2022 Regional Conference
February 4, 2022
Dr. Tracy Weeden, MEd, EdD
Dr. Tracy Weeden is a seasoned leader dedicated to advancing literacy success for all, and academic excellence for children regardless of zip code. Weeden has spent her career developing innovative academic programs while scaling transformational systems change. While serving for the past 5 years as President and CEO of Neuhaus Education Center (NEC), Dr. Weeden has expanded the reach and impact of the Neuhaus Education Center from a local non-profit to a broader impact across the State of Texas, and on a national and international level. The NEC mission provides evidence-based professional learning to educators, information and resources to families, and adult literacy services. Prior to serving at NEC, Dr. Weeden was the Executive Director of Academic Planning for Scholastic Achievement Partners. Dr. Weeden also spent 5 years as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for the Houston ISD. In Katy ISD, Weeden served as a high school English teacher, a recruiter, and then as the Coordinator of Personnel Development in the central office for Katy ISD. Dr. Weeden also served as a middle school Dean of Instruction in Katy ISD. Her roots are in her beloved City of Detroit, where and she served as a high school English and Theatre Arts Teacher. Weeden professes to always remaining a teacher at heart. A graduate from the University of Detroit, with a B.A. in Speech Communications and English, Dr. Weeden also received her M.Ed. and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Houston and is a loyal Cougar.
“Establishing a New Social Contract – Family Engagement as an Essential Element for Sustainable and Equitable Literacy Transformation”
What is the current reality for children who are struggling readers? How can a new social contract be established with families so that compulsory education delivers on becoming literate for a lifetime? How can a shift in how we frame the work of scaling literacy success for all include embracing the entire family unit? It starts with your why, regardless of role. In this presentation, we will explore how our core values are the anchor we can collectively build open by scaling evidence-based practices and operating with transparency through family partnerships that bring hope to the stakeholders we serve.
Dr. Rebecca Schwarzlose, PhD
Rebecca Schwarzlose is a postdoctoral scholar studying the developing brain in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis. She holds a PhD in Neuroscience from MIT and served for three years as the chief editor of the scholarly journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. She is the author of Brainscapes: The Warped, Wondrous Maps Written In Your Brain-And How They Guide You.
“Brain Maps: What They Are and How We Use Them”
The human brain contains actual maps that represent the sensations and actions that are vital to our survival. This talk introduces several of these maps, explaining what they are, when they develop, and how we use them to help us acquire new abilities, including the ability to read.
Dr. Thea Woodruff, PhD
Dr. Thea Woodruff currently provides support and professional development to Texas state-level partners, districts, and schools through the Tier Interventions Using Evidence-Based Research (TIER) initiative at UT Austin’s Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. Additionally, she collaborates with UT faculty to embed wellness practices in their classrooms and teaches at UT Austin. She was the lead author for the Texas Literacy Achievement Academies for grades K-5. Prior to this work, Dr. Woodruff was the reading specialist and English/language arts coordinator for Del Valle ISD. Through her work as a district administrator, researcher, lecturer, and consultant, Dr. Woodruff has provided extensive support to Texas educators in effective, research-based reading and writing instruction. She has created and delivered multiple reading and writing trainings for the state of Texas and several of its statewide initiatives, including Texas Reading First, the Texas Literacy Initiative, and Write for Texas.
“Using Data for Instructional Decision Making: Moving from District Level to Individual Student Analysis”
Many Texas educators say their instruction is “data-driven,” but often, this means they are administering assessments without knowing what to do with these data, or they are focused on using STAAR data to the exclusion of other types of data. This session will provide participants with the opportunity to examine the data collection, management, and analysis processes necessary to supporting all learners in becoming effective readers who can not only pass STAAR but also thrive as they are required to use reading to learn. We will describe evidence-based assessments to use for screening, diagnosing, and progress monitoring students’ reading skills and knowledge. We will also spend time analyzing different types of data that can inform instruction, intervention, and professional development and support for teachers.
Dr. Stephanie Al Otaiba, PhD
Dr. Stephanie Al Otaiba is the Patsy and Ray Caldwell Centennial Chair in Teaching and Learning at Southern Methodist University. She is also a Faculty Affiliate of the Florida Center for Reading Research, where she previously taught at Florida State University. She received her doctorate in special education from Vanderbilt University. A former special education teacher, her research focuses on early literacy interventions for students with or at-risk for disabilities, response to intervention (RTI), multi-tiered systems of support, and teacher training. She is the author or co-author of over 140 journal articles and book chapters. She is the editor of the Journal of Learning Disabilities, she serves on review boards for many journals in education and psychology, and was an Associate Editor for Education Researcher and Elementary School Journal. She serves on the Board of Directors for the International Dyslexia Association.
“Supporting Early Reading and Resilience: Combining Reading and Social and Emotional Learning Interventions”
In this session, participants will learn about interventions that include a reading instructional component and a motivational or social and emotional learning component for students with or at risk for dyslexia. The session will provide a brief review of current research on reading interventions combined with social and emotional learning-related interventions. The session will also describe a prevention-oriented shared book reading intervention that incorporates explicit vocabulary instruction to “grow” the socio-emotional learning vocabulary of Kindergarten students.
On-demand Attendance available February 7 – May 8
$120 – Member registration
$140 – Non-member registration
An extra big thank you to our sponsors!
2022 Regional Conference
COVID-19 has been declared a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization. COVID-19 is extremely contagious and is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person contact. As a result, federal, state, and local governments and federal and state health agencies recommend social distancing and have, in many locations, prohibited the congregation of groups of people.
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