Professional Development

Book a Professional Development Workshop

Building Inclusive Classrooms

Bring Foothills Academy Professional Development to Your School or Organization

Our Professional Development Workshops and Training focus on strategies and programs that have been proven successful within our school and one-to-one Read/Write program. Although our focus is assisting individuals with Learning Disabilities, the ultimate goal is to assist and support staff in meeting the diverse needs of all learners.

Current Workshop topics available for booking:

Read/Write Training - (Phonological Awareness)

Speaker: Sandy Duncan

Are you looking for a new approach to teaching phonics in your classroom that specifically supports emergent and/or struggling readers? Our Read/Write training is comprised of the Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing (LiPS) program which highlights phonological awareness through auditory processing, print and kinesthetic activities. LiPS is a research-based program developed in consultation with a speech pathologist. This technique is multi-sensory in its approach incorporating all three learning styles (auditory, visual and kinesthetic) into the activities as well as a unique approach to guiding students through correcting their errors.

During our training, teachers are invited to learn how to creatively teach the following:

  • Part 1 # 1 (Foundation) i) consonants & vowels ii) simple syllables
  • Part #2 (Next Step) iii) vowels/vowel digraphs/diphthongs iv) complex syllables
  • Part #3 (Final Step) v) expectancies and irregularities in reading and spelling; vi) multi-syllables; vii) prefixes and suffixes; vi) how to read and spell unusual word endings

Session workshops are strategically spaced apart to facilitate teacher learning and implementation in their classrooms.

Executive Functioning: Who’s the Boss?

Speaker: Tanya Keto
(1.5 hours, 2.5 hours or full day workshop available)

Executive Functions (EF) are mental processes that help to connect past experience with present action to guide goal-directed behaviour. We all have strengths and weaknesses in our executive functions; however, individuals with ADHD may experience increased difficulty in the development and use of these functions compared to same-aged peers without ADHD. These functions underlie activities such as planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space. When students struggle in these areas, it can result in behaviours that are often labelled as  “attention seeking”, “defiant”, “showing off”, “unmotivated” or “lazy”, “emotional overreactions”, and “inflexible”, just to name a few.

Teaching students with executive functioning issues can be challenging, and understanding the how and why of EF deficits can significantly impact how we work with these students. This session will increase teacher’s knowledge of how EF deficits impact learning and what teachers can do to maximize the success of these students. With a focus on cognitive neuroscience research and brain-based strategies that teachers can use to increase student engagement, motivation, and self-management, teachers will learn what EF is; development of EF; how EF deficits impact students and classroom dynamics; and how to best support students with EF deficits.

Put the Pro in Cognitive Proficiency

Speaker: Tanya Keto
(1.5 hours, 2.5 hours or full day workshop available)

Expand your understanding and teaching practices through exploration of the relationship between processing speed, working memory, and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Individuals with ADHD consistently experience deficits in processing speed or working memory, or a combination of both. Processing speed abilities are required to work with ease, efficiency, and automaticity. Working memory is the brain's Post-It Note: the ability to identify visual and auditory information, maintain it in temporary storage, and re-sequence it for use in problem-solving Processing speed and working memory combine to indicate our cognitive proficiency abilities: the efficiency with which we processes information. Cognitive proficiency facilitates abstract thinking and acquisition of new information by reducing the effort needed for simple processes and allowing energy to go into more complex processes. It's no wonder that deficits in cognitive proficiency may significantly impact learning and achievement across all academic areas, particularly given the demand to process information automatically and quickly within the classroom setting without intentionally thinking through information.

In this session, we will explore the ins and outs of processing speed and working memory; examine the relationship between processing speed, working memory, and ADHD; investigate how deficits in these areas may impact learning and academic success; and delve into best practice classroom strategies and accommodations in 3 areas at school: the classroom environment, teacher instruction, and student assessment. Let’s put the PRO in cognitive proficiency to set students with ADHD up for success!

Learning Disabilities: What Educators Need to Know

Speaker: Tanya Keto
(1.5 hours, 2.5 hours or full day workshop available)

Learning Disabilities (LD) are brain-based difficulties in reading, writing, math, organization, focus, listening comprehension, social skills, motor skills or a combination of these. Learning and attention issues are not the result of low intelligence, poor vision or hearing, or lack of access to quality instruction. Examples include: Reading LD, Writing LD, Math LD; Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dyspraxia.

Educators play a key role in setting these students on a path for success! In this session, we will discuss:

  • Statistics and outcomes for students with LDs
  • Causes, myths, and facts
  • Red flags, identification, and assessment of students with LDs
  • Social, emotional, and behavioural challenges for students with LDs and how to support these learners
  • Supporting academic success of students with LDs

Gamified Learning

Speaker: Danielle Manchak
(1.5 hours, 2.5 hours or full day workshop available)

We’ve all been there at some point in our careers… Standing in front of a class of students with blank stares, completely disengaged in what they should be learning. If you have been in this situation, you most likely asked yourself some of the following questions: How can I make this subject matter more interesting to my students? How do I keep my students motivated to learn? How do I help my students to connect this information to their own experiences? This session will hopefully help you to find solutions to the above questions. Gamified learning is a relatively new concept in the educational world. However, by turning units or lessons into a collaborative game, students will become more engaged, more intrinsically motivated, and able to relate their experiences to the content being taught. As an added bonus, both you and the students will also have fun.

Positive Behaviour Management at Home (Parent Workshop)

Speaker: Kathleen Kelava
(1.5 Hr Workshop)

Navigating the world as a child with Learning Disabilities and/or ADHD can be a confusing and, at many times, a frustrating experience for the entire family. Learn practical tools designed to help you guide your child towards success both inside and outside the home. We will explore the idea of Motivation Inventory, a home-based intervention, and proactive behaviour management.

How Mindfulness Can Help Children with Learning Disabilities and ADHD

Speaker: Ayra Kelly

Mindful Schools states that mindfulness means ‘maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment’. Ayra will share specific techniques to help children with Learning Disorders and/or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) manage stress and develop mindful ways of thinking in order to help them regulate their emotions both at home and at school. Parents will leave with simple and easy ways to integrate these methods into their home.

Supporting Anxious Students

Speaker: Nicole Caines
(1.5 hours, 2.5 hours or full day workshop available)

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in youth. Sometimes anxiety is easy to identify in the classroom, but other times it may present itself in unexpected ways, such as tummy aches, disruptive behaviour, restlessness, clinginess, or attendance problems. Serious untreated anxiety tends to get worse over time and may lead to serious consequences. The good news is that children and adolescents can learn to manage and overcome anxiety, and you can help them do that. In this session, you will learn practical strategies for helping your students overcome anxiety.

Assistive Technologies in the Classroom

Speaker: Cathi Graveline
Half Day

Dragon Naturally Speaking, Read Write Gold and Smart Pens will be introduced in an interactive format with a focus on highlighting the software settings. It is the strategies that are used alongside the software that makes these programs most effective.