when & Where

May 04, 2018 @ 8:00AM -
May 04, 2018 @ 4:00PM


email director@capses.com
phone (916) 447-7061
Pasadena Presbyterian Church
585 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91101


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CAPSES Spring Conference

Pasadena, CA
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Event Details




Friday, May 4, 2018
Pasadena Presbyterian Church
585 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91101
Register Before April 13th & Take Advantage of Early Registration and Group Discounts!

Each year, nonpublic school and agency administrators, educators, direct service providers and staff from across the state attend the CAPSES Annual Conference.  The CAPSES Annual Conference offers a variety of sessions on special education best practices, innovative new curriculum, current research relating to specific disabilities, new approaches to assessment and leadership, and the latest regulations and policy issues for nonpublic schools and agencies.  

Pasadena Presbyterian Church, (PPC) is home to the 2018 CAPSES Spring Conference on Friday, May 4, 2018.  Located within walking distance of Old Town Pasadena, PPC is easily accessible from the 210 and 710 freeways and within walking distance of Old Town Pasadena.   

The CAPSES Annual Conference offers a variety of savings opportunities on conference expenses.    Group rates and early registration discounts are available.  Administrators are encouraged to check with their Title Funds Administrator for available funding that may cover the registration costs.   

Download the mobile Eventbase app for updates and a complete guide to the conference.  Click on the Eventbase logo for download instructions and search for "CAPSES 2018 Spring Conference". 








A Neuro-behavioral Approach to Behavioral Issues 

Janis Reid, LCSW, Hillsides Education Center, Pasadena, CA
Appropriate for NPS Direct Staff

When children are prenatally exposed to substances and experience early neglect and trauma, there are changes in the brain that affect learning and behavior.  These disabilities are invisible, and profoundly affect the way the individual can respond to the environment and change behavior.  Janis Reid, LCSW is the Senior Clinical Director at Hillsides and is a certified trainer in the neurobehavioral model to address brain-based behavioral challenges.

Janis Reid, LCSW is the Senior /Clinical Director of Residential Programs at Hillsides.  She has 30 years of experience working in community mental health, including schools, child welfare, and residential.  She is also the adoptive parents of a special needs child with brain-based disabilities.  She has been teaching the neurobehavioral model for five years.  

Self-Care for Sustainability & More Effective Behavior Management  

Hala Khouri, MA, E-RYT, A Thousand Joys, Los Angeles, CA 
Victoria Alvarado, A Thousand Joys, Los Angele, CA 
Appropriate for NPAS Administrators & Direct Staff

Self-care becomes essential when working in high-stress environments especially when interacting with students who have or are currently experiencing toxic stress. When staff comes to work grounded and self-regulated, they are more effective, especially when implementing behavior interventions. Learn about stress’ impact on the mind and body, and a variety of self-care techniques (everything you will learn in this session can also be used with students). Hala Khouri and Victoria Alvarado are from A Thousand Joys, an LA-based nonprofit.

Hala Khouri, MA, E-RYT, has taught movement arts for more than 20 years. Her roots are in Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga, dance, somatic psychology, and the mystery of life itself. Creative movement and honest self-exploration have long been sources of tremendous healing for Hala, and her calling to share this with others has been clear to her since she began teaching at the age of 16. Hala earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in religion from Columbia University and her master’s degree in counseling psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She is also trained in somatic experiencing, a technique that focuses on trauma’s impact on the body and mind, and ways to resolve it. Through A Thousand Joys, Hala works with social workers, educators and other direct service providers, educating them on the effects of vicarious trauma and offering them somatic tools to discharge and manage stress and create a culture of wellness.

Victoria Alvarado joined A Thousand Joys in 2009 as a project manager and facilitator. She now spearheads all of ATJ’s school-based activities, which includes curriculum development, transform program service delivery, coordination and oversight, program expansion and building community partnerships. As someone who has integrated self-care and wellness into her personal life, Victoria also sees the value of workplace wellness and assists schools and students in managing their stress. She is a certified yoga teacher and an energy healing practitioner. Victoria holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology with a minor in Anthropology from Boston University and a master’s degree in Archaeology from Columbia University.


