Building Bridges V(irtual) International Conference

June 1 – 3, 2022

Best Practices for the Inclusive Education of Diverse Students during Challenging Times

About

The University of Nicosia Department of Education and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Department of Early Childhood, Multilingual, and Special Education are pleased to announce BB-V, the Building Bridges V(irtual) International Conference, on June 1 – June 3, 2022; there will be no registration fee affiliated with this virtual event. The Building Bridges convenings have always aimed at bringing together the international community to discuss innovative solutions to complex social and educational issues our students with disabilities and their families continuously face. The ongoing worldwide pandemic has made us even more cognizant of the importance of collective work and, thus, we are excited to continue the Building Bridges long tradition by introducing the fifth (V) international conference taking place virtually. Our hope is that we create a stimulating space for focused, passionate advocates to come together and discuss new ways of ensuring the realization of our students’ highest potential.

Meet the Keynote Speakers

Dr Hannu Savolainen

Professor
University of Eastern Finland

Short Bio

Dr Wendy Cavendish

Professor
University of Miami

Short Bio

The Agenda

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Opening Remarks

08:00 – 08:15 PDT
18:00 – 18:15 EEST

Professor Constantinos Phellas, Senior Vice Rector, University of Nicosia
Professor Chris Heavey, Executive Vice President and Provost, University of Nevada Las Vegas

Keynote | “Positive Behavior Support for Inclusive Education”

08:15 – 08:40 PDT
18:15 – 18:40 EEST

Professor Hannu Savolainen

Inclusive education has been agreed upon as a universal goal and general attitudes towards this goal are positive, but questions on ‘how to get there’ raise many concerns. Challenging behaviors are perhaps the most commonly mentioned obstacle that challenges schools and teachers in this regard. The School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) framework offers approaches to strengthen teachers’ skills and efficacy beliefs that may lead to more inclusive practices and to more positive attitudes towards inclusion.

Keynote | “Reframing Policy Research on Inclusive Education”

08:40 – 09:05 PDT
18:40 – 19:05 EEST

Professor Wendy Cavendish

There is a need in disability equity research for intersectional frameworks that allow for consideration of the cultural and situated nature of disability and facilitate the use of reflexive practices. This approach can center students and families in the examination of implementation of inclusion policies and the “impact” of inclusive education.

Discussion

09:05 – 09:20 PDT
19:05 – 19:20 EEST

Chairs:
Lefki Kourea, University of Nicosia
Joseph Morgan, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Break

09:20 – 09:30 PDT
19:20 – 19:30 EEST

Parallel Session A1

09:30 – 11:00 PDT
19:30 – 21:00 EEST

Culturally Sustaining Practices in Inclusive Schools and Classrooms

Chair: Maria Evagorou, University of Nicosia

Francisco Usero Gonzalez
University of Houston

Interventions enable schools to focus their efforts on specific student groups while offering more individualized support. Standard practices and examinations typically misunderstand Emergent Billinguals as lacking knowledge, intelligence, or learning aptitude. Interventions for EBs and dual-language early learners must be culturally and linguistically responsive.

Matthew Love
San Jose State University
Rebecca Cruz
Johns Hopkins University
Allison Firsetone
University of California, Berkeley

Given the different lenses education practitioners and researchers apply to their work and disciplines, theoretical fragmentation creates a systemic barrier to the inclusion of diverse student populations. This presentation replies to calls for cross-pollination of equity frameworks that span the education system. We present and discuss Critical Inclusion (InCrit), as a theoretical framework for reimagining equity in schools.

Cathi Draper Rodriguez
California State Monterey Bay

Students who are emergent bilingual and have an identified disability can present with complicated needs in the classroom. Educators must use evidence-based practices to inform instruction so that all students can remain in the inclusive setting. This paper presents the research background and best practices for emergent bilinguals with disabilities.

Parallel Session A2

09:30 – 11:00 PDT
19:30 – 21:00 EEST

Teacher Education, Mentoring, and Professional Development

Chair: Fatmana Deniz, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Suheyla Sarisahin
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Teachers feel unprepared to support students’ oral language and do not provide enough opportunities for student interactions. Preparing teachers to notice their practices is essential. This presentation will present the preliminary findings of a qualitative single-case study exploring special education teacher candidates’ noticing behaviors during their video self-reflection experiences in the context of classroom discourse.

