Full Course Description

The Hard-to-Engage Student: Strategies to Minimize Work Avoidance, Increase Connectedness, and Enhance Academic Success for Struggling Students

The kindergartener who refuses to join the others at circle time. The fifth grader who has yet to complete an assignment. The freshman who leaves school daily after lunch.  

As educators, our goal is to inspire and unlock each student’s passion for learning. But what happens when our best efforts are met with refusal or hostility?  

Join Savanna Flakes, Ed. S, international educational consultant, for this unprecedented seminar that will equip you with proven interventions and strategies to engage the hardest-to-engage students.  

Through interactive activities, video demonstrations and collaborative discussion you will acquire dozens of evidence-based, practical strategies to increase academic achievement


  • Inclusive and equitable practices to remove barriers to student engagement 

  • SEL strategies for building positive relationships and productive interactions during learning 

  • Innovative technology tools to support struggling students  

  • Evidenced-based practices to support effective group work and team collaboration  

  • Practical and low-prep strategies to differentiate reading and math instruction on-the-fly 

  • Strategies to support student resilience, mindset, and independence 

  • Collaboration, co-teaching, and interdisciplinary approaches for success 


Program Information

Target Audience

  • Educators 
  • School Administration 
  • Counselors 
  • Social Workers 
  • General Education Teachers 
  • Special Education Teachers 
  • School Social Workers 
  • School Occupational Therapists 
  • School Paraprofessionals 


  1. Implement structures to provide positive learning environments and effective teamwork structures to support students with positive social behaviors and relationships with peers and adults. 
  2. Apply instructional strategies to support students with working memory, organization, and language across the academic curriculum. 
  3. Evaluate differentiated instructional strategies to accommodate children’s areas of instructional need in writing, reading, and math. 
  4. Assess various grouping strategies in academic content to match various student learning profiles.  
  5. Analyze common barriers to engagement and incorporate appropriate strategies to accelerate learning progress.  
  6. Differentiate an upcoming lesson activity using the resources and brain-research to increase student motivation. 


Activities & Instructional Practices To… 

Build A Connected Classroom Community 

  • The neuroscience behind school classroom connectedness: Ideas for working with student diversity 
  • Cooperative learning structures to promote teamwork: Experiential activities 
  • Components of building positive and effective relationships with teacher/peers 
  • 10 Strategies to Reduce classroom anxiety and increase student belonging  

Principles of Engagement  

  • Five important “Principles of Engagement” 
  • High-leverage inclusive practices 
  • Equitable brain-based instructional opportunities  
  • Lesson plan ideas and templates 

Differentiated Instruction 

  • Effective, cutting-edge, research-based instructional strategies  
  • Key components of exemplary programs 
  • Dynamic assessment strategies to inform instruction 
  • Flexible grouping practices to remediate and accelerate learning 
  • Co-teaching success strategies 
  • OT, SW, SLP, teacher: Collaboration at its finest 

Supporting Academic Success 

  • Technology tools and resources to support engagement and completion 
  • The power of visuals and video for task initiation, working memory, and sequential thought 
  • Scaffolds and supports to engage students with special needs in writing opportunities 
  • Proven strategies to increase sustained attention 
  • Resources, resources, resources! 
  • Video demonstrations of students demonstrating mental flexibility in rigorous problem- solving activities 

Brain-Based Engagement Strategies 

  • Innovative strategies to reduce classroom anxiety and increase student connection 
  • Powerful instructional moves to increase achievement 
  • Trauma-informed grounding strategies  

Rethinking Behavior 

  • The power of Social Emotional Learning 
  • Quick on-the-spot behavior interventions that get big results 
  • Growth vs fixed mindset: Research-based case studies 
  • Build perseverance: Video demonstrations 
  • Develop resilience toward rigorous and complex tasks 
  • Mistakes as opportunities and prevent fear of failure 

Copyright : 02/15/2024

School Refusal: Real help for children and teens who can’t or won’t go to school

School refusal creates chaos in families and often becomes a vicious cycle in which students become trapped.  

Often a symptom of anxiety and depression, school refusal creates an immediate short-term relief for kids seeking to escape aspects of the school day. But the result typically includes falling further behind academically, increased feelings of disconnection from peers, and lowered self-esteem.  

Join Susan Gibbs, LPC, to learn from her extensive experience in addressing school refusal effectively. She will bridge the clinical and educational words and share approaches for both environments so you can help struggling students and families.  