Creating a Trauma-Informed School Climate 

Dr. Karen Enyedy, Chief Psychologist, The Help Group
Appropriate for NPS Administrators & Direct Staff

“Trauma” can take many forms – exposure to violence, lack of safety, peer victimization, multiple medical procedures, etc. This presentation, based on Dr. Bruce Perry’s Neurosequential Model in Education, will unpack the term “trauma” so that attendees will re-conceptualize what trauma is and how trauma of all sorts can impact students' ability to attend in school, to form relationships, and to stay regulated. We will discuss ways to create a culture of attachment, empathy, and acceptance, to create classroom spaces that are regulating experiences, and to understand how we can meet our students’ social, emotional, and academic needs based on their developmental, and not just chronological, age.

Dr. Karen Enyedy is the Chief Psychologist of The Help Group, an organization in Southern California serving children and families in nonpublic schools, outpatient treatment, residential treatment, and day treatment settings.  She has trained the agency’s school-based clinicians on trauma-informed treatment and implemented the philosophy and approach in two schools of The Help Group, which serve 100 1st through 12th-grade students with emotional and behavioral difficulties. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and has worked with children and families in school-based, outpatient, juvenile justice, and residential settings. She has trained and supervised Doctoral Psychology trainees, interns, and post-doctoral fellows, and is currently the Chair of the California Psychological Association Division II (Education and Training), is on the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Association (APPIC) Internship Selection Committee and serves as a CARF Surveyor and APA Site Visitor.

Meeting Them Where They're At - Counseling, Speech-Language Pathology and Working with Student Eligible Under the Category of Emotional Disturbance
Brian Roper, Ph.D., M.S., CCC-SLP, CAS, Vista School, Los Angeles, CA 
Kristina Mazic, LMFT, Clinical Supervisor, Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, Los Angeles, CA  
Appropriate for NPAS Direct Staff

Students referred to non-public schools are increasingly presenting with complex social-emotional, educational and communicative needs.  A holistic orientation with the common goal of accessing the curriculum is needed to meet the student's needs. This seminar focuses on how speech-language pathologists can work with school-based clinicians to serve students who may be oppositional, mistrusting, and rejecting of intervention.

Brian Roper, Ph.D., M.S. CCC-SLP, CAS is the Director of Auxiliary Services at the Vista School.  He is a licensed speech-language pathologist and oversees speech-language pathology, occupational therapy and applied behavioral intervention services at the Vista School.

Kristina Mazic, LMFT, Clinical Supervisor is a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist and Clinical Supervisor at Vista School.  Ms. Mazic supervises both licensed school clinicians, interns and graduate student trainees.  She is also active in quality control and billing. 


The Ethic of Care in Supporting African American Students with Special Needs

DiDi Watts, M.A., PPSC, Vice President of Education, Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, Los Angeles, CA 

Appropriate for NPAS Administrators & Direct Staff

This workshop addresses how care is a basic need that is grounded in relationships.  In schools,  relationships are based on the interaction between the student and teacher/staff.  If students do not perceive that the teacher/staff cares for them, it may be more difficult for a teacher to be successful in engaging the student in the learning experience.  The session will cover the results of a  study focused on African American male students in a nonpublic school setting.  The study provides a better understanding of how the care of teacher/staff supported the educational experience of the African American male student.  Implications for teachers and leaders will be explored, with recommendations for meeting the needs of this specific group of students. 

DiDi Watts, M.A., PPSC is the Vice President of Education for Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services and a Doctoral Candidate at Loyola Marymount University for the Ed.D in Educational Leadership for Social Justice. Didi is an educator with over 20 years of experience. She has worked as a classroom teacher, school psychologist, Special Education Administrator and a School Site Administrator. She is passionate about ensuring equity and access for all students. 

From Person Driven Plan (PDP) to Individual Transition Plan (ITP) to Individualized Education Program (IEP); Developing Meaningful Action Plans and Goals  

Jen Swope, MS., Director Cook Education Center, San Diego, CA
Sheryl Bobroff M.S. LPCC, CRC, Coordinator of Vocational & Transition Services, Urban Skills Center, San Diego, CA 

Appropriate for NPS Administrators and Direct Staff

Although person-centered planning (PCP) is often discussed in schools and post-school programs, it is not always clear how to best implement action plans. This session will review self-determination, share examples of PCP, and will show how to develop measurable and meaningful goals to ensure that students play an active role in planning their futures.