Gloria Carcoba Falomir
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Mathematical discourse is essential for the development of students’ mathematical thinking, reasoning, and conceptual understanding. Research on teachers’ discursive practices has shown that teacher talk mostly dominates classroom discourse and teacher-student interactions. Preliminary findings of this qualitative study on teachers’ mathematical discourse perceived beliefs and practices will be explained and discussed during this presentation.

Heather Baltodano-Van Ness
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Joseph Morgan
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

In this session, the presenters will briefly review the teacher shortage internationally, nationally, and in Nevada. The presenters will discuss multiple innovations in teacher licensure pathways designed to increase the number of qualified teachers, as well as the current data regarding their recruitment efforts, enrollment, program completion, and teacher retention.

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Virtual Poster Discussion

07:30 – 08:00 PDT
17:30 – 18:00 EEST

Kamilah Bywaters
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Parallel Session B1

08:00 – 09:20 PDT
18:00 – 19:20 EEST

Evidence-based Practices for Academic and Social Skill Instruction through Multi-tiered Systems of Support

Chair: Gloria Carcoba Falomir, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Marina Rodosthenous-Balafa
University of Nicosia
Maria Chatzianastasi
University of Nicosia

Wordless texts belong to several genres, such as wordless picturebooks or wordless short films, which offer a richness of signs encouraging multiple exchanges and topics of discussion in inclusive classrooms. More specifically, wordless short films combine music and moving images as opposed to the still image of the picturebooks. Focusing on the short film Papa’s Boy by Leevi Lemmetty (2010), we will discuss how wordless short films offer various pedagogical benefits in inclusive settings by cultivating several critical and creative thinking processes, skills and literacies such as sequential thinking, inferential thinking, understanding of multilevel meanings, elaboration on hypothesis, visual literacy and cultural literacy, concluding to help students improve self-esteem.”

Lefki Kourea
University of Nicosia
Anastasia Sotiriadou
University of Nicosia

Wordless texts have been used extensively as a part of reading interventions in general education settings for improving student narrative and comprehension skills in preschool and school-age students (Grolig et al., 2020). As schools move to become more inclusive, it is important to examine the current research base of the impact of reading interventions, utilizing wordless texts for students with disabilities. This paper aims at (1) examining research on the effectiveness of incorporating wordless texts in reading interventions for students with disabilities and/or students at risk for reading failure, and (2) discussing the literature review findings for classroom practice and future research agenda.

Maria Vrikki
University of Nicosia
Anastasia Sotiriadou
University of Nicosia

Active student participation during classroom dialogue has increasingly shown promising benefits for general education students. ‘Dialogue’ refers to student-centred interactions, in which students elaborate, expand, justify and negotiate ideas. Good listening skills, as well as respect and acceptance of differing ideas are pre-requisite social skills for such interactions. This paper presents a qualitative case study of high dialogic practices around a wordless text (Papa’s Boy by Leevi Lemmetty), implemented in a fourth-grade language-arts lesson. Using stimulated recall, we qualitatively analysed the contributions of the two groups of students in this class: students with disabilities and students without disabilities. Implications for dialogic teaching practices in inclusive classrooms are discussed.

Parallel Session B2

08:00 – 09:20 PDT
18:00 – 19:20 EEST

Integration of Technology in the Education of Students with Disabilities

Chair: Efi Nisiforou, University of Nicosia

Eva Papadopoulos
Center for Social Innovation

According to research, special needs students face higher academic, psychological and social problems in the higher education. Research shows that EU countries obtain different definitions of disability and the Assistive Technologies that can support those students. The E+ project “SSSD-HE” focuses on developing integrated digital Assistive Technology for higher education.

Kathy Ewoldt
University of Texas at San Antonio
Wei Yan
University of Texas at San Antonio

Although virtual reality (VR) games are relatively popular among young learners, the science to examine simultaneously immersive environments for intervention/instruction is scarce, particularly for English Learners with learning disabilities (ELwLD). This pilot study will report the design, development, and preliminary testing of a writing intervention prototype in Roblox.

Xanthia Aristidou
European University Cyprus
Katerina Mavrou
European University Cyprus
Marianna Efstathiadou
European University Cyprus
Jo Daems
Thomas More University of Applied Sciences
Tessa Delien
Thomas More University of Applied Sciences

This contribution will present the processes in which involved partners of the SKATE project (an Erasmus+ project aiming to generate knowledge about the use of ICT and Assistive Technology for inclusive early childhood education) and representative stakeholders, developed a set of Guidelines by means of a Delphi Procedure. The Delphi process structured the co-design and consultation for the Guidelines, which will serve as a tool for developing the learning program and training material for early childhood educators, in order to promote Inclusive education in early years with the use of technology.

