BCPDI 2019-2020

Burlington County Professional Development Institute

Your Resource for Professional Development in Burlington County

Workshop Contacts:

Bobbie Downs, Administrator BCPDI - bdowns@burlcoschools.org

Carrie Long, Administrative Assistant BCPDI - clong@burlcoschools.org

609-702-0500 ext. 7419


Workshop Information:

Location: All workshops will be held in the Media Center of the Burlington County Special Services School located at 20 Pioneer Boulevard, Westampton NJ unless otherwise noted.


Times: Workshops run from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm with registration beginning at 8:30 am, unless otherwise noted.

October 1, 2019

Classroom Management That Works


Presenter: Steve Bollar

Target Audience: School staff K-12


Workshop Description:

A teacher’s ability to effectively manage student behavior is arguably, the most important indicator of the short and long term success of a teacher. The challenge with teaching teachers to effectively manage their students’ behaviors, teachers tend not to understand the impact or reaction caused by their own actions. They tend to struggle with creating a comprehensive repertoire of management strategies. Steve will show you:


  • How to make meaningful connections with students that lead to a sense of respect from the students to the teachers.

  • How to direct and not ask within the daily lessons and activities within the classroom (which improves confidence of the teacher).

  • How to properly follow up on negative behaviors and properly recognize positive behaviors in order to create a sensible balance within the classroom.


Ideas, Ideas, Ideas:

Creating change doesn’t have to be costly or complicated - in fact, this most popular keynote is chock-full of ways to create massive change in your school withOUT spending a lot or planning huge initiatives. Based on Steve’s popular book of the same title, this session will show you:


  • How to rejuvenate the climate and culture in your school while being creative, unique, and fun… which will show your students and staff first-hand how to use their imaginations to problem solve!...

  • Ideas that can be implemented RIGHT AWAY (without months-long planning) to improve the morale, culture and climate in your school…

  • How to change your thinking when it comes to recognition, reinforcement and results… you don’t have to settle for boring old awards anymore! You can inspire your staff through creative rewards that make a real change in your school!


About the Presenter:

Steve Bollar, a.k.a. Stand Tall Steve, is driven to help schools, associations, and organizations create a better culture and climate through creative rewards and encouragement. His book, Ideas, Ideas, Ideas! has been a jumping point for hundreds of organizations on how to increase the morale, change the culture and lighten the climate for their students and staff.


In 2014 Steve was awarded the Burlington County Principals and Supervisors Association Visionary Leadership Award. In 2011 Steve was recognized by South Jersey Magazine as South Jersey’s top 20 Men of the Year. Additionally, Steve was chosen by Suburban Family Magazine Top 20 Citizen of the Year for 2012. Steve is also a member of the Jostens Renaissance Hall of Fame. Renaissance is a program that focuses on recognizing students and staff while developing a positive school culture.


Steve served on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association. NJPSA is the premier supporting organization for New Jersey Principals and Supervisors.


Steve has a long history in the education system, from art teacher to principal to Superintendent of Schools. His 23+ year career has shown him firsthand how to face the challenges that any organization can encounter and how to overcome them with creativity and communication.


It’s this insight that he brings to the stage during his keynotes, breakouts, and workshops - training administration, teachers, organizations and staff on how to create a better atmosphere for students and staff alike.


Click here to register


Registration Deadline: 9/24/19

October 17, 2019

BraverSchools: Empowering Youth Through LGBTQ Infused Curriculum


Presenter: Jennifer Braverman

Target Audience: School staff K-12 and Administration


Workshop Description:

Last year Jennifer Braverman presented a workshop titled, Establishing a Positive Environment for LGBTQ Students: Breaking Gender Stereotypes. This workshop predated Senate bill S 1569, A1335 which was passed January 2019 requiring Boards of Education to include instruction, and adopt instructional materials, that accurately portray political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. This law asserts that these curriculum changes begin starting with the 2020-2021 school year. This new workshop shares resources, lesson plans and curriculum content to be turn keyed in your schools. By the conclusion of the presentation you will become familiar with language to strengthen current policy and to advocate for enumerated protection for all students.


**attendance of last year’s workshop is encouraged but not mandatory. All educators are welcome and will leave with tangible resources for their school and community **


About the Presenter:

Jennifer Braverman is an artivist who combines education, visual art and activism to engage her audience in contemporary issues. Braverman earned her Masters in Art Education from Boston University focusing her thesis on LGBTQ Bullycides. This was in 2012, directly after the Tyler Clementi case changed policy implementing Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) protections in New Jersey Schools. Ms. Braverman’s art has been featured in solo and group exhibitions locally and nationally. She is an author and illustrator for two educational coloring books and currently is teaching AP Studio Art, Digital Mixed Media and many other courses to grades 7-12 at Maple Shade High School.