Jen Swope has worked for The Institute for Effective Education since 2001. She became the Director of COOK Education Center in 2010 and the Director of Urban Skills Center in 2014. She received her Master of Science degree in Special Education from National University, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Salisbury State University in Salisbury, Maryland. She was president of Pi Kappa Phi Honor Society and graduated cum laude. She holds a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and the Clear Education Specialist Instruction Credential for both Mild/Moderate Disabilities and Moderate/Severe Disabilities. Ms. Swope has conducted numerous staff training on topics such as Effective Instructional Practices, Data Collection, and Monitoring and Behavior Supports and Interventions. 

Sheryl Bobroff has worked in education for more than 20 years and has credentials in both regular and special education. She received her B.A. in Liberal Studies and M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from San Diego State University. She is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). The Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation has published her research, and she regularly presents in areas of effective instructional practices, self-determination, and person-driven planning at regional and national conferences and workshops. She is the Coordinator of Vocational and Transition Services at The Institute for Effective Education (TIEE), a non-public school, and has maintained a private counseling practice. She is also part-time faculty at San Diego State University (SDSU) where she teaches both special education and rehabilitation graduate students, specifically addressing policy development and collaboration in schools and disability systems.

Mindful Classrooms  

Puja Chhabra, LCSW, RYT-200, Hillsides Education Center, Pasadena, CA 
Appropriate for NPS Direct Staff

Learn about the many benefits of mindfulness for individuals, students, and in educational settings.  Research shows that mindfulness practices encourage students to be more focused, self-aware, curious and calmer in school.  Mindfulness is a simple way to equip students and ourselves with tools to self-regulate and be successful. This workshop will engage your senses and give ideas you can take back to your work with students.

Puja Chhabra, LCSW is the Clinical Director of Hillsides Education Center, a nonpublic therapeutic and behavioral school in Pasadena, CA.  She oversees the implementation of clinical services provided to students and families of the school and contracts services with various school districts. She also develops interventions to help students and families achieve both emotional and academic success, and provides clinical supervision and training for staff.  Puja is also a certified trauma-informed yoga instructor.  Puja runs a small private practice in Glendale, CA where she incorporates therapy, mindfulness and yoga practices in her work. 


Walking the Line:  Accommodations, Data and Advocating for Students Struggling With the General Education Curriculum 

Brian Roper, Ph.D. M.S., CCC-SLP, Director of Auxiliary Services, Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, Los Angeles, CA 
Danielle Aranda-Harris, M.A. Ed., Assistant Principal, Vista School, Los Angeles, CA 
Appropriate for NPS Administrators & Direct Staff

Nonpublic schools have a responsibility to ensure that each of their students receives an appropriate education that meets their needs.  The transition from the diploma track to the alternate curriculum track can be difficult for families and caregivers.  In addition, different districts have different requirements for justifying a shift in curriculum.  This seminar focuses:

1) Differentiating and implementing appropriate accommodations for struggling diploma-bound students.

2) Data gathering and preparation when suggesting that a student shift to the alternate curriculum.

3) Building a relationship of trust with caregivers while still advocating for the student's educational needs.

Brian RoperPh.D., M.S. CCC-SLP, CAS is the Director of Auxiliary Services at the Vista School.  He oversees speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, and applied behavioral interventions.  Dr. Roper also chairs the data and analytics committee in the non-public school.  He is a licensed speech-language pathologist and holds a Ph.D. in cognitive, social and developmental psychology.

Danielle Aranda-Harris, M.A. Ed. is an assistant principal at the Vista School.  She oversees the diploma track high school program in Vista's non-public school.  Ms. Aranda-Harris holds a mild-moderate special education credential as well as a Master of Education in Educational Leadership.

CAPSES Governmental Affairs Update 

Ryan Eisenberg, Executive Director, AchieveKids, San Jose, CA and CAPSES Governmental Affairs Chair
Teresa Malekzadeh, Executive Director, Beacon School, San Jose, CA and CAPSES Board President
Dick Schnetzer, Mardan School & CAPSES Governmental Affairs Consultant
Appropriate for NPAS Administrators

This presentation will address the latest on state and federal policy issues and recently enacted legislation that impact special education.  Topics include CDE Annual Audit Requirement for NPS/NPAs Update; The "Tax Cut and Jobs Act (H.R. 1)" recently passed by Congress and its impact upon education; a review of legislation effected January 1, 2018, and more.  This session will allow for questions and concerns from members of the audience.   

