Collaborative for perpetual innovation

Determined to make the world kinder and smarter.

Session I: Thursday, 10:30 - 11:30


Philip Lanoue will be following up with discussion and application of his plenary address.

Rachel KnightCareer Exploration: Educating Maine Students About Careers in Maine through Videos

Destination Occupation, a free career exploration resource, features engaging videos of Maine employers and employees. Destination Occupation is designed to help students make informed career decisions and is being used in career exploration classes and programs like Jobs for Maine Graduates. Maine has great career opportunities, many of which are not "on our radar" or are inaccessible for any number of reasons. Destination Occupation is the brainchild of Rachel Knight, a special education teacher. Rachel understands that everyone is busy, and for that reason, she created these career exploration videos to be an efficient and effective use of your time.


Sarah Ricker, Ben Jones, and Pender Makin - When BULLYING Behavior is a Manifestation of a Student’s Disability:

Learn about schools’ legal and ethical responsibilities on BOTH sides of this complex issue (keeping students safe from bullying, AND keeping disabled students in the classroom) – also learn about best practices for prevention, behavioral supports, and restorative responses.

Session II: Thursday, 12:45 - 2:15


Kirke Olson, PsyDHow to Use Your Brain, Gut, and Heart to Increase Positive  Youth Engagement

We are fortunate to be alive right now! These "interesting times" offer us many opportunities to create positive school climates for our youth. Research shows that youth who feel engaged do better, but also shows between 40-60% of them feel disengaged. Neuroscience and positive psychology show us how to change ghis. Although you may doubt it sometimes, everyone has a brain and they all work pretty much the same. Knowing how it works will help you strengthen positive engagement for you and the youth you work with. There will be lecture, real life examples, and experiential components so that you will not only learn about these techniques, but also experience a taste.

Barrett WilkinsonTrauma-Informed Classroom Communities: Trauma Awareness and Prevention Strategies for Educators

This interactive session will provide foundational training on trauma and its impact, along with strategies to support students and build resilience. Facilitators will guide participants through a series of strategies, and provide opportunities to practice. Session content will also focus on understanding of youth experiences with trauma and the interconnectedness of trauma-informed practices and education through group dialogue and activities. Those interested should come prepared to engage and participate in dialogue, active practice, and sharing from their own teaching experiences. This session is applicable to educators working with all ages, as well as to teams seeking an opportunity to practice together.

Sarah RickerUsing the new ED School Climate Surveys (EDSCLS) to Improve School Climate

During this workshop we will:

  • Inform participants about this free, valid, and reliable survey tool to indicate where change is needed in a school's climate and culture;
  • Show the relevance between the EDSCLS and ESSA, #5 of the Accountability indicators - non-academic indicator that show a "well-rounded" education;
  • Demonstrate how to use the survey;
  • Hear from school districts who have used this survey - their successes and goals for using the survey over time;
  • How the EDSCLS can be used alongside the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS);
  • Share details about distributing the survey and the School Climate Data Analysis Protocol developed by Maine schools through the guidance of MSFE.

Margaret Jones - A Framework of Hope: Doing What Matters

Programs that work with youth contribute greatly to a youth’s healthy development by offering them caring, competent adults, a safe place to learn and opportunities to extend their learning. This interactive workshop will introduce participants to Search Institute’s Developmental Asset framework and explore how organizations have used its concepts to increase youth thriving and reduce risk taking. We will explore key elements of developmental relationships as well as techniques on how to implement them to increase positive outcomes for youth. Successful strategies will be shared, including an overview of resources.

Marnie Morneault - Challenging Behavior: What’s Happening and How We Can Help

Join us for an interactive 90 minutes that is packed full of information and resources to support you in your efforts to prevent and respond to situations of challenging behavior. We’ll touch on the following topics in our 90 minutes together: what happens in the brain when it senses stress/threats; self-regulation; what are executive functioning skills and how by understanding how they are impacted when the brain senses a threat we can support children in their learning environments.

Session III: Thursday, 2:30 - 4:00


J.H. Corpening, IIWhy School-Justice Partnerships?

