Beyond Content 2017


Beyond Content: Cultivating Presence in Learning Relationships


**** Tickets available through March 10th, 2017---Space is Limited****


As an adult when you think back to your own meaningful relationships with teachers, it is often the teacher’s warmth and care that you remember over the content of what was taught in the classroom. Given that all learning and development occurs within relationships-- the practice and cultivation of compassionate and intentional care is paramount in developing these formative relationships with the whole child.


The continued trend and focus in education on what to teach far too often undermines how and why we teach. This trend gives primacy to content of curriculum over the creativity of learning and teaching. This trend puts educators at risk for forgetting the true curriculum is the living and breathing experience between teacher and student.


This professional development conference for educators aims to support and bring forth the importance and the power of cultivating presence within pedagogical relationships.


These workshops are intended to support the remembering of human relationships within education over the focus on content heavy curriculum that permeates education today. The workshops include evidence-based and age old practices from the fields of humane education, narrative medicine, nursing, drama therapy, creative arts, social work, and mind-body medicine.


The workshops will provide educators with a deepening of reflective practices through the use of mindfulness-based practices, close reading exercises, deep listening, and embodied and reflective writing. The workshops will place much emphasis on movement and learning, emotional balance for personal and professional self-care as methods to strengthen attunement within the teacher-student relationships.

(Please secure your spot-Limited Tickets)




Project Presence Information Session Free and Keynote Speaker Dr. Nicholas Kardaras RSVP required if you are not attending the whole conference)



March 24th, 2017 @ 6:00p.m.-8:00p.m.


Dr. Nicholas Kardaras is an internationally renowned speaker, one of the country’s foremost addiction experts and the Executive Director of the Dunes in East Hampton NY. A former Clinical Professor at Stony Brook Medicine, he has also taught neuropsychology at the doctoral-level, and is the author of "Glow Kids" (St. Martin's Press, 2016) and "How Plato and Pythagoras Can Save Your Life" (Conari, 2011). He has written for TIME Magazine, Scientific American, Psychology Today and FOX News, and has appeared on the CBS Evening News, Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, NPR, Good Day New York and in Esquire, New York Magazine and Vanity Fair. Considered a leading expert on kids and digital addiction, he's clinically worked with over 1,000 teens during the last 15 years and has been active in advocating that screen addiction be recognized as a clinical disorder akin to substance addiction.


Poster Presentation and Discussion

Are you looking for ways to improve school climate and enhance social and emotional resources for your teachers, students, and community?


Project Presence invites you to an information session of the Project Presence Social and Emotional Learning Program for Schools and Educators.


Project Presence is a not-for-profit organization that aims to support educational systems in developing and enhancing social and emotional resources of teachers, administrators, and students. Project Presence utilizes age-old evidence based practices that are grounded in contemporary neuroscience research. These practices are known to cultivate resilience, compassion, and critical thinking abilities in both individuals and groups and in turn improve social relationships and student test scores. Specific practices are derived from mindfulness, yoga, integrative nutrition, and movement for health and wellness.


This information session is part of the educator conference Beyond Content: Cultivating Presence in Learning Relationships. This program will highlight feasibility and efficacy for implementation as well as ways to integrate social emotional learning into your already existing education framework.


We look forward to meeting you and working together in supporting the whole person.


Spaces are limited RSVP is necessary to attend. If you are interested, please register on this page.


Beyond Content Workshops and Schedule

Saturday March 25th

8:30-9:00 a.m. Final registration and Check-in

9:00-10:00 a.m. Morning Yoga and Meditation (ALL LEVELS)

10:15-11:45 a.m. Breakout Sessions


Fear, Anxiety, Anger, and the Pedagogical Relationship

Dr. Scott Johnson

Deepen your understanding of the nature of the emotions of fear, anxiety and anger; and learn how to better recognize and work with these emotions in you and your students as they arise in your teaching relationships. These emotions can be reduced in impact, and the power they have over us can diminish, as we learn to better understand them at embodied, somatic, and intellectual levels. Pragmatic, grounded practices will be shared that can be used in the classroom, as well as in all relationships in your life.


Mindful Practices to Create a Balanced Learning Environment

Kim Emery

This workshop will include mindfulness, breath work and movement practices designed for the classroom environment to be used with students of all ages. Participants will experience a variety of self-awareness practices to use in the classroom including chair yoga, breath work that promotes an engaging learning environment while reducing stress and anxiety, and other cognitive and sensory mindfulness-based practices. Many of the strategies shared are intended to be implemented in minimal time.


