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Landmark College Summer Institute

Not just a conference. 

A professional learning experience – combining hands-on, multi-day training workshops; world-class research presentations; a student panel; networking opportunities; and 30+ years of Landmark College expertise. 

This year's event has concluded. Thank you to all that attended and made it a success.

SAVE THE DATE for next year's Summer Institute: June 24-27, 2018

See highlights of previous Summer Institutes

  • 2017 Keynote and Plenary Presentations by Nadine Gaab, Ph.D.

    Associate Professor of Pediatrics
    Boston Children's Hospital & Harvard Medical School
    Department of Medicine/Division of Developmental Medicine
    Dr. Gaab's research focuses on reading development in typical and atypical children, including possible pre-markers of dyslexia in young children.
    Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience
    Twitter: Nadine Gaab (@GaabLab)


    Sunday Keynote:
    "Hope or Hype? The Use and Misuse of Neuroscience in Education"

    Sunday June 25, 7:30 p.m.

    Location: East Academic Building (EAB) Auditorium

    The label ‘brain-based’ has rapidly entered the field of education and hundreds of strategies, interventions and teaching tools claim to be either brain-based or to significantly alter your brain in a positive way. In this lecture, we will critically evaluate these claims and carefully examine the potential role neuroscience can play in education. We will further discuss limitations of the bridge between these two disciplines and strategies for how to identify legitimate claims in the intersection of education and neuroscience.


    Monday Plenary Presentation:
    "The Typical and Atypical Reading Brain:  How Neuroscience Can Inform Educational Practice"

    Monday June 26, 9:00 a.m.

    Location: East Academic Building (EAB) Auditorium

    Various developmental disorders such as developmental dyslexia are diagnosed in early childhood but divergent trajectories of brain development may already be present in preschool or even at birth. This presentation will be an introduction to the developmental cognitive neuroscience of reading. It will cover the development of the typical and atypical reading brain and the methods currently employed to study brain development from infancy to adulthood. Additionally, it will introduce the idea of early screening for reading disabilities in young children and discuss its implications for educational settings and policy. It will further introduce brain plasticity and teach tools necessary to critically evaluate programs that are so called ‘brain-based’ or claim to improve your brain functions. It will conclude with discussing the implications of neuroscientific findings for general education, educational policy as well as the development of interventions and will critically explore the often critiqued bridge between the fields of neuroscience and education.


    Special Guest Presentation by Joanna A. Christodoulou, Ed.D. 

    Assistant Professor
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
    MGH Institute of Health Professions 
    Director, Brain, Education and Mind (BEAM) Team

    Wednesday June 28, 9:00 a.m. 

    Location: East Academic Building (EAB) Auditorium

    "Harnessing Individual Variability to Improve Educational Outcomes: Case Studies and Interventions"

    Readers who struggle may have different underlying reasons for their challenges. In this presentation, we will review factors that contribute to reading difficulties, and examine how these factors make the process of reading more difficult. Our discussion will span cognitive neuroscience, education, and clinical perspectives. We will discuss how reading difficulties can be understood from individual experiences and in diverse ways. We will also review reading interventions and research updates regarding the important question of “for whom should we do what.”


  • Three-day intensive, hands-on workshops (or "strands") form a core component of the Landmark College Summer Institute experience. Participants stay in the same strand for all three days.

    Strands take place each afternoon from 1:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Strand topics for 2017:

    Strand 1) 21st Century Study Skills: Activating the Inactive Learner
    Presenter: Manju Banerjee, Ph.D. and Loring Brinckerhoff, Ph.D. 

    Location: East Academic Building (EAB) Auditorium

    Description: Study skills have come a long way since handwritten flashcards and two-column note-taking. Drawing from current understanding of neural circuitry and neurodiversity of the adolescent and young adult learner, this strand will present novel ways to look at study skills as a dynamic developmental process. As 30-year veterans in the field, presenters will discuss specific strategies to address course assignments and ways to activate/connect with hard to reach students. The emphasis will be on college-level assignments, but the approaches can be modified for high school students as well.

    Strand 2) Math Support and Advocacy for Students with Math Challenges
    Presenter: Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki, Ph.D. 

    Location: MacFarlane 104

    Description: Our understanding of why students struggle in mathematics and ways to support them has been improving steadily over the past few decades. However, societal support for and acceptance of mathematical learning disabilities still lags far behind that of literacy. This session will focus on providing participants with an understanding of why students struggle in math, how to help students advocate for their needs, and ways to improve learner’s understanding of and performance in math.

