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WCASS Fall Conference
Chula Vista Resort
1000 Chula Vista Pkwy.
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

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Monday, September 27, 2021, 11:00 AM to Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 12:00 PM CDT
Category: Events

WCASS 2021 Fall Conference

This year's conference will take place September 27-29, 2021 at the Chula Vista in the Wisconsin Dells. Find the conference schedule, hotel information, and registration below. If you are interested in being an exhibitor please click here.

Hotel Information

To make individual reservations for this event please use Reservation Number: 1-833-414-2942. Please refer to booking ID # H78196 when making a reservation. The room block cut-off date is 9/10/21. Reservations for guest rooms received after 8/27/21 will be provided on a space-available basis at rates published by Chula Vista and subject to availability. 

 Conference Schedule

Monday, September 27, 2021

11:30 - 12:00 PM | Registration: Grand Ballroom Lobby

12:00 - 12:05 PM | Welcome: Upper Dells Ballroom 

12:00 - 4:00 PM | Legal Seminar Pre-Convention Session

Room | Upper Dells Ballroom

12:00 - 12:50 | Implications of Recent DPI and OCR Decisions 

Speakers: Attorneys Gary Ruesch, Alana Leffler, and Sheila Thobani, Buelow, Vetter, Buikema, Olson & Vliet, LLC

Implications of recent DPI and OCR decisions related to manifestation determinations and seclusion/restraint. Also review recent (and sometimes surprising!) DPI IDEA complaint decisions.

1:00 - 1:50 | COVID & Delta Variant Issues

Speakers: Attorneys Tess O’Brian and Matt Bell, Boardman and Clark , LLP

COVID & Delta variant Issues including face masks (from all perspectives), shortened day issues caused by COVID/comp/recovery ed, and some traps for funding. 

2:00 - 2:50 | Legal Update on Title IX, Social Media, Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students

Speakers: Attorneys Mary Gerbig and Emily Turzinski, Buelow, Vetter, Buikema, Olson & Vliet, LLC

3:00 - 3:50 | Impacts of COVID-19 on School District’s Section 504 Responsibilities

Speakers: Attorney Chad Wade, Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy, s.c.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

7:30 - 8:30 AM | Registration & Continental Breakfast: Grand Ballroom Lobby

8:15 - 8:30 AM | Welcome and Kick-Off

8:30 - 10:00 AM | Keynote Session | Sponsored by PresenceLearning

Room | Grand Ballroom

With Change Comes Opportunity
Speakers: Laurie Vanderploeg, Immediate Past Director of Office of Special Education & current Associate Executive Director of CEC

Let’s focus on how change can bring new opportunities and how new opportunities can facilitate change.  How unpredictable and predictable change can move us into action. How action can impact results and sustainable systems.   

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM | Break with Vendors

10:30 - 11:30 AM | Concurrent Sessions

1. Moving from In-Person to Virtual Environments

Speakers: Sharon Madsen and Daniel Parker, Wisconsin DPI

Room | B/D

Wisconsin DPI developed an online guide and several video presentations during COVID-19 on how to review and revise IEP when moving from in-person to a virtual learning environment. In Wisconsin and nationally, there has been a large amount of guidance (both in terms of special education legal requirements as well as best practice) on what and how IEP teams should focus upon when moving to a virtual learning environment. This presentation will work off of the main concepts of DPI’s guide to implementing IEP and monitoring progress of IEP goals when moving between in-person to virtual or Hhybrid learning environments.


2. SEL and Mental Health is the Work of ALL in Education

Speakers: Lisa Stein WCRS Statewide Coach and Stacey Starke, WCRS Statewide Coach

Room | Upper Dells Ballroom

This presentation will be highly interactive and collaborative. Participants will be given information and instruction on how to use processes and protocols to review their current frameworks and systems within their schools and/or districts, while also envisioning what they imagine a high quality, equitable mental health and wellbeing program could look like in their setting. Time will be given to use those processes and protocols to reflect on their current frameworks and systems within their schools or districts and dream about what could be.


3. Town Hall Meeting

Speaker: Laurie Vanderploeg, Immediate Past Director of Office of Special Education & current Associate Executive Director of CEC

Room | A/C

4. Extending Best Practices: Communities of Care Through TIG (Trauma, Illness, Grief)

Speakers: Jackie Winter, Director of Pupil Services, Whitnall SD, Kaari Olson, Director of Student Services, Muskego-Norway SD, Amy Scheel-Jones, Senior Consultant, Coordinated Care Services, and Sue Doyle, Director of Special Education and Pupil Services, CESA 1 

Room | E/F

Outcomes improve and students thrive in environments that are safe, supported and responsive. Schools and districts are engaged in transformation efforts to evolve practices, procedures, and policies to be trauma-responsive and equity-focused. Significant investment has been made in raising awareness of the impact of trauma and adversity on brains, bodies, and behaviors yet education professionals continue to voice concern that there is an application gap between “knowing” and “doing”. Based on the CESA 1  region’s pilot of the TIG Core Curriculum, this session will offer a real-world example of a model that supports districts in these shared and high-stakes responsibilities. Presenters will provide an overview of the model, including the comprehensive training components and the infrastructure of the sustainable crisis response networks.