School-Justice partnerships are essential for keeping kids in school and out of court. This presentation will highlight two successful partnerships in New Hanover County, North Carolina. The first is a truancy council that addresses barriers to attendance and works to improve attendance. The second is a partnership designed to address the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Behavior is being addressed when and where it happens instead of ignoring it by removing the child from school. Referrals to Juvenile Court were reduced by 45% in the first year of the partnership. Keeping kids in school is important to all of us, and partnerships work!  Improved school attendance translates to more engaged students.

Engaged students have less discipline issues. All this translates to a more positive school environment. By addressing discipline issues in a positive manner at school instead of making court referrals, the behavior changes in a positive way directly impacting engagement, safety, and environment.

Erica MarcusMindfulness Strategies to Help Students Self-Engage

As educators, we often think about student engagement as our responsibility: to be entertaining and structured to maximize our student’s attention spans. What if we empowered our students to attend to their own engagement? Consistent mindfulness practices can help students with attention and emotional regulation; the lack of either can impede their ability to attend to the task at hand. This interactive workshop will offer an overview of the growing field of mindfulness in education, including supporting research. It will also delve into specific mindfulness practices that can be used to strengthen attention and emotional regulation.

Participants will learn the connection between mindfulness and engagement. They will learn how to facilitate basic mindfulness practices that can be used consistently. Finally, they will be able to apply specific practices to situations that require reengagement.

Liz Blackwell-Moore, MPH - Using a Trauma-Informed Restorative Approach to Prevent or Reduce Youth Cannabis Use

Cannabis is now legal for medicinal and recreational use among adults in many states. People who work with youths are finding themselves in difficult conversations with young people about the harms of cannabis vs. the possible therapeutic effects. This workshop explores the latest information on cannabis and how it impacts young people as well as the strategies that are most likely to prevent or reduce youths’ use. Participants will engage in small group work to build their skills for having those difficult conversations and for making a strategic plan incorporating a trauma-informed, restorative approach to prevention within their organization.


Susan Lieberman - Attendance Matters: The Power of Positive Relationships

Chronic absenteeism, missing 18 days or 10% of the school year, can be a critical warning sign that students are academically at-risk. This interactive presentation will focus on school and parent perspectives as well as strategies on how to increase student attendance and engagement through family involvement. We will highlight how Maine school districts, community teams, and parents have incorporated effective strategies to decrease absenteeism by creating a positive school climate and increasing family engagement in their students’ educational program.


Melissa Denick & Jane Armstrong - PBE and Alt Ed (How-To’s)

Using PBE framework, Graduation standards and performance indicators, students developed their critical thinking skills as they worked to ascertain the validity of a variety of online sources. This student-friendly unit explores internet bubbles, echo chambers, why people create fake news while “hitting” both ELA and SS graduation standards. Using PBE structure, students will come to see the value of, and their own ability to, learn. I will use my experience and classroom unit as an exemplar for creating PBE classes within the Alt Ed. framework which guides student discovery of inherent bias, validity, reliability and credibility of sources – paper and digital. I will show excerpts from 60 Minutes and TED Talks. Using software (pear deck, edpuzzle) to engage, I will walk through my lesson plans, highlight student work, and basically show folks how to create a quality PBE unit of study while staying true to multiple needs of Alt Ed students.

Collaboration among teachers is an essential part of meeting the diverse needs of students in today’s classrooms. Come learn about the array of collaborative models as well as the mindset needed to leverage the work of proficiency based learning and individualized learning plans.

Allison Fulton - Youth Engagement: Moving Assets into Action

In this interactive workshop, participants will learn practical methods for maximizing youth engagement and how to use Search Institute’s Attitudes & Behaviors survey data as a catalyst for successful asset-based initiatives. We will describe the progression FROM “zero youth involvement” in helping to integrate youth survey results into the planning and initiatives of coalitions, schools, and youth/family serving organizations TO having youth on the frontlines of data review and interpretation via focus groups and public presentations. Emphasis will be on youth as asset builders versus adults “fixing” kids.

Session IV: Friday, 10:35 - 11:35


Frank DeAngelis will be following up with discussion and application of his plenary address.

Danielle Layton - Transformative Justice Onstage and Behind the Scenes

This workshop will explore the way that Maine Inside Out practices transformative justice, both among members and in the wider communities of which members are a part. Danielle will provide a backdrop of research about positive youth justice and data that reflects the current practices and longer-term consequences of a punitive juvenile justice system in Maine. Participants will discuss what makes Maine Inside Out a positive community, and when harm occurs, how we practice holding people accountable with inclusion and support, rather than exclusion and punishment. This will be an interactive workshop with discussion and practice throughout the presentation.