Break

09:20 – 09:30 PDT
19:20 – 19:30 EEST

Parallel Session C1

09:30 – 11:00 PDT
19:30 – 21:00 EEST

Evidence-based Practices for Academic and Social Skill Instruction through Multi-tiered Systems of Support

Chair: Kendra Antill, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Megan Carpenter
Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities
Ya-yu Lo
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Virginia Walker
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

School-wide positive behavior interventions and supports (SWPBIS) is a tiered framework to support the behavioral needs of all students. However, students with ASD are not always included. Researchers present results on the effects of Check-In/Check-Out, a Tier 2 intervention, on the behaviors of students with ASD and extensive support needs.

Angeliki Liasidou
University of Cyprus
Lefki Kourea
University of Nicosia
Aggela Economou
Cyprus Ministry of Education

School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) is a multi-tiered systems of support framework that provides social and behavioral supports for all students based on their individual needs. Because students have different needs, tailored levels of support are critical for student success. This presentation describes the implementation steps and empirical findings of the targeted intervention “Check in-Check out” for students with mild chronic behavioral difficulties. Factors that contribute to the high implementation fidelity will be discussed.

Robbie Marsh
Mercer University

Sixty-five percent of school districts actively review mental health policies and procedures with school staff (Kauffman & Badar, 2018). Integrating mental health and PBIS MTSS procedures can help schools improve student mental health and behavioral outcomes. This presentation will outline integrated PBIS and mental health MTSS interventions for all students.

Parallel Session C2

09:30 – 11:00 PDT
19:30 – 21:00 EEST

Culturally Sustaining Practices in Inclusive Schools and Classrooms

Chair: Maria Evagorou, University of Nicosia

Panayiota Christodoulidou
University of Nicosia

School lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused significant challenges for schools worldwide. This paper presents the results of an online survey conducted from March to September 2019 that explored teachers’ attitudes towards new online teaching and learning practices, and the challenges educators had to overcome. Additionally, the study examined the impact of online teaching practices on the learning progress of students with disabilities (aged 6-18 years old). Results are presented and discussed within the context of Cyprus’ centralized education system.

Marina Vaseiliadou
University of Cyprus
Simoni Symeonidou
University of Cyprus

This study explored how a Friendship Development Program (FDP) based on an inclusive ethos and approach affected children in early childhood education (ECE). We used mixed methodology. Analysis of the data revealed that children’s friendships were positively affected after the implementation of the FDP. Various important issues emerged e.g. friendless children were also voiceless, that may help guide future research and efforts to promote friendships in ECE.

Virtual Poster Discussion

11:00 – 11:30 PDT
21:00 – 21:30 EEST

Scotia Hammond
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Glykeria Kalamata
Center for Social Innovation

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Virtual Poster Discussion

07:00 – 07:30 PDT
17:00 – 17:30 EEST

Joseph Abueg 
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

07:30 – 08:00 PDT
17:30 – 18:00 EEST

Joseph Morgan &  Tara Raines
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Parallel Session D1

08:00 – 09:20 PDT
18:00 – 19:20 EEST

Culturally Sustaining Practices in Inclusive Schools and Classrooms

Chair: Gloria Carcoba Falomir, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Evdokia Pittas
University of Nicosia

This cross-sectional study showed that performance in phonological/morphological awareness by Greek speaking struggling readers/spellers (N = 110), aged 6–9 years, significantly predicted performance in reading/spelling even after partialling out verbal intelligence. Thus, in making literacy classrooms inclusive, teachers are encouraged to make the connection between phonemes/morphemes and literacy explicit.

Argyro Fella
University of Nicosia
Timothy Papadopoulos
University of Cyprus

The purpose of this paper is to determine the role and relative contribution of both distal and proximal cognitive skills in reading in consistent orthographies.

Vita Jones
California State University Fullerton
Dawn Person
California State University Fullerton

This paper reports the parental perceptions of the resilience characteristics of students of color through two studies. A Delphi study and a Grounded Formal Theory inquiry were employed. Both groups relay the importance of resilience in achieving academic success and the perceptions of parents about their child’s success.

Parallel Session D2

08:00 – 09:20 PDT
18:00 – 19:20 EEST

Teacher Education, Mentoring, and Professional Development

Chair: Kyriakos Demetriou, University of Nicosia

Fatmana Deniz
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

This presentation aims to discuss findings from a study of the teacher perception of autonomy-supportive teaching related to organizational, procedural, cognitive autonomy support. The relationship between teacher licensure, student demographics, school context, and teacher beliefs on the cognitive autonomy process between general and special education teachers will be shared.

