thought. For many, it is their “calling”. Helping others is rewarding, but it can also take a toll. This workshop will focus on vicarious trauma. We will identify symptoms, explore the impact of toxic stress on school culture, and actively engage in wellness strategies for self and others.
Presenters: Kalisha Smith, LCSW & Susan Tellone, MSN, Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide
Workshop Title: Making Educators Partners in Suicide Prevention: An Update
Workshop Description: Educators are in a critical but limited role to listen to vulnerable youth, observe warning signs for suicide, and refer or connect students to resources. This training embraces school culture and presents real-life scenarios for youth suicide prevention methods. Survivors of suicide loss share their personal stories, while many mental health experts give detailed accounts regarding at-risk populations, warning signs, risk factors, and what the referral process means for educators, counselors and members of the school community.
Conference Day 2 – May 22, 2024
8:15 am – 9:00 am
Concurrent Workshop Sessions IV: 9:00 am – 10:15 am
Presenter: Ellen Bass, The Busch Law Group, Retired Chief Judge, Director, NJ Office of Administrative Law
Workshop Title: Harassment Intimidation and Bullying Law– A Refresher and an Update
Workshop Description: This presentation will review the origins and purposes of the Anti- Bullying Law in NJ and update the participants on recent statutory and procedural changes, as well as recent case law. We’ll end with an opportunity for the participants to test their knowledge with a review of several hypothetical scenarios.
Presenter: Randy Nathan- MA, MSW
Workshop Title: Free Speech or Hate Speech: Navigating the NJABR Act
Workshop Description: This training provides school administrators, faculty, and other staff a candid opportunity to better understand the volatile challenges facing schools. Slogans, comments, and seemingly harmless statements are now being used as potentially destructive forms of hate speech. As schools struggle to create safe havens for students, elements outside the classroom, information on the news, and posts on social media are having profound impacts on the learning environment for students. Being able to differentiate the nuances between free and hate speech is vital in dealing with the current events within our world.
Using his expert Olweus training, Coach Randy’s presentation takes the legalese and puts it into common language. In addition, Coach Randy identifies warning signs of real and or perceived features of words, sayings, and comments being slung about without thought of consequence. Furthermore, he addresses the need for fair and consistent policies that utilize both the NJABR Act and the school’s Code of Conduct. The workshop will address and explain:
Presenter: Patricia Heindel, Ph.D., SEL4NJ
Workshop Title: SEL, School Climate, and a Framework: The Must Haves for a Sustainable Approach to Bullying Prevention
Workshop Description: Prevention is the goal. This interactive session will explore why it is important to take an integrated approach to SEL and school climate and why an overarching framework is key for impact and sustainability. Creating a positive, supportive, consistent environment – whether in the classroom, in the hallways, in meetings or on the sports field – is possible if approached with intention and an overarching plan. Participants will leave the session with an understanding of the interconnectedness of SEL and school climate, ideas and a road map on how to start implementing an overarching framework in their own school, along with an understanding of common obstacles and how to set up their efforts to succeed, thereby creating an environment where all can thrive.
Concurrent Workshop Sessions V: 10:25 am – 11:40 am
Presenters: Carol Watchler & Chris Budin
Workshop Title: Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Students
Workshop Description: The goals of this workshop are to ensure understanding of terminology about transgender and nonbinary persons, to engage in fun activities for participants to share what steps have been taken by themselves or in their schools to be safe and welcoming to transgender/nonbinary persons, and to develop a personal action plan for themselves and their schools.
Presenter: Mercy Villa Copantitla
Workshop Title: PRIDE Center Program Specialist for NJCU, Healing Beyond Loss: Supporting Youth During Times of Grief
Workshop Description: In this workshop, we will explore how to co-create safe spaces for youth who experienced loss during the pandemic. We will learn ways to facilitate creative-based healing circles and peer-based support groups aimed at strengthening resilience and hope. Educators will also engage in an open dialogue where we will address existing barriers students may have with accessing mental health support in our schools and communities.
Presenters: Rita Johnson, Psy.D & Jose Luis Posos, M. Ed., LPC, CMI
Workshop Title: Mind Matters: Nurturing Student Mental Health in a Diverse and Post-Pandemic World”
Workshop Description: Join us in making a difference in the lives of our students. “Mind Matters” is more than just a workshop; it’s a step towards a more empathetic, understanding, and supportive educational community. This engaging and informative session delves into the critical role of mental health in educational settings, especially within the beautifully diverse tapestry of our student populations. Key focus areas include Empathy in Education, Impact of Mental Health on Learning, Intersectionality and Mental Health.
Conference Closing/Evaluation/PD Certificates
11:45 am – 12:15 pm