    Strand 3) Executive Function Support In and Out of the Classroom
    Presenter: Rick Bryck, Ph.D.Landmark College Professional Certified Coaches

    Location: MacFarlane 111

    Description: Many students struggle in school, not because the work is too hard, but because of the executive function challenges they face when trying to juggle academics, social life, athletics, and jobs. Executive function (EF) refers to the cognitive processes that allow us to organize thoughts and activities, prioritize tasks, make decisions, and take action. Participants in this interactive three-day strand will deepen their understanding of EF and its impact on student success. Practical approaches, strategies, and tools for supporting students who struggle with EF challenges due to increased academic demand, ADHD, or ASD will be presented. Day two of the strand will be presented by the Landmark College Professional Certified Coaches. They will introduce the coaching skill of non-directive approaches, which has been shown to be useful when working with students with EF difficulties. Participants will be invited to practice these strategies to enhance their skills as educators in order to encourage student success. Instruction and practice in techniques such as asking powerful questions and helping students create goals with intention that encourage self-determination and self-management skills will be given. 

    Strand 4) Thriving In College: The Path to Success for Students Who Learn Differently 
    Presenter: Linda Hecker, M.Ed. 

    Location: East Academic Building (EAB) 105

    Description: Holistic strategic programming can play a critical role in successful transition to college, especially for students who learn differently. What do successful supports and programs look like when they focus on helping students thrive? Landmark College's model first year programming introduces students to habits and skills needed to succeed in college. From pre-semester outreach to pro-active advising, and in specific course content, it orients students to a culture of goal-setting, strategic learning, metacognition, and self-advocacy. This strand examines approaches, programs, and content, that can be adapted by other schools and colleges to scaffold student transition. It includes the strategies and technology taught for active reading, note-taking, test taking and summary writing, as well tools and habits of mind students practice to improve motivation and self-regulation in academic settings.



    2017 Single Sessions
    Choose one session in each time block



    Session I. Monday, June 26

    10:45 12:00

    Landmark College Works: Developing Supportive Employment Opportunities for Students Who Learn Differently
    Jessica Nelson, M.A., Associate Director of Transfer, Career, and Internship Services
    Jan Coplan, M.Ed., Director of Transfer, Career, and Internship Services

    Location: East Academic Building (EAB) Auditorium

    Preparing college students to enter the workforce is of paramount concern across all industries. To better prepare our students to join the labor market, Landmark College re-envisioned its student employment program in 2016 with the intent of making campus employment a more meaningful and impactful experience for students. The new program, Landmark College Works, focuses on helping students gain professional skills through campus employment, and enables them to make connections between their campus job and classroom studies. This session will provide an overview of the implementation of Landmark College Works, and provide ideas of both large and small ways campus employment can be made more meaningful for students that face barriers to employment.
    Intended student level: Post-secondary

    Micro-uniting to Promote Effective Instruction for All Learners
    Jeanette Landin, Ed.D., Assistant Professor of Business
    Location: MacFarlane 111 

    Classrooms comprise learners with a wide variety of backgrounds and learning needs. To meet the needs of all students in college classes, the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach is a key factor in promoting engagement, learning, and retention. One foundational element in the UDL approach is micro-uniting of lessons, which means breaking an assignment or activity into smaller, more easily-managed stages. This session will offer a practicum in micro-uniting a lesson with hands-on opportunities for attendees to apply micro-uniting techniques to their own courses.
    Intended student level: Secondary and Post-secondary

    Supporting Student Wellness for Promoting Learning
    Todd Miller, M.S., Assistant Professor of Physical Education
    Location: Administration Building Auditorium

    This session will review current evidence on the effects of inactivity and exercise on learning and memory. Participants will learn:
    -the consequences of prolonged static postures
    -how to improve attention in the classroom
    -how to time exercise and learning for optimum retention
    -best practices for long term physical and mental well-being
    -exercise interventions specific to populations with learning differences

    Intended student level: Secondary and post-secondary




    Session II. Tuesday, June 28

    9:00 10:45


    From Learning to Memory: Building “Desirable Difficulties” Into Studying
    Jim Baucom, M.Ed., Professor of Education
    Location: East Academic Building (EAB) Auditorium

    Many high school and college students struggle to consolidate what they learn into long term memory, not for lack of effort, but because they rely on study strategies that encourage shallow processing and short term recall.  This session will examine current views of memory storage and retrieval and the most common types of memory problems that learners face.  Most importantly, we will discuss study strategies that have strong theoretical and empirical support - strategies that deepen learning and enhance long term retention.   Caution:  Many of these techniques defy conventional wisdom and may cause us to rethink not only how students learn, but how we teach.
    Intended student level: Secondary and post-secondary