Ryan Eisenberg has been a special education professional for over 17 years.  During his career Ryan has been a teacher, administrator, and a non-profit leader, helping to design and develop programming for some of our communities most complex learners.  As the Executive Director of AchieveKids, Ryan remains dedicated to helping build inclusive communities where his students can thrive.  Ryan earned his doctorate from the University of Southern California, conducting research on the efficiency of special education outsourcing, investigating public-private partnerships to meet the needs of students with complex disabilities.   Beyond his role with as at AchieveKids, Ryan is on the board of directors for CAPSES, where he serves as the chairperson of the Governmental Affairs Committee.  Ryan also serves on the Board of Trustees for Pacific Oaks College and belongs to state focus groups focused on advocacy and equity in education for all students.

Teresa Malekzadeh is Executive Director of Beacon School in San Jose where she has worked for 30 years.  She has served on several key workgroups including Behavioral Intervention Stakeholder Work Group (BIP). She currently serves on the California Private School Advisory Committee that ensures that private schools are given the opportunity for personal development through Title funding.  She serves on the Stakeholder Work Group that assists the California Department of Education to provide oversight of the technical assistance and motoring to LEAs regarding the AB 114 Transition Work Group and the Mental Health Work Group that continues to provide guidance for LEA’s and parents to ensure that all students mental health needs are addressed and met.  Teresa has been a CAPSES board member since 2000, during which time she has served as president, events committee chairperson, Region 7 representative and continues to support CAPSES members on various statewide issues.

Dick Schnetzer has served as a Special Education Teacher, Special Education Program Administrator, and Business Services Coordinator for the Mardan School in Irvine, California since 1966. He has also served as an Independent Consultant in his firm, R.C. Schnetzer & Associates, since 1989. Mr. Schnetzer has established long-standing relationships with the California Department of Education, as well as many public-school districts, County offices, and special education local plan areas (SELPA);. Mr. Schnetzer served as a member of the California Department of Education, Personal Qualifications Workgroup, from 2007 to 2012. Mr. Schnetzer served twice as CAPSES President from 1983-1985, and 2003-2005; He was the Governmental Affairs Chair of CAPSES from 1985 to 2003. Currently, Dick serves as the Governmental Affairs Consultant for CAPSES, an organization that he has been a member of CAPSES since 1971.  

Impact of State and Federal Legislation Upon Private Schools  

Dr. Ron Reynolds, Executive Director, California Association of Private School Organizations

Appropriate for NPAS Administrators

CAPSO, the California Association of Private School Organizations is composed of 24 California private school organizations. CAPSES is a long- standing member of CAPSO and works in partnership with CAPSO on many policy, legislative and funding issues which impact CAPSES member schools, agencies, and parents.  Dr. Ron Reynolds, Executive Director, CAPSO will discuss the new administration in Washington, the future of private school education in California and CAPSO legislative initiatives in the California Legislature.

Ron Reynolds is executive director of the California Association of Private School Organizations, a state-wide consortium of twenty-one service agencies and administrative units serving some 1,450 independent and religious schools in which approximately 400,000 students are enrolled. Believing that no one is quite as zealous as a convert, Ron is,  himself, the product of California’s public school system, from first grade through graduate school at UCLA, where he earned a Ph. D. in Comparative and International Education.  He has, however, spent the entirety of his career working in, with, and for private schools, as a teacher, administrator, professor, and consultant. Ron is a registered lobbyist who represents the common interests of California's broad private school community.   He is a member of the California Department of Education's Private School Advisory Committee and represents California in the Council for American Private Education's State Network.  His most recent publication is a chapter titled “Private Schools” that appeared in The Handbook of School Choice, published by Wiley in May 2017.

