2017 RISE Conference Program

Saturday, April 8


7:45-8:45am : Registration and  Exhibit Hall 

9:00-10:30am : Welcome Remarks and Keynote Presentation

Morning Keynote: Dr. Sharon Vaughn

Why Intensive Interventions are Necessary for Students with Dyslexia

This presentation addresses issues related to improving outcomes for students with persistent reading difficulties. Many teachers and research teams are aware that even when students are provided high-quality reading instruction, their response to this instruction is inadequate. What can teachers do to assure that students with the most persistent reading problems are provided with the customized reading instruction they require to make progress?  This presentation will address both the research findings as well as the instructional practices associated with persistent reading difficulties.


Dr. Sharon Vaughn, Manuel J. Justiz Endowed Chair in Education, is the Executive Director of The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk an organized research unit at The University of Texas at Austin.  She is the recipient of numerous awards including the CEC research award, the AERA SIG distinguished researcher award, The University of Texas Distinguished faculty award and outstanding Researcher Award, and the Jeannette E. Fleischner Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of LD from CEC. She is the author of more than 35 books and 250 research articles. Several of these research articles have won awards: one the A.J. Harris IRA award for best article published and another the School Psychology award for best article.  She is currently Principal Investigator on several Institute for Education Sciences, National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, and U.S. Department of Education research grants.  She works as a senior adviser to the National Center on Intensive Interventions and has more than six articles that have met the What Works Clearing House Criteria for their intervention reports.  She currently has 20 of her previous doctoral students who are faculty at universities across the United States including University of Colorado, Florida State University, University of Maryland, and University of Virginia.


10:45am-12:00pm Breakout Session A :

A1 – Walk A Mile in My Shoes
Rosemary Williams, M.A., Executive Director S.M.I.L.A.
Interactive simulation for the audience to understand how they learn and how students who have difficulties with reading learn.

Target Age/Grade: All Ages (PreK-Adult)

Target Audience: Elementary & Secondary Teachers, Administrators, Parents, SLPs, School Psychologists, Advocates

A2 - Fostering Reading Comprehension in Middle and Secondary School Students

Dr. Jennifer Cooper, Ph.D., Assistant Director for Educational Services and Research Initiatives, Tennessee Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia Middle Tennessee State University

The session will focus on strategies to promote reading comprehension and academic success across content areas. Specific strategies for students, teachers, and parents will be included in the presentation.

Target Age/Grade: Middle & High School

Target Audience: Secondary Teachers, Parents

A3 – Addressing Anxiety in Children and Adolescents with Learning Differences

Dr. Amy Mariaskin, Ph.D., Clinical Co-Director, Rogers Behavioral Health

Children with learning differences often experience co-occurring anxiety. This presentation will discuss current data and provide information about how best to meet children's needs in the classroom. Moreover, it will empower parents to manage anxiety at home and help advocate for their children.

Target Age/Grade: Elementary, Middle, & High School

Target Audience: Elementary & Secondary Teachers, Parents, School Psychologists

A4 – Effective Spelling Instruction

Nicole Cullom, M.S., Assistant Division Head, Currey Ingram Academy- Lower School

Ms. Cullom will lead discussion around the distinction between implicit and explicit spelling instruction. In addition to reviewing research in the area of spelling instruction, participants will learn practical ideas to engage students in meaningful learning experiences

Target Age/Grade: Elementary School

Target Audience: Elementary Teachers, Parents, School Psychologists


12:10 - 1:30pm Lunch (included with registration fee)


1:30-2:45pm  Breakout Session B:


B1 – Developing Reading Stamina and a Growth Mindset

Nancy Duggin, Ed.S., NBCT, Consultant

The percentage of students who are unable to read is relatively low; however, the percentage of students who quit reading as material becomes more challenging is significant. This session will provide strategies for building stamina and perseverance while reading. We will also consider the importance of developing a ‘growth mindset’ within students.

