CALL FOR PRESENTERS 2020-06-24T16:02:41+00:00

PLEASE NOTE: Our 2020 Safe Schools Conference “Keeping our Children Safe: Strategies for Schools and Communities” will now be a completely virtual event during the week of December 7. We are still finalizing our schedule, but we are pleased to announce now that the application deadline to submit presentation proposals has been extended to July 17.

Keeping Our Children Safe: Strategies for Schools and Communities

Virtual event week of December 7

The Center for Safe Schools seeks high quality, effective presentations addressing best practice information relative to school safety and youth violence prevention. Based upon that criteria and professional development needs expressed by Pennsylvania educators and administrators, the Center for Safe Schools has identified the following conference themes:

  • Bullying Prevention
  • Cybersecurity
  • Effective, Safe and Secure Virtual Instructional Programming
  • Emergency Response and Crisis Management
  • Positive School Climate
  • Student Wellness
  • Youth Violence Prevention
  • Open Category

Target Audience
This conference is designed to provide quality professional development opportunities for school administrators, school cyber and technology professionals, cybersecurity experts, virtual instructional programming experts, student support personnel, teachers, alternative education staff, school nurses, student assistance team, and school counselors, school psychologists, school safety coordinators, local law enforcement, school resource officers, and community partners.

Submission deadline: Friday, July 17, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET

About the Center for Safe Schools

For nearly three decades, the Center for Safe Schools (Center) has been committed to providing schools with resources, training and technical assistance to create and maintain safe, productive learning environments. The Center serves as the organization to assist educators, parents, law enforcement and others on school climate, safety and youth violence prevention. Through expert staff, as well as access to a network of state and national researchers and practitioners, the Center provides state-of-the-art professional development and technical assistance to schools throughout the Commonwealth and across the country.

The Center, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, Pennsylvania State Police and the Mid-Atlantic Equity Center, supports schools, local agencies and parents in developing and practicing emergency management and crisis response plans, creating positive school environments, implementing evidence-based programs and institutionalizing proactive safety measures in partnership with law enforcement and other community entities to address local needs.

The Center for Safe Schools is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the National Crime Prevention Council as one of 20 Statewide School Safety Centers in the country.

Apply to Present

Presentation Theme

Choose to present on one of the following presentation themes.

Effective bullying prevention, intervention and response efforts continue to be an area of identified professional development need for Pennsylvania educators and administrators. Because all students who are impacted by bullying are at risk of negative outcomes (Rigby, 2000; Nansel, et. al., 2001), it is imperative that schools not only respond to bullying situations that come to their attention, but also work to prevent bullying behaviors.

Suggested topic presentations for this theme include:

  • Bullying, harassment and the law
  • Conducting effective investigations in bullying situations
  • Cyberbullying
  • Effective anti-bullying/harassment policy development
  • Intervention/supports for students affected by bullying
  • Introduction to bullying prevention
  • Involving parents and community members in bullying prevention programs
  • Research-based bullying prevention strategies

School districts face a multitude of challenging cyber threats. In addition to natural hazards, technological hazards, and biological hazards, they now have to prepare for human-caused cyber threats. These incidents can be accidental or deliberate and disrupt education and critical operations; expose personally identifiable information (PII) of students, teachers, and staff; and lead to high recovery costs.

Suggested topic presentations for this theme include:

  • Preparing for threats: Prior to an incident – developing and promoting policies, storing data securely, creating firewalls and approved lists, network monitoring. During an incident – reporting, law enforcement, decision making and preserving sensitive data. After an incident – recovery, reviewing policies and after-action review.
  • Privacy and confidentiality regulations and laws – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)
  • Threats facing school and school district networks and systems – data breach, denial of service, spoofing/phishing, spear phishing, malware/scareware, ransomware, unpatched or outdated software vulnerabilities and removable media

As Pennsylvania and many states were moving to flexible instruction and distance learning to counter disrupted education during significant weather events, the global pandemic of COVID-19 affected our lives. Distance learning and virtual instruction became a necessity. Successful online instruction requires new methods of course design, interaction among course participants, and instructor preparation and support. The critical connections between staff, students, and the community are essential during times when alternative instructional options are needed.

Suggested topic presentations for this theme include:

  • Conducting evidence-based violence prevention programming virtually
  • Effective distance learning
  • Maintaining relationships in a virtual learning environment
  • Safe, secure and interactive virtual instruction
  • Social emotional learning in a virtual format

Emergency response and crisis management comprises the five mission areas identified in the National Preparedness Goal (prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery) and the ability of K-12 schools to handle school-based incidents and emergencies prior to and upon the arrival of emergency service agencies. All-hazards planning involves being prepared for natural disasters, technological events and human-made (intentional and accidental) events. Even a small emergency can become a crisis when schools fail to develop highly effective all-hazards knowledge, plans and procedures.

Suggested topic presentations for this theme include:

  • Act 44 requirements
  • All-hazards plan development
  • Crisis communication
  • Emergency planning for special needs students
  • Emergency responders; pre-incident collaboration
  • Evacuation and relocation issues in school emergencies
  • Hazard/vulnerability assessments
  • Parent reunification
  • Recovery crisis counseling
  • Special events planning
  • Student threat assessment process
  • Student transportation emergencies
  • Visitor procedures

Research shows a connection between school climate and student academic achievement (Maxwell et. al, 2017). Schools which make it a priority that all students feel safe and respected enjoy a positive school climate. Providing educators and administrators with tools to support this climate of safety and respect will help them help ensure that all students are given the opportunity to achieve to the best of their ability.