You will leave with the ability to: 

  • Identify the 4 functions of school refusal 

  • Anticipate and plan for 5 critical times of day 

  • Create student and family specific plans that focus on the student’s inner wealth and human connection 

  • Equip parents and educators with age-appropriate interventions to successfully handle school refusal in-the-moment 

  • Apply the Nurtured Heart Approach to school refusal

Program Information


  1. Recognize the four functions of school refusal. 
  2. Anticipate and plan for five critical times of day when school refusal may be heightened. 
  3. Learn effective interventions to increase class and school attendance. 
  4. Identify 3 core elements of the Nurtured Heart Approach and apply it to school refusal. 
  5. Create a treatment plan based on the identified function of the school refusal. 
  6. Equip parents and educators with strategies to effectively handle school refusal at home and school.  


The What and the Why of School Refusal  

Simple dislike, truancy, or something else entirely? 

  • Soft school refusal vs outright refusal 
  • Refusal vs truancy 
  • Co-morbid DSM-5 disorders 
    • Anxiety – the self-fulling prophecy 
    • ODD – can't or won’t?  
    • Learning disorders – avoiding failure 
    • Depression – lacking a “why” 
    • PTSD – self-protection 
    • Conduct disorders – rethinking behavior 
    • Autism – sensory and social overload 
  • Tool to measure school refusal objectively 
  • Standardized assessment measures to employ 
  • Critical questions to ask refusers and their parents 

School Avoidance: A Vicious Cycle 

Short-term relief with long-term consequences 

  • Early morning pleas, somatic complaints, bargaining 
  • Common triggers for avoidance 
  • 5 critical times of day and how to handle each 
  • Ages and stages of avoidance and refusal 
  • 3 common parental responses to school refusal (that don’t work!) and approaches to recommend instead 
  • The role of peers, academic struggles, and home life 
  • Case conceptualization with integrated intervention plan 

Grounding and Planning, Not Coping 

Powering through or enhancing resilience? 

  • 5 tips for navigating the Distress Hill 
  • Tapping into polyvagal theory techniques 
  • 8 powerful grounding techniques and when to use each 
  • Activating cognitive ability, motivation and values 
  • 5 critical time periods each day and intervention strategies for each 
  • The role of rewards and consequences and to how to use both effectively 

The Nurtured Heart Approach® 

Inspiring behavior vs managing behavior  

  • 3 Stands: absolute no, absolute yes, clarity 
  • Starter ideas for the 4 Recognitions: Active, Experiential, Proactive, Creative 
  • Interventions to expand the student’s reserve of Inner Wealth 
  • Channel intense energy in a positive direction 
  • Special considerations for ADHD, ASD, and other diagnoses 

Engagement and Connectedness 

Multi-tiered support and collaborative intervention 

  • Helping parents trust their deepest instincts 
  • Relationship as an energetic exchange 
  • Medication considerations 
  • Practical strategies for home and school collaboration 

Limitations of the Research and Potential Risks 

Target Audience

  • Educators 
  • School Administration 
  • Counselors 
  • Social Workers 
  • General Education Teachers 
  • Special Education Teachers 
  • School Social Workers 
  • School Occupational Therapists 
  • School Paraprofessionals 


Copyright : 02/16/2024

Avoiding Legal Exposure and Enabling Learning: Accommodating the "Difficult" Student in 2024

Educators find themselves in a national crisis of student mental health.  

What is the role of special education to address this crisis? How and when is special education a resource to address the struggling student? Have the legal boundaries changed regarding eligibility, in this time of mental health peril?  How do conflicting “rights” of speech, and search and seizure, impact educators? When a student is not eligible for special education, how can educators meaningfully, in the student’s home school, provide intervention to support disconnected students? And why does our understanding of MTSS so desperately need to “broaden,” today? 

This session, delivered by John Comegno, litigator and law professor, will engage, entertain, and empower educators to support students at risk, providing turnkey strategies to address students struggling behaviorally and emotionally, and most importantly, advance learning. 

Program Information


  1. Recognize legal boundaries in supporting behaviorally involved students, today. 
  2. Apply intervention best practices to address behavioral and mental health difficulties to enable learning. 
  3. Identify crucial education practice missteps which present legal exposure. 


Mental Health in Schools 

  • Data and trends 
  • The role of social media 
  • Impact of substance use 

MTSS, Section 504, and IEPs 

  • Supports available  
  • Decision-making standards and processes 
  • Team members and roles 

Safety and Student Rights 

  • Risk assessment 
  • Case study: school shooting 
  • Safety and student rights 
  • Exclusionary discipline 

Building Resilient Students 

  • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports 
  • Teaching flexibility 
  • Healthy conflict 

Target Audience

  • School administrators
  • Counselors
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Teachers
  • Teacher Consultants
  • Special Education Teachers
  • Occupational Therapists
  • School Nurses

Copyright : 01/08/2024

Disruptive Behaviors in the Classroom: Quick "On the Spot" Social-Emotional Learning and Behavior Interventions That Get Big Results!