She has been an adjunct in the Women, Gender and Sexuality studies department at The College of New Jersey for the past six years teaching Gender and Pop Culture and most recently, LGBTQ Issues in K-12 Education. Ms. Braverman was named the 2013 Burlington County Outstanding Woman of the Year in the Arts, 2014 Inaugural class of 40 under 40, 2016 Burlington County Teacher of the Year, 2017 Moorestown-Masonic Lodge Teacher of the Year and 2018 Art Educator of New Jersey Secondary Educator of the Year.


Ms. Braverman is a Welcoming Schools nationally certified facilitator through the Human Rights Campaign. She has presented Welcoming Schools workshops titled, Creating LGBTQ Inclusive Schools, Embracing Family Diversity, Preventing Bias-Based Bullying, Creating Gender Inclusive Schools, Welcoming Schools Law and Policy Review, Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Students, Intersectionality: School Practices with an Intersectional Lens. She is passionate about teaching and making the classroom a place for all students to thrive. To learn more about Jennifer Braverman please visit www.jenniferbraverman.com


Click here to register


Registration deadline: 10/10/19

October 22, 2019

Developing Trauma-Sensitive School Environments


Presenter: Kelly Zinn, LSW

Target Audience: Teachers, School Social Workers, School Counselors, Child Study Team Members, Related Service Providers, Administrators


Workshop Description:

Research shows that at least 1 in 4 children is impacted by one or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), increasing the likelihood of traumatic responses to stimuli. Children who have experienced traumatic life events can present with behavioral, emotional, and learning challenges. This full-day training will explore what trauma is and how it impacts a child’s developing brain. Specific strategies for classroom teachers, aides, administrators, school counselors and social workers, and related service providers to identify and work with children who have experienced trauma will be discussed. Additionally, there will be a focus on creating trauma-sensitivity in your school system. Participants will leave with ready to use and easy to implement strategies that may be utilized with individual students, whole classes, and throughout the school or district. Current research will be cited to ensure that the most up-to-date information is accessible.


About the Presenter:

Kelly Zinn is a Licensed Social Worker in New Jersey and New York, and a Certified School Social Worker in New Jersey. Presently, Kelly is in her third and final year of the Rutgers University Doctorate of Social Work program, and is in the process of obtaining her Clinical Social Work License. Kelly earned her Masters in Social Work at The State University of New York Stony Brook. Throughout Kelly’s career in social work her focus has been on working with children and families. She has worked as the coordinator of a support group program for families that experienced sexual abuse and as a therapist in a treatment foster care program. For the past 13 years, Kelly has been employed as a school social worker. In this role, Kelly provides student support through small group and individual counseling, conducts crisis assessments, serves as a case manager on the Child Study Team, provides training and support to teachers and other school staff, and works closely with the administrative team to address student mental health needs. For the 19-20 school year, Kelly is joining the Burlington County School Crisis Response Team.


Click here to register


Registration deadline: 10/15/19

October 29, 2019

Leveraging Technology


Presenter: Michele Hill

Target Audience: Administration, teachers, paraprofessionals


Workshop Description:

With so many schools embracing the 1:1 technology approach, educators are being challenged with integrating technology into the classroom at an all time high, however how we utilize technology is important. Come discover what technology integration should and shouldn’t look like in classrooms today.


About the Presenter:

Michelle Hill is a passionate educator who serves as a coordinator of admissions and communications at Burlington County Institute of Technology. Throughout her career as an educator, Michele has been a champion for struggling and impoverished students. Michele has been a guest blogger for ASCD Inservice, McGraw Hill, Principal Leadership, Teacher Tool Kit UK, Edweek and ASCD Road Tested. Michele is the host of DisrupteEdTv Teacher Sparks and producer of DisruptEdTV School Spotlight. You can follow Michele on Twitter @HillMrispo or visit her blog: spiritededucator.blogspot.com


Click here to register


Registration deadline: 10/22/19

November 4, 2019

Classroom Management Strategies for Oppositional and Defiant Students


Presenter: Ed Albert

Target Audience: School Staff K-12


Workshop Description:

This session will give participants actual strategies to deal with disruptive behavior. By the end of the session the participants will have a plan to use to deal with this behavior. Role playing will be part of the session and all participants will be able to provide any situation they have in their class. The strategies are proven to be successful. Behavior modification and consequences will also be shared with participants.


