Skip to Content
COVID-19 Update: Read latest guidance for Fall 2023 campus residential programs.

Summer Institute for Educators

Thank you to all who attended the 2023 Summer Institute!  Check back early in 2024 for information on next year's event. 

The 2023 Summer Institute was held June 26 – June 28, 2023 on the Landmark College campus in Putney, VT

The Summer Institute at Landmark College has been an annual opportunity for education professionals to reboot their learning and refresh their enthusiasm for supporting students who learn differently. The event features 35 years of Landmark College expertise in teaching students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism. Learn and network with small, focused groups of your peers. Get your voice heard and your questions answered. The Landmark College Summer Institute offers cutting-edge presentations with focused attention to participant questions.

This year’s presentations and workshops include the following topics:

  • Ungrading: Rethinking and Redesigning Assessment
  • Executive Function
  • Distress Tolerance Planning
  • Classroom Accommodations for Students with Language Deficits
  • Creating Space for Neurodivergent Learners
  • Transition and Career Readiness
  • STEM Career Exploration through the Birkman Assessment
  • Gaming for Growth and Belonging
  • Designing Cooperative Learning Success for All Students
  • Inclusion, Ableism, and Academic Rigor

...and more! 

Click below for more details for each session

  • Love on the Human Spectrum

    By Jennifer Cook, author and autism advocatePortrait of Jennifer Cook

    Monday 6/26, 2 – 3:30 p.m. ET
    Location: Lewis Academic Building

    A lifetime on the human spectrum with first-person autistic flair. That’s what international expert and star of Netflix’s Emmy-Award winning “Love on the Spectrum,” Jennifer Cook, brings to the conversation. As an autistic woman—who also happens to be a best-selling author, celebrated educator, and autism mom (x3)—Jennifer’s unique “insider” perspectives bring audiences along on a behind-the-scenes road to empowerment. Anxiety? Jennifer will tackle it. Secret social rules? She’ll unzip them. Friendships? Dating? In ways that make sense to everyone, she’ll show how to break down what can feel tough and build up the beauty of differently-wired brains. It’s an option of optimism. Delivery of respect. And a whole lot of creativity. It’s life as it can be—for everyone on the human spectrum.

  • Student Panel

    Monday 6/26, 3:45 – 4:45 p.m. ET
    Location Lewis Academic Building

    Hear from a panel of current Landmark College students as they share their personal stories. Students will provide insight into the unique situations they have faced, and overcome, as individuals with both learning and mental health or wellness challenges. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from students about the strategies that have helped them along the way. Come with questions you want answered! 

  • Networking Reception

    Monday 6/26, 4:45 – 6:00 p.m. ET
    MacFarlane (STEM) Lobby 

    Enjoy light hors d'oeuvres and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages while you mingle and get to know your fellow attendees, Landmark College faculty, staff, and students. 

  • Concurrent Session A:
    Tuesday 6/27, 9 – 10 a.m. ET

    Concurrent sessions are 1-hour presentations on a range of topics with relevance for educators working with students with LD, ADHD, and autism.

    *Choose one presentation from the following during Concurrent Session A*:

    C1. Using a Flipped Classroom to Address EF challenges

    Executive functioning has always been a challenge for students with disabilities such as ADHD, as well as those with a history of trauma or serious external stresses. However, since the pandemic, such challenges have become much more widespread, with entire classes struggling to keep track of and complete assigned tasks. In my math classes, especially a statistics class for students with limited math backgrounds, I utilized a flipped classroom approach (watching videos and reading at home, doing work in the classroom). Here is what I learned.

    Presented by: Dr. Brooke Orosz (she/her), Professor, Essex County College
    Location: MacFarlane (STEM) 111

    C2. Neurodiversity and Inclusion: A Scaffolded Approach to Foster Career Readiness

    While entering the job market is an intimidating prospect for any college student, for neurodiverse students this can be quite daunting. Embracing a strengths-based approach, this session will provide guidance on how to launch a career readiness program for neurodiverse learners. The session will provide an outline of the various scaffolded workshop series and professional skills building events created specifically with the unique needs of the neurodiverse job seeker.

