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2017 FALL EDUCATION CONFERENCE

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 & SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2017
WEST BATON ROUGE CONFERENCE CENTER - 2750 NORTH WESTPORT DRIVE - PORT ALLEN, LOUISIANA

SESSION A: Using GOLD® and MyTeachingStrategiesTM to Seamlessly Link Curriculum and Assessment – Kathy Loeffler

Discover how the technology features of GOLD® and MyTeachingStrategiesTM can support and enhance your work with children as you follow an ongoing, observation-based assessment process. Participants will explore the latest examples of teacher-facing technology from Teaching Strategies and learn how these tools can help them individualize instruction, strengthen family connections, and promote positive child outcomes.

Kathy Loeffler holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a specialization in reading and an Early Childhood endorsement from Angelo State University. She began her career in education teaching first grade in the public school system. Kathy taught in the classroom for seven years collectively in prekindergarten, kindergarten and first grade. Kathy became the early childhood specialist for her district. She coached and mentored prekindergarten teachers in public school, private school, head start, and childcare for seven years. Kathy began working with Teaching Strategies by reviewing the Creative Curriculum for Preschool for the Texas adoption in 2010. After her review she joined the Professional Development Network and has trained for Teaching Strategies for 4 summers. In September of 2014 she began work with Teaching Strategies full time on the implementation of Texas GOLD Pilot. Currently Kathy is the Content Field Support Associate at Teaching Strategies. Kathy’s experience in the classroom enables her to understand the unique needs of the early childhood market, when it comes to all things content. Kathy may be reached by email at kathy.l@teachingstrategies.com

SESSION B: Preparing Teachers to become proactive – Gina Carter-Merckel

It is easy to provide quality child care when things go as planned. In child care, this rarely happens. Think back to how many times all the staff is at work, you have all of your supplies, the children are all healthy and well adjusted, and there are no challenging behaviors. The true test of an effective teacher is a teacher that has acted proactively to prepare ahead and anticipate challenges before they arise. In this workshop, Gina will provide proactive tools that will help minimized the last minute surprises that hinder teachers’ ability to provide consistent effective teaching practices.

Gina began her career in the early childcare industry the same way that many of you have. She had a passion for children and wanted to be more involved. She applied to work at a child care center and was hired as a two-year-old teacher and given minimum training and set loose. She was promoted to an Assistant Director, Director, trained as an ERS assessor (Environment Rating Scales) conducted assessments, observed classrooms and now she provides training, assistance, and support to Early Childcare Centers. Additional training and certifications include: Affiliated Trainer for Toddler and Pre-K CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring System) tool as well as a reliable observer for the Infant CLASS tool. Train the Trainer for TS GOLD (Teaching strategies GOLD) which is a child assessment tool on child growth and development. Over the years she has attended many classes, trainings, studied under many wise people, learned and unlearned a great deal. She thinks what she has learned the most is that things change and we must also be in a constant state of change. But this basic principle remains constant in guiding her philosophy. Look through the eyes of a child. See what they see. Feel what they feel and be compassionate to it. Gina may be reached by email at ginajbean@gmail.com

SESSION C: Risk Management – Bob Lansing and Juanita Lockhart

Fire, Water, Floods, Playground, Building, Staff all provide risks that need to be closely managed in an early learning center. Monitoring your childcare facility and preventing hazards is a huge part of the day-to-day management for owners and directors of early learning centers. Securing and maintaining adequate insurance coverage is also a huge component of risk management.

