Association of Teachers of Exceptional Children

Rising with Resiliency

Cineplex Theatre - Dartmouth Crossing


REGISTRATION IS CLOSED - CONFERENCE IS FULL


October 27, 2017

Host Hotel

Hampton Inn  & Suites
65 Cromarty Drive
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia  B3B 0G2

Click here for directions

A block of rooms is set up for the ATEC group at the discounted rate of $179.00 (standard) & $195.00 (suite) which will be available to book until midnight on September 26th, 2017 or until the block is full; whichever occurs first. 

To make reservations:

Click here to register online, or
call toll free at 1-877-406-7701 or Direct: 902-406-7704 and quote group code ATC.

Registration Information


Online Registration ONLY

No Onsite Registration and No Mail-In Registration


Conference Fee:  $100.00
Students / Substitutes / Retirees:  $75.00

As per NSTU Operational Procedure 14(e)(iii): receipts of payment and attendance will not be distributed until the conference has concluded.

Registrar: Jean MacDougall (atecconference@nstu.ca)

Deadline for registration is: October 13th.


Please register early to avoid disappointment. ATEC will only accept the first 1000 participants.

Once your online registration has been completed you will receive an e-mail with proof of registration.
You should bring a copy with you to the conference.


Conference Agenda

9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. A - Sessions
10:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m. - 12:00 noon B - Sessions
12:00 noon - 1:15 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
1:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Annual General Meeting (AGM)
1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. C - Sessions

