Member $389
 Nonmember $489
 Aspiring & Retired Directors $179

Pre-conference is an additional fee of $129. Includes lunch and a book. 


Conference Location

Caesars Southern Indiana, 11999 Casino Center Dr SE, Elizabeth, IN 47117

Overnight Rooms

$59 a night


All times listed are eastern time. 

Wednesday, September 29

10:00 AM - 3:30 pm


Great Instruction, Great Achievement
John O'Connor

Registration Opens: 9 am 

John O’Connor led school improvement initiatives at the state and local level during his 30 years in public education. He started his career as a special education teacher serving students with orthopedic impairments in elementary and middle schools. Since that time, he held a variety of administrative positions. For nine years while working at the Georgia Department of Education, he led state-wide initiatives to improve the achievement and learning of students with disabilities. He also served in local districts as an Assistant Director for Special Education, Executive Director for Special Services, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services and Director for Interventions. John has written five books, including his most recent, the 2nd Edition of Great Instruction Great Achievement for Students with Disabilities: A Road Map for Special Education Administrators. He also co-write a textbook chapter, a desk guide and numerous articles. Since his retirement, John has provided training, school visits, and coaching to hundreds of groups ranging from Hawaii to South Carolina.

Thursday, September 30

7:30 AM - 8:45 AM

Registration, Buffet Breakfast, & Vendor Time

8:45 AM - 10:30 AM

Welcome, Angela Balsley, ICASE President
Keynote Address: Trauma and Resilience
Rodney J. Walker


Rodney J. Walker

Rodney Walker is an American author, entrepreneur, and inspirational speaker. He is the bestselling author of A New Day One, and is most known for his work in trauma-informed education. His award-winning keynote The Power of Resilience: From 12 Foster Homes to Harvard University, has received acclamation by school districts across the nation. A Chicago native, he has a Bachelors degree from Morehouse College and graduate degrees from Harvard and Yale University.

Given the obstacles placed before him as a foster child, Rodney struggled academically and socially in school. In his early years of elementary school, he was diagnosed with autism, placed in special education, repeated the fourth grade due to poor academic performance, and finished his freshman of high school with a sub-1.5 GPA. After joining a youth mentoring program in his senior year of high school, Rodney was able to deal with life struggles that had restrained him. During this period, he also joined the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a youth entrepreneurship program for high school students. With the support and guidance of NFTE and committed mentors, Rodney competed and won various business plan competitions. It was here that Rodney became motivated and inspired to start his first business.

He is the founder of Forever Life Productions, a company that creates custom videos for special occasions and events. Along with his production company, Rodney travels both nationally and internationally, speaking at public schools, corporations, and conferences about the importance of trauma-informed education, entrepreneurship education, mentoring at-risk youth, and corporate philanthropy for non-profit organizations aimed to uplift and support at-risk youth. He has been a speaker at TEDxYale, served as a keynote speaker in Monaco, France for Ernst &Young, and has delivered a Keynote at the White House on the importance of financial literacy for urban youth. Portions of his story have appeared on PBS’s American Graduate Day, in the national education documentary Ten9Eight: Shoot for the Moon, and in It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired and Get Going by Chelsea Clinton.

In an effort to address the epidemic of violence and social failure among at-risk youth in Chicago, Walker partnered with former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to create a comprehensive employment pipeline program for disconnected youth across the city. Since earning his Masters in Education from Harvard University, he has continued his career as a nationally-renowned youth speaker, thought leader, social-emotional learning expert, and ambassador for change. He delivers various SEL education programs, professional development, inspirational keynotes, and student workshops.

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Break and Vendor Visits

10:45 AM - 11:45 AM

Breakout Sessions

LGBTQ+ Competency Training
Staff need support in balancing their professional and personal beliefs and need to be informed regarding best practices, guidelines, and policies when working with LGBTQ+ students and the intersectionality that occurs when they are also identified as students with disabilities. This will lead to improved relationships between staff and students and an increase in appropriately written IEPs as well as a steps towards decreasing overidentification.
Meghan Highfield, MSD of Decatur Township
Amie Kiefer, MSD of Decatur Township