Suggested topic presentations for this theme include:

  • Behavioral health assessments
  • Comprehensive school climate improvement
  • Creating and sustaining high quality, effective virtual relationships
  • Cultural awareness
  • Effective classroom management
  • Equity
  • LGBTQ awareness
  • PBIS: positive behavior intervention and supports
  • Positive peer relationships
  • Social emotional learning
  • Social norming

Students suffering from abuse and/or mental health issues are at significant risk of academic failure. They may also be targets of bullying and harassment. A staff that can identify the signs, symptoms and behaviors associated with mental illness can provide appropriate supports and interventions in order to help students succeed.

Suggested topic presentations for this theme include:

  • Brain development
  • Connectedness and belonging
  • Depression, anxiety and/or grief
  • Inclusive classroom techniques
  • Mindfulness
  • Recovery after traumatic events
  • Self-injurious behaviors (cutting, eating disorders, etc.)
  • Social emotional learning
  • Stress reduction strategies
  • Suicide prevention
  • Topics for school nurses, guidance counselors and school psychologists
  • Trauma-informed practices

Research indicates that youth who engage in anti-social, violent and criminal behaviors as adolescents have a greater likelihood of continuing these behavior patterns as adults. As such, it is imperative that educators, law enforcement and community partners develop positive connections to youth to help them avoid negative behaviors and patterns. Awareness, prevention and intervention programs assist educators and their partners in identifying anti-social, violent and criminal behaviors.

Suggested topic presentations for this theme include:

  • Awareness programs relative to youth anti-social and/or criminal behaviors, including but not limited to: alcohol and/or drug usage, gangs, hate groups, gambling, etc.
  • Evidence-based effective programming
  • High quality restorative justice and practice
  • Human trafficking prevention
  • Research-based conflict management models and strategies
  • Social emotional learning

A wide variety of safety issues, not directly tied to the above categories, impact student achievement and school connectedness. Because the areas of “school safety and youth violence prevention” are broad, this category allows prospective presenters to be creative in submitting proposals not covered at prior Safe Schools Conferences.

Suggested topics for this theme include:

  • Alternative classroom settings
  • Alternative education for disruptive youth
  • Assisting school districts, families and students after COVID-19
  • Corrections education
  • Family-school-community partnerships
  • Restorative justice and practices
  • Self-care for teachers (burnout prevention)

Format options

·         Plenary Session (1.5-2 Hours)
·         Workshop Session (45-90 Minutes)

Please keep in mind all presentations will be delivered through virtual platforms including Zoom, Zoom Webinars, GoToWebinar, among others.

Presentation Synopsis (75 words)

This is the short description of the presentation that will appear on the Safe Schools Conference website and in the printed conference program. All descriptions are subject to change at the discretion of the conference staff.

To aid applicants in completing the presentation synopsis section found in the call for presenters application, examples of session descriptions are given below.

Example #1
A critical part of classroom management is the implementation of corrective consequences. For corrective consequences to reduce or eliminate purposeful or habitual misbehavior, they must be implemented consistently. When consequences are implemented inconsistently, the consequence is not likely to change the behavior. This session will provide high quality tips for implementing consequences.

Example #2
Easy access to the internet and social media has fundamentally changed the lives of children more than any innovation in history. The pervasiveness of portable internet devices opens a world of opportunity to people and offers us great hope for communication, learning, and commerce. However, there are serious risks associated with the online world. Many parents and schools have unknowingly placed their children in harm’s way. This presentation is aimed at informing adults of the risks associated with children’s online activity.

Example #3
This workshop is intended to familiarize the participants with the components of a parent/child reunification program. This introduction is not meant to be an all-inclusive program but is designed to make school officials and emergency responders aware of the key components of a good parent-child reunification plan. Participants will return to their school able to analyze their current capabilities and plan to improve their school’s parent-child reunification procedures.

Selection Process

Each proposal will be reviewed and evaluated by a team comprised of peer reviewers and Center for Safe Schools staff to determine selection. Proposals will be reviewed for:

  • Clarity of proposal
  • Adherence to proposal submission instructions
  • Relevance to conference goals and themes, timelines and general interest level of topic
  • Quality of proposed session’s content and the potential for engaging participants in meaningful discussion through experiential learning techniques
  • Format, organization, length and session type

Please note that vendor proposals will not be considered unless they are part of a school, school district or intermediate unit session proposal.


All applicants will be advised via email regarding the status of their presentation proposal early August.

Conference Registration and Associated Costs

Presenters may attend sessions on the day of their presentation at no charge. If the presenter would like to attend on a day when he/she is not scheduled to present, the registration fee for that day must be paid. Registration instructions will be provided to accepted presenters when available. Presenters are required to assume responsibility for all costs associated with the presentation, including handouts, lodging, mileage, non-conference meals, and related expenses.

Proposal Submission

Proposals must be submitted electronically using the Call for Presenters submission form no later than Friday, July 17, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Handwritten, faxed or incomplete proposals will not be reviewed or accepted. Any questions regarding this call for presenters or the process should be directed to Randall Fox, (717) 763-1661, ext. 105.