Beat The Heat


View our complete schedule online.

Three Steps to Attending Beat the Heat

How to Launch Your Online Course

This year’s Beat the Heat is happening entirely online through our Canvas system. Click the link below to learn how to launch your online course.

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM Welcome and Keynote by Dr. Paula Freeman

Bring It! Creating Authentic and Responsive Classrooms

Dr. Paula Freeman will infuse fun and inspiration into our keynote on the topic of creating culturally responsive classrooms. Educators will be encouraged to “Bring It”- to bring their own personal authenticity to the learning, build relationships with kids and communities, and value the humanity of each child and each colleague for stronger schools.


Handout for Dr. Paula Freeman’s Session Slides with Notes (8 Pages)

10:15 AM - 11:15 AM National Presenter Q&A with Padmaja Sarathy

Strengthening Executive Functioning with Environmental, Instructional and Child-Specific Scaffolds

Executive functioning (EFs) is an important area of growth during the early years —the foundational building blocks of both cognitive and social capacities. Children need EFs —able to focus, hold, and work with information in mind, filter distractions, switch gears and exercise self-control — for school and academic success.

This workshop will increase knowledge and skills of professionals on the “why “and “how’ of building executive functioning in children with and without special needs. Participants will learn how to provide environmental, instructional and child-specific scaffolds woven into growth-promoting experiences during everyday routines and activities in inclusive settings.

At the end of this professional development workshop, educators will be able to:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of the growth of executive functioning in children and how crucial these skills are for their development, learning and social competence.
  • Gain skills in strengthening executive functioning – working memory, cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control – in your students with and without special needs through crafting growth-promoting environments and personalized instructional scaffolds.
  • Learn how to embed routinely –story-telling and story-sharing, pretend-play, mindfulness practices, movement activities, creative play to facilitate social interactions, teaching them to handle stress, etc.– to develop and practice EF in inclusive settings.


Handouts for Strengthening Executive Functioning with Environmental, Instructional, and Child-Specific Scaffolds – 6 Slides per page (16 pages)

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM - Lunch + Q & A with ESC Region 13 SpEd Staff

The ESC Region 13 Special Education Team will be hanging out together on Zoom during the lunch break. You’re invited to pop in and ask any questions that might be rolling around upstairs.

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM National Presenter Q&A with Patricia Obrzut

Fostering the Emotional Development of Learners with Multiple Special Needs


The foundation of social competence and a child’s ability to functionally adapt in environments like school are directly related to emotional development.  When feelings are not well managed, thinking can be impaired.  Developing a curriculum that appropriately addresses the emotional and social needs of students is imperative to the growth of executive function and self-regulation, critical supports for learning and growth.  This session will focus on identifying how children with multiple special needs including visually impairment, cognitive delays, cerebral palsy, seizures disorder, autism and others develop social-emotional skills. 


  • Teachers will learn to implement the five phases of educational treatment, while examples of a supportive Active Learning curriculum are provided. 
  • Teachers will learn to reduce the conditions that trigger anxious behaviors in students, thus eliminating roadblocks to learning. ​


Handout version 1 – 3 slides per page with notes (23 total pages)

Handout version 2 – 6 slides per page (12 total pages)

1:45 PM - 2:45 PM National Presenter Q&A with Susan Norwell

Emergent Literacy for Complex Learners: Where Do We Start?


This webinar is designed to explain the concept of Emergent Literacy and help participants to determine if a student is an Emergent or Conventional Literacy learner.  The six blocks of the Emergent Building Block Model are explained and exampled with rich videos.  

This course presents each block conceptually and then outlines educational examples of instructional activities to fulfill the goals of each block.  Suggested goals for each area are explained.

The Six Block Model as conceptualized by Dorothy Hall, Patricia Cunningham, and Elaine Williams is highlighted due to its focus on the foundational skills that are found to be integral in the research as precursors to successful learning of conventional reading.

This course is applicable for those working with younger students as well as adults who are at the Emergent Literacy level with complex needs.  Primary population exampled are those who are nonverbal with significant motor challenges.  

2:45 - 3:00 Closing Activities

Closing Activities

Accessibility Statement

Accessibility is a priority at ESC Region 13. We will automatically be providing live captioning. If you need additional accommodation, please register as soon as possible to let us know!