Writing Defensible IEPs and Ensuring Meaningful Parental Participation
Attendees will received legal updates concerning the development of legal defensible IEPs that ensure meaningful parental input.
Monica Conrad, Lewis Kappes

ABA: Issues and Strategies for Collaboration
During this presentation, the distinction will be made between schools and ABA programs, national concerns about ABA, and considerations when bringing ABA centers/providers into your school/district.
Cathy Pratt, Indiana Resource Center for Autism

virtual presenter to live audience via Zoom

IDEA Special Education Committee Report:
An Update on Post Pandemic Services along with IDEA Reauthorization Recommendations

The presentation will summarize 2020 COSA presentations provided on a pop-up basis to assist practitioners with understanding the fast paced changes to special education law along with 2021 reflections on compensatory compensation.
Jessica Billingsley, Church Church Hittle + Antrim
Shyann Boyer, Church Church Hittle + Antrim

Effectively Providing Virtual and In-Person Professional Development
This session covers methods and strategies used to ensure professional development is effective, provides high levels of engagement, and is an efficient use of time for both presenters and participants.
Marcee Wilburn, Indiana IEP Resource Center
Daniel McNulty, PATINS Project

Proactive Best Practices to Foster Positive Parent Relationships
Participants will consider the supports that they provide to their teachers of record and determine if there are additional pointers that could be offered with the goal of improving relationships with parents.
Dr. Dawn McGrath, IN*SOURCE

11:45 AM - 12:45 PM

Lunch and Vendor Visits

12:45 PM - 1:45 PM

Breakout Sessions

IEPRC: IEP Updates
This session will provide attendees an opportunity to discuss the recent changes and future updates with IEPRC staff. Hopefully, this will serve to further inform their discussions and training plans for schools and teachers in the field.
Matt Johnson, Indiana IEP Resource Center
Jolly Piersall, Consultant, IEPRC
Legal & Public Policy Trends
This session will cover various legal and public policy trends relevant to special education administrators.
Seamus Boyce, KGR Law, LLP
Allyson Breeden, Siemer Stayman Weitzel & Shoulders, LLP
LRE Considerations for Students who are DHH
This presentation is timely as the Office of Special Education, IEPRC and other IRNs have focused more on LRE for all students with disabilities. School teams can use documents and resources shared in this session to ensure IEPs follow law and best-practice as it relates to LRE for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. Participants will be provided practical tips to assess students' access to various school environments.
Sarah Kiefer, Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education
My Kid Did What?
Preparing for and Conducting Manifestation Determination Reviews

Presenters will provide the perspectives of both Director of Special Education and school attorney on the topic of manifestation determination reviews, including when one must be held, whom should be invited, how to prepare for the MDR, what to do if the parent submits new information, making the determination, and defending it at hearing.
Karen Glasser-Sharp, Lewis & Kappes, P.C.
Jennifer Scott, Franklin Community Schools
All In:
Meaningful Inclusion of Students with Significant Disabilities

This session will review the essential steps of an inclusive framework that is designed to increase implementation of inclusive practices in a school or district. Participants will leave with tools and resources that can be utilized immediately to begin or enhance the process of implementing inclusive practices.
Ashley Quick, PCG's Project Success Resource Center
Building Cultural Bridges: Interpreters in the Special Education Field
There are over 200 languages spoken in Indiana schools. This can cause a real challenge as school personnel try to follow the spirit of Article 7 and build collaborative trusting relationships with parents who are English learners. Special Education Administrators may not be aware that they can access training for both their Spanish-specific interpreters training and a more universal EL-style training for all other languages. Participants will learn how to request free training for school personnel, volunteers, or contractors who interpret for parents. They will learn the topics of the training for interpreters include understanding Article 7 terminology, the special education process, and ethics. Participants will experience the main ideas and understand the strategies used in the training so that interpreters will understand the ideas that they may be asked to explain to parents during a case conference meeting.
Jane Fuentes, IN*SOURCE

