“I’m not doing anything magical.”
That’s the typical response Barb Gentille-Green from State Support Team Region (SST) 7 hears when talking with teachers and other instructional leaders about what they do in the classroom to promote inclusivity and empowerment for all students.
As a consultant with SST 7, Barb has the opportunity to work with hundreds of educators to provide professional learning and support around special education, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), assistive technology (AT), and more.
Over the years, OCALICON has been a favorite personal and professional learning opportunity for Barb, where she has participated as both an attendee and presenter. Because of her many positive experiences, she wanted to inspire others to not only attend, but also present. So Barb hosts an annual proposal planning workshop.
“For teachers who are interested in presenting at OCALICON, I want to encourage them and help them to submit a strong proposal,” shares Barb. “During our time together, we talk about what makes a great proposal, what they’re doing in the classroom that they think others might benefit from, and the details of the proposal process. Often times, teachers don’t think they’re doing anything special, so it’s really powerful to talk with them about what they’re doing and how it’s both valuable and worth sharing.”
Support doesn’t stop with the proposal process. Once proposals and presenters are selected, Barb invites teachers back together for a day to develop their conference presentation.
“Teachers don’t get much planning time,” shares Barb. “When we are able to dedicate a day to work on their presentation content, the teachers are thankful for the time. We dive into how to make their presentation engaging, interactive, and more importantly, accessible.”
Hear more from Barb in this brief audio interview.
Barb has seen the workshop grow over the years, hosting nearly 20 teachers last year.
“It’s been fun to watch this process and to see the growing interest from teachers,” says Barb. “When teachers have the opportunity to present and share with others, it really empowers them, not only as teachers, but as leaders. They’re often surprised that other teachers learn new ideas and strategies from what they’re sharing.”
Barb’s Top 3 Tips for Submitting an OCALICON Proposal
- Capture student voice. As you develop your proposal, consider the student voice. Attendees love to hear what students think is helpful.
- Make your proposal applicable to the classroom. Teachers or leaders need to be able to see specific ideas and strategies that can be replicated in their own classrooms, buildings, and districts.
- Be confident. Have confidence in yourself and in what you have to share. When you do, that will come across in your proposal and when you present.
It’s Time to Get Creative
Since getting colleagues together face-to-face to do a workshop isn’t possible at this time, consider getting creative and gathering a team virtually through online platforms like Zoom, Go to Meeting, or Google Hangouts. Meeting and brainstorming virtually is a great way to stay connected.
Want to Submit Your Own OCALICON Proposal?
Deadline to Submit is March 31!
No matter what field you’re in – early childhood, mental health, adult services – gather your colleagues, and submit today!
Do something magical.
Share your ideas, strategies, and research with a passionate and energized audience of 3,000+ leaders, professionals, parents, self-advocates, and more from across the nation and around the world.
OCALICON 2020 seeks proposals from professionals, scholars, family members, self-advocates, researchers, service providers, educators, and leaders in the fields of autism, sensory disabilities, low-incidence, and other disabilities.
The best proposals typically highlight the implementation of session content through engaging discussions, real world examples, new perspectives or various points of view, new technologies/innovations, and/or interactive manipulatives. OCALICON attendees are eager to engage and want to learn principles and strategies they can take back to apply and implement in their own work, home, school, or community setting.
Get the details at ocalicon.org. Don’t wait too long. Proposals are due March 31!