About the Presenter:

Ed Albert is a dynamic, enthusiastic educator with expertise in the areas of standards, curriculum, at-risk students, response to intervention, differentiating instruction, behavior management and working with disruptive and defiant students in classrooms. He has served as a classroom teacher, principal, staff development specialist, and education consultant. During his down-to-earth, humorous presentations, Ed offers practical strategies that can be implemented in the classroom immediately. Ed’s genuine, honest, and humorous style of presenting earns him high marks with even the most reluctant participants. His practical strategies have helped thousands of teachers across the county raise student achievement and change the way they think about reaching and teaching all students.


Click here to register


Registration deadline: 10/28/19

December 3rd & 4th, 2019 (8:00am- 12:30pm)

Youth Mental Health First Aid- Certification Course


Presenter: Bobbie Downs, YMHFA Certified Instructor

Target Audience: Middle and High School Teachers, Counselors, CST Members, Paraprofessionals, Related Services Staff, Administrators


NOTE: THIS WORKSHOP IS FROM 8AM- 12:30PM ON EACH DAY. ATTENDEES MUST ATTEND BOTH SESSIONS AS 8-HOURS ARE REQUIRED FOR CERTIFICATION.


Workshop Description:

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.


All participants that attend will receive a nationally recognized certification and will be registered in the Youth Mental Health First Aid national database.


About the Presenter:

Bobbie Downs is the Director of the Educational Services Unit of the Burlington County Special Services School District. Prior to this position, she served as a teacher and then middle school principal at Burlington County Alternative School. She is a certified instructor for both Youth Mental Health First Aid and Mental Health First Aid. She is currently in the dissertation phase of her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at Rowan University, where she also received her M.A. in School Administration.


Click here to register


Registration Deadline: 11/26/19

December 10, 2019

Vision and Learning: What’s the Connection?

*Please note: this is a half day session 9:00 am - 12:00 pm*


Presenter: Michael Gallaway, OD

Target Audience: Classroom Teachers, Administrators, Child Study Team Members, PT's, OT's, SLP's


Workshop Description:

Dr. Gallaway will discuss the most important aspects of visual efficiency and visual processing, and how they specifically relate to academic performance. Classroom behaviors and Child Study Team test results that are red flags for possible learning related vision problems will also be discussed, along with appropriate visual screening strategies. Lastly, remediation strategies and classroom management suggestions for teachers will be covered.


About the Presenter:

Dr. Michael Gallaway is an associate professor of optometry at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University in Philadelphia. He is also in private practice in Marlton, NJ specializing in pediatric optometry, vision therapy and neuro-optometric rehabilitation. His research interests include the efficacy of vision therapy, the impact of concussions on visual function, amblyopia, the impact of vision disorders on reading and learning, and school vision screening protocols. He was the Principal Investigator at PCO for the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial, and is the Principal Investigator at PCO for the ongoing CITT Attention and Reading Trial (CITT-ART).


Click here to register


Registration deadline: 12/03/19

January 16, 2020

Diversity in the Classroom


Presenter: LaShauna Dean

Target Audience: This presentation is targeted towards teachers, administrators, and other school personnel who are interested in exploring key diversity concepts and learning ways to create a more inclusive and equitable classroom and school environment.


Workshop Description:

The Diversity and Inclusion movement is moving into a new paradigm of action and implementation. With that movement, education staff and employees, and students must shift towards greater self-awareness and implementing their knowledge into action. This presentation will review the concepts of multicultural education, implicit bias, microaggressions, and privilege. The presenter will facilitate several activities to demonstrate the concepts discussed and take a deep dive into personal bias.


About the Presenter: Dr. LaShauna M. Dean holds a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Old Dominion University, M.A. in Counseling, and B.A. in Psychology. Additionally, Dr. Dean is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, Approved Clinical Supervisor, and Masters Addiction Counselor.


Dr. Dean currently serves as the Director of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and is an Associate Professor at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ. Dr. Dean has worked in the field of mental health counseling for over eight years in a variety of roles including specializing in substance abuse and trauma. She has worked with clients diagnosed with various mental health disorders as a counselor, substance abuse clinician, case manager, crisis intervention worker, and intake/assessment clinician.