Guest Speakers

  • Dr. Alexa Bagnell is an Associate Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Dalhousie University and the Chief of Psychiatry at IWK Health Centre.  She specializes in the assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder in children and adolescents. Her research interests surround promotion of earlier intervention and treatment for anxiety, with a focus on e-health programs.  She is a strong advocate for mental health promotion and education for youth in schools, presenting in schools, communities and in the media to increase knowledge about mental health and to promote help seeking in young people.  
  • Meredith Greene Burton, Ph.D.  Retired after 33 years in education, having held positions as classroom teacher, resource teacher, enrichment coordinator, school counselor, high school principal, district consultant, and university researcher. She completed her doctorate at the University of Connecticut under advisors Joseph Renzulli and Sally Reis. While learning to embrace retired life, Meredith is still very professionally active as an online instructor for UConn’s Master’s of Gifted Education program, a writer, and a presenter in Canada and the United States. Meredith lives in Yarmouth and in her spare time she loves to travel, garden, knit, and kayak.
  • Paul Charron is a Program Support Teacher (Behavior Specialist) at Bridgewater Elementary School. 
  • Heather Van Ek is a wife and mother of four and a dog.  She has a BA from Acadia University and graduated in 2004 from Dalhousie University’s School of Human Communication Disorders, with M. Sc., (SLP).  She has worked as an SLP in a private First Nation Elementary school when first graduated, then part-time for many years while raising children.  She started working in public schools where presently working in the Celtic Family of the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board when youngest started school in 2013-14.  She is treasurer of SPAA (Speech-Pathology and Audiology Association) of NSTU.
  • Danielle Griffin is a Dalhousie university student who would like to share her trials and tribulations of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  She will share her personal journey through school and offer suggestions on what worked and didn't help her be successful.  She will explore her personal experiences using Assistive Technology as well as her positive transition to university life.   
  • Tyler Hayden is a keynote speaker like you’ve never seen before! Tyler has been an internationally respected team builder, author, and business speaker since 1996.  He delivers a powerful punch that inspires teams, demonstrates innovative learning techniques, and invigorates team culture. When it comes to empowering audiences and teams to succeed—and to be their best every day—Tyler leads the way with insight and laughter. He is the author of sixteen books and the creative mind behind 100’s of powerful and fun team building products. His team building workshops and motivational keynote speeches receive rave reviews from educators and business leaders alike. 
  • Terry Kelly’s passion for life has gained him international recognition as a renowned motivational speaker, an accomplished athlete, an award winning singer/songwriter, and a consummate entertainer.  Terry is a recipient of the King Clancy and Hal Rogers Fellow Awards, has been inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame, and has received Honorary Doctorates in Civil Laws and in Fine Arts from the University of Kings College and Saint Mary’s University, respectively. Terry has received the Canadian Country Music Association’s Humanitarian Award; has been appointed Honorary Colonel of 14 Wing Greenwood; and is a member of the Order of Canada. In the athletic field, Terry has distinguished himself as the third blind person in the world to run the mile in under five minutes. As a musician this Newfoundland native has released seven full-length recordings, resulting in seven East Coast Music Awards and nominations for four Canadian Country Music Awards and a JUNO. Terry has shared the stage with Symphony Orchestras, and has performed his own music in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and for the troops in Afghanistan.  He is most recognized for his inspirational song “A Pittance of Time”.
  • Allyson MacKay has been teaching at the IWK Health Centre since 2005. She has worked within the Adolescent Centre for Treatment and now within Adolescent Intensive Services, where her focus is working with youth at the High School level.  She is passionate about supporting and assisting youth find an educational path that works for them. She also works as a Professional Practice Leader for Teachers and supports the role of teachers throughout the health centre. When not in the classroom, Allyson can be found at the hockey rink with her three sons.
  • Kerry Munroe has a B.A in English and Sociology from Acadia University. Driven by her desire to be a teacher, she then received her B.Ed at Acadia University and began her teaching career in 1992. Given that technology was being integrated into the school system, she completed a Diploma in Educational Technology from Cape Breton University.  As well, she has spent many summers as a marker for the English 10 Provincial Exam and was part of the committee that was created to design and implement the English 10 Provincial Exam.  Kerry is currently teaching grade 10 English and grade 12 Sociology at Northeast Kings Education Centre in the Annapolis Valley. She extends her love of teaching into the fitness industry as well and currently teaches Spinning, Ripped, Core, and Stability Ball classes at Acadia University and Absolute Health Club. Her passion for teaching continues to thrive and she is excited to share her love for teaching and learning with you. 
  • Trisha Munroe is currently an Elementary Literacy Coach with the Halifax Regional School Board (HRSB).  She has worked as a classroom Teacher, a Vice-Principal, and an Assistive Technology Specialist.  Trisha has a passion for teaching and learning, and has Masters of Education degrees in Literacy as well as Lifelong Learning from MSVU in Halifax.  She also has a Diploma in Educational Technology from Cape Breton University.   She lives in Windsor Junction with her husband and their four young kids.
  • Holly Murphy is the Advanced Practice Leader for Trauma Informed Care at the IWK Health Center. Holly has spent the past 14 years of her Nursing career in child and adolescent mental health and addictions where she has enjoyed many roles from clinical care, professional practice, patient safety and management. Holly believes that we all play a role in creating trauma informed environments with our clients, families, staff and systems. Holly values time with family and friends, being mindful and enjoying the outdoors.
  • Nolan Pike has been an LGBTQ+ community educator for over six years. He has travelled internationally working with schools and other organizations to build more inclusive environments for the LGBTQ+ community. Nolan has conducted hundreds of workshops and worked with countless inspiring allies from diverse sectors, such as public and private schools, post-secondary institutions, businesses, hospitals, law-enforcement, government, camps, shelters, women’s centers, and other not-for-profit organizations. As a writer and comedian, Nolan believes in the power of storytelling to create change and endeavors to create learning environments that are as enjoyable as they are informative.
  • Karen Seamone is a Social Emotional Learning Facilitator for the South Shore Regional School Board.
  • Kelli Snook is a Program Planning Specialist with Student Services at the Halifax Regional School Board. She is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland, completed her masters in Special Education from Acadia, and graduate of the NSELC Instructional Leadership Academy. She has been a classroom teacher, special education teacher and school administrator. Kelli is very passionate about supporting teachers and administrators in developing appropriate and respectful programming that supports students from Primary to twelve, and in preparation for the important transition from school to the community.  

Full Morning Session

AB1, AB8 and AB12 are full morning sessions- Do not register for a B session
Please note: Break for AB1, AB8 and AB12 will be at 10:00am.

AB1, AB8 and AB12 are all full morning sessions- Do not register for a B session for these full morning sessions.
Please note: Break for sessions AB1, AB8 and AB12 will be at 10:00am.

AB1  “Brain Basics” and Regulation
Karen Seamone  and Paul Charron
Are you spending more time intervening with dysregulated, disengaged kids and staff members than attending to more focused leadership initiatives? This all morning session will ask you to consider your own knowledge and practices around “brain basics” and regulation while reflecting upon your approaches to supporting challenging classroom environments and relationships at school.  This session will touch upon the following: 
-Leading the way! Brain basics. 
-Behavior as Communication… Why this? Why now? 
-Regulation as Foundation: Helping adults and kids find their way back to calm...    (Note this is a full morning session)