    Presented by: Jan Coplan (she/her), Director of Career Connections Marlee Bickford Bushey (she/her), Career Advisor, Landmark College
    Location: Lewis Academic Building 102 

    C3. Classroom Accommodations for Middle and High School Students with Language Deficits

    Students with language deficits find navigating the classroom to be difficult. These deficits can hinder their learning, participation and productivity. This session will offer background information about language deficits, but most importantly strategies and accommodations that can support these students.

    Presented by: Roxanne Zazzaro (she/her), Upper School Academic Dean, Currey Ingram Academy
    Location: Lewis Academic Building 104 

  • Concurrent Session B:
    Tuesday 6/27, 10:15 – 11:15 a.m. ET

    Concurrent sessions are 1-hour presentations on a range of topics with relevance for educators working with students with LD, ADHD, and autism.

    *Choose one presentation from the following during Concurrent Session B*:

    C5. Gaming for Growth and Belonging

    Tabletop games such as Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) offer engaging and fun opportunities for students to refine social skills, practice problem solving, and grow their community whether they are first time players or seasoned campaigners. This session will delve into the theory and practice of using tabletop games to further educational goals with neurodivergent students in both online and in-person formats.

    Presented by: Eric Gobel-Lynch (he/him/his), Director of Transition Programs and Thomas Kuzma (he/him/his), Coordinator of Student Affairs Online Programs, Landmark College
    Location: Lewis Academic Building 102 

    C6. How to Create Space for Neurodivergent Learners

    Active learning, collaboration, inquiry-based activities, and open design with classroom neighborhoods have replaced dusty library stacks, rows of forward-facing desks, and dog-eared textbooks. While this has been beautiful for many students, these changes come with new challenges for many neurodivergent learners. Classrooms have become so much more inclusive, but some modern classrooms have the potential to disable students in new and exhausting ways actively. In this session, participants will learn how to adjust popular current approaches and designs to allow neurodivergent students to meaningfully and joyfully participate authentically.

    Presented by: Kelly Cray (she/her), Cultural and Language Support, Burr and Burton Academy
    Location: Lewis Academic Building 104 

    C7. Summer LIFE at the Beach: A Transition Experience for Students with Autism

    In Summer 2022, CSU Long Beach Bob Murphy Access Center’s (BMAC) Learning Independence for Empowerment (LIFE) Program hosted it’s first inaugural “LIFE @ The Beach” multi-night program for incoming and returning students with autism (ASD) with the purpose of developing self-determination skills, increasing social connectedness, self-esteem, independence and confidence, knowledge of CSULB services and programs, safe and healthy cooking practices, and highlighting the importance of group experiences. From this program, CSULB can share recommended program structure, pre and post assessments, collaborations with the campus and surrounding community, as well as recommendations for future programming.

    Presented by: Mary Nguyen, Director (she/her), Jessica Wood, Associate Director; CSU Long Beach (CSULB) Bob Murphy Access Center (BMAC)
    Location: MacFarlane (STEM) 104

    C8. Supporting Students with Executive Function Challenges

    This session covers executive functioning inside and out! Participants will learn about the frontal lobe of the brain and how it affects all students’ focus, effort, memory, attention, and even emotions. Students struggling with executive function have an impacted ability to effectively plan, manage time, stay organized, and so much more, which affects their success in school. The good news is EF coaching is simple and highly effective. This session will give participants the skills to recognize executive functioning deficits in students as well as practical, concrete strategies that they can employ to better support their students right away.

    Presented by: Samantha DePalo (she/her), Director of Outreach, The Jones-Gordon School
    Location: MacFarlane (STEM) 111

  • Discussion Session 1:
    Tuesday 6/27, 11:30 – 12:15  ET

    Choose ONE topic from this session that appeals to you. Join your colleagues to share your own knowledge and learn from each other.


    Location Topic
    Lewis Academic Building 102

    Evolving educational technologies: Help or hindrance?


    Lewis Academic Building 104

    Motivate! Get your students on board


    MacFarlane (STEM)104

    Striking a better balance between remediation and enrichment


    MacFarlane (STEM) 111

    Open topics

    (e.g., more time to discuss sessions presented at Summer Institute)

  • Workshops A: Tuesday, 6/27, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. ET

    Workshop sessions are 2-hour presentations that are more focused and go into more depth on a topic with relevance for educators working with students with LD, ADHD, and autism. These are intended to be more interactive in nature, which may include any or all of the following: hands-on activities, practice or application of taught strategies or skills, and rich discussion.