Everyone who works in the field of education encounters students who have difficulty managing their emotions and behavior.

These children quickly shut down, become disengaged or unmotivated and act out disrupting the classroom, which gets in the way of everyone’s learning.

These students need concrete emotional and behavioral interventions to support their social-emotional learning (SEL) development for social and academic success.

This comprehensive recording provides practical SEL solutions to build the mindsets, skills, and necessary supports to help young people manage their emotions, cope with challenges, and demonstrate perseverance to attain goals and healthy behaviors.

Watch and equip yourself with evidence-based intervention strategies and instructional practices to build self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, relationship-building and responsible decision-making skills to help your students:

  • Build healthy mindsets, increase engagement, motivation and decision-making skills
  • Invest in positive behavior and learning changes, including effective group work
  • Self-regulate emotions and reduce conflicts
  • Cope with challenges and decrease emotional distress
  • Reduce conduct problems and risk-taking behaviors
  • Stop shutting-down and reduce non-compliant behavior
  • Maintain positive social behaviors and relationships with peers and adults
  • Attain and maintain goals and healthy learning habits
  • Improve test scores, grades and attendance

Through interactive activities and video demonstrations you will finish this program inspired with a wealth of highly proactive and effective strategies to transform the social-emotional health of your classroom.

You will immediately be able to help your students develop responsibility for their own behavior and learning and contribute to a positive classroom environment!

Program Information


  1. Utilize best practices in the classroom to create a positive learning environment that fosters teamwork and helps students to develop prosocial behavior and relationships with peers and adults.
  2. Implement instructional intervention strategies to support students’ social-emotional learning as it relates to frustration management, impulse control and perseverance to achieve personal and educational goals.
  3. Differentiate between a growth versus fixed mindset and implement interventions to support the development of a perseverance and grit in students.
  4. Analyze common challenging student behaviors and demonstrate the application of a positive behavioral strategy to facilitate social-emotional learning skills.
  5. Implement both proactive and reactive strategies for the most challenging disruptive and explosive student behavior.
  6. Develop a SEL plan or behavior plan that can be used to support challenging student behavior across all settings.


Whole Classroom SEL Techniques and Behavior Interventions, Activities & Instructional Practices To…

Build A Positive Classroom Community

  • The neuroscience behind your class: Ideas for working with student diversity
  • Cooperative learning structures to promote teamwork: Experiential activities
  • Reduce classroom anxiety and increase student connection to lessons
  • Build positive and effective learning-based classrooms
  • Evidenced-based practices for the five core competencies of SEL

Develop Student Perseverance and Grit

  • Growth vs fixed mindset: Research-based case studies
  • Build perseverance: Video demonstrations
  • Develop resilience toward rigorous and complex tasks
  • Mistakes as opportunities and prevent fear of failure

Increase Student Self-Awareness

  • Teach them how to assess their strengths and limitations Increase self-confidence, optimism and self-efficacy
  • Help them identify emotions, thoughts and behaviors in different situations
  • Teach self-discipline and goal-setting skills
  • Self-monitoring techniques to track learning and academic behaviors Improve

Student Self-Regulation Skills

  • Model positive self-talk and effective self-reflection
  • Support executive-functioning needs
  • Develop problem-solving skills and solving conflicts
  • Manage and cope with emotions using evidencedbased frameworks

Develop Student Social Awareness

  • Teach perspective taking and empathy
  • Social anxiety techniques to reduce stress
  • Lesson plans on social and ethical norms for behavior

Manage Disruptive Behavior

  • Proactive and corrective measures
  • Practical motivational incentives
  • Strategies for the basic functions and needs of chronic misbehavior

Enhance Whole Class Positive Behavior Interventions

  • Behavior strategies to support academic success
  • Core elements of evidenced-based classwide reinforcement systems
  • Lesson plans on character education

Respond to Trauma and Tragedy

  • Strategies to positively support trauma impacted students
  • Calm the stress response related to anxiety or depression
  • Alternatives to zero-tolerance policies to help nurture resilience
  • Mitigate stress through mindfulness exercises, goalsetting activities and group identity-building

Target Audience

  • General Education Teachers
  • Special Education Teachers
  • School Administration
  • School Social Wokers
  • School Counselors
  • School Psychologists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants
  • School Paraprofessionals
  • Other Helping Professionals who Work with School-Age Children

Copyright : 12/05/2019