AB8  Understanding Transgender and Gender Variant Students and Staff
Nolan Pike
This full morning workshop will help participants gain a deeper understanding of how to foster an environment that is welcoming for transgender and gender variant students and staff. Topics will include terminology and respectful use of language. We will explore basic concepts such as the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as take a deeper look at the nuanced barriers faced by trans people within our schools. The workshop will explore practical strategies to make spaces more welcoming and debunk common misconceptions about transgender communities. In all workshops I seek to create a comfortable and fun environment, where participants are able to ask questions and learn through discussion. (Note this is a full morning session)

AB12  An Introduction to Trauma Informed Care: Creating Physically and Emotionally Safe Environments in the School Setting
Holly Murphy/ Allyson MacKay
Being trauma informed is about creating safety and trustworthiness through our practices, our physical and emotional environments and social interactions. This session will explore how we apply the principles of trauma informed care in our schools and classroom settings. 
Objectives include: 
•To increase your awareness of the importance, prevalence and effects of trauma 
•To increase your awareness of trauma informed care 
•To explore ways to support children/youth with trauma 
•To introduce some ways you can incorporate trauma informed care into the classroom 
•To explore the importance of self-care 
•To provide additional resources to assist in your daily work  (Note this is a full morning session)

A - Sessions

A2  Role of the Speech-Language Pathologist in the school system
Heather Van Ek
The presentation will focus on the role of the Speech-Language Pathologist in the school system with respect to supporting students and teachers. Hopefully following the presentation attendees will have a greater understanding of the knowledge base and background that an SLP can offer to schools and when it is appropriate to include an SLP when planning for individual students.  
SLPs have experience/knowledge that encompasses a wide variety topics/issues.  In a nutshell, the presentation will be:  What we do and how we can help.

A6  Anxiety-Elementary Students
Dr. Alexa Bagnell 
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorder in young people.  Youth with anxiety disorders can have challenges with school performance, attendance and behavior and are at higher risk of developing mood disorders and substance use disorders.  Participants will learn about anxiety and the brain, and how it impacts students in school.  They will also learn how to recognize youth with anxiety and tips and tools to support them in the school environment.

A7  Effective Classroom Assessment to Identify Learning Targets and to Plan for Literacy Instruction
Trisha Munroe
This session begins with a quick overview of the workshop approach for literacy instruction in order to identify where whole-class, small group, and individual instruction and assessment fit within a literacy block.  It includes suggestions for quick and effective assessment techniques that can be used as formative assessment and help teachers make purposeful instructional decisions targeting individual student needs.  Explicit examples of assessment results and how to plan for instruction will be presented.  Teachers will also have the opportunity to speak with colleagues throughout the session.

A9  In Education and in Life - Light the Fire.  Passion Does Live Here.
Kerry Munroe
This session is designed for you to look inside yourselves and discover or rediscover what is already there - Passion. Yes, passion lives right here, in your heart.  You would not have selected the teaching profession if it didn’t.  You may not always see it… or feel it… or experience it... or express it but I promise you - Passion Lives Here: Right where you are and just as you are.  The ability to make an impact. The chance to make a difference in the life of a child. You are doing it already. All you are right now is all you ever need to be for them today.  And who you are tomorrow will depend much on who and what you decide to be today.  It is in you… I know it… Passion Does Live Here.  So let’s look at a few simple ways to Light the Fire in our teaching.

A11  The Fourth R – Reasoning, Critical Thinking, and Philosophy for Gifted Children.
Meredith Greene Burton, Ph.D.
Gifted children are natural philosophers, constantly wondering about the world in which we live and the meaning of life. Learning skills of reasoning and logic and examining children’s literature through a philosopher’s lens cultivates excellent critical thinking. In this session, teachers will learn the whys and hows of introducing philosophy to gifted children of all ages and abilities to increase students’ interest, enjoyment, and engagement in reasoning.

B - Sessions

B2  Role of the Speech-Language Pathologist in the school system
Heather Van Ek
See A2 for description 

B4  Understanding My Autism.
Danielle Griffin
Danielle Griffin is a Dalhousie university student who would like to share her trials and tribulations of ASD.  She will share her personal journey through school and offer suggestions on what worked and didn't help her be successful.  She will explore her personal experiences using Assistive Technology as well as her positive transition to university life.  Danielle Griffin's early years and schooling were a constant challenge, labeled as a ‘difficult child’, it was not until age 17 that she was formally diagnosed with ASD. The diagnosis brought clarity to her situation, and a greater understanding of strategies along with specialist support. Danielle completed the IB Diploma Program at Park View Education Centre, achieving the highest average in the school’s history. Currently, she is studying Materials Engineering at Dalhousie University with a future goal of a PhD. Understanding her autism has allowed Danielle to help and offer support to others facing their own challenges. Danielle volunteers for Autism Nova Scotia, and is a mental health advocate for Dalhousie through #MyDefinition Campaign. Danielle frequently speaks to parent, teacher and student groups to bring awareness of mental health, autism and bullying. 