11:45 - 1:00 PM | Lunch and General Membership Meeting

1:00 - 1:30 PM | Dessert and Visit with Vendors |  Sponsored by SpEd Forms

1:30 - 2:30 PM | Concurrent Sessions

1. Supporting Our LGTBQ+ Population

Speaker: Lisa Koenecke, Adjunct Faculty Instructor, Lakeland University 

Room | Upper Dells Ballroom 

Pronouns, name changes, and restroom usage are just a few of the areas we will discuss. Rural, suburban, and urban school districts are seeing more students coming out as their true identities. Lisa Koenecke has over 20 years of experience in this area. She was a secondary school counselor for 12 years and served at the state and national levels of leadership. In her TEDX talk, she explains her shift when a 12-year-old came out to her. This story was the catalyst to her best-selling book: Be an Inclusion Ally: ABCs of LGBTQ+. Engaging, funny and life-changing are words used to describe her presentations in the 30 states she has presented. Walk away with free resources, understandings of current laws, and vocabulary to help your district keep these students alive! Thanks for shifting from a small “a” ally to a capital “A” ALLY!


2. Education Equity in Special Education USDA’s Journey

Speakers: Heidi Siebert-Preul, Director of Pupil Services/Special Education, and Megan Murphy, School Psychologist, Antigo SD

Room | E/F

The purpose of our presentation will be to share the deep personal, practical, and systemic work that the USDA has done over the last 2 years around equity, specifically asking tough questions regarding how we are identifying students with disabilities and how we are servicing them through a commitment to equity.


3. Humanistic Leadership

Speaker: Nick Pretasky, Associate Director, WRCCS

Room | A/C

This presentation is a guided conversation with the participants about the core principles of humanistic leadership. Each component of Humanistic Leadership: 1. Self-reflection and INNER WORK, 2. Relentless pursuit to build TRUST, 3. LISTEN FIRST since leadership is service to others, 4. Accept Responsibility and believe in DAILY GROWTH, and 5. Have a STRATEGY, system or plan will be shared and discussed. I will use stories and experiences from my days as a wilderness guide and how this work impacted the way I led my school.


4. Critical Incident Response Team Project

Speaker: Kelly Dejonge, Critical Incident Response Coordinator, Wisconsin Department of Justice

Room | B/D

This presentation is designed to provide an overview of the regionally based Critical Incident Response (CIR) teams that are being developed statewide. The CIR teams will provide support, resources, and assistance to all K-12 school districts in Wisconsin that have been faced with a critical incident. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn how to become involved on a CIR team in their region.

2:30 - 2:45 PM | Break

2:45 - 3:45 PM | General Session

Revisions to Disability Category Criteria Within Comprehensive Special Education Evaluation 
Speakers: WDPI Staff

In spring 2020, Wisconsin DPI submitted 6 of 12 disability category criteria for rule making revisions. This presentation will provide a high level “what special education directors need to know” so that they are better equipped to then determine which DPI resources and information they will need to direct their staff to engage in further learning.  This presentation will also provide related to Bulletin 21.01 Special Education Evaluation, revised disability category criteria worksheets, and the revised ER-1 evaluation report.

4:30-6:00 PM  WELCOME SOCIAL: Sponsored by Buikema, Olson & Vliet, LLC

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

7:00 -8:25 PM  | Full Breakfast 

Room | Grand Ballroom

8:30-10:00 | WDPI Updates

Presenters: Julia Hartwig / Susan Piazza/Rachel Zelmer / Matt Baier: Explanation of issues related to IDEA and the American Rescue Plan (Wisconsin Model)

10:00-10:15 | Break 

10:15-11:00 | Navigating with Advocacy

Speakers: John Forester & Luther Olsen

11:00-11:30 | WCASS Membership Legislative Update

Speaker: John Forester

The 2021 WCASS Fall Conference is SOLD OUT! 

Contact Kathy Gilbertson at [email protected] to be put on the waitlist.

Cancellation Information:

A full refund of fees will be made on cancellations received 10 days prior to the start of the convention. Following that date, a 40% administrative fee will be retained. There will be no refund for no-shows or cancellations during the event.

Exhibitor Information

Click Here to Register as an Exhibitor or Sponsor

Join us for this exhibiting opportunity Tuesday, September 28, 2021, at the Chula Vista in the Wisconsin Dells and capitalize on the opportunity to network with special education leaders and decision-makers in Wisconsin school districts. Participate as an exhibitor at the WCASS Winter Conference and share your products and services with over 150 Special Education leaders. Help set the stage for student success with those who are responsible for making special education purchases in Wisconsin school districts.

Exhibits are open on September 28, 2021. The schedule is as follows: 

  • Vendor set-up: 6:30-7:30
  • Vendor show: 7:30 am - 3:00 pm
  • Vendor peak times: 10:00-10:30 & 1:00-1:30
  • Vendor tear down: 3:00-4:00 pm
  • Attend keynote and breakout sessions on Tuesday to learn more about what is affecting Wisconsin school districts.

Exhibit registration of $375 (for Business Associates) or $425 (for Non-Members) includes one skirted hotel table, two chairs, internet access, electricity, breakfast and lunch, and conference registration for ONE person from your organization. Additional company representatives may attend for $50. A light breakfast and lunch are included in the registration cost.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Conference Gift

  • Full Sponsorship: $1,000.00 

Monday Afternoon Break

  • Full Sponsorship: $1,250.00
  • Co-sponsorship: $625.00

Tuesday Breakfast

  • Full Sponsorship: $2,500.00
  • Co-Sponsorship: $1,250.00

Tuesday Luncheon

  • Full Sponsorship: $3,000.00  
  • Co-Sponsorship: $1,500.00 

Tuesday Afternoon Break

  • Full Sponsorship: $2,000.00
  • Co-Sponsorship: $1,000.00

Wednesday Breakfast

  • Full Sponsorship: $2,500.00
  • Co-Sponsorship: $1,250.00 

Keynote Speaker

  • Sponsorship: $1,500.00

Advertising Opportunities

  • Full page ad: $150 - 1 available
  • 1/2 page ad: $100 - 2 available
  • 1/4 page ad: $75 - 4 available

*All Ads are due 9/10/21 

Contact: [email protected]