    *Choose one presentation from the following during Workshops Session A*:

    W1. Applying an Ungrading Philosophy: How Educators can Rethink and Redesign Assessment to Maximize Learning for Every Student

    Evidence shows that grading can demotivate students, promote cheating, and overall miss the mark on an authentic learning process. This session will focus on how to empower students to excel in any course using an “ungrading” philosophy. Specifically, what is the ungrading philosophy and how does it work? Second, how can teachers launch and engage students in this empowering assessment practice? This session will address the paradigm shift of power sharing, inspiring agency, and structuring a self-reflective feedback loop to create a genuine learning process for every student. Canvas examples will be shared and contract grading agreements will also be part of the interactive workshop. Prepare to discuss transformative ideas about grading and assessing neurodiverse students.

    Presented by: Eric Matte (he/him), Professor, Landmark College
    Location: Lewis Academic Building 102 

    W2. Empowering Neurodiverse Voices: Engaging the Whole Child-Whole Student on the Career Journey

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022) reported the employment status of individuals with disabilities is 27.7% for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher, in comparison to 73.2% of nondisabled individuals with a similar background. Using the Whole Child-Whole Student framework to create, re-create, and co-create the career journey liberates an active exchange of ideas focused on the career dispositions of students. Hearing from the voices of neurodiverse students and alumni, this presentation amplifies the prevalent barriers to employment that neurodiverse students experience and provides effective strategies for inclusion that can be assessed and measured for career success.

    Presented by: Chiara Latimer (she/her), Co-Director, Center for Neurodiversity & Program Coordinator, Rowan PATH, Alicia Monroe, Ed. D. (she/her), Assistant Director & Adjunct Faculty; Rowan University
    Location: Lewis Academic Building 104 

    W3. Adapting Birkman Language for Neurodiverse STEM Students

    In this interactive workshop, faculty and students will present our take-aways as participants in The Access to Innovative Education: STEM-Providing Learning Opportunities and Scholarship (AIE: STEM-PLOS), a National Science Foundation funded program at Landmark College. This session will provide an overview of the supports provided to students in the program (e.g., scholarship and mentorship), including description of the “Birkman assessment,” and the process of getting “Birk’d,” used to provide students with descriptive language for describing career activities. Students will reflect on their self-exploration with the Birkman survey as it relates to career readiness, their individual stories, and journeys, as well as internships and post-graduation work experience. The cohort course design model of the program, along with class activities—such as multi-modal learning activities and class discussions—will be described. An emphasis will be placed on the universal design of the program, that is its intentional design to promote accessibility for students who want to learn.

    Presented by: Mike Vittum (he/him), Student, Katie Hoder (she/her), Student, Andrew Barrows (he/him), Student, Yar Deng (she/her), Student, Landmark College and Rebecca Matte (she/her/hers), Todd Miller (he/him/his)
    Location: MacFarlane (STEM) 104

    W4. Designing Cooperative Learning Success for All Students

    More now than ever, it is an undeniable reality that learning to work collaboratively is a requisite skill for success in school and beyond. All too often, however, classroom group activities lack the research-validated ingredients needed to ensure that all students are engaged and learn how to cooperate with their peers. These methods are especially beneficial in ensuring that students with LD, ADHD, and autism can join their peers and participate successfully in cooperative learning activities. Experience these methods for yourself by engaging in an actual cooperative learning lesson in this session.

    Presented by: Peter Hess (he/him), Dean of Academics, Lawrence Academy
    Location: MacFarlane (STEM) 111

  • Landmark College Pedagogy – Faculty Panel 

    Tuesday 6/27, 3:45 – 4:45 p.m. ET
    Location Lewis Academic Building- Auditorium 

    Hear from a panel of current Landmark College faculty and staff as they share their knowledge and experience working firsthand with neurodivergent students. They will share strategies on how they handle tech/devices in the classroom, support student executive function, manage flexible deadlines, manage student anxiety, general classroom management, and more! Come with your questions you would like to have answered.  

