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Learn . . . Featured Presentations

Learn from featured sessions presented by LEAF, Inc., attorneys, State Education Leadership, Council staff, strategic partners and specialty topic speakers. Read about a few key sessions being presented, below. Additional sessions published summer 2016.

Work Smarter:  11 Strategies to Maximize Your
Time, Attention and Energy

with Dr. Michael Doughty, Superintendent, Monroe #1 BOCES

We’re all busy, and we’re constantly being asked to do more in less time. Learn about practical strategies to improve efficiency with office tasks, boost your energy, and increase your ability to focus on complex tasks.

From taming your email to taking control of your calendar to optimizing your routines, we will explore ways to maximize your efficiency at school so that you can stop bringing so much work home.  

Link here for handout!

Cybertraps for Educators:  The Legal & Professional 
Risks of the Digital Age

with Dr. Frederick S. Lane, Author, Lecturer

Over the last several decades, technology has infused into every aspect of an educator’s work from class prep to grading. While technology offers tremendous potential for enhancing student learning, providing innovative instruction and bridging often enormous physical distances between teachers and students, it also poses significant challenges.

Thanks to the overwhelmingly popularity of mobile devices among students and teachers (particularly younger, more recently-certified educators), technology is weakening the traditional boundaries of the classroom. In the casual, often unsupervised world of texting, instant messaging and social media, there’s a growing risk that teachers will inadvertently (or intentionally) enter into inappropriate relationships with students. The consequences can be devastating for everyone involved:  the student, the teacher, and the district. This presentation is based on five years of research and interviews with teachers and administrators, and is particularly appropriate for school administrators, school attorneys, and educators.

Link to Fred Lane's PowerPoint here!

Surviving and Thriving After Bullying

with Meredith O’Connor, International Teen
Pop Star and Anti-bullying Icon

Meredith O’Connor's radio hit songs (including "Just the Thing" featured on Teen Nick as well as "Stronger" with Disney's Garrett Clayton) have sold out concerts all over the world with their positive and uplifting message. Her anti- bullying themed ballad "The Game" has had fans and students claim it changed and even saved their lives during challenges involving mental health and bullying. Countless recommendations from school administrators all over the world have declared that Meredith O'Connor's presentation is the most effective and relatable one they have ever brought in.  

As a well-known teen star, she gives students a once in a lifetime and memorable opportunity to hear her music, story, and advice on how to overcome bullying and embrace one's own unique attributes. Meredith hosts an interactive Q and A in the middle of her program, which has inspired students to feel comfortable enough to discuss serious matters in front of the entire audience, with parents and teachers thanking her for helping to foster such an environment.  

Meredith's slogan of "You are Not Alone" helps students that are her age and younger realize that they can look up to a role model who has experienced and overcome bullying and mental health challenges, and encourages them to tell the appropriate adults. At the end of each presentation, Meredith takes the time to sign autographs for the students, giving them an experience that stays with them, that they will never forget, and reminding them of lessons learned. 

See what you can bring to your students and staff in this important and entertaining presentation.

The Science of Deeper Learning 

with Dr. Mathew Peterson, Co-Founder, Mind Research Institute

When math education moves beyond how and into why, you hear it happening. “Oh, now I get it.” “Yes!” “I knew it!” This is the sound of deeper engagement, deeper thought, deeper learning. How do you get there? Dr. Matthew Peterson will share insights on how our brains learn and how to create active learning environments that encourage deeper learning and foster student success in the 21st century.

Curriculum & Instruction Committee Discussion & Update

With William H. Johnson, Superintendent, Rockville Centre; Lorna R. Lewis, Superintendent, Plainview-Old Bethpage;Michael Doughty, Deputy Superintendent, Monroe 1 BOCES; & Marie Wiles, Superintendent, Guilderland

Changes never cease – revisions to the Common Core standards & Assessments, Regents scales, Part 154 & the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act. This session will discuss critical issues facing your districts and students and brainstorm the actions the Council needs to take to be of assistance to the field.

Legislative Committee Discussion & Update

With Neil F. O’Brien, Superintendent, Port Byron & Patricia Sullivan-Kriss, Superintendent, West Hempstead 

State politics and legislative policy drive a great deal of the agenda within our school districts. This session will provide analysis and information detailing state legislation and the outlook for the future of New York politics.