Dr. Dean’s current research agenda centers on the areas of diversity/multiculturalism and addiction. Dr. Dean is also interested in social justice research, diversity and communication research, and research design and methodology. Dr. Dean has done IRB approved research on cross-cultural communication, substance abuse assessment and self-efficacy, developing and validating an original competency scale centering on rurality bias, exploring college decisions in African American and Latino students, and many other projects.


Click here to register


Registration deadline: 1/09/20

January 30, 2020

Using Collaborative Strategies to Complete Transition Plans


Presenter: Laura Reigelsperger, Director of Pupil Personnel Services for BCIT

Target Audience: School staff, teachers, child study team members


Workshop Description:

Conceptualizing and completing student transition plans is not a one person job. School professionals need to come together and work collaboratively in order to build effective plans. This workshop is designed to look at best practices that enhance the collaborative process to effectively build transition plans. A review of transition planning will be part of the process and the importance of the collaboration from a compliance perspective.


About the Presenter:

Laura Reigelsperger is the Director of Pupil Personnel Services for BCIT at Medford and Westampton. She is a social worker by training and worked as a case manager on child study teams, supervisor of special education and she was a previous Director of Special Education in Northern New Jersey. She has extensive experience in mental health, corrections, and family therapy.


Click here to register


Registration deadline: 1/23/20

February 4, 2020

Physiologically-Restorative Practices for Building Positive School and Classroom Climates


Presenter: Martin Blank

Target Audience: Teachers, administrators, all school staff.


Workshop Description:

Stress and social challenges impede learning and well being. Studies highlight the benefit of teaching students to build the mental and physiological foundations for learning, in addition to teaching content. Emotional intelligence, social awareness, and character traits like resilience are strong determinants of success in school and life. This day-long experiential training will allow participants to build an arsenal of personal wellness techniques proven to reduce stress, increase well-being and focus a variety of academic, social and mental-health outcomes. Educators will pick up specific tools and best practices for one-on-one, classroom and school-wide physiologically-informed SEL.


Format: This training is an experiential immersive workshop; it includes games, physiologically-restorative practices (yoga, meditation, breathing) and interactive discussions to enhance cognitive, behavioral, emotional skills (e.g., self-regulation) and create positive social-emotional environments for students.


Participants will:


  • Learn powerful tools to decrease stress and improve the self-regulation
  • Understand how to leverage neurobiological components of learning and positive psychology to improve student academic outcomes, growth mindset, prosocial behavior and resilience
  • Integrate social-emotional learning topics and instruction fluidly into any classroom
  • Learn mind-body routines to increase student self-awareness and social awareness and empathy
  • Create personal mind-body wellness routines to decrease burnout and stress
  • Assess student progress along a social-emotional progress continuum


About the Presenter:

A former K12 teacher and registered 200H yoga teacher, Martín Blank founded The Astronauts Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Program to help teachers and staff build positive school climates through SEL, music and mindfulness programs. He has taught over 15,000 students, administrators, and teachers across North America, and his work teaching breathing, meditation and SEL to high-stress high schools was featured on PBS Nova's The Future of Schools. In 2018, Martín received the Christopher Peterson Memorial Fellowship Award for the Master of Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied the science of happiness with world-renowned psychologists Martin Seligman, Angela Duckworth, and Adam Grant and many other leaders in the field. His research focuses on the integration of biomarkers (e.g., heart rate variability and stress hormones) into social-emotional learning impact-assessment and programs. His innovative, engaging programs have been shown to be effective in increasing student prosocial behavior and decreasing anger, stress, and depression. Martín enjoys sailing, playing music, and supporting students to achieve sustainable mental peace.


Click here to register


Registration deadline: 1/28/20

February 26, 2020

20/20 STEM for 2020: Perfecting Your Vision for the Next Decade of STEM Education, K-12


Presenter: Chris Anderson

Target Audience: All K-12 educators/Admin (Teachers, Admin, Supervisors;Teaching Assistants, Special Education, Gifted, AP, college prep, Makerspace teachers, STEM/NGSS teachers.


Workshop Description:

As a STEM educator, you are part of an emerging field that has only been in the making for about 10 years, and has continually evolved across the nation into something that every school is doing, though everyone seems to be doing it a little bit differently. Luckily, best practices do exist and have brought a level of standardization to the field that is making it easier for teachers to gain authority over their area, and implement a vision for their own classroom. However, this next decade of STEM education will place a greater emphasis upon integration, vertical articulation, and authentic assessment, which will place new pressures upon teachers to understand one another's crafts and work collaboratively on a shared vision that links the STEM experience together throughout the district as students move through K-12. In this workshop, we will identify the best practices you should carry over in your next vision for 2020, and how to work with others to support a fully integrative and articulated model for STEM education, K-12.