  • Workshops B: Wednesday, 6/28, 9 – 11 a.m. ET

    Workshop sessions are 2-hour presentations that are more focused and go into more depth on a topic with relevance for educators working with students with LD, ADHD, and autism. These are intended to be more interactive in nature, which may include any or all of the following: hands-on activities, practice or application of taught strategies or skills, and rich discussion.

    *Choose one presentation from the following during Workshops Session B*:

    W5. Inclusion, Ableism, and Academic Rigor: Challenges, Opportunities, and Suggestions for Student Learning

    Neurodivergent students need inclusive teaching, and that extends to cognitive needs and physical abilities. Furthermore, this teaching needs to have the appropriate academic rigor. The questions of physical classroom presence, participation in learning opportunities, and other instructional activities must be considered to meet the intended learning outcomes and connect students with meaningful, accessible course content. In practice, instructors need to present options in situations where accessibility may be an issue, such as alternative assignments, multimodal course materials, and well-communicated expectations. This session will be a discussion of issues with a focus on seeking solutions that meet school and individual needs.

    Presented by: Dr. Jeanette Landin (she/her), Associate Professor and Lee Crocker, Associate Professor, Landmark College
    Location: Lewis Academic Building 102 

    W6. Educating Educators about the Ability Spectrum

    This presentation discusses a professional development workshop designed to help instructional faculty understand how dis/abilities impact learning, on the premise that post-secondary educators report needing training. This researcher embraces a 21st century model of support as per the United Nations (2006, 2016) and World Health Organizations’ (2011) imperatives that schools should improve the lives of individuals with dis/abilities through increasing dis/ability understanding and awareness. The presenter believes that dis/ability resource providers should be intricately involved in this work. The presenter frames disability as belonging to a spectrum of diverse human predicaments (Shakespeare, 2018).

    Presented by: Lisa M. Yates (she/her), Director, Dis/ability Support Services, Moreno Valley College
    Location: MacFarlane (STEM) 104

    W7. Distress Tolerance Planning

    In the fall of 2020, 31.4% of college students reported experiencing anxiety (American College Health Assoc). 57% of Landmark College students report that they have been diagnosed with anxiety at some point in their lives. In this presentation we will talk about a brain-based approach that we are using at Landmark College to help our students become more resilient in their responses to anxiety and to learn how to rewire their brains to reduce amygdala activation. We will be providing practical and effective strategies for responding to anxiety, and supporting increased anxiety tolerance.

    Presented by: Meg Spicer (she/her), Counselor and Nicole Pacenka, Assistant Director for Housing Operations and Resident Dean, Landmark College
    Location: Lewis Academic Building 104 

    W8. Executive Function and Study Strategies

    This presentation is meant to highlight the individual coaching work of the Landmark
    College Bay Area Success Center
    Learning Specialists. This will be a time and space dedicated to sharing and modeling effective tools and techniques that support executive function (EF). This will include an introduction to Success Center services, with an emphasis on our EF coaching service model. The workshop will include a brief overview of EF and common challenges we observe in our clients seeking out services. Resources shared from this workshop will fall mainly into two categories, resource and materials for coaches and EF related resources and tools we have found engaging and useful with our clientele.

    Presented by: Sarah Firestein (she/her), Learning Specialist
    Location: MacFarlane (STEM) 111

  • Discussion Session 2:
    Wednesday 6/28, 11:15 – Noon  ET

    Choose ONE topic from this session that appeals to you. Join your colleagues to share your own knowledge and learn from each other.


    Location Topic
    Lewis Academic Building 102

    All aboard! Get colleague/administration buy-in for your initiative

    Lewis Academic Building 104

    Cutting the cord: tapering parental involvement

    MacFarlane (STEM) 104

    The language of neurodiversity and LD

    MacFarlane (STEM)111

    Open topics

    (e.g., more time to discuss sessions presented at Summer Institute)

  • Reflections on a Professional Life Immersed in Neurodivergence

    By Christie Herbert, MFA, Professor of Studio Arts
    Landmark CollegePortrait of Christie Herbert

    Join us for our first annual “Banerjee Neurodiversity Plenary Presentation”! Named in honor of Dr. Manju Banerjee, current “LD and Neurodiversity Ambassador at-Large,&radio; and long-time advocate and expert in the field of neurodiversity.

