2016 MSEA Convention Workshops


Click here for a one-page schedule of all workshops with their locations.

8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

I3—Ignite, Innovative Instruction

Iparticipants will preview two websites to assist educators in integrating Montgomery County’s Curriculum 2.0 digital content to enrich instruction. These sites provide options to communicate in multiple ways and can be custom designed for differentiated learning experiences.  Room 201

Presenter: Laura Brown is the school library media specialist at Wheaton HS in Montgomery County. She is passionate about creativity, innovation, and technology. Her collaboration with teachers and students led to converting the entire library into a maker space to support project-based learning


Work Pays—Court Costs: Learn What Work Behaviors Could Cost You and How to Avoid Them

Do you know what court cases commonly affect educators? Do you know what you should and should not do if confronted with false student allegations? Employee discipline? Do you know your legal responsibility when handling school funds? This session will address those questions and other issues dealing with professional responsibility.  Room 202

Presenter: Damon R. Felton, Esq., has served as assistant counsel with MSEA for 13 years. He holds a BA degree with honors from Morgan State University and attended Howard University School of Law. Felton is admitted to practice law in the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia.


Innocence Stolen: Protecting Our Children Online

This presentation informs adults how to best protect young people from negative and criminal influences online. Topics include social networking, cyber bullying, sexting, and internet predators. The program provides prevention and intervention strategies and internet safety resources. This presentation is also available to your community, PTA, school faculty, and professional development meetings at no cost.  Room 203

Presenter: Vincent DeVivo is the Community Outreach Specialist for the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland. He is a Maryland Police and Training Commissions instructor and Gang Awareness Trainer, senior board member of the Washington–Baltimore High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Prevention Program, and member of the board of directors for the Maryland Crime Prevention Association.


My Principal Won't Budge! How Can I Have a Restorative Classroom?

With all the buzz about restorative justice practices for schools, learn what you can do to create a restorative classroom. This is an introduction to the circle process and the initial steps you can take to create a restorative culture in your classroom.  Room 204

Presenter: Prince George’s County educator Robin McNair trained at the International Institute for Restorative Practices. She is a history teacher at Dr. Henry A. Wise High School, a member of the board of directors of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association (PGCEA), chair of the PGCEA Restorative Practices Committee, and a member of the MSEA Human and Civil Rights Committee.


FutureMakers: Hands-On Artbot Invention Lab

Invent simple electrified machines that draw, spin, and glow. Discover how kinetic art can enhance your elementary STEAM classroom experience. FutureMakers will coach you through the engineering design process. You'll leave with a working invention, classroom supplies, and project seeds for maker-integrated ELA/literature and math.  Room 205

Presenter: Matt Barinholtz is an educator and artist who connects young makers and teachers to traditional skills, creative technologies, and serious play. He leads FutureMakers—a Baltimore-based team of visiting maker education experts who coach elementary and middle school students and educators across Maryland, greater Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia.


Infusing Culture into the Classroom

Can you imagine rock, rap, and hip hop in the classroom? This dazzling, innovative, and musical interactive workshop is designed to motivate students and teachers. Participants will leave on-fire, excited, and ready infuse culture into instruction to close the achievement gaps.  Room 206

Presenter: Dr. William Clay received the 2012 National Marcus Forster Distinguished Educator of the Year Award. He is the author of Post Traumatic School Disorder. In 2010, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor recognized Clay as an extraordinary role model and leader.


Break It Down, Build It Up:  Writing Without Worries

Come to this interactive session and learn strategies for fostering writing skills in all content areas. Ideas, approaches, and hands-on activities that support argumentative and narrative writing, as well as the learning/application of academic vocabulary, will be shared. Walk away with resources and make and takes!  Room 210

Presenters:  Pamela Mesta is the ESOL Supervisor for Carroll County Public Schools. Her background includes ESOL, bilingual, elementary, early childhood, adult education, educational technology, adjunct college professor, interpretation/translation, professional development, PARCC ELC. Mesta has a BA in Communications, an MA in Education, and has completed post-graduate work in ESL, educational technology, and school administration. Certifications include Maryland APC: ESOL–Elem/MS, Administrator I/II, and National Board Certification in Early Childhood Education.