About the Presenter:

Chris Anderson is an educational consultant and classroom coach specializing in integrative STEM (iSTEM) education, K-12.; and has also worked in secondary STEM education as an adjunct in The College of New Jersey’s School of Engineering since 2007. Upon the release of the Next Generation Science Standards, Chris left his full time position of 10 years as a Design & Engineering teacher at Gateway Regional School District to start his current STEM consulting service in 2013, Since that time, Chris has collaborated with more than 100 school districts to develop and implement innovative models for STEM programming, K-12, Chris has also been hired to work on design and education products for business and industry, where some of his recent clients include McGraw Hill Publishers, Nickelodeon, Boston Brewing Company, and The Educational Testing Service. Chris earned a master's degree in Educational Leadership from The University of Pennsylvania in 2006. In 2016, he was named "Influential Alumni of the Year" by the education association in his hometown, Cinnaminson, for leadership in STEM education amidst the state's adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards. In his free time, Chris listens to far too many podcasts, and enjoys hydroponic gardening and wood working.


Click here to register


Registration deadline: 2/19/20

March 3, 2020

Enabling Learning in 2020 - Smart Implementation of Special Education and Section 504 for the Student, and the District


Presenter: John Comegno, Esquire


Workshop Description:

This lecture, in parts entertaining and substantively compelling, delivered by nationally-recognized Education Law lecturer and litigator John Comegno, Esquire, will explore best practice trends in the delivery of lesser-restrictive environment accommodations to enable student learning, while maximizing district resources and limiting legal exposure. Attendees will explore and understand the legal and practical differences between Special Education and Section 504 eligibility, processes, and accommodations, and be the envy of all of their friends and colleagues.


About the Presenter:

John Comegno, Esquire, founder and president of the Comegno Law Group, P.C. represents dozens of public and independent schools, lectures nationally, and has litigated disability accommodation cases throughout the country for over twenty years. His lectures are attended annually by thousands of educational professionals.


Click here to register


Registration deadline: 2/25/20

March 12, 2020

Reaching Struggling Math Learners in Grades 6-8


Presenter: Dr. Joseph DiNapoli

Target Audience: Teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals


Workshop Description:

Finding ways to support and nurture struggling mathematics learners is one of the most essential jobs of an effective teacher. However, this is no easy task. The reasons behind the struggles of a student can be complex. A student may be mathematically struggling – that is, they are misunderstanding the fundamentals of a mathematical concept. A student may be motivationally struggling – that is, they feel no need to actively engage during class. A student may also be struggling to struggle – that is, they are not getting enough opportunities to productively wrestle with challenging ideas. It is important to remember that experiencing some struggle to understand a new idea can be good for learning. But what does the appropriate amount of mathematical struggle look like and how can it be leveraged to motivate students to make sense of mathematics?


In this workshop, teachers will learn about three practices that can help reach struggling learners in a math classroom. Namely, this workshop will focus on (1) inviting active engagement, (2) facilitating meaningful and productive struggle, and (3) developing mathematical agency and confidence. The presenter will engage attendees in a simulated mathematics lesson that demonstrates these practices in action. In addition, this workshop will provide teachers ample opportunities to examine their own mathematics lessons and find ways to immediately incorporate ideas to improve the ways they reach struggling learners. Further, the presenter will meet with each attending teacher to offer personal guidance about practical ways to apply features of this workshop to their own classroom practice.


About the Presenter:

Joseph DiNapoli is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Montclair State University. He earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Delaware. Dr. DiNapoli’s area of expertise involves conceptual learning, primarily by supporting students’ perseverance with challenging mathematics. He has ample experience working with students and teachers in a middle-grades context.


Dr. DiNapoli’s work with middle school students has revealed several methods by which student perseverance during problem solving can be nurtured. These classroom practices have been shown to support the development of conceptual understanding. Such methods include:

1. prompting the creation of student-led artifacts of conceptual thinking,

2. adapting tasks to provide opportunities for both low-floor and high-ceiling mathematical engagement,

3. encouraging autonomous student exploration of mathematical ideas, and

4. designing student learning environments to facilitate the improvement of student perseverance through deliberate practice.