Nikos Apteslis
University of Nicosia
Alexia Voutsina
University of Nicosia

This article presents the results of a quantitative research study investigating the perceptions and knowledge of Greek school teachers on the inclusion of students on the autism spectrum in mainstream school and the factors affecting them, with the effect of training in autism and experience with autism examined.

Regina Brandon
San Diego State University

Research suggests that collaboration between general and special education teachers is a necessary component of effective teaching for all students, including students with disabilities receiving their educational services within the general education classrooms. This presentation will focus on a program that provided opportunities for collaborations between general-education and special-education pre-service student teacher candidates. Session participants will hear from special-education pre-service student teacher candidates who participated in the program.

Break

09:20 – 09:30 PDT
19:20 – 19:30 EEST

Session E

09:30 – 10:20 PDT
19:30 – 20:20 EEST

Culturally Sustaining Practices in Inclusive Schools and Classrooms

Chair: Evdokia Pittas, University of Nicosia

Sharolyn Pollard-Durodola
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

India represents one of the most pluralistic societies (e.g., languages, religions, indigenous populations) globally and is striving towards a new national identity. Concepts of inclusion, summarized in The 2020 National Education Policy, moves beyond exceptionality and can only be interpreted from an intersectional lens that reflects the paradoxes of local culture.

Joseph Morgan
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Tracy Griffin Spies
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

It is essential for teachers of emergent bilingual students with disabilities (EBwDs) to provide culturally and linguistically responsive instruction that (a) supports EBwDs’ native language, (b) assists with their acquisition of English, and (c) provides them access to the general education curriculum. However, programs and policies that guide teacher education often provide conflicting or disjointed information regarding the provision of culturally and linguistically responsive intervention and instruction. This session will highlight the findings from a three-round Delphi survey focused on developing consensus among teacher educators about the critical knowledge, skills, and dispositions teacher candidates need to provide high-quality, responsive instruction to EBwDs.

Closing Remarks

10:20 – 11:00 PDT
20:20 – 21:00 EEST

Chairs:
Lefki Kourea, University of Nicosia
Joseph Morgan, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Available throughout June 2022

Virtual posters will be available from June 1, 2022, 08:00 PDT / 18:00 EEST to June 30, 2022, 11:00 PDT / 21:00 EEST. Browse through the virtual poster booths and search for the topics you are most interested in. Make sure to check the agenda on Day 2 and Day 3 for a chance to talk or chat with the presenters about their research during scheduled sessions or email them after the sessions.

Kamilah Bywaters
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Professional development should engage special education teachers in narrative or storytelling as a way to examine personal experiences and beliefs. This presentation will explore narrative and transformational learning theory as a foundation for challenging teacher attitudes and assumptions in order to prepare teachers to engage in inclusive practices.

Joseph Abueg
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

In the United States, disability-related studies often omit the experiences of Asian Americans (Hasnain et al., 2020). To help Asian American children with disabilities achieve positive learning outcomes, professionals need to develop cultural sensitivity and engage in practices that respect the families’ cultures (Jegathessan et al., 2010a).

Joseph Morgan
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Tara C. Raines
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Schools are a critical component of a larger community network; however, educators often fail to integrate the assets available within their community that could be used to support the academic, behavioral, and social-emotional outcomes of the students they serve. Additionally, schools as systems often do not recognize the impact of systemic inequities built into the social fabric of their school community and therefore do not pair instruction and intervention that is responsive to the needs of participants of their school community. To address these inequities, this session will highlight the framework of a full service community schools model that exists in 14 public elementary schools focused on the integration of healing-centered approaches that elevate the assets that diverse students bring with them to school communities. Initial findings and lessons learned will be discussed.

Scotia Hammond
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Experiencing stress, especially at high levels and during pivotal developmental years, can have a detrimental impact on adolescents’ overall development and well-being. Based on findings from a convergent mixed-methods study, this session will discuss what high school students with EBD identify as current stressors in their lives.

Glykeria Kalamata
Center for Social Innovation

The project L.E.I.SURE SKILLS (sociaL inclusion for mEntal dIsability and leiSSURE SKILLS) aims at helping young adults with intellectual disabilities develop and improve leisure time management skills, with the help of their teachers, trainers or parents, and promoting their inclusion in education, labour market and society at large.

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Available until 03 Aug 2022, 10:00 PM