Olga Reber is an ESOL resource teacher in Carroll County and an MSDE Master Teacher. Her experience includes ESOL, English as a foreign language, professional development, and interpretation/ translation. Reber has a BS in Secondary Education/Foreign Language Instruction and an MA in Linguistics. Certifications include Maryland APC: ESOL. She has completed post-graduate work in educational technology and is an adjunct college professor.

Melissa Thomas is an ESOL, secondary English, and Spanish teacher in Carroll County. She is an MSDE Master Teacher and adjunct college professor with a background in teacher mentoring, educational technology, and curriculum writing. Thomas has a BS in Secondary Education/Communications and an MS in Curriculum and Instruction with certifications that include Maryland APC: ESOL Pre-K–12, English, Spanish, and speech communications.


Reach All Teach All Discipline

This workshop provides effective solutions to disruptive behavior that might occur in the classroom. Dramatic Solutions delves into common problems and helps you develop effective conflict management strategies to deal with difficult students and challenging situations.  Room 215

Presenters: Dr. Carmen White is a professional speaker, trainer and consultant. For over 20 years, she has provided her expertise in the areas of personal and professional development, leadership, and communication training to organizations, associations, and schools.

Lennie Smith, MA, is a certified Process Communication Model® trainer, author, drama therapist, professor, and educational and communications consultant. His background includes a BA in Educational Leadership and an MA in Speech Communications from New York University. Smith has been working with young people and adults for the last 20 years.

10:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Finding Your Path to Google Classroom and Beyond—Part 1 (Novice)

Haven’t ventured into Google Classroom yet? Waiting for the right opportunity to start trekking? In this interactive session, participants will start hiking through the basics of Google Classroom. How could a teacher, administrator, counselor, coach, or media specialist use this online tool to substitute, augment, modify, and redefine their work?  Room 201

Presenters: Lisa Fichthorn-Scumpieru has taught high school English at North Hagerstown HS for 22 years. She believes Google Classroom has transformed her teaching and simplified her life. She is Google Educator 1 Certified and is currently working towards Google Educator 2 Certification.

Beckie Higgins–Arey is a National Board Certified Teacher who has been teaching English for 21 years. She is in her fifth year teaching 11–12 grade students. She was previously a student achievement specialist and middle school teacher.


Personalizing Learning

One-size-fits-all learning does not work for students and is not an effective method for educators who are trying to improve their professional skills and pedagogy. Discover the elements to personalized professional learning for educators, measure growth through personalized professional learning, and learn how teachers can document their learning for recognition.  Room 202

Presenters: Angela de Guzman is a professional learning specialist at MSDE. Her responsibilities include the College and Career Readiness Conferences, Title IIA monitoring, and state-led professional learning initiatives. De Guzman formerly served as a technology integration and elementary classroom teacher in Baltimore County Public Schools.

Cecilia Roe is MSDE’s Director of Instructional Assessment and Professional Development. Her responsibilities include the Educator Effectiveness Academies, Race to the Top professional development initiatives, Title IIA, and HSA Bridge Plan coordination. Roe formerly served as a specialist in MSDE’s Secondary English Language Arts Office.


Social Justice Teaching: Weaving Social Justice Themes into Curriculum and Empowering Students

This interactive workshop will show how one world language teacher weaves issues of social justice, human and civil rights, race relations, inequality, and social consciousness into traditional units of language study. The presenter will also discuss how she integrates language acquisition skills in authentic ways into social justice lessons and units while still addressing the demands of the obligatory curriculum. Participants will explore opportunities to weave social justice themes/lessons into their own content areas. They will also examine how to develop students' social justice consciousness and empower them to take social action.  Room 203

Presenter: Erika Strauss Chavarria is a high school Spanish teacher and member of the NEA Discipline and School-to-Prison Pipeline and MSEA Human and Civil Rights committees. She is a board member of the Howard County Education Association (HCEA), chair of the HCEA Organizing Committee, and member of the  Minority Affairs, and Government Relations committees.