    Wednesday 6/28, 12:15 – 1:30 p.m. ET (Lewis Academic Building

    Imagine working with neurodivergent learners for 37 years! Join Prof. Christie Herbert, a Landmark College faculty member since 1986, as she discusses with Adam Lalor, Landmark College’s Vice President of Neurodiversity Research and Innovation, how the field of learning differences and her teaching practice have evolved during her career. Key insights and anecdotes will be shared

    Christie Herbert, currently a professor in the art department at Landmark College began her career with a deep and abiding interest in literature, literacy, and language development. For her BA, she majored in English literature at Reed College. From there she spent a year teaching English in Japan and returned to the US to complete an MAT in teaching ESL from the School for International Training. After spending two years as a teacher trainer for language instructors in a Thai refugee camp, Herbert began at Landmark College as a tutor and English teacher. She then taught education courses for two decades at Landmark College and concurrently developed and gave teacher training workshops on effective teaching for students with learning differences in a multitude of formats. While focusing heavily on best practices in teaching students with learning differences, she continued an intense practice as a ceramic artist. In 2007, Herbert began the process of heading up the effort to create a ceramics studio at Landmark, which launched in 2008. Herbert then returned to school to receive an MFA in Visual Art from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and switched her departmental affiliation at Landmark to the arts. She currently teaches ceramics, capstone seminars, a writing in the arts course and a Japan study abroad course called Intersections of the Art and Culture of Japan.

Schedule at a Glance

Monday, June 26
Noon – 2 p.m.
Campus Tour (optional) starting at 12:15 p.m.
Keynote presentation:
2 – 3:30 p.m.
“Love on the Human Spectrum” by Jennifer Cook
Student Panel:
3:45 – 4:45 p.m.
Reception (hors d’oeuvres + drinks):
4:45 – 6 p.m.
Tuesday, June 27
Registration + light breakfast:
8 – 9 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions 1:
9 – 10 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions 2:
10:15 – 11:15 a.m.
Discussion 1:
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Lunch (provided):
12:15 – 1:30 p.m.
Workshops A:
1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Landmark College Pedagogy – Panel of LC faculty:
3:45 – 4:45 p.m.
Wednesday, June 28
Registration + light breakfast:
8 – 9 a.m.
Workshops B:
9 – 11 a.m.
Discussion 2:
11:15 a.m. – Noon
Plenary Presentation (boxed lunches provided):
12:15 – 1:30 p.m.
“Reflections on a Professional Life Immersed in Neurodivergence” by Christie Herbert


Who Should Attend?

  • College and university professors
  • Secondary school teachers
  • Learning specialists
  • Academic support professionals
  • Special educators
  • Disability service providers
  • School administrators
  • Education consultants
  • Curriculum and staff developers
  • Advisors

Or anyone wanting to learn more about supporting diverse student learners!

Campus COVID policies

At this time, the College is no longer requiring proof of vaccination from guests who are visiting campus. The mask-optional policy will apply, and the College recommends but does not require that guests who are not up to date with their vaccinations consider wearing a mask.

See our COVID Response page for more information and updates.

Continuing Education Credits (CEUs)

While we don’t offer specific CEUs, participants will receive digital badges that attest to participation in the event(s), including the number of hours involved. These can also be printed out as certificates (and/or we can assist with providing these). For many state education departments and organizations requiring CEUs, such a certificate often suffices for obtaining CEU credit—but it really depends on your particular state or organization (so we recommend reaching out to your representatives to see what is needed). We can also provide a letter of completion upon request.

Directions, Travel, and Accommodations information

Please see the following websites for travel information on getting to campus and recommended accommodations and resources for visitors to Putney, VT. Please note: the shuttle information listed on these websites is for Landmark College students only, we will not be offering a shuttle. Ride share and taxis are very limited in our region, thus we strongly recommend driving your own vehicle or renting a car from the airport.

Rooms are available at the Holiday Inn Express in Brattleboro (9 miles away) at a discounted rate of $129 per night, for any/all of the following days: 6/26, 6/27, 6/28. *Please note: Room availability is limited, with discounted rate appearing after entering one/all of these dates on the booking site. Contact the Brattleboro Holiday Inn Express directly for concerns on rooms, rates and availability.

Past Participant Testimonials

Here’s what past participants have said 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 workshop 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!”

Previous Summer Institutes

View program highlights and schedules from previous years on this page


Back to top