Bob will be joined by Juanita Lockhart of Lockhart Insurance and Consulting Agency who will discuss what types of insurance coverages are needed and how much coverage is adequate for protecting your business and managing risks. Bob Lansing has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from LSU and a Masters of Arts from New Orleans Baptist Seminary with an emphasis in Administration. He spent 10 years working for the Department of Defense, US Air Force. For the past 20 years, he has been the owner/director of Central Academy & Child Care, a four star center in Baton Rouge. Bob Lansing has been married for 34 years to Robin. They have 5 children and 2 grandchildren. Bob can be reached via email at bob@centralelc.com

Juanita Lockhart is a licensed agent and owner of Lockhart Insurance and Consulting Agency and she opened the agency in December 2009. Juanita has been an independent insurance agent for the past 18 years. She has 36 years of experience in the insurance industry. Her career in the insurance industry began her senior year of Central High School. She holds a CIC (certified insurance consult) designation since 1996 and a ACSR (accredited customer service representative). She has worked as a commercial lines underwriter for commercial lines for a large insurance agency and provided training to employees. Lockhart Insurance and Consulting agency prides themselves on knowing each of their clients and their insurance needs. Juanita has two children, two grandchildren with another grandchild expected this Fall. Juanita can be reached at jlockhart@lockhartins.com

SESSION D: Focusing on the Curriculum:  What’s in The Box? - Dianna Constant

Dianna Constant will provide information on how to use the Frog Street curriculum for infants and toddlers. She will also provide information that will help owners and directors to support, coach and lead the teachers in their implementation of the curriculum. In this 3 hour workshop, Dianna will provide information on how to generate lesson plans day-by-day, and month-by-month.

Mrs. Constant is the Region IV Agenda for Children/Child Care Resources Coordinator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Sociology and Youth and Family Services. She is also an Office of Public Health, Maternal and Child Welfare Child Care Health Consultant and a consultant with University of Montana Rural Institute on Disabilities – Child Care Plus Team; Consultant with Utah State University Ski - High Institute on Children with Disabilities and a statewide trainer on Inclusive Ideologies. Dianna may be reached by email at dconstant@agendaforchildren.org

SESSION E: Pathways Orientation – Jenny Cowan

This orientation will provide in-depth information about Louisiana Pathways Early Learning Center Career Development System. It will include information from both the Career Development program and the Scholarship program. This training will include information about how Pathways supports the School Readiness Tax Credits and the Early Childhood Ancillary Certificates. It will include updates to how Pathways will fit into the Unified Rating System and upcoming changes to the career ladders. This training is designed to meet the Pathways Orientation requirement for Pathways trainer renewal.

Jenny Cowan earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Family and Consumer Science from Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe and has worked with Louisiana Pathways for the last 12 years. She oversees the operations of Louisiana Pathways including Career Development, Scholarships, and Trainer Approval. She is responsible for managing the workload to ensure that processing standards are met. She works as liaison between Pathways, Louisiana Department of Education, and Louisiana Department of Revenue regarding the School Readiness Tax Credit (SRTC) for Directors and Staff and ensures that SRTC forms are distributed each year. Jenny can be reached at cowanj@nsula.edu

SESSION F: Classroom Arrangement and How It Impacts Classroom Organization – Loretta Hall

Loretta Hall will discuss room arrangement and how it affects classroom organization in CLASS. This presentation will include information on consistent standards and clear expectations.

Loretta began her career as a Headstart Pre-k Teacher and later as a Public School Pre-K teacher. She then opened her own childcare center and ran a successful program for 15+ years. In 2010, Loretta joined the Volunteers of America team as a contracted support specialist to work with childcare centers who were experiencing challenges with CCAP (Child Care Assistance Program). Later that year, Loretta became a full-time Technical Assistance Specialist for Volunteers of America. One of Loretta’s special areas of expertise is supporting teachers in appropriate classroom arrangement and the importance of consistency. Her passion is helping teachers and directors to meet their full potential. You can reach Loretta at lhall@voagbr.org

SESSION G: #What’s Your Jargon# - Lori Brown

Every Early Childhood Professional should attend this session. We will be discussing the language of this great profession. When asked these questions each person should be able to answer and discuss without any hesitation. What is CCAL? What is Child Initiated Activities? My favorite, What is DAP? I have asked this question at some point at every workshop I have facilitate and to my surprise there is ALWAYS some attendees don’t have a clue. This is how this session was given life.