Teaching in High Poverty Schools: Strategies for Engaging All Students

Many schools with high numbers of economically disadvantaged students often do not know how to most effectively teach those students. Learn how a high-poverty school—once listed as one of the 30 worst in their state—turns adversity into achievement.  Room 204

Presenter: Don Marlett has over 15 years of educational leadership experience as a school administrator and leadership advisor.


Full STEAM Ahead!  Some Easy, Quick Lessons to Integrate the Arts into STEM

Crave practical or tangible things to implement  immediately? Love leaving with lesson plans to personalize after a hands-on session and time for collaboration? If you would like lessons which use art to help teach STEM subjects, this is the session for you!  Room 206

Presenters: In the first seven years of her career, Katrina Zimmerman achieved highly qualified status as a classroom teacher before switching her teaching focus to art in 2005. Since then, she has become a National Board Certified art teacher with a passion for integrating core subject areas with the arts.

Programs presented by Arianna Ross and Story Tapestries serve to develop the total person—social-emotional, intellectual, and physical. Ross custom-designs her arts integration programs to better serve the needs of the community. For over 16 years, she has worked in K–12 schools, colleges, and community organizations across the U.S.


3–5–7: Strategies for Mastering Nonfiction Texts

This hands-on session will explore 3 essential questions for exploring nonfiction texts, 5 sign posts that cue students to apply necessary skills and processes, and 7 strategies to minimize confusion when reading (from the text “Reading Nonfiction: Notice and Note … ”). Walk away with resources, and make and takes!  Room 210

Presenters: Pamela Mesta, Olga Reber, Melissa Thomas

For presenter bios, see Break It Down, Build It Up:  Writing Without Worries,Friday, 8:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m.


Classroom Management Through the Integration of a Youth Development Approach

If you have ever asked the question “How do I get young people to stop disrupting my class and stop behaving negatively toward one another?” This workshop is for you. This interactive workshop is for teachers who spend more time handling challenging student behaviors than providing quality instruction.  Room 215

Presenters: Thandor Miller is the director of training and youth development practice at the DC Trust, an independent non-profit organization working to increase the quality, quantity, and accessibility of services for children, youth, and families. He is responsible for the delivery of DC BEST courses and the design and delivery of other youth development trainings for stakeholders.

Syreeta Evans is the associate director of youth development training and practice at the DC Trust. She manages all of the Trust’s youth development capacity-building efforts.

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Finding Your Path to Google Classroom and Beyond—Part 2 (Intermediate)

Have you been on the Google Classroom path a few times? Do you want to explore new pathways and directions to go with this awesome tool? Join a diverse group of educators who want to go beyond the novice path into new territories.  Room 201


Lisa Fichthorn-Scumpieru, Beckie Higgins-Arey
For presenter bios, see Finding Your Path to Google Classroom and Beyond — Part 1 (Novice), Friday, 10:15 a.m.–11:45.


Make Your Money Work for You

This presentation helps members understand and use basic money management techniques, including setting short, intermediate, and long term goals, tracking cash flow and establishing a budget, understanding savings, investments, and the impact of inflation, and compounding interest.  Room 202

Presenters: NEA Member Benefits


What is Fueling the School to Prison Pipeline?

Learn how the school-to-prison pipeline impacts our students of color and is a direct result of institutional racism and implicit and unconscious bias. Participants will engage in critical dialogue about educators’ roles and responsibilities in interrupting the pipeline to youth incarceration.  Room 203

Presenter:  Erika Strauss Chavarria

For presenter bio, see Social Justice Teaching: Weaving Social Justice Themes into Curriculum and Empowering Students, Friday, 10:15–11:45.


