Pre-Conference Sessions

(Please note that Orlando pre-conferences will be held on the morning of March 23rd from 8:00am - 11:00am.  The main conference will begin at 12:00 pm on March 23rd.)

Catava Burton, Ed.S.

Trauma, No D-Code Drama

Adolescents are more susceptible to adverse childhood experiences (psychological trauma) during what Erikson described as the identity versus role confusion stage. Pubescent brains are pruning; trauma or toxic stress can substantially disrupt brain development, changing how they respond to perceived threats. In schools, students' trigger reactions (fight, flight or freeze) are categorized as disruptive, defiant, and/or disrespectful (D-Codes) resulting in more punitive disciplinary consequences.


  • Develop an understanding of how trauma imprints on the brain.
  • Analyze how student responses can present as defiance/disrespect.
  • Gain research/evidence-based, non-punitive disciplinary responses to subjective behaviors.


Catava Burton is the Preventative Services Specialist for Henrico County Public Schools providing oversight to the Behavior Support Team and Positive Behavior Intervention & Supports. She possesses 19 years experience in psychology with a focus on mental health, trauma, and human development. Catava is also a certified trauma practitioner, blogger for The Mighty, and featured as a 2017 Human of Richmond.

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Steph Jensen, MS, LPC

Mean Girls Behind the Screen: Addressing & Preventing Bullying, Cyberbullying & Relational Aggression

Technology and social media plays an increasingly large role in the social development of our kids today. Studies show that the average child (ages 7-17) spends up to 10 hours a day in front of a screen or device. Social media platforms have become a staple for young girls in their effort to stay connected to peers and parents. As girls spend more time trying to stay “connected” on-line, they actually become more disconnected. Studies show a correlation between the amount of time spent on social media and personal life dissatisfaction. Girls create elaborate identities and personas on-screen; but do you ever wonder what is going on behind the screen? As girls experience the turbulent times of childhood and adolescence they often turn to social media to cover their fears, confusion and anxiety from the outside world. If left untreated, girls are twice as likely as boys to develop an internalizing disorder such as depression or anxiety by mid-adolescence. The better we understand what is hidden behind the screen of “mean girls” the more effective we become in promoting the healthy development of confident, strong and happy girls.


  • Learn how social media affects brain development
  • Develop an understanding of how social media can impact mental health.
  • Discover Strategies to teach Netiquette: Send means Said
  • Create a plan for effective communication in the digital and real world
  • Apply Aggressors Anonymous: Tools to Address Social Media Addiction


Steph Jensen, MS, LPC is an award-winning author and international speaker recognized for her insight and understanding of relational aggression. She combines 15 years of practice in the fields of education and counseling with research, practical strategies and humor to address challenging behaviors and build positive relationships with kids. She has held positions as classroom teacher, education consultant and international speaker. She holds a master’s degree in clinical counseling, focusing her efforts on adolescent and family issues.

In recent years, Stephanie has applied her passion for adolescents to focus on the dynamics of relational aggression, social-emotional learning, and positive behavior interventions. She is the author of Thrive in the Hive: Surviving the Girl’s World of Good and Bad Relationship Bee-haviors, Mom’s Choice Award-winning Princess Priscilla and the Bully-Bee Day, Princess Priscilla and the Mood Ring Rainbow and her latest: Princess Priscilla and the Great Beezilla!

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Larry Thompson, M.Ed.

Defiant, Manipulative & Attention Seeking Students: How to Unlock Their Potential and Survive the Process

With today’s increased focus on academic success and measureable outcomes, how educators handle defiant, manipulative, apathetic or attention-seeking students can often be the difference between success and failure in a given classroom – or an entire school. The disruption to the classroom and the energy that the educator must expend to address behavioral issues can create serious roadblocks to learning. Situations with difficult students have a way of intensifying quickly.

This seminar will provide attendees with up-to-date insights and strategies for reaching and helping students who can evoke strong feelings of frustration and discouragement. Educators will learn a five-step responsibility-centered approach that has been proven effective in helping educators become masters of challenging moments with students.

In this session, you will learn how to:

  • Identify the underlying causes of difficult behaviors in students
  • Integrate key strategies for migrating from an obedience-focused approach to a responsibility-centered approach
  • Apply strategies for preventing the escalation of difficult behaviors


Author of Roadmap to Responsibility and Give ‘em Five, Larry Thompson, M.Ed., is often called upon to deliver keynote presentations for state and national education conferences because of his knowledge, humor and passion for assisting today’s students. He has helped thousands of educators and schools throughout North America break away from their traditional discipline models to a model that creates a responsible climate and responsible students. Larry has served in a wide variety of roles in education – from special education teacher to alternative and traditional high school principal. As creator of the Responsibility-Centered Discipline program, Larry understands that systems must be created that can be realistically implemented and sustained.

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