Student Somatic Complaints and Integrative Approaches to Student Well-being (Part 1)

CEU's offered for Nursing Participants. Course is open to all

Toula Kelikian, MSN, RN

Joshua Hendrickson, LMSW

A great deal of student nursing requires the nurse to listen to not only the story of the child but also to make thorough and accurate diagnosis in a short period of time to determine the APPROPRIATE intervention. Chronic and intermittent somatic complaints of students are difficult to assess, diagnosis, and treat in school-based health settings. These complaints are often presented as headaches, nausea, and hard to define stomach pain and are not easily explained from a medical perspective. Complaints of this nature are known to account for a disproportionate use of school health resources, AS WELL AS FACE TO FACE INSTRUCTION TIME. These complaints are also associated with psychosocial variables of anxiety and depression, childhood adversity (illness, trauma, divorce), and school related stress. Effective and practical treatment approaches to these complicated child issues require accurate identification, appropriate referral, screening for associated conditions, individualized treatment plan in order to assist the students to return to class healthy and ready to learn.

This workshop will will focus on

· General somatic complaint presentation
· The psychosocial variables associated with somatic complaints
· Exploration of effective Mind-body skills sets for in school intervention
· Review potential referral protocols and screening options
· Integration of Mind-Body Medicine practices for the development of individualized treatment plans


12:00-1:00 Lunch provided by Project Presence w/Jennifer Kelly

1:15-2:45 pm Breakout Sessions Offered

Making Sense of Trauma: An Interpersonal Neurobiological Perspective
Carolyn A. Trasko, LCSW, LADC

The purpose of this workshop is to increase understanding related to emotional, psychological and/or physical reactions typically experienced by trauma victims and their families. Utilizing an interpersonal neurobiological perspective, this seminar will explore specific autonomic responses in our survival system, identify the importance of somatic narratives and recognize ways to utilize mindful awareness to promote resilience in working with those who have experienced trauma.

Student Somatic Complaints and Integrative Approaches to Student Well-being (Part 2)

Toula Kelikian, MSN, RN

Joshua Hendrickson, LMSW

Continuation of first sessions workshop


The Enormous Power of Affect: Connecting Social and Academic Engagement

Elizabeth Stein

Through a series of exercises, participants will explore practical applications that support affective networks within the process of learning. Current brain research reveals affect as centrally important to learning. As a result of this workshop, participants will engage in conversations and activities to dig deeper into:

· The role affect plays in a meaningful learning process

· Cultivate learners’ positive sense of self and their relationship with learning

· Co-creating a positive learning community


3:00-4:30 Breakout Sessions


Using Yoga for Emotional Regulation in the Classroom

Siobhan Cassidy, LMSW, RYT

The workshop explores movement meditation as a strategy for educating the whole student while encouraging and supporting educator self-care. Research suggests that yoga-informed practices have the potential to enhance educators’ social-emotional resources by increasing wellbeing, reducing the impact of stress-related problems, and support classroom and learning environments. Learn how yoga practices can improve self-awareness of thoughts, emotions, and causes for behaviors. Participants will learn to more deeply connect with compassionate action for self and others while also reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. Educators will leave this workshop with a greater confidence and skillfulness to effectively implement yoga and mindfulness-based activities in the classroom.


Mindfulness Practices for Educator Stress

Kristin Makena, Licensed Educational Psychologist, N.C.S.P.

Anyone who works in the educational field has observed or experienced burnout. Due to the stressors of the profession and the needs of each community it is not surprising educators experience significant levels of stress. When supporting educators to reduce stress levels it is essential to cultivate practices that mediate burnout and increase healthy functioning. Mindfulness practices focusing on self-compassion and gratitude provide an excellent way to support the multitude of stressors presented to educators supporting students.

As we move towards increased inclusion of social and emotional learning, educators are in need of resources and tools to efficiently and effectively support their work. Research shows that the creation of positive learning relationships with students is a significant factor leading to educational success.


Mindful Arts Techniques: Creative Approaches to Cultivating Presence In Learning

Tim Needles

This hands-on workshop will focus on mindful arts techniques that incorporate aspects of fine art, theater, music, and dance which can be used to aid cultivating presence in learning environments. The therapeutic techniques don't require great technical skill and are appropriate for educators in any discipline with no background in the arts. The workshop will focus primarily on five creative techniques:

· Mindful Music Appreciation- An exercise in mindful, non-judgemental listening and breathing that focuses on letting go of preconceptions and genres and listening to music together in the moment.