Dr. DiNapoli’s work with middle school teachers has focused on designing and enacting learning opportunities that are conceptual in nature. Much of this work has aimed to support teachers’ instruction to help facilitate students’ understanding of why mathematics works the way it does, not just how. The primary outcomes of such work include:

1. tenets of lesson plans that can help develop conceptual understanding,

2. formative assessment tools that necessitate productive struggle,

3. support systems of personalized feedback to encourage students to stay engaged in their learning, and

4. exploratory activities that promote problem-solving and visual representation.

Much of Dr. DiNapoli’s work in the middle grades has been situated within opportunities to learn about problem-solving, linear functions, and the nature of algebraic properties. However, these practices to nurture perseverance and encourage meaning-making can be applied to any mathematical topic for which conceptual learning is valued.

In all, Joseph DiNapoli’s scholarship is devoted to improving the ways in which mathematics is taught and learned. As a former high school math teacher, Dr. DiNapoli has first-hand experience with the challenge of keeping students motivated to initially engage, persevere, and succeed in learning mathematics with understanding. As such, it is his chief goal when working with current students and teachers to recognize and respect all points of view and provide practical suggestions and supports to foster successful mathematics classrooms.


Click here to register


Registration deadline: 3/05/20

March 24, 2020

Toolbox of Strategies for Struggling Writers - grade 6-12


Presenter: Sarah Buxton

Target Audience: Teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals


Workshop Description:

We know that whole class instruction will never meet all of our students’ needs. As writing teachers, we plan fabulous lessons and know that in spite of our best efforts, our whole-class lesson will not reach every student. Many times, students return to their seats without an idea or a plan to move forward. In this study group, we will explore research-based strategies and teaching practices to inspire and support writers.


In this workshop, participants will


  • Understand what it means to teach the writer not the writing
  • Leave with a conferring and small group toolbox
  • Learn the value of mentor text support
  • Analyze student writing to plan instructional support


About the Presenter:

Sarah Buxton is an advocate for all learners, and their right to individualized, tailored instruction under the guidance of masterful teachers. It is with this vision that she travels to different schools across the country running small and large group workshops, demonstrating effective whole class and small group lessons, writing assessments and curriculum and developing district-wide learning goals with school leaders. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Albany, Sarah Buxton began her career in Brooklyn, New York in a sixth grade classroom in a district that valued professional development and teacher growth. In 2000, Sarah co-authored Workshops That Work!with Kirsten Widmer through Scholastic. Sarah began working as a full time literacy coach affiliated with Teachers College in Brooklyn where she continued to receive mentoring in leadership and literacy in 2005. The school was a pilot for collaborative, inclusion-based classrooms. There, she was able to hone her craft and set to practice differentiating instruction for all learners. She received her Master’s Degree in the teaching of English from CUNY in 2007. Since 2005, Sarah has been an education consultant working to support best practices in the teaching of literacy in all classrooms across the country.


Click here to register


Registration deadline: 3/17/20

March 25, 2020

Mindfulness in the PreK-12 Classroom


Presenter: Bobbie Downs

Target Audience: Teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, related service providers


Workshop Description:

Mindfulness has proven to be an effective method in helping students success academically, socially and emotionally. Defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn as “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment”, mindfulness gives students the tools they need to focus, interact positively with others, and better understand their emotions. This presentation will discuss the basics of mindfulness, give attendees practical ways to apply it in the classroom, and provided resources that they can use to start their own program. Attendees will learn the importance of mindfulness in the lives of teacher and administrators as well. In an era of teacher burnout, high stakes testing, and increasing responsibilities, emotional intelligence is imperative. Mindfulness is an easy, applicable strategy to make an impact individually and school wide. Participants will leave the seminar not only personally relaxed, but with a stronger understanding of how mindfulness can be used when they return to their schools.


About the Presenter:

Bobbie Downs is the Director of the Educational Services Unit under Burlington County Special Services School District. Prior to this position she served as a teacher and then middle school principal at Burlington County Alternative School. During her time there, she implemented mindfulness and yoga in the classroom to effectively help her students. She is a graduate of the Mindful Schools year-long program and continues to seek out professional development in mindfulness education. She is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at Rowan University, where she also received her M.A. in School Administration.


Click here to register


Registration deadline: 3/18/20

March 26, 2020

Grades K-2 Reading Strategies


Presenter: Sarah Buxton

Target Audience: Teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals


Workshop Description:

Children rely upon explicit reading instruction in order to grow as readers. Successful readers utilize strategies that activate metacognition in order to grow comprehension. In this workshop, participants will learn strategies to explicitly teach their readers how to engage with and understand both narrative and informational texts. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of small group instruction as a means to support all readers.