B5  Coffee Talk Experience
Tyler Hayden
Get outa-the-box and try something a bit different.  Coffee Talk is not your typical “stand and deliver” learning session.  It is fun, interactive and requires everyone in the audience to connect with one another in an interactive way. Coffee Talk integrates Tyler’s over two decades as a master experiential educator and tools you can actively use to invigorate exceptional students into a super engaging event that will not soon be forgotten.  For example, you will learn together how to connect and cultivate your students’ Multiple Intelligences, explore rubber to the road tested and ready learning tools, and have a blast getting to know people at ATEC.  
This session comes complete with engaging activities, depth of content, hilarious stories, and one-of-a-kind experiences for all in attendance.  Join the new revolution of meetings and nix the stand and deliver and inject the fun and games to realize learning, usable tools, and a great time.

B6  Anxiety-Junior/Senior Students
Dr. Alexa Bagnell
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorder in young people.  Youth with anxiety disorders can have challenges with school performance, attendance and behavior and are at higher risk of developing mood disorders and substance use disorders.  Participants will learn about anxiety and the brain, and how it impacts students in school.  They will also learn how to recognize youth with anxiety and tips and tools to support them in the school environment.

B7  Effective Classroom Assessment to Identify Learning Targets and to Plan for Literacy Instruction
Trisha Munroe
See A7 for description.

B11  The Fourth R – Reasoning, Critical Thinking, and Philosophy for Gifted Children.
Meredith Greene Burton, Ph.D.
See A11 for description.

C - Sessions

C1  Promoting Independence through Functional Life Skills Systems
Kelli Snook
Promoting Independence through Functional Life Skills Systems as a system, we are responsible for preparing students for life in the real-world. What that real-world will look like is different for every student. In February 2016, the Individualized Program Plan (IPP) Review (https://www.ednet.ns.ca/docs/individu...) identified the continued value of designing customized and meaningful programming for individual students. The Functional Life Skills System is an approach that connects each student’s individualized outcomes and promotes independence. These systems provide students with daily opportunities to discover independence as they move through the school system and prepare to be contributing members of society.

C2  Role of the Speech-Language Pathologist in the school system
Heather Van Ek
See A2 for description 

C6  Coffee Talk Experience
Tyler Hayden
See B5 for description

C7  A Celebration of Teachers and Teaching.
Terry Kelly
Dear teachers and educators, 
Because of people like you who have inspired, guided, cultivated self-belief, and taught me to be accountable and help myself, I have discovered my purpose in life. I have come to realize that one of my responsibilities on this earth is to live in gratitude every day and to serve others by passing on all that has been given to me.    I invite you to join me for a celebration of your life, your profession, and allow me to recognize you for sharing your amazing gifts that nurture, cultivate and instill belief and confidence into the hearts and minds of children of all ages in our schools. I know from meeting thousands of caring educators like you over the 25 years or more I’ve been presenting in schools how selfless you are with your commitment and quest to grow your students and watch them flourish.  That said, I would like to remind you how taking care of yourself first is essential to achieve your desire to have them reach their full potential.   
With anecdotes, songs I’ve written, humour, and easy to remember, usable strategies and tools relevant to living a balanced holistic lifestyle, my intention is to have each of you leave the theatre energized with a confident physical and mental posture that will have you reassured and knowing you can be stronger as individuals as well as being more effective and comfortable in your personal and professional worlds. 
Please join me for a celebration of you, who you are, all you do, and the amazing treasures and gifts you bring to the garden where the children grow.  

C8  Understanding Transgender and Gender Variant Students and Staff (condensed version)
Nolan Pike
This condensed one session workshop will help participants gain a better understanding of how to foster an environment that is welcoming for transgender and gender variant students and staff. Topics will include terminology and respectful use of language. We will explore basic concepts such as the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as take a deeper look at the nuanced barriers faced by trans people within our schools. The workshop will explore practical strategies to make spaces more welcoming and debunk common misconceptions about transgender communities. In all workshops I seek to create a comfortable and fun environment, where participants are able to ask questions and learn through discussion.


While we encourage members to have an NSTU web account,
one is NOT REQUIRED to register for a conference.
You may register utilizing any email account.

Once your online registration has been completed you will receive an e-mail with proof of registration, you should bring a copy of that with you to the conference.


To register for the ATEC conference CLICK HERE.


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