Program Information

Highlights of the 2019 Program

  • Opening and closing keynote speakers
  • Breakout sessions on various topics, including math, reading, mental health and well-being, executive function, technology, diagnosis, assessment, Differentiated Instruction, French Immersion and more...
  • Networking opportunities with educators from around the province
  • Exhibitor displays


Keynote Sessions

Opening Keynote on Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

EQAO and LDs: Starting with Yes!

Dr. Steven Reid

Can a large-scale assessment program be more student-centred and accessible and take into account the personal strengths and needs of students? EQAO believes that the answer to this question is ‘yes’ and has been engaged in the early stages of its modernization efforts.

Foundational to EQAO’s vision is to better support students, parents, guardians, and educators. Key components of its vision include: providing parents and guardians with independent feedback about their children’s achievement more quickly, providing clearer results through more descriptive feedback, expanding the use of technology, and aligning large-scale assessments more closely with students’ regular classroom experience. Progress has already been made towards promoting assessment conditions that students would normally access during regular classroom assessments.

Learning opportunities for students with LDs have evolved over time, including technological advancements.  Successful classroom environments are designed to ensure accessible entry points for all students, and this includes assessment experiences.  It’s vital for EQAO, in collaboration with its partners, to reflect on how students with LDs have engaged with its assessment program in the past, in order to inform short- and long-term advancements.  Throughout this process of modernization, it will be important to consider how students with LDs can be best prepared to demonstrate their knowledge and skills, today and in the future.

This keynote will offer opportunities for participants to learn about EQAO’s modernization vision, how students with LDs are achieving provincially, as well as provide feedback on proposed improvements.  These proposals are meant to increase the assessments’ value, ensuring that results can be more easily leveraged to benefit all students, including students with learning disabilities.

Dr. Steven Reid has been a tireless advocate for all students for almost three decades and has served in many educational roles such as classroom teacher, principal, and supervisory officer. He began his career as an educational assistant supporting students with special education needs and came full circle, serving as a central superintendent of special education. As a researcher and sessional lecturer, Steven’s research interests have been in the area of math content knowledge and math anxiety of teacher candidates, as well as knowledge mobilization in schools and district school boards. His research has been published in several peer-reviewed journals.

Opening Keynote on Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Reframing Failure to Create Resilient Learners: A Personal Story

DJ Cunningham

As educators, how do you support your students' resilience? This presentation focuses on how reframing failure as a growth opportunity is critical in creating a resilient learner.  DJ uses his personal journey full of struggle, success, and humour, through the education system and beyond, to illustrate the skills needed to create resilience; embracing failure, self awareness, applying learning strategies and integrating technology.  The first skill is to embrace failure through a growth mindset which includes failing fast and failing forward.  Failing fast is all about stopping the cycle of failing by acknowledging when a failure is occurring. Failing forward is applying a growth mindset to a failure and reframing the failure as a learning opportunity. The second skill is applying meaningful learning strategies which leverage your students’ learning strengths to bridge their learning gaps.  The final skill is utilizing technology support learning strategies.

DJ Cunningham is the co-founder and CEO of LEARNstyle Ltd, a technology training and app development company based in Toronto. LEARNstyle is Ontario's fastest growing learning company and the largest provider of direct to student educational services in the province. DJ's passion and expertise grows out of a deep personal understanding of both the positive and negative impacts of learning. His learning experiences have been impacted by his own learning disability and it was not until he knew ‘how he learnt’---that things began to change having a positive and lifelong impact on his self esteem. A major component of this change was the utilization of technology. DJ has been a user of various technologies for the past 15 years and has worked with thousands of students, teachers and administrators. DJ continues to be a strong supporter of technology and a strong advocate for cloud based technologies as educational tools.

Both LEARNstyle and DJ have received numerous accolades and recognition for the work they do supporting learning in education and in business.  DJ was a keynote speaker at Microsoft and Google education events across the country supporting the integration of AT and UDL into education. DJ is also the recipient of Trent University’s Young Leader Award as well was asked to speak at TEDx Toronto.  LEARNstyle has been named to Deloitte Fast 50 tech companies for the past 3 years.

Closing Keynote on Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

The Only Normal People Are People You Don't Know Very Well

Jonathan Mooney

Renowned writer, neuro-diversity activist and author Jonathan Mooney vividly, humorously and passionately brings to life the wonderful world of neuro-diversity: the research behind it, the people who live in it, and the lessons it has for all of us who care about the future of education. Explaining the latest theories, Jonathan helps teachers and parents redefine what it is for students in the 21st century to think and to learn and to be successful. He provides concrete examples of how to prepare students and implement frameworks that best support their academic and professional pursuits. This presentation draws on the best practices of inclusion to affirm and celebrate and challenge the audience to recommit to inclusive education and communities.

Jonathan Mooney is a dyslexic writer, speaker, and do-gooder who did not lean to read until 12 years old. He holds an honors degree from Brown University, is a Harry S. Truman Scholar for Public Service (California, 1999), and was a finalist for a Rhodes scholarship.

With the publication of Learning Outside The Lines (now in its 28th printing) when he was 23, Jonathan has established himself as one of the foremost leaders in the neuro-diversty and the learning revolution. His second book, The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal was published in the spring of 2007 to outstanding reviews in The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune and many other national publications. Both books are considered foundational texts in the disability rights movement, the inclusive education movement, and the learning revolution and are used in under-graduate and graduate program at universities and colleges across the country including Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and Teachers College, Columbia University.

Jonathan’s work has been widely recognized for its innovation and social impact and. In 1999, Jonathan was selected as a Harry S. Truman Scholar for Public Service Truman scholar for public service; in 2000 Jonathan was selected as a finalist for the Rhodes scholarship; and In 2008 Jonathan’s social impact work was recognized by the Lab School of Washington where he shared the stage with the Vice President of the United States, Joseph Biden.

Jonathan is now a widely sought after speaker whose work has been featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, HBO, NPR, ABC News, New York Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe.