• Summer Conference

  • Saturday, June 23
    8 a.m.–4 p.m. TALAS Mentoring Workshop for Cohorts 3, 4, and 5
    5–6:30 p.m. TALAS Reception
    7:30 p.m. TALAS President's Dinner


    Sunday, June 24
    7 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Conference Registration
    7:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. TALAS Preconference
    3–4:30 p.m. General Session: Keynote Presentation by Alissa Parker
    Book signing will follow.
    5–6:30 p.m. Conference Reception


    Monday, June 25
    7 a.m.–5 p.m. Conference Registration
    7–8 a.m. Continental Breakfast
    8:15–9:30 a.m.

    District Showcase General Session: Italy and Austin ISDs
    Italy ISD has taken a bold, comprehensive approach to student safety on their campuses after a school shooting struck their small community. See how the district has embraced stakeholders from across their district to create a culture of safety. Then, hear from the Austin ISD Police Department about what they have learned from a number of incidents that triggered a crisis response from the police department. Some of these incidents included weapons on campuses, terroristic threats, and situations involving police activity in the proximity of the campuses.

    9:45–10:30 a.m. Safety and Security Requirements for Texas Schools
    Tom Kelley & Laura Stone, school safety specialists, Texas School Safety Center

    The Texas Legislature has enacted laws addressing requirements relating to school safety and security. It is critical that district and campus administrators be aware of these mandates, not only to ensure state compliance, but to establish effective school safety practices in their respective districts. This workshop will provide an overview of the safety and security requirements in Texas as well as identify resources and guidance to ensure implementation of effective policies and procedures.
      Legal Considerations in School Safety
    Joy Baskin, director of legal services, TASB
    Sarah Orman, senior attorney, TASB
    Emergency operations and school safety raise a variety of legal questions about school district policy, potential liability, and student privacy. This session with TASB attorneys will answer common legal questions about emergency operations, working with law enforcement, firearms for employees, security cameras, and sharing student information. Leave with information that will help you make well-informed choices that are right for your district.
      The Guardian Plan: The Original Armed Employee Policy
    David Thweatt, superintendent, Harrold ISD
    In October 2007, Harrold ISD instituted the Guardian Plan—a policy enabling approved employees to carry concealed handguns. This policy was the first of its kind in the nation; now at least 175 Texas school districts have passed similar policies. Superintendent David Thweatt will explain the Guardian Plan, the thinking process that led to the policy, and the subsequent developments during the past decade. There should be a short time for Q&A.
      Rachel's Challenge
    Jourdan Foran, regional partnership manager, Rachel's Challenge
    Jennifer Ashman-Porter, director of guidance and wellness, Georgetown ISD

    We are all in environments where people desire a sense of belonging and understanding. This not only involves the students we teach or serve, but colleagues that we serve alongside as well. The consequences of not reaching out to every student are too high. Same goes for interactions in our workplaces and communities. Learn about the power of the challenges we face, as well as strategies for incorporating them into the environments we invest in each day.
      Best Practices – Designing a Safe and Secure School
    Dan Boggio, president and CEO, PBK Architects
    Chief Alan Bragg, school safety and security director, PBK                                                                 
    Ian Powell, partner, safety and security, PBK
    Richard Chi, partner, design director, PBK
    Learn about the design infrastructure needed to make a school safe from attacks while ensuring it is functional, aesthetically pleasing, and meets the needs of the students, faculty, and community. Experts on safety and security design, along with a former police lieutenant, FBI graduate, and school district chief of police, who is now spearheading a school safety and security organization, will help you walk away with definite criteria and design techniques to protect your school building, your students, and your staff from a physical attack. Learn more in this news clip.
      The Delivery of Mental Health Services in a School Setting Using the Ecological Model of Care
    Tracy Spinner, director of health services, Office of Academics and SEL, Austin ISD
    Austin ISD's Tracy Spinner will provide an overview of School Mental Health Centers (SMHC), through which students, staff, and families can receive mental health services provided by a full-time licensed therapist at school. She will describe how, working with the family, therapists in AISD complete a thorough clinical assessment, create therapeutic goals with the student, and provide ongoing therapy throughout the year. The treatment approach is strengths-based, rooted in therapeutic models, and works collaboratively with other school-based programs, such as Communities in Schools, Council on At-Risk Youth, Safe Place, etc. to create a wraparound model for the whole child.
    10:45–11:30 a.m. Protecting Students: Wylie ISD and the Marshal Plan
    Craig Bessent, assistant superintendent, Wylie ISD
    Explore Wylie ISD’s journey through the Texas School Marshal Plan. Learn how school districts implement the program and how educators become Texas school marshals. Participants will understand the differences between the Marshal and Guardian programs and receive an overview of the training provided at the Texas School Marshal Academy.
      An Innovative Approach to Student Safety and Student Success
    Keith Bryant, superintendent, Lubbock-Cooper ISD
    Macy Satterwhite, deputy superintendent, Lubbock-Cooper ISD
    Danny Davis, assistant superintendent, Lubbock-Cooper ISD
    Lubbock-Cooper ISD has focused on student safety through personnel, programs, and drills. However, the most critical piece of the district's initiative to keep students safe has to do with initiatives that are unseen by the public. District leaders will describe what is being done to identify troubled students and to help them thrive while benefiting the overall school environment.
      Know the Signs
    Tim Makris, co-founder and executive director, Sandy Hook Promise
    Sandy Hook Promise is a national, nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut, led and governed by family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting. Learn how to recognize the signs, intervene, and get help for individuals who may be at-risk of hurting themselves or others—before it happens.

    Panel Discussion: Can School Design Help Prevent Security Threats?
    Moderator: Irene Nigaglioni, AIA, president, IN2 Architecture
    Panelists: Greg Buchanan, COO of maintenance and transportation, Lancaster ISD
    Scott Layne, ALEP, deputy superintendent, Dallas ISD

    Roy Sprague, AIA, CSI, ALEP, associate superintendent for facilities, construction and support services, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD
    Panelists will review common and not-so-common inclusions in the design and renovation of school facilities that can help prevent and mitigate security incidents. Panelists will represent school districts across Texas, and they will share best practices relating to security and school design and maintenance. The session will also explore the inclusions in the Association for Learning Environments' (A4LE) 2013 report "Safe Schools: A Best Practices Guide."

      A High-Quality Approach to Emergency Operations Planning for School Districts
    Tom Kelley and Laura Stone, school safety specialists, Texas School Safety Center
    Schools continually face emergencies that vary in severity, duration, and expenditure. Therefore, emergency management is at the forefront of school safety and security issues. School districts must develop and maintain a detailed and high-quality Multi-Hazard Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), as it outlines a district’s intended approach to managing emergencies of all types. State law requires that each district have a multi-hazard EOP that addresses mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. The plan should be developed collaboratively with responders, mapped to specific threats and hazards, and updated at least annually. Learn about the planning process, including the development of a basic plan and annexes to support it. 
      Customized Security Solutions to Meet the Expectations of Communities
    Randy Reaves, executive director of non-instructional services, Crowley ISD
    Pat Panek, director of district safety and security, Crowley ISD
    David Hicks, superintendent, Sherman ISD
    Lauren Claxton Brown, principal, VLK Architects, Inc.
    Clinton Schiver, principal, VLK Architects, Inc.
    Learn about the integrated security design of Crowley ISD’s new CTE facility and Sherman ISD’S new high school and gain insight into how the solutions have met the expectations of their respective communities.
    11:30 a.m.–1:15 p.m. Lunch on Your Own
    1:15–2:45 p.m. General Session: Keynote Presentation by Michael Dorn
    3–3:45 p.m. Interactive General Session: Know the Drill - Safe and Effective School Emergency Operation Exercises
    Michael Dorn, executive director, Safe Havens International
    Thom Jones, general manager, NaviGate Prepared
    Learn how to make your drills and tabletop discussions far more engaging and effective. Why are schools still requiring administrators to initiate drills? The likelihood they will actually be the one encountering an incident are slim. Learn how to train and empower your staff to take appropriate action while using safe, effective methods to build a repository of trained responses. Engage in drill and tabletop exercises to understand how to leverage these tools to build confidence in your staff and enhance the culture of safety in your district.
    4–4:45 p.m. Compliance and Beyond - Why Good Enough Is Not Good Enough
    Darryl Simon, director of safety and risk management, Spring ISD
    Thom Jones, general manager, NaviGate Prepared

    Being compliant with state requirements is an excellent starting point for your school safety initiatives, but don't stop there. Today's environment requires a vigilant presence on numerous fronts. With the right tools and technology, it doesn't have to be a daunting endeavor. Learn how Spring ISD meets and exceeds state requirements to build a culture of safety throughout the district. Join Darryl Simon, director of safety and risk management at Spring ISD, and Thom Jones, general manager of NaviGate Prepared, and learn how to leverage technology to simplify tasks while amping up your safety initiatives.
      The Standard Response Protocol (SRP): A Method for Critical Incident Preparedness and Response
    Tom Kelley and Laura Stone, school safety specialists, Texas School Safety Center
    After the death of their daughter Emily Keyes at Platte Canyon High School, Ellen and John-Michael Keyes started the “I love you guys” Foundation and developed the Standard Response Protocol (SRP). The SRP provides guidance and resources for incorporating procedures into a school safety plan for critical incident response within individual schools in a school district for weather events, fires, accidents, intruders and other threats to student safety. The SRP is based not on individual scenarios, but on the response to any given scenario. Get an overview of the SRP and discuss how it can be implemented into existing safety plans. 
      Building Positive School Climate and Safety
    Elizabeth Breese, Ph.D., marketing director, Panorama Education
    Increasingly, school and district leaders are collecting, analyzing, and acting on data about social-emotional learning (SEL) and school climate to create safe, positive learning environments where every student thrives. Explore how Texas leaders are measuring SEL competencies such as growth mindset and self-management as well as students’ sense of belonging and social awareness to build better relationships within schools and classrooms, improve students’ classroom behavior and stress management, and track individual progress. Discuss how district leaders can gather stakeholder feedback around the physical and psychological concerns of students while at school, honing in on areas such as bullying, violence, and availability of support programs.
      Let's Talk School Security
    Tom Oehler, AIA, vice president, Stantec             
    Laura Sachtleben, AIA, principal, Houston-area market leader, Stantec
    School districts across the nation are faced with the daunting task of providing their staff and students with learning environments that are as safe and secure as possible. Engage in an open discussion about the safety and security issues happening in schools today. What are some of the findings of these recent events, and what are school districts doing to help prevent an occurrence in their district? Architects who exclusively design learning environments will share design strategies, new building products focused on safety and security, and reactive strategies that are most likely missing the mark.
      Issue-Based Conversation on Comprehensive School Safety
    UT Cooperative Superintendency Program Fellows:
    Holly Morris-Kuentz, assistant superintendent, Lake Travis ISD
    Lindsie Almquist, principal, Jarrell High School, Jarrell ISD
    Gordon Butler, principal, Lake Travis High School, Lake Travis ISD
    Raul Sanchez, principal, Webb Middle School, Austin ISD
    Mya Mercer, director of elementary staffing, Round Rock ISD
    The national response to school safety issues has varied. Come join the conversation around best practices and meet with other school district leaders in job-alike groups to discuss immediate and long-term measures necessary for safe schools. Participants will discuss administrative, political, and other considerations that guide a district’s decision-making process for the development and adoption of policy and a district’s comprehensive school safety plan.