Nonpublic School & Agency (NPAS) Certification Preparation and Problem Solving

Terrie Gero-Smead, Director of Finance and HR, Mardan School, Irvine, CA 
Melissa Elvidge, M.S., Regional VP of Operations, Southern California, Spectrum Center Schools
Jason Bolton, PsyD., Vice President of Programs, The HELP Group, Sherman Oaks, CA 
Ed Danskin, Ed.D., Executive Director, Intensive Behavior Intervention Consultants, Hermosa Beach, CA 
Appropriate for NPAS Administrators

This session will be a panel discussion with questions from the audience that gives an overview of the California Department of Education (CDE) process of certification for NPSA. The presenters have many years of experience in preparing for a CDE self-reviews and on-site reviews, and they represent a wide scope of program size, disabilities served, and approaches to the certification process. Bring your questions, observations, and issues to the panel for discussion!

Terrie Gero-Smead attended UC Santa Barbara and has a  B.A. in Business Economics.  She is a certified public accountant and, since 1991, has loved working with the staff at Mardan to make a difference in the lives of students and their families.  She has a husband, and three adult children; a daughter and two sons.  She also has two lovable rescue dogs and three cuddly rescue cats.  When not working, she loves spending time with her family and friends, gardening, reading playing with animals and spending time at the beach.  She is also involved in special needs sports. 

Melissa Elvidge holds a master’s degree in special education from California State University Dominguez Hills and a bachelor of arts in psychology from the University of New Mexico. Melissa joined Spectrum Center in 2010 as a lead teacher. During her service with Spectrum, she has been promoted to the roles of education coordinator, program director, assistant vice president of operations and now serves as the regional vice president of operations for Southern California. She is responsible for supporting daily operations, supervision of school directors and state education reviews.

Dr. Jason Bolton has over 20 years of experience working with children, adolescents, and families with histories of abuse and neglect, social-emotional challenges, and developmental disabilities including autism spectrum disorder and learning differences. He holds a B.A in Psychology from the University of Oklahoma, an M.S. in Applied Behavioral Studies from Oklahoma State University, and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in Alameda. He is The Help Group’s Vice President of Programs and previously served the agency as Clinical Director and Chief Psychologist. Dr. Bolton's expertise includes effective leadership of diverse work groups, innovative program development, and responsible fiscal oversight of quality programs. He serves on the Board of Directors of the California Private Special Education Schools and Agencies, known as CAPSES and is acting chair of the finance committee.  Dr. Bolton is a proud father of triplet girls and, as a parent-consumer of developmental and special education services frequently refers to his family as a glowing example of the power of early intervention.

Ed Danskin has over 35 years in the field of education, 21 of which are in special education.  Ed brings fourteen years of experience of a nonpublic agency as well as extensive consulting experience. As a member of the CAPSES Board of Directors, Ed serves as chairman of the membership committee.  He received a Doctorate in Education from UCLA in Leadership and Organizational Change in 1995.



Incorporating Restorative Practices to Improve School Culture:  A Nonpublic School Case Study 

Liberty Hebron, Therapist, San Diego Center for Children Academy, San Diego, CA  
James McElroy, Principal, San Diego Center for Children Academy, San Diego, CA 
Appropriate for NPS Administrators & Direct Staff

Restorative Practices is an emerging, evidence-based approach to empowering and strengthening communities. In the context of educational environments, Restorative Practices can assist with promoting school safety, improving student accountability for actions, encouraging parent and stakeholder involvement, teaching conflict resolution skills, and emphasizing positive, socially-conscious interactions from day-to-day.  James McElroy (Principal) and Liberty Hebron (Therapist) share San Diego Center for Children Academy’s implementation of Restorative Practices and its impact on overall school culture.

Liberty Hebron has been a Therapist at the San Diego Center for Children Academy for almost three years and has previously worked with Juvenile Court and Community Schools in the San Diego area, as well as a local university.  Liberty loves working in educational settings and has a passion for student development and community-building with a strengths-based emphasis.  As a San Diego native, Liberty enjoys soaking in all that San Diego has to offer - from opting outside to sampling new restaurants and breweries around town. 

James McElroy affectionately known as “Mr. Mac,” is Principal of the San Diego Center for Children Academy.  Over his eight years at the Academy, Mr. Mac has served several roles as Special Education Teacher, Program Supervisor, to Vice-Principal, and now in his position as Principal.  Mr. Mac, originally from New Jersey, moved to California in pursuit of sunshine and to continue his career in Special Education.  Mr. Mac has a passion for education and loves the connection he can make with students, families, and his co-workers at SDCCA.  Other interests for Mr. Mac include sports, music, and spending time with family and friends.