Colorado Student Engagement Institute

The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC/N) and Hope 4 The Wounded, LLC are pleased to sponsor the Colorado Student Engagement Institute, a two-day professional development workshop.

Day One – Presented by Dr. Joe Hendershott, Hope 4 The Wounded, LLC
Many young people carry wounds with them as they head to school, interact with friends and family, and experience life in their communities. These wounds, which become trauma, often come from poverty, abuse, violence, loss, or family dysfunction. Research shows that trauma has a direct effect on cognitive function, emotional health, behavior, and interpersonal capacity. Educators, counselors,, and youth practitioners can implement trauma-informed policies and approaches to their work that not only move wounded youth toward healing, but have a positive effect on overall student achievement and performance. Dr. Joe Hendershott will provide in-depth discussion regarding measures and strategies that will help attendees transform the policies and practices of their school to reach wounded students.

Day Two – Presented by Mr. John Gailer, National Dropout Prevention Center/Network; Dr. Pamela Bruening, National Alternative Education Association
Increasing student engagement has dramatic effects upon student retention and success. Student engagement strategies need to be locally-owned and developed. Day two will allow opportunity for district or school teams to develop strategies and plans for increasing student engagement that fit into Colorado accountability measures. Mr. John Gailer, Assistant Director of the National Dropout Prevention Center, and Dr. Pamela Bruening, President of the National Alternative Education Association, and individuals will utilize the framework of NDPC’s 15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention and effectiveness measures relevant to Colorado to assist individuals or teams as they develop plans for their local context.
The fee is $300 per person/two days attendance or $195/one day attendance. Registration is limited to 100 individuals due to space constraints. Registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration fees include refreshment breaks, lunch on Monday and Tuesday, and all conference materials. The location for the Student Engagement Institute is the Arvada Banquet and Conference Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd, Arvada, CO. If you require hotel accommodations please see the information below.

About the Speakers

John Gailer

John Gailer is the Assistant Director for Programs and Outreach with the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, located at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina. He earned his Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Georgia. He has more than 25 years of experience in the field of youth development in the contexts of youth at-risk and third culture kids. John has conducted leadership and teambuilding workshops throughout the country at the local, regional, and national levels. He has served as a consultant in areas of program, intervention, and collaboration design. He has 15 years of experience in higher education leadership and classroom instruction. In his current role with NDPC/N, John designs professional learning experiences that impact educators and youth practitioners across the country. John and his wife, Susanna, have two married sons and a daughter in college. They manage a home in Toccoa, Georgia that provides housing for 15 third culture kids whose parents reside all over the world.


Dr. Joe Hendershott

For Joe & Dardi Hendershott, Hope 4 The Wounded is not a career. It’s a life calling. And seemingly to their astonishment, it’s becoming a national movement. Joe has an extensive background working firsthand with at-risk and wounded youth as a teacher and in traditional, alternative, and correctional education settings. He has been a high school assistant principal, head principal, alternative school principal, and a principal at The Village Network.

In 2006, he co-founded Hope 4 The Wounded, Inc. with his wife, Dardi. He has been a featured presenter at international and national conferences and has conducted staff training/professional development on understanding and working with wounded students, leadership, emotional literacy, empathy, esteem, inclusive communities, and other topics relevant to today’s educational climate. Joe has written two acclaimed books, Reaching the Wounded Student (Eye on Education, 2008) and 7 Ways to Transform the Lives of Wounded Students (Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2016).

He is a keynote speaker at conferences across the United States. He also offers consultant services and professional development training for schools in person and through an online certificate program. Everything is focused on trauma-informed practices that lead to HOPE for the wounded student.


Dr. Pamela Bruening

Dr. Pamela L. Bruening is the President and CEO of Progressive Bridges, Inc., an educational services company that empowers educators nationwide through cutting edge professional development, consulting, and curriculum research and product design. She is also the Founder and CEO of DeeperDive Learning, Inc., publisher of EdQuest, an innovative online professional development library for educators. Dr. Bruening has had extensive experience in consulting with more than 10 educational product companies nationwide to support cutting edge product development for effective data analysis and intervention in K-12 classrooms, specifically in social-emotional learning (SEL). Formerly the Collier County, Florida’s Coordinator of Response to Intervention (RtI) and Positive Behavior Support (PBIS), Dr. Bruening oversaw the planning, implementation, data collection, and monitoring of one of the nation’s most accomplished and acclaimed RTI/MTSS programs. Dr. Bruening holds a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership and Human Resources Development and a Masters of Education degree in Reading. An educator for 30 years, Dr. Bruening is recognized as one of the nation’s preeminent experts in RtI/MTSS, PBIS, behavior initiatives, intervention, curriculum development, and alternative education. Dr. Bruening spent much of her education career in alternative schools, opening and leading a juvenile detention center and an expulsion program, as well as consulting to numerous juvenile justice programs and detention centers around the country. She has presented at many state and national conferences over the past 6 years and teaches graduate level alternative education courses through New England College. While serving on the National Alternative Education Association Board of Directors, Dr. Bruening has supported the development of a growing Florida state organization and regularly promotes NAEA across the nation through her consulting opportunities. She also serves on boards of companies such as Continental, Inc. and Innovative Technologies in Print.

Hotel Accommodations 

In the event you need hotel accommodations, below are two options that are located close to the Arvada Banquet and Conference Center:

Hilton Garden Inn Arvada (about 1 mile away)
5455 Old Wadsworth Blvd.
Arvada, CO 80002

Double Tree Westminster (about 3 miles but includes a complimentary shuttle)
8773 Yates Drive
Westminster, CO 80031

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