Workshop participants will learn how we can apply the transformative justice lens to our communities, viewing all harm as stemming from oppression, and then how we can respond with understanding, compassion, and practical support.

Maureen Pepin - The Laws of Motion: Integrating STEM & Physical Activity

Numerous studies have shown that children who are active and healthy have a lower risk of juvenile behavior, an increase in academic achievement, and tend to have a much better self-image. This workshop integrates STEM and Physical Activity in a unique format that helps develop healthier, more productive children. Don’t miss this opportunity to participate in a one-of-a-kind workshop!

Session V: Friday, 12:45 - 2:15


Karen Montanaro

Karen MontanaroThe Real Link Between the Arts and Improved Learning Outcomes

Educational goals are being sabotaged by forces outside the classroom. Those same forces are sabotaging the physical, emotional, and social well-being of young people in the 21st Century. Karen’s stance on arts in education is unlike any other because her message is not about arts or education. It’s about a growing population of young people, wandering aimlessly through the labyrinth of a digital world trying to find home.

Participants will experience Karen’s revolutionary one-woman show on the necessity of arts programming in the 21st Century school system. Using a variety of verbal and non-verbal languages (including mime, dance, and storytelling) Karen delivers a potentially life-saving message. Participants will also engage in discussions and movement activities to deepen their experience of these ideas. Finally, a small group of student performers will demonstrate what they learn through one of Karen’s in-school residencies.

Julie Shepherd & Jane ArmstrongHow Did We Ge There? Stories and Interviews About Arriving in America

“How Did We Get Here? Arriving in America” is a 7th grade Social Studies unit rooted in the themes of power, resistance, choice, oppression, freedom, and independence. After extensive research about the history of slavery in the United States as well as the historical waves of immigration in our country, students set out to create informational podcasts to tell stories that they believe need to be told. Come hear from the experts, our students, as they share both the process and the product of making podcasts which include personal stories of coming to America–arrival stories as told through interviews and invented stories created with historic precision and compelling perspectives.


Ryun Anderson - Restorative Practices for Courageous Conversations: Tools and Strategies as a Leader

Ryun Anderson, Executive Director of the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine and Sheila Jepson, Principal of Portland High School will present a dynamic and experiential workshop exploring elements of Restorative Practice that apply to leadership. The presenters will share from their own experiences with courageous conversations using a specific restorative process they developed and facilitated this year at Portland High as they navigated conflicts and questions following the election. Issues discussed will include: collaboration, safe, open and courageous dialogue, care for power dynamics, time for reflection and learning, and self-care. Participants will reflect on their own leadership, and concrete tools will be shared.

John Carter - Culture and Cognition

We know that a classroom/school culture affects cognition. Understanding the neuroscience behind what “gets in the way” of our students achieving high levels of learning can open the gates to new possibilities. In this interactive and reflective session, John Carter and his students will inspire educators to create a culture of safety, support, and belonging by aligning on 8 guiding principles of personal character and the 5 truths that guide all that we do. Come join us as we learn and play together!

Emanuel PariserBuilding Resilience in Yourself as You Help Build it in Others

In this session, we will take a look at what it means to work directly with the suffering that our students and/or clients encounter. How do we take care of ourselves so that our continual exposure to their emotional, intellectual, and social suffering does not result in our own debilitation? Emanuel will offer strategies, resources, and body/mind based approaches that have worked for him over his 43 years in education. We will share some of our own healthy ways of coping with the impact that our work can have on us – with an eye to developing our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.


Amy Raina - Beyond Culturally Relevant: Guiding Students Though Personal and Political Narratives

We believe that every student deserves to see themselves reflected in their curriculum while also learning how to consider stories that are different from their own experiences. In this interactive workshop, we’ll use the writing and creative processes and discuss diverse mentor texts written by Telling Room students over the past ten years. We’ll focus discussions on the power of personal and political narratives and how those stories can guide group discussions and project-based learning. We’ll also consider civic opportunities within the personal narrative genre and how we can create curriculum that is not only multi-cultural, but effectively anti-oppressive. Staff and teaching artists of the Telling Room, Portland’s nonprofit arts-integrative writing and storytelling organization, will share best practices of engaging students, particularly those of marginalized identity, in reflective learning. All participants will leave with curriculum and text to use in their schools and creative youth development groups.