1:45 PM - 2:00 PM

Break and Vendor Visits

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Mini Sessions

Gratitude and Mental Health: Employing a Focus on Mindfulness in the K-12 Classroom
Educators will gain ideas and tools to promote gratitude and mindfulness in the classroom, which will help promote social and emotional learning and encourage healthy social behaviors.
Jennifer Springer, eLuma Online Therapy
Student Mental Health: Post-Pandemic Staffing Solutions
As school leaders enter a return to in-person learning this semester, it is critical they are prepared for the social-emotional challenges children will bring to the classroom. This webinar will describe the statistics around student mental health as a result of the pandemic, as well as the current staffing shortages seen in this professional area. Presenters will also demonstrate how schools can successfully implement a model for teletherapy to reduce these staffing challenges and ensure students are properly supported.
Justin Fuhrman, DotCom Therapy
Andee Szwabowski, DotCom Therapy
Unified Athletics:
Building Champions One District at a Time

Special Olympics, Indiana through the Unfiied Champion School movement is a partner of ICASE. There are school districts that haven't heard about or joined the #inclusionRevolution and may need more information to get started.
Lisa Graham, Unified Champion Schools, Special Olympics Indiana
Teacher Perspectives on TeachTown's enCORE
Practitioners will gain invaluable insights into what TeachTown’s enCORE is, how it works, and hear directly from teachers utilizing it to help inform future district curriculum decisions. Attendees will learn about aspects of the curriculum that promote teacher “buy-in” and effectiveness in providing an appropriate education for students diagnosed with moderate to severe disabilities.
Scott Wyzgoski, TeachTown
Thinking Differently About IEPs & Present Levels
New Research Informs Evolving Best Practices

In this session you will learn: What new insights this study uncovered about the relationship between present levels quality and student achievement in reading and math. Which specific characteristics of present levels statements articulate a clearer connection to goal development and instructional planning. How the actionable findings of the study are being used to inform practice, resources, and professional learning. What best practice rubrics for present levels emerged from this research study. How and in what ways a systems-approach has supported the transformation of special educator practice. All participants in this session will receive a copy of the research report and the present levels rubric that emerged from this research project.
Vinnie Ray, Goalbook
SILAS Software for SEL
All educators benefit from learning new strategies and techniques. It is important that we as educators implement Social and Emotional Learning Lessons on a daily basis. Providing those lessons by using gamification increasing motivation to students.
Dr. Bernadette E. Mullen, SLPD, Speech Start, LLC

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Break and Vendor Visits

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Breakout Sessions

Speeding Up Special Education Paperwork with Google
Attendees will have an understanding of how using Google Forms and Sheets can make doing paperwork faster while keeping it accurate.
Kara Guiff, Guiff Goodies for Education
IDOE Complaint Trends
This presentation will cover trends in the outcomes of the special education complaint investigation reports and explore areas in which the IDOE issued corrective action to school districts.
Amy Matthews, Church Church Hittle + Antrim
Chandler Lawson Flynn, Church Church Hittle + Antrim
INSOURCE Transition
Participants will gain awareness of the youth transition services provided by IN*SOURCE and will know how to arrange to have these services provided to transition students.
Dawn McGrath, IN*SOURCE
Jessica Terry, IN*SOURCE
Special Education Law, Policy, & Advocacy: Hot Topics
Participants will increase awareness about why special education legal and policy literacy is empowering and identify hot topics in special education law and policy including but not limited to: litigation resulting from pandemic and federal-level policy proposals, CARES Act & American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding, Indiana’s special education teacher shortage, etc. Participants will gain specific, practical ideas how they can individually increase their advocacy efforts at the local, state, or federal levels.
Janet Decker, Indiana University
Derek Nord, Ph.D., Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, Indiana University
John Andresen, MSEd, Ph.D. Candidate, Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, Indiana University

virtual presenter to live audience via Zoom

A New Resource: The Child Impact Project (CIP) website – A Roadmap to Effective Special Education for Young Children
Provide an overview and virtual tour of the user-friendly Child Impact Project website and recommendations on how to use the website.
Abby Magnusen, IDOE 619 Coordinator
Michael Conn Powers, Director Early Childhood Center

Friday, October 1

8:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Buffet Breakfast
Roundtable Meetings

9:15 AM - 9:30 AM

Break with Exhibitors

9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

ICASE News and Celebrations

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Break & Vendor Prize Giveaway

10:45 AM - 12:15 PM

Report & Update
Dr. Nancy Holsapple, Director of Special Education, IDOE

12:15 PM

Adjourn – Have a safe trip home!

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