    Best Practices - Online Courses for Students Who Learn Differently 
    Marie-Pierre Huguet, Ph.D., Director of Online Learning
    Location: MacFarlane 111

    This workshop focuses on Landmark College’s approach to the design and delivery of online courses to students who learn differently (LD). It challenges the way online courses are traditionally made accessible to students with LD, and proposes a unique model to facilitate change. Focused on students with LD, some of the topics include: Universal Design for Learning, effective integration of technology, best practices in teaching online, and Landmark College Seal of Quality (LCSQ).
    Intended student level: Secondary and post-secondary

    Campus Support for Students with ASD
    Andy Donahue, M.A., Director of Social Pragmatics and Services
    Location: Administration Building Auditorium

    High schools and colleges are seeing increased enrollment from students on the Autism Spectrum, who often excel academically but have difficulties with the social dimensions and more fluid schedules of campus life. Landmark College has pioneered in developing an Integrated Services Model that addresses social pragmatics difficulties in order to help students integrate successfully while building life skills. Andy Donahue, Landmark's Director of Social Pragmatics and Services, will share "lessons learned" as our campus model continues to evolve in response to student needs and interests. 
    Intended student level: Secondary and post-secondary




    Session III. Tuesday, June 28

    10:45 12:00


    Process and Progress: Addressing the Writing Challenges of Students with EF Disorders
    MacLean Gander, Ed.D., Professor of English
    Location: East Academic Building (EAB) Auditorium

    This presentation focuses on practical strategies for addressing the challenges that intellectually capable students with executive function disorders face with academic writing. After a brief overview of what the fields of EF research and composition research have to say about why bright students fail to get writing done, we will focus on case studies as a frame for seeing how a “one size fits all” approach to writing instruction does not work, and how to address disparate needs effectively within a differentiated classroom. Participants will leave with knowledge of how to draw distinctions between different kinds of EF challenges to writing and practical strategies for how to work with these different profiles.
    Intended student level: Secondary and post-secondary


    Think Like Me: An Inside Look into the Cognition of Persons with LD
    Alicia Keating, A.A. , Landmark College student and LCIRT Research Assistant
    Location: MacFarlane 111

    Possibly the most frustrating part of working with students with LD is the feeling that you’re never going to ‘get it’. If you don’t have an LD is it next to impossible to understand how ‘thinking differently’ really works on your own. This session offers a comprehensive experience of what it is like to process, think, and learn like someone with a learning difference. Topics will include how processing speed works in daily life; what educators can do to help ease the cognitive load of someone experiencing processing delays; concrete tools and strategies for how to assist individuals to organize their thoughts and schedules.
    Intended student level: Secondary and post-secondary


    Techniques to Help Students Improve Emotional Self-Regulation and Learning
    Cyrus Shaoul, Ph.D. , Senior Academic Researcher
    Location: Administration Building Auditorium

    There is increasing evidence that students can improve learning by improving their abilities to regulate their emotional state. Certain techniques, among them cognitive reappraisal and mindfulness, have been shown to support effective self-regulation of emotion. We will look at how these techniques work and then delve into the evidence supporting the effectiveness of these techniques.
    Intended student level: Secondary and Post-secondary




  • Click here to download the schedule at a glance

    Note: A list of local restaurants, things to do, sites to see, and the area’s plentiful recreational opportunities (hiking, kayaking, swimming, biking, etc.) will be provided. We end early enough in the afternoon each day to provide plenty of time to explore all the area has to offer!

  • Registration is currently closed. Check back early in 2018 for registration for next year's Summer Institute

For 27 years, the Summer Institute at Landmark College has been an annual opportunity for educators and professionals to reboot their learning and refresh their enthusiasm for supporting students who learn differently. Watch a short video of LCIRT Director Dr. Manju Banerjee describing the unique aspects of the Summer Institute. Or read a student perspective on the Summer Institute.


Hear what past participants have to say about the Summer Institute: 

"By far this is the most helpful and informative professional development I’ve ever done. Landmark is so fabulous and incredibly attuned to what special educators and students need to succeed and thrive!"

"My strand was amazing! Theory and practical strategies were well woven into the presentations, discussions and demonstrations, with great quality, value and depth."

"Thank you for always bridging the research-to-practice gap."

"This was amazing and I’m so glad I attended! I already emailed my head of school to ask her to send at least one of our teachers to SI next year!"

"Learning is happening at Landmark!"


Get your voice heard and your questions answered! The Landmark College Summer Institute offers cutting-edge workshops with focused attention to participant questions, because we limit enrollment to keep our workshops small.

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