In this workshop, participants will:

  • Take away many reading strategies to immediately implement in the classroom
  • Understand how to most effectively teach reading strategies in both whole group and small group instruction
  • Learn engaging ways to teach reading strategies through interactive read aloud


About the Presenter:

Sarah Buxton is an advocate for all learners, and their right to individualized, tailored instruction under the guidance of masterful teachers. It is with this vision that she travels to different schools across the country running small and large group workshops, demonstrating effective whole class and small group lessons, writing assessments and curriculum and developing district-wide learning goals with school leaders. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Albany, Sarah Buxton began her career in Brooklyn, New York in a sixth grade classroom in a district that valued professional development and teacher growth. In 2000, Sarah co-authored Workshops That Work!with Kirsten Widmer through Scholastic. Sarah began working as a full time literacy coach affiliated with Teachers College in Brooklyn where she continued to receive mentoring in leadership and literacy in 2005. The school was a pilot for collaborative, inclusion-based classrooms. There, she was able to hone her craft and set to practice differentiating instruction for all learners. She received her Master’s Degree in the teaching of English from CUNY in 2007. Since 2005, Sarah has been an education consultant working to support best practices in the teaching of literacy in all classrooms across the country.


Click here to register


Registration deadline: 3/19/20

March 31, 2020

Engaging Students in the Elementary Classroom


Presenter: Samantha Nims, Instructional Coach

Target Audience: Classroom Teachers, Interventionalists, Small Group Instruction Teachers, Special Education Teachers


Workshop Description:

In this session, participants will understand why students may act out and explore techniques and strategies to engage students in the elementary classroom environment. Find new and innovative ways to manage your classroom and reinforce positive behaviors. Leave this session with relevant technology to infuse into the classroom and explore a plethora of resources that will benefit all of your students.


About the Presenter:

Samantha Nims is currently an Instructional Coach. Samantha is going on her seventh year in education. Before becoming an Instructional Coach, she has taught in many different special education settings from resource rooms to in-class support settings. Samantha is Reading Recovery certified and was a Reading Recovery teacher for three years. She is currently in graduate school to become a LDTC.


Click here to register


Registration deadline: 3/24/20

April 6, 2020

Instructional Reading Strategies for Grades 3-5


Presenters: Brooke Decker, Supervisor of Related Services, CST, Charter & Reading Specialist Services and Rachel Fox, Reading Specialist

Target Audience: Classroom teachers for grades 3-5, Reading Specialists, Basic Skills Teachers, Special Education Teachers, Title 1 Reading Support Teachers


Workshop Description:

This professional development will review a balanced literacy approach which will target instructional strategies to be used when teaching reading. Various reading models will be discussed to teach students how to apply skills and strategies learned across multi-genres. We will also examine teacher and student roles throughout instructional time to identify specific wanted behaviors.


About the Presenters:

Brooke Decker is a Supervisor of Public Child Study Team, Related Services, Reading Specialist Services & Chater with the Educational Service Unit. In 2011, Ms. Decker received her bachelor’s degree from Holy Family University in Elementary and Special Education. Ms. Decker spent the next seven years as a teacher of a multi-grade self-contained class, multi-grade resource class and inclusion. She has also taught reading, writing and math from grades K-8, which has expanded her knowledge in various grade levels. While teaching, Ms. Decker continued her education at Holy Family University and she earned a Master’s degree as a Reading Specialist in 2014 and Supervisor and Principal certifications in 2016. Ms. Decker is an active member of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, Kappa Delta Pi National Honors Society and Delta Kappa Gamma International Society for Key Women Educators.


Rachel Fox is a Reading Specialist with the Educational Service Unit. Ms. Fox received her bachelor’s degree in 2016 from Monmouth University in English, P-3 Early Childhood Education, and Special Education. From 2016-2018, Ms. Fox began her career as a teacher of a multi-grade self-contained classroom. During her time as a special education teacher, Ms. Fox advanced her education at Monmouth University and earned a Master’s degree as a Reading Specialist in 2018. Last year, Ms. Fox served as a Reading Specialist as well as a Special Education Teacher with the Educational Services Unit. Ms. Fox has instructed students grades K-8 in reading, writing, and mathematics. Given this wide background, Ms. Fox has experience with various teaching methods across a range of grade levels. Ms. Fox is a member of Kappa Delta Pi National Honors Society for Educators, as well as Delta Kappa Gamma International Society for Key Women Educators.