    Tuesday, June 26
    7–10:30 a.m. Conference Registration
    7–8:15 a.m. Continental Breakfast
    8:30–9:30 a.m. General Session on Communications During Crisis: In and Out of the Superintendent’s Office
    Moderator: Linsae Snider, executive director, Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA)
    Panelists: Kim Cathey, district communications specialist, Floresville ISD
    Jacquelyn Miller, assistant superintendent, Floresville ISD
    Bill Atkins, assistant superintendent, Floresville ISD
    Carolyn Castillo, Region 20 ESC
    Monica Faulkenbery, assistant director of communications, Northside ISD
    Kimberly Ridgley, director of guidance and counseling, Northside ISD
    The deadliest mass shooting in Texas occurred within the boundaries of Floresville ISD at the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church on November 5, 2017. Twenty-six people were killed and 20 were injured. The Floresville ISD team will discuss how internal and external communication was guided by their crisis plan, how they managed national media attention, including a vice presidential visit, and will discuss how they provided immediate and ongoing support to students, staff, and community members. Following a brief presentation, the floor will be open for discussion and questions.
    9:45–10:30 a.m. When a Normal Morning Turns into a Day-Long Lockdown
    Michelle McCord, superintendent, Frenship ISD
    Andy Penney, director of public relations, Frenship ISD

    Retrace the steps of Frenship High School’s high-level lockdown due to an active shooter threat on campus and find out what the Frenship ISD administrative team learned during the chaotic experience.
      Building Great Student-Teacher Relationships While Dealing with the Inappropriate Ones
    Tom Crowe, superintendent, Ector County ISD
    Mike Adkins, public information officer, Ector County ISD

    In the space of two years Ector County ISD faced five accusations of teachers involved in improper relationships with students — all at the same high school. And these were not the first cases of their kind. Learn how the district took steps to rebuild trust with the community and find out why those efforts must be intentional, decisive, and continuous.
      Crisis Communications in an Impatient World
    Beth Archer, Spoken Word
    What happens when a disruptive event occurs and the media is at your door within 15 minutes asking who, what, when, where, why, and how come you haven’t fixed it yet? Join this session to learn the five steps you can take today to plan for your next crisis. Remember, it’s not if you will have a crisis, it’s when.
      Operation #SAFEdragon - Engaging Your Community to Improve School Safety/Security
    David K. Faltys, superintendent, Carroll ISD
    Julie Thannum, assistant superintendent for board and community relations, Carroll ISD
    Carroll ISD has a comprehensive school safety and security program that involves regular community input and feedback, as well as coordination with city first responders and elected officials. The #SAFEdragon program includes regularly safety surveys, full-time resource officers, independent audits, efforts to fortify facilities, and community forums for parents and students. Learn how one suburban school district partners with city officials to help ensure unified safety messaging and public engagement on topics important to students, staff, and parents.
      Issue-Based Conversation on Crisis Communication
    UT Cooperative Superintendency Program Fellows:
    Holly Morris-Kuentz, assistant superintendent, Lake Travis ISD
    Lindsie Almquist, principal, Jarrell High School, Jarrell ISD
    Gordon Butler, principal, Lake Travis High School, Lake Travis ISD
    Raul Sanchez, principal, Webb Middle School, Austin ISD
    Mya Mercer, director of elementary staffing, Round Rock ISD
    In an emergency situation, communication is key to response. Come join the conversation around best practices and discuss with other school district leaders in job-alike groups the protocols needed to effectively implement crisis communication plans among all stakeholders. Participants will discuss communication in an emergency situation from notifying parents to engaging law enforcement.
    10:45–11:45 a.m. General Session: Keynote Presentation by Chris Cook and Closing Remarks