Lori Brown is the owner and Sr. Consultant of Education Resources Unlimited. She has been a facilitator numerous times with CCAL Lori Brown has been an educator for the past 30 years, with the last 17 years being dedicated to Early Childhood Education. Her favorite thing about teaching is seeing the light bulb go on when a child has gotten the concept. When not being actively involved in the learning process, she enjoys reading and spending time with her son, Ashton. Lori can be reached at purplelori40@yahoo.com

SESSION H: Supporting Family Diversity in Early Childhood – Vanice & Arlendra Zenon

This presentation focuses on self-evaluating personal bias with diverse populations. The presenters will discuss the importance of exploring different diverse family in early childhood settings and explore family’s communication patterns and cultural values. The presenters will also compare demographic and philosophical differences in families. This is a great session for all early childhood providers to enhance their knowledge of cultural sensitivity. CDA areas covered include 3 – Supporting Children’s Social and Emotional Development, 4- Building Productive relationship with families and 6- Maintaining a commitment to professionalism. TS Gold: Social Emotional, Cognitive, Physical, Language and Social Studies CLASS – All domains.

Vanice Zenon earned her Bachelor of Art degree from Southeastern Louisiana University in August 2000 and earned her Masters of Social Work degree in May 2004. She received her certification in June 2005 by LSU Health Sciences Center, as an Infant Mental Health Specialist. Vanice holds a license as a Licensed Master Social Worker from the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners. She is also a Child Care Health Consultant with the Louisiana Department of Health. She is an approved CPR/First Aid Instructor with the National Safety Council and is a Positive Steps Program Trainer for Agenda for Children. Currently, she is a CDA class instructor and adjunct faculty with the Louisiaina Technical College. Her co-presenter Arlendra Zenon has her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Vanice and Arlendra can be reached at fasttrackprogram5@gmail.com

SESSION I:   Medication Administration  - Patti Endsley 

Medication Administration - Now required that ALL centers have at least 2 staff trained in medication administration. Come learn ways to keep you safe and in compliance with licensing while providing the best care for the children.  Patti Endsley is the Health and Nutrition Provider/School Nurse at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Child Development Center. She has been a Child Care Health Consultant for 23 years with the Department of Health and Hospitals Child and Maternal Health. She was part of the Leadership Team in the compiling of the Louisiana Birth to Fire Early Learning Standards. She is actively involved in our local Network team. She also owned and operated a private child care center for 12 years.   This class meets the health and safety requirement. 

SESSION J: Pathways Orientation – Jenny Cowan

This orientation will provide in-depth information about Louisiana Pathways Early Learning Center Career Development System. It will include information from both the Career Development program and the Scholarship program. This training will include information about how Pathways supports the School Readiness Tax Credits and the Early Childhood Ancillary Certificates. It will include updates to how Pathways will fit into the Unified Rating System and upcoming changes to the career ladders. This training is designed to meet the Pathways Orientation requirement for Pathways trainer renewal.

Jenny Cowan earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Family and Consumer Science from Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe and has worked with Louisiana Pathways for the last 12 years. She oversees the operations of Louisiana Pathways including Career Development, Scholarships, and Trainer Approval. She is responsible for managing the workload to ensure that processing standards are met. She works as liaison between Pathways, Louisiana Department of Education, and Louisiana Department of Revenue regarding the School Readiness Tax Credit (SRTC) for Directors and Staff and ensures that SRTC forms are distributed each year. Jenny can be reached at cowanj@nsula.edu

SESSION K:  Focus on the Curriculum:  What’s in The Box? - Dianna Constant

Dianna Constant will provide information on how to use the a popular curriculum for infants and toddlers. She will also provide information that will help owners and directors to support, coach and lead the teachers in their implementation of the curriculum. In this three hour workshop, Dianna will provide information on how to generate lesson plans day-by-day, and month-by-month.