Derek Peterson - Creating a Social Emotional Framework

Together we will guide participants to understand, integrate, and apply the best of current youth development research for treating, teaching, counseling, neighboring, and parenting children and teens. Participants will learn meaningful, measurable, and memorable strategies and methods that support youth to get on, and stay on, a course towards resilience and success.

Jenn Carter and Lewiston Century 21 Students - Youth Voice Leading Change: Lewiston Students Call for Restorative Practices

In Fall 2015, students from Lewiston High School’s 21st Century Leaders program began researching ways to change their school’s discipline policies. The students felt that punitive discipline measures, including detention and suspension, were not effective means of changing student behavior. Their research brought them to the conclusion that the school needed to adopt a discipline model based on restorative practices. They wrote a proposal and met with school administrators. Now, almost two years later, the students have trained 120 teachers; conducted a school-wide school climate survey; and assembled a work group of students, teachers, administrators, and community partners to create an implementation plan. In this workshop, participants will learn about strategies their programs can use to inspire and support youth to lead the way in creating community-level change. They will also brainstorm ideas for engaging youth in community change projects in their own communities.


Karen Williams - Comfort, Control, and Connectedness: The Scaffolding of Brain Development

This session links the latest neuroscience with real life strategies to improve student behavior and learning. We take a quick look at the three basic drives of human development, examine how the brain-friendly, compassionate, and trauma-sensitive schools movements are addressing these drives, view video clips of successful strategies being applied in classroom across the country, and end with a review of resources. This session and combines research, strategies that can be applied immediately, and resources to know where to go for more.

Session VI: Friday, 2:30 - 4:00

Charity Bell - Forward Facing Compassion: How Your Commitment to Self Care and Self Compassion Impacts Outcomes for Those Around You

We cannot give what we do not possess. And far too many of us who are deeply committed to caring for others do not prioritize self-care. Charity Bell uses cutting edge research and deeply relatable examples to support the development of evidence based practice around self-compassion to impact the brain’s responses to stress and challenges. You will leave this session with tools that may transform the way you respond to yourself and those around you.

Understanding the brain’s response to stress, the impact of perception on outcomes, and having the capacity to change the environment to support the brain’s struggle to remain balanced and calm is integral to the safety and security to allows for the development of transforming relationships.

Perry Gates - Mentoring: When Does it End?

Mentoring is about relationships, not subject matter. Unlike teaching, vocational training, coaching, etc. mentoring requires clear understanding of the ingredients that make for effective personal relationships. We have reduced the ingredients to two and will explore them in depth through 1 – 1 activities that will model a mentoring relationship. The workshop is co-created and co-presented by staff and students who have experienced being both mentees and mentors.

The workshop will model a non-lecture, interactive format where relationships are created and learning will result. Participants will experience first-hand a mentoring relationship. As a result, they will take away whatever they individually find useful and informative. Since we respect the differences between us all, the presenters make no claim as to what people will learn other than increased self-awareness. There are no templates, curricula, do’s and don’ts, or “how to” pamphlets: simple experience and personal reflection are all that is needed. There are no wrong answers.

David Eichler - Polyvagal Theory and How it is Present in the Classroom: Using Advances in Neuro-Developmental Research to Increase Student Success

There are neurological systems that are in play within the classroom that increase or decrease the likelihood of students being able to attend to and learn the presented material. The vagus nerve, which is known as the nerve that underlies our social nervous system, can become an ally or foe in our attempt to help children succeed in school. This presentation offers an engaging look into how our social nervous system functions and what we can proactively do to turn the social nervous system into our greatest ally for programming for student success in the classroom.


Kent Pierce - The Art of Empowerment: Calling Forth Character Through Drama

Applying lessons learned from high-stakes drama-based values & literacy interventions with 45,000 pre-teen and early adolescent students, we will engage workshop participants in an interactive table read of one play from the SPIRIT SERIES canon: SEEKING SOCRATES. Techniques will be shared for exploration of text and subtext, Socratic inquiry, self-reflection, group tableaux and presentation skill-building. Participants will discover the profound power of performance when harnessed to inspirational content as a method to engage youth at a critical crossroads in their lives so they may forge a positive vision of themselves and begin to become their own heroes.