· Zentangle and Doodle Drawing- Simple and easy to learn art therapy drawing techniques that aid in relieving stress and allow for a quick access to mindfulness in the educational setting. These drawing techniques can result in beautiful, intricate art while helping as a tool to deliberately focus your thoughts.

· Expressive Movement- Expressive exercises that aid in self-connection, being in the moment, and lowering anxiety through movement and dance.

· Mindful Improvisation- Short dramatic improv exercises such as: “mirroring”, “yes and” and the “the bench of truth” that aid in finding presence and acceptance

· Sumi-e Enso Painting- A painting exercise incorporating the ancient Japanese Zen Buddhist practice of painting a circle in ink. The fluid, expressive painting aids can itself be considered a spiritual practice but the exercise itself aids in being present and in the moment.


Sunday March 26th


9:00-9:15 Morning Opening


9:30-11:00 Breakout Sessions

Science of Kundalini and Self-Care

Karisa Baldwin

Calling all change makers. In this workshop you will learn the tools to embody and honor self-care and self-compassion through the science of Kundalini meditation and yoga. We all have a light (a gift) inside of us and so often this light is dimmed because life can sometimes get the best of us. This dimming can be see in our relationship with others, our selves, and in our professional duties. This practice of Kundalini can be very powerful in balancing our mind and clearing our unconscious from all that holds us back. Kundalini yoga science helps us to strengthen our mind, body, and spirit so we can align all of our energy in creating the person we have always wanted to be.


Mirror Neurons, Empathy, and Movement for Whole Person Development

Allison F. Winters, MA, MS, BC-DMT, LCAT, RYT

This workshop incorporates dance and movement-based practices that explore the intersections of self and other. Participants are lead through various experiential directives, including movement for tension relief, Authentic Movement to bring mindful attention to the inner impulse to move, body scan to increase awareness of the mind-body connection, mirroring for empathic understanding, and choreographic sequencing for social connection and team-building. Participants are also given the opportunity to express what they learned about themselves in the process through art-making and discussion.

This presentation is designed to provide participants with mindfulness techniques to support self-care and reduce burnout through a focus on gratitude, self-compassion, and forgiveness. In addition, ideas to support the use of mindfulness practices in the classroom will be presented. Through self-awareness, educators create space for cultivating positive relationships with students and themselves.


Whole body Nutrition for Stress Management

Jennifer Kelly

Everything we do, think, ingest - all of our physical, mental and emotional habits have the potential to either improve or impede our health. Using a holistic approach to stress management, we can increase self awareness, touch on the root causes of our stressors, and utilize natural stress relievers to achieve natural peace and both physical and mental harmony.


11:15-12:45 Breakout Sessions

Making Your Mark

Jim Kelly

 In this workshop, we will practice attaining a meditative, reflective state by reading and writing. We will consider short pieces of writing from Seamus Heaney (“Wordsworth’s Skates”), Walt Whitman (canto 6 of Song of Myself”) and Denise Levertov. We will consider the calming – and invigorating – power of language as well as what it means to be a living being on this earth.


Restorative Justice and Learning Environments: Practice and Strategies

Joshua Hendrickson, LMSW

Restorative Justice is a philosophy, a set of principles and practices aimed toward community building. Restorative practices place great emphasis on repair and re-integration for all members of a community following an incident that disrupts community safety and harmony. This introductory workshop will present simple and easy to integrate restorative practices to support group cohesiveness and to address disruptions experienced in your community. This workshop will use the practice known as the talking circle. The use of a talking circle can offer a unique instructional approach that can foster respect and multicultural awareness while enhancing group cohesion. We, welcome you to participate in this unique practice. If you choose to attend this workshop, please bring an object that is symbolic and brings meaning to your life. This object will be part of the process that will be shared with the group.


Supporting Relationships through Qigong

Michelle Hennemeier MS, L.AC, LMT, RYT


Learn self­-care practices to create a better understanding of your physical and emotional state for the purposes of creating an atmosphere that’s more conducive to communication, trust and learning. Through the practice of Qigong ( pronounced ‘chee gung’ or translated as Qi practice) you may feel a more unified, positive sense of self, which is then projected to the world around you. Qigong is an umbrella term used to describe a system of coordinated body postures, movements, breathing, and sounds that are effective for supporting development in the areas of spirituality and health. As individuals, we have both subtle and overt characteristics that can affect the way others feel and communicate with and around us. These self care practices have the potential to improve your overall sense of well­being through supporting and strengthening your relationships with your students, colleagues and self.

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