Mrs. Constant is the Region IV Agenda for Children/Child Care Resources Coordinator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Sociology and Youth and Family Services. She is also an Office of Public Health, Maternal and Child Welfare Child Care Health Consultant and a consultant with University of Montana Rural Institute on Disabilities – Child Care Plus Team; Consultant with Utah State University Ski - High Institute on Children with Disabilities and a statewide trainer on Inclusive Ideologies. Dianna may be reached by email at dconstant@agendaforchildren.org

SESSION L: Large Muscle Movement For The Win! – Amanda Rideaux

Physical activities are important for children of all ages. The approach is different for each age group, but still requires some planning and prep work. Learn how to incorporate more movement into the daily routines of young children. Children typically stay more engaged in learning if they can move about and participate physically. Incorporating different movements to your regular daily routine could enhance the interactions between the teacher and the class, boosting positive climate, Regard for Child Perspectives and more in CLASS scoring.

Amanda has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Public Relations and minor in Spanish from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She has also taken courses at ULL to complete the Alternate Path Certification in Early Childhood Education. Amanda completed the Early Childhood Development Diploma Program in 2014.

Amanda has over ten years of experience in the child care industry. She is a certified CPR/First Aid trainer and has also completed National Administrator Credential Course for child care center Directors. She recently became a Pathways Approved Trainer for the state of Louisiana and was also issued her Ancillary Teaching Certificate in Early Childhood in 2016.  She has two children, Sebastian who is 8 years old and Paxton who is 6 years old, who attend Highland Baptist Christian School in New Iberia. She opened The Village Children's Center because she wanted a place in Acadiana that she would want to send her own children to. While children are her driving force, quality care is her passion. Amanda believes that all children deserve love, attention, and nurturing. She also believes that a safe, clean environment allows children to explore and grow. Amanda can be reached at amanda_hb@hotmail.com

SESSION M:  Medication Administration – Dianna Constant

It is now required that ALL early learning centers  must have at least 2 staff trained in medication administration. 

Come learn ways to keep you safe and in compliance with licensing while providing the best care for the children.  


SESSION N: Strategies for Promoting Children’s Receptive and Expressive Language –Addie Hester

One of the greatest developmental achievements in the early years of a child’s life is their language development which include the ability to understand the spoken words (receptive language) and to put thoughts, ideas and feelings into words to communicate with others (expressive language). Teachers in this session will be provided with an array of practical strategies to help them be more purposeful and intentional with language-rich experiences in order to stimulate and promote children’s overall language development during daily classroom activities. The core content of this session can be linked to the language modeling dimension of CLASS and will identify best teacher practices that can lead to a higher-CLASS score in this area. The language and literacy domains of Teaching Strategies GOLD as well as the language and literacy development domain of Louisiana’s Birth to Five Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS) will also be embedded.

Addie E. Hester is a native of Wilson, North Carolina and has lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for more than four decades. Her professional career began with obtaining a B.S. Degree in Child Development from North Carolina A & T State University and later earning a Master’s Degree from Louisiana State University (LSU) in Special Education plus 30 additional college credit hours. Over the years, she has been involved in early childhood education with major work experiences and responsibilities that has included: Preschool / Kindergarten Teacher; Self Contained / Resource Teacher; Dyslexia Supervisor; Pupil Appraisal Team Educational Diagnostician; Supervisor of Student Teaching; and parish-wide Infant / Toddler Child Search Coordinator. An outstanding professional teaching highlight for Addie was being recognized as the SSD #1 - Statewide Teacher of the Year for 2003-2004. In recent years, she has worked with several state Child Care Referral and Resource Agencies (CCR&R) as a Louisiana Pathways Trainer; a Technical Assistant (TA); an Inclusion Specialist and an Early Childhood Instructional Coach. She also readily shares her extensive early childhood knowledge by voluntarily serving as a workshop presenter for a variety of local, regional, and state early childhood conferences and seminars. Addie has an array of specialized trainings which include CLASS – Toddler and Pre-K; Teaching Strategies GOLD; and CONNECT: Standards, Instruction and Assessment. She continues to remain actively involved in early childhood education while at the same time enjoying creating lasting memories with her family and grandchildren. Addie can be reached by email at addie_hester@yahoo.com

SESSION O: Relationships With Families begins with you and leads to change! – Jonathan Pearce

Whether positive or negative, the relationship that our programs have with our families on all levels from the teacher all the way to the owner make drastic and lasting impacts on children and families. This extremely interactive session will discuss how we can have positive and negative impacts on our families through building those relationships.