Trauma-Informed Restorative Practices with Youth at Risk for Gang Involvement

Participants will be introduced to the benefits of using restorative practices with middle and high school youth and parents. Participants will learn about using school community resources for early intervention with youth who already are involved in gang activity or who are at risk for gang involvement.  Room 204

Presenters: Carolyn Camacho is director of Youth Centers for Identity, a nonprofit that works to empower Latino youth in Montgomery County. Camacho oversees three high school-based Identity Wellness Centers and two Youth Opportunity Centers for out-of-school youth. She holds BA, BS, and MS degrees from University of Illinois and is a certified parent educator with the Parent Encouragement Program, a non-profit parent education group in the Washington, D.C. area.

Tiziana DiFabio is a bilingual mental health therapist and works with students and families at Identity. She is a former Prince George’s County middle school language arts teacher. DiFabio earned an MSW at the University of Maryland and an  MPH at Johns Hopkins.

1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Special Session on Institutional Racism

Learn, share, and discuss at a special session on institutional racism—one of the most important issues of the day. This session will be led by Dr. Ivory A. Toldson, the president and CEO of the QEM Network, professor of counseling psychology at Howard University and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education.  Previously, Dr. Toldson was appointed by President Barack Obama to devise national strategies to sustain and expand federal support to HBCUs as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCUs). He also served as senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and contributing education editor for The Root, where he debunked some of the most pervasive myths about African-Americans in his Show Me the Numbers column.

8:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m.

Differentiating Differently

Spruce up your lessons with apps and interactives from all over the web. Incorporate technology that will help you to easily differentiate based on the type of learners in your classroom. Gather tools and resources that you can start use right away.  Room 205

Presenter:  Danielle Wilson has eight years of teaching experience in special education, technology education, and elementary and middle school mathematics.


Flipped Professional Development—Our Way

This session will be an interactive journey through strategies and techniques that will enhance your technological and professional capacity. Improve the effectiveness of your professional interactions by identifying methods that allow you to meet the needs of student and adult learners.  Room 202


Rainya Miller has taught in the Prince George’s County Public School system for 18 years. She is currently serving as the program coordinator for the National Board Certified Teacher Leadership office, where she coordinates all program components. Miller received National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist in 2009.

Senetria Blocker served as a 2nd–6th grade classroom teacher for 14 years and as a reading specialist for nine years. In 2011, she acahieved National Board Certification in Literacy: Reading Language Arts. Blocker is coordinator of the Prince George’s County Public School Mentor Teacher and NBCT Candidate Support programs.


Community Involvement and Town Facilities Assist Local Schools STEM Program

Volunteers from the Chesapeake Beach Oyster Cultivation Society (CBOCS) responded to the request from the local elementary school to create an interactive hands-on field trip using a trail along a tidal creek and marsh. The primary mission was to expose students to all aspects of the oyster-growing cycle.  Room 203

Presenters: John Bacon graduated from Cornel University with a degree in biological and environmental engineering. He worked for 52 years in the chemical industry as a business owner and as a consultant for the EPA, NASA, and the Navy as an engineer, inventor, technology manager, and adult teacher. He is the chairman of CBOCS.

Terry Klazer is a retired chemistry and biology teacher with over 40 years of experience. He has a passion for making cool and interesting connections with scientific concepts.


Using Mindfulness in the Classroom

As educators, we are aware of the different challenges in our classrooms. How do we maintain a calm, present, and positive environment? In this workshop, participants will learn how to use mindfulness. This includes being aware of what is happening in the present, and how to approach experiences with openness.  Room 204

Presenter: Eunice Humphrey is a school counselor in the District of Columbia and past-president of the Maryland School Counselor Association. Humphrey is a licensed professional couselor in Maryland and works with families and children using mindfulness.


Tech in No Time!

No technology skills, no worries! Teaching with technology is a snap! Come to this interactive session to explore different tech tools. Ignite learning with quick and easy ways to integrate technology into your teaching. Bring your laptop, tablet or device!  Room 210

Presenters: Pamela Mesta, Olga Reber, Melissa Thomas
For presenter bios, see Break It Down, Build It Up:  Writing Without Worries,Friday, 8:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m.


Stop Preaching, Start Teaching!