Jen Brady - Grant Writing Basics

With a few do’s and don’ts, program leaders will understand how to better approach their grant writing. Together we will demystify the grant writing process by reviewing and scoring an actual grant proposal. We’ll determine what makes it strong and how to make it better. Lessons learned will translate to your own work–you’ll walk away with tips to help you get started or improve your own proposals!

During this session, we will demystify the grant writing process by taking on the funder role through a mock grant proposal review process and develop a handful of basic tips to support your own grant writing efforts.

Jason Ketterick and United Way of York Project Playback Youth - Connected Youth Skill Based Volunteer Program – “Project Playback”

Please join the United Way of York County (UWYC) and the award-winning community service project team from “Project Playback” to learn more about this innovative collaboration in engaging youth in community service! Project Playback began as an 8th grade graduation requirement project created by the students to combine community service and music therapy, and has grown into a promising formal partnership with UWYC to engage a target age group (14 years – 18 years) in adding capacity to the program and expanding the service area to include additional senior care facilities.

Emily Thielman and Laura Iteka - Empowering Student Voice in School Decision-making

In this session, Emily Thielmann and Laura Iteka from Portland Empowered will facilitate an interactive session around building student voice as an integral part of school decision-making. Emily and Laura will share their experiences engaging teachers and school staff in youth-designed and youth-led workshops to provide audience members with practices and tools they can use for empowering student voice and student ownership in their own districts. This session will draw upon Portland Empowered’s successful campaign to strengthen student-teacher relationships across the city as well as additional strategies that insert youth perspectives into district and school-wide decisions.


Renee Whitley - Bringing the Protective Factors to Life in Afterschool Programs

Risk factors refer to the stressful conditions, events, or circumstances (depression, substance abuse, family violence, persistent poverty) that increase a child’s chances for poor educational and social emotional outcomes, including child abuse and neglect. Protective Factors are conditions or attributes of individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that mitigate risk and promote healthy development and wellbeing. Put simply, they are the strengths that help to buffer and support families at risk. Understanding Protective Factors shifts the focus of looking at children and family’s risks and deficits to looking at and identifying family strengths and resilience. The reluctance of families to participate in programs that identify them as “at risk” is well documented and amounts to a significant barrier in building parent engagement. This interactive workshop will help you identify your own bias, overcome it, and share laughs as we discover what makes us all resilient.

Wendy Mill - How to YAC-tivate your Youth ! Old Saybrook Youth Action Council

Presenters will provide historical context for the development of a Youth Action Council in Fall 2014 related to youth survey data of that year. (Developmental Assets framework) Youth presenters will run the workshop as if it is an actual YAC meeting. Participants will be engaged in the customary YAC-tivities so they will experience the sorting process, the ice-breakers, the table topics and the three work groups of a typical meeting. Students will describe the groups: YAC Impact, YAC LEAD, and YAC-tivation. Adult presenters will intersperse commentary to connect what is being described to PYD models. Workshop is being created with students/student input, and YACers are involved in all projects from brainstorming to planning, implementation, facilitation, and evaluation.


As an educational organization, the Collaborative for Perpetual Innovation (CPI) feels compelled to express, in no uncertain terms, our stance on a climate of division presently evolving in our country. As expressed through our ongoing work in both public and private schools, CPI believes strongly in inclusivity and in the power of diversity among people. We believe that during times of conflict people transcend circumstances through engagement with “the other” and a willingness to grapple with the infinite complexity which makes America unique. As educators, we must continue to bravely confront this complexity with Love and Compassion while modeling the Relentless Positivity which has recently been elusive in our national dialogue and politics.

As educators we know that building walls never works. Building physical or metaphorical walls between religious, racial, ethnic, and cultural groups, political parties, or genders will lead to isolation and intolerance. This is exactly what our brave founders fought against in the establishment of our country. Given our collective history of direct lineage to immigrants and refugees, we understand that the very fabric of our society is bound up in seeking refuge in a hopeful, compassionate place. We must continue to find a common purpose as we forge a collective future that works for all people.

In a climate where division has been stoked under the guise of safety, we believe in a different approach. Safety is experienced in a country with just laws that portray values with integrity and that honor human diversity in all its forms. As educators and the founders of CPI, we have the obligation to reinforce the foundational values of tolerance and respect for all. We urge you to do the same.

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