Target Age/Grade: Elementary & Middle School

Target Audience: Upper Elementary & Middle School Teachers, Administrators

B2 – Practical Learning Strategies

Anna Claire McKay, M. Ed., Learning Coordinator, University School of Nashville,  Middle School

Karen Parnell, M.S. CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist, Nashville

Join us for an interactive workshop focused on practical learning and study strategies that help students transition from rote memorization to deeper conceptual understanding. Learn our top ten tools, create your own examples, and practice using them effectively.

Target Age/Grade: Elementary, Middle, & High School

Target Audience: Elementary & Secondary Teachers, Administrators, Parents, SLPs

B3 – Introduction to Assistive Technology

Ashley Kemper, M. Ed., STEM Program Manager, Nashville After Zone Alliance

An overall introduction to assistive technology: what is it, how do kids use it, why is it important, and where do I go to get it? Find a 30,000 foot discussion of what classifies tools as assistive and best practices for using these tools. Presenter will share her favorite and most effective assistive technology tools from 2016.

Target Age/Grade: Elementary, Middle, & High School; Adult

Target Audience: Elementary & Secondary Teachers, Parents, Advocates

B4 – Phonological and Phonemic Awareness in the Early Grades

Allison McAvoy, M.Ed., Wilson Dyslexia Therapist, Southeast Reading Center

This session will discuss what phonological and phonemic awareness is and its importance to the development of reading skills. Activities to develop or strengthen PA skills will also be presented.

Target Age/Grade: PreK & Elementary School (PreK – 3)

Target Audience: Elementary Teachers, Parents

3:00-4:15pm  Breakout Session C :

C1 – 504 Plans: What to Know for Your Student with Dyslexia

Joey Ellis, Family & Youth Educator and Mentor/ Post-Secondary Transition Specialist, STEP

This presentation will familiarize participants with the basic structure of a 504 plan. We will discuss several examples of accommodations that have been shown to be successful for students with dyslexia. We will also discuss the importance of insuring that the student's 504 plan is unique to their needs so that each child has full access to their education.

Target Age/Grade: PreK, Elementary, Middle, & High School

Target Audience: Elementary & Secondary Teachers, Administrators, Parents, SLPs, School Psychologists, Advocates

C2 – Upper Elementary and Middle School Writing

Robin Watkins, M.Ed., County Literacy Coach, Coffee County Schools

In education today, there is an emphasis on writing in response to a text. There are skills required such as finding evidence, organizing your information, finding a focus, and much more that can be challenging to students. This session will give you some practical ideas to help students learn to write in more approachable ways.

Target Age/Grade: Upper Elementary & Middle School

Target Audience: Upper Elementary & Middle School Teachers, Administrators, Parents, and Advocates

C3 – Being Proactive with ACT and SAT preparation

Wendy Boehm, M.Ed., Special Education Teacher, Williamson County Schools

Session participants will learn how to prepare students for taking the ACT or SAT with accommodations, including the new accommodation changes that have occurred for both tests. As a group, we'll discuss the application process and documentation, possible accommodations specific to students with a dyslexia diagnosis (i.e. Dragon, DVD Option, Large Print, etc.), available practice materials, and tips for preparing students for tested content.

Target Age/Grade: Elementary, Middle, & High School

Target Audience: Elementary & Secondary Teachers, Administrators, Parents, SLPs, School Psychologists, Advocates

C4 - S.O.S. - Signals, Observations, and Solutions to help your dyslexic child

Carmen O’Connor, BS English and Education, Educational Consultant – Private Tutor, Carmen O’Connor Tutoring

Learn to identify and distinguish the various processing issues that may cause your child/student to struggle with basic academic skills. Discover how to implement appropriate actions to help them achieve success.

Target Age/Grade: PreK, Elementary, Middle, & High School

Target Audience: Elementary & Secondary Teachers, Parents, School Psychologists, Advocates, SLPs


TN IDA Membership Meeting (4:30 - 5:00)


Event Sponsors:





Early Bird Registration

 (Ends March 10th)


 (Ends April 1st)

IDA Member $125  $150
Non IDA Member $175  $200
Group (5+) $125/per person  $150/person
Full-time Student (student ID required) $50  $50
Currey Ingram $100  $100


Proceed to Registration Page


Download 2017 Rise flier to share!