Do you spend more time preaching to your students when you feel you should be teaching? Learn evidence-based techniques and strategies that will preserve valuable instruction time, your emotional energy, and restore order.  Room 215

Presenter: Stephen Boyd is an employee of Worcester County Public Schools. He trains nationally in classroom management systems. Boyd holds BA degrees from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and the World College of Theology and an M.ED in School Leadership from Wilmington University.

10:15 a.m.—11:45 a.m.

Using Powerful Language While Teaching Reluctant Learners to Increase Academic Achievement

If you are out of your wits trying to teach and reach reluctant learners, use these powerful language techniques. These magic words will change the game in your classroom with reluctant learners. Batter up!  Room 201

Presenter: Gary Hughes, a 16-year teacher of secondary English in Prince George's County Public Schools, currently teaches 9th grade recovery English at Dr. Henry A. Wise HS. Hughes is the president of Startin’5 Mentoring and Consulting Services which focuses on mentoring at-risk students.


Are You Ready to Lead During a Crisis?

During disasters like snowstorms and active-shooter incidents, teachers are first responders charged with communicating to children what they should do to protect themselves. Later, they must communicate with concerned parents and sometimes the media. This session will train participants on how to best communicate about disasters with students, parents, and the media.  Room 202

Presenters: Dr. Brooke Liu is an associate professor of communication at the University of Maryland (UMD). She also directs the Risk Communication and Resilience Program at START, a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence at UMD. Her research investigates how effective risk and crisis communication can optimally prepare the public to respond and recover from disasters.

Holly Roberts is currently a program manager at START and communication lecturer at the University of Maryland. She has worked in childhood education for a number of years, specifically Pre-K. She spent a year abroad teaching children in China.


We Are in This Together

This training consists of a variety of ideas and methods that school personnel can use to help parents become involved in their children’s education. Discuss fun and engaging activities that include family involvement. See how school, family, and community can work together to create a well-balanced student.  Room 203

Presenter: Kawana Webb is a school social worker at Choptank ES. In Dorchester County. In this role, she conducts groups, provides crisis counseling, and conducts parent workshops and activities. She has worked in the field of social work for the past 13 years. Webb has previous experience as an adjunct professor and a private practice therapist.


Developing Leaders: A Strategy to Shut Down the Prison Pipeline

How many student leaders are in the school to prison pipeline? Imagine the impact of building a culture of student leaders who cultivate additional leaders. Together we will learn and discuss effective student leadership development strategies that educators can implement to transform the lives of their students and community.  Room 204

Presenter: Edward Reed has spent the last 25 years transforming lives as a supervisor, teacher, administrator, and school counselor. Reed is president of the Maryland School Counselors Association and serves on the advisory boards of several non-profit organizations. He is also a certified trainer, speaker, coach for the John Maxwell Team, a leadership development organization.


Increasing Student Achievement through Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning is a powerful and effective approach to teaching and learning with countless benefits that include maximizing student learning. This session will provide strategies to engage students, encourage team work, create a community environment, and increase student achievement.  Room 205

Presenter: National Board Certified Teacher Maya Lars has been a passionate educator for the past 15 years and has held many positions with the Prince George's County Public Schools. Her experience includes classroom teacher, instructional lead teacher, school test coordinator, and National Board cohort facilitator. She is currently a reading specialist at Beltsville Academy in Prince George's County.


STEM on a Shoestring

Are you looking for exciting and inexpensive ways to integrate STEM into your teaching? Come to this interactive session to gain new ideas for exploring problem-based learning and real-world application. Explore strategies to engage students and walk away with resources plus make and take ideas!  Room 210

Presenters: For presenter bios about Pamela Mesta, Olga Reber, and Melissa Thomas, see Break It Down, Build It Up:  Writing Without Worries,Friday, 8:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m.

Bryan Shumaker is the Carroll County Public Schools STEM coordinator. His background and teaching experience includes all areas of secondary science. Shumaker has a BS and certification in physics and has completed post-graduate work in curriculum, instruction, and administration.