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Registration deadline: 3/30/20

April 23, 2020

HOT or Not: Infusing the best learning strategies to help your students build and monitor higher order thinking (HOT) skills.


Presenter: Dr. Kathy Chesnel

Target Audience: Teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals


Workshop Description:

Higher-order thinking (HOT) is a concept that distinguishes critical thinking activities and skills from low-order learning outcomes. HOT requires students to use newly acquired knowledge to make connections to other facts and concepts, and apply their knowledge and skills as they seek new solutions to new problems. For this to happen, students must first understand the presented information beyond rote memorization. Lessons that require students to use HOT, when implemented with support and scaffolding, have been shown to improve both student learning and motivation. This workshop will describe evidenced based, classroom ready strategies to infuse higher order thinking tasks appropriate for students of all academic levels. Participants will practice identifying the true cognitive level of common classroom activities and then work to identify and improve the level of critical thinking tasks in their own lessons. Methods to evaluate the depth of student understanding achieved will be discussed.


About the Presenter:

Kathy earned her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University and her doctorate in Biomedical Engineering from The University of Pennsylvania. She worked as a biomedical researcher and product developer for 10 years before moving into education. Kathy taught high school for 16 years in her home-town of New Egypt, NJ, and served as an adjunct professor at Rowan College at Burlington County. She has been recognized at both the local and national levels for her innovative teaching strategies. She was awarded the Princeton Prize for Distinguished Secondary School Teaching and has worked as a consultant for the American Chemical Society in the development of their “Best of ChemMatters” literacy lessons. Kathy has recently retired from the classroom and has relocated to central Pennsylvania. Presently she serves an adjunct professor for Immaculata University where she teaches graduate courses in education.


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Registration deadline: 4/16/20

April 28, 2020

Hands on Fun to Help Facilitate Skills in the Classroom


Presenter: Dr. Caroline E. Welch, OTD, MS, OTR/L, SIPT &

Victoria Cann, MA Ed, OTR/L

Target Audience: K-12 Educators, CST members, and school personnel


Workshop Description:

Students need to develop basic skills to participate in school tasks and activities. Unfortunately, many students do not possess these basic skills required to be successful. During this workshop, gross motor, fine motor, visual motor, and sensory skills required to complete classroom tasks and activities will be reviewed. Suggestions with participation in hands on activities to facilitate these skills within the classroom environment will be presented and discussed.


About the Presenter:

Caroline Welch is an occupational therapy practitioner who has been working in the school system for 8 years. She has her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy and has specialty certifications in Sensory Integration and Neurodevelopmental Treatment. Dr. Welch has presented at the state and national level for Occupational Therapy as well as been a professor in higher learning.


Victoria Cann is an occupational therapy practitioner who has been working in the school system for over 15 years. She has her M.A. in Special Education and a Certificate in Assistive Technology. She is also certified as a Level 1 Handwriting Without Tears specialist. Mrs. Cann has presented at the state and national level for Occupational Therapy.


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Registration deadline: 4/21/20

Terms and Conditions

  1. The Burlington County Professional Development Institute (BCPDI) is comprised of districts in Burlington County who pay an annual membership fee. All employees of participating districts are permitted to attend any and all workshops free of charge for the school year in which a membership fee has been paid.
  2. A current photo ID issued by the registrant’s district and indicating he/she is an employee of said district is required for entrance to a BCPDI workshop. No person will be admitted to a workshop free of charge without proof of employment in a participating district on the day of the workshop.
  3. Employees of non-membership districts are able to register for any and all BCPDI workshops for a fee of $149 per workshop. Payment in the form of a purchase order, check or money order payable to the “Educational Services Unit - BCPDI” is required for admission on the day of a workshop. Cash and credit cards are not acceptable.
  4. Registrants are required to secure permission to attend a BCPDI workshop according to the “Request for Professional Development Leave” policies established in their districts. The BCPDI is not responsible for securing professional leave for any workshop participant.
  5. A Professional Development Certificate indicating the date and title of the workshop, the name of the presenter, and the number of professional development hours awarded will be provided at the conclusion of the workshop. No PD certificates will be issued prior to the conclusion of the workshop.
  6. In the event of inclement weather or other conditions that result in the cancellation of a scheduled workshop, information will be posted on the Burlington County Special Services School District website. (www.bcsssd.k12.nj.us) An email will also be sent to all registrants. Every effort will be made to reschedule any cancelled workshop.

About Us

As a service provider, the Educational Services Unit seeks to support educational excellence by providing high-quality services to school communities by utilizing best practices delivered by professional staff.