Jonathan Pearce is a native of Lafayette and is a graduate from the BI Moody College of Business at the University of Louisiana with a Degree in Business Management and a minor in Psychology. He also earned the National Administrators Credential given by the National Institute of Child Care Management. He is currently the President/CEO of Sugar ‘n Spice Preschools and Vacation Station with four locations in Acadiana employing over 100 and serving over 500 students. He is also the President/CEO of Property 1st Management in Lafayette, LA. Jonathan serves as the President of the Childcare Association of Louisiana. Jonathan also serves on the Board of Directors for the Youngsville Chamber of Commerce. He is the immediate Past President and Current Governmental Chair. He has served on numerous councils, workgroups, and committees on the state level in many different facets. Jonathan has been married to Angelle since 2009 and together they are the proud parents of Jon Paul and Andrew. In 2015, Jonathan was selected as an award recipient of the Top 20 Under 40 Acadiana Leadership. You can reach Jonathan at jonathan@snsacadiana.com

SESSION P: Building a Solid Foundation – Paula Granger

This session will focus on an overview of assessing, understanding, and improving adult-child interactions using the CLASS dimensions. Infant, Toddler, and Pre-K CLASS Reliable Observer, TTT Toddler CLASS.

Paula Granger currently is working as a CCR & R Supervisor with ON TRACK by 5 Alliance, a division under the Early Childhood Department for Lafayette Parish School System. Paula has been working in the early childhood field for over 18 years as an Infant/Toddler and Pre-K Teacher, Early Childhood Resource Coordinator, and numerous positions in the CCR & R field. Paula holds numerous Train the Trainer Certifications including Toddler CLASS, Teaching Strategies GOLD, and PITC. She is also a certified Infant and Pre-K CLASS Observer. Paula can be reached at ontrackby5@lpssonline.com

SESSION Q: Going Verbal: Building Minds through Techniques from PRIME TIME Preschool

Research shows that immersing children in language and vocabulary build brain connections at an early age which become a vital foundation for future learning. CLASS and Pathways certified trainers Holly Bell and Melissa Gemeinhardt show you the techniques they incorporated in creating the PRIME TIME Preschool program that promote back and forth exchanges, listening time, and other ideas that will boost the verbal activity in your classroom. *Spoiler* parent engagement ideas up ahead too!

Holly Bender-Bell, Ph.D is Director of Children’s Services for Easter Seals Louisiana and is in charge of the Service Point of Entry (SPOE) office for Early Steps in Region 1. Holly holds a doctoral degree in Human Ecology; Family, Child, and Consumer Sciences from Louisiana State University and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education Instruction and Curriculum from Arizona State University. She is a certified trainer for early childhood through Louisiana Pathways, and played a substantial role in creating the PRIME TIME Preschool program. Her sixteen-plus years of service in education include early childhood, elementary, middle school, and post-secondary classrooms. Formerly Vice President of Education at the LEH and Co-Director of PRIME TIME, Inc., she has worked in various capacities with the LEH Prime Time programs since 2007. Holly can be reached at hbell@laeasterseals.com


Melissa Gemeinhardt, M.Ed. is currently a school counselor at Schaumburg Elementary School, a charter school affiliated with the Orleans Parish School Board. She has provided Early Childhood Outreach and Professional Development for the Early Childhood and Family Learning Foundation and Agenda for Children. Ms. Gemeinhardt is a certified teacher and has taught early childhood, early intervention and reading recovery in New Orleans area schools for twenty years. She is Class certified for preschool. Ms. Gemeinhardt is co-developer of the PRIME TIME Preschool program, has served as preschool coordinator for several PRIME TIME programs throughout metro New Orleans, and is also a trained PRIME TIME storyteller.

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