Inside Out:  The Evolution of 21st Century Facility Transformation

With Douglas Huntley, Superintendent, Queensbury; Maureen Long, Superintendent, Menands; Joseph Corr, Superintendent, North Colonie; Robert J. Hendriks, APR, ALEP, LEAF Strategic Planning Consultant

School buildings matter more than ever, but facility transformation is NEVER about the building – it’s about teaching and learning. And since major building projects take four to five years to complete, it’s not about what happening today as much as it’s about what should be happening in the next decade and beyond. And while communities are generally accepting of schools that were designed more than a half century ago, schools are quickly and inexorably becoming the impediment to 21st century teaching and learning, disenfranchising teachers and students instead of inspiring them. See how two high achieving school districts have engaged their internal and external communities to set a vision for transformation that started with changing aspirations for teaching and learning, setting set the course for 21st century facility transformation.

Legal Briefing:  Rethinking the Board Policy Manual

Michael L. Dodd, Esq., Partner, Ferrara Fiorenza PC

Many Board Policy Manuals have become so cumbersome that few, if any, Board members, administrators or employees are fully aware of their contents. Nevertheless, Board policies are still the “law of the district.” Policies which are outdated, restate existing law/regulations, or are simply forgotten about are often inadvertently violated leading to expensive lawsuits, Commissioner’s appeals and public embarrassment for the district and/or officials involved. This presentation will focus on:

  • Dispelling Myths about Board Policies/Policy Manuals

  • Explaining How Certain Policies can Create/Increase Liability Exposure

  • Reconsidering the Policy Governance Model

  • Pros and Cons of Using Policies vs. Administrative Regulations

  • Practical Tips for Revamping Board Policy Manuals

  • Link to Session handout here!

 Sponsored by Signature Partner Ferrara Fiorenza PC

Two Sessions in One

with Sharon Cates-Williams, Deputy Commissioner, NYSED, Performance Improvement and Management Services and Lissette M. Col?n-Collins, Assistant Commissioner, NYSED, Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages

New York State My Brother’s Keeper Initiative:  Improving Outcomes for 
Boys and Young Men of Color

In 2014, President Obama established the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Task Force at the federal level. The Task Force was an interagency effort focused on closing and eliminating the opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color so that all young people have the chance to reach their full potential.

With the adoption of the 2016–2017 New York State Budget, New York became the first state to accept the President’s challenge and enacted the My Brother’s Keeper initiative into law. The budget included a $20 million investment in support of the initiative to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color and all students.

New York’s MY BROTHER’S KEEPER initiative is designed to encourage school districts, colleges and universities, and community groups to join forces in this critical mission. Grant opportunities are available to develop programs and strategies to help boys and young men of color—and all students—realize their full potential.

Ensuring Bilingual Educational Opportunities for Multilingual Learners

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages (OBEWL) will present “Ensuring Bilingual Educational Opportunities for Multilingual Learners”.  The presentation will support stakeholders as they provide high quality academic opportunities for English Language Learners (ELLs)/Multilingual Learners (MLLs) in New York State. ELL/MLL Demographic and performance data will be shared as well as an overview of the needs, resources, and essential elements for successful programming.

Put Money Back in Your Classroom:  Finding the Hidden Revenue
in Your Pharmacy Benefits

With Mark Jones, Deputy District Superintendent, Capital Region BOCES
Michele V. Handzel, School Attorney, Capital Region BOCES
Jeffrey Hall, Senior Vice President, Keenan & Associates
Howard Mazzafro, Vice President, Keenan & Associates
Brian Fassett, President, Pharmacy Principles

School districts are obligated to safeguard district assets and exercise due diligence in creating a budget, and the cost of health care is on average ten percent of a school budget. This presentation will demonstrate the power of group purchasing specific to a pharmacy benefits. This consortium enables all municipalities across New York achieve significant savings on pharmacy drug expenditures. This initiative began in 2012 through Capital Region BOCES with a local efficiency grant from the Department of State. To date, the initiative has saved school districts and taxpayers 15 million dollars, with an average savings of over 15% in the first year alone, with many individual school districts being much higher. This workshop is not focused on a program that changes benefits, but rather moves the school districts to a completely transparent way of contracting with their pharmacy benefit management company; ultimately putting the school in the driver’s seat. 

Bridgehampton Teen-to-Teen Initiative

With Lois R. Favre, Superintendent, Bridgehampton
John Reilly, Social Studies Teacher and Student Gov’t Advisor, Bridgehampton
Students:  Nia Dawson, Claudia Patterson, Rachel Hoyt and Maddie Koral

The far reaching implications of students supporting students can never be underestimated. Students in our diverse high school (57% of students on free and reduced lunch) recognized that some of our students were in need of things that others took for granted – such as haircuts, toiletries, clean clothes, etc.

In a student led initiative, students developed a Teen-to-Teen initiative to assist and support their peers.  Hear about their process, how it is evolving, and what happens when we assure that students are focused on the right things – giving back, developing relationships, and respecting diversity.

Click here for Session Power Point!