Courses, Lectures & Workshops

All teachers should have access to training in best educational practices and current research.
Our faculty is trained in the best research and evidence-based approaches to help our LD/ADHD students achieve success, but the reality is that not every student who needs a TSS education can attend. To extend our reach and help as many students as possible, we provide ongoing teacher training and professional development support.

Collaborative Professional Development

Fall Series 2018

Welcome to The Southport School's new initiative - The Southport CoLAB. The CoLAB provides the highest quality programs in training professionals, educators, and families using a collaborative, partnership-based approach with like-minded organizations and experts in the field. Our mission is to integrate research, practice, and advocacy to effect positive outcomes for people with learning and attention issues.
Led by Southport School teachers and collaborators, we currently offer three specialized training programs: structured literacy, executive functioning, and assistive technology. Parents, teachers, and administrators are invited to learn more about how we can work as a community to impact the nearly 1 in 5 students with learning and attention issues, including the 1 in 10 with dyslexia, in our schools.
Listed below are professional development courses, workshops, and lectures including date, time, fee, and descriptions for this coming fall. To register and pay for a course, please click here. Click here for to view our new Fall 2018 brochure. If you wish to receive a printed brochure, please click here to provide us with a post office address. Instructors and presenters biography and educational backgrounds are listed after the course descriptions in the brochure.
All sessions will be held at The Southport School. Space is limited and registration is required.
If you have questions, please contact Theresa Collins by email, Elizabeth Perkins by email or by phone at 203.254.2044. Thank you for your interest and we hope to see you this Fall.


Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) Associates Part II

For teachers who have already taken the Orton-Gillingham Classroom Educator course and are eager to continue their coursework, we will be offering Associate Part II.

Session: Tuesdays, 4:00-7:00 pm


September 11
October 2 
October 30 
November 13 
December 4 
December 18 
January 15
February 12
March 12
April 2
April 30
May 14 
May 28 (Make up, if needed)

Instructor: Theresa Collins

Prerequisite: Classroom Educator

Cost: $1,550

The Associate Level coursework is designed to hone the trainee’s ability to provide diagnostic and prescriptive instruction in a one-to-one remedial setting. In addition, it exposes the trainee to more sophisticated levels of language instruction than can be provided in the Classroom Educator course.

The Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) requires a total of hours of 60 hours of coursework at the Associate Level. Trainees who have already taken Classwork Educator have met the first half of that requirement. This 36-hour follow-up course will exceed the Academy’s requirements for Associate Level coursework.

Associate Part II coursework will include but is not limited to: morphology; assessment, both formal and informal; vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency; and the writing process. An additional emphasis will be on developing lesson plans and student profiles in preparation for the trainee’s application to the AOGPE at the Associate Level.

This course does NOT include the practicum, which is required for Academy membership at the Associate Level. The practicum can be arranged for an additional fee.

Curriculum: AOGPE Associate Level guidelines

Associate Level Members may tutor individuals using the OG Approach while continuing to work under the guidance of a Fellow/AOGPE.

Available upon request for an additional fee: Practicum: a total of 100 hours supervised practicum over 8 months (minimum), which includes a total of 10 observations by the Fellow of the trainee teaching complete lessons through on-site, unedited video or web-based applications. If an applicant has already completed the Classroom Educator practicum, those teaching hours and observations may be applied toward the Associate practicum requirement.  Trainees may also opt to complete 10 observations in one-on-one settings. Seven out of the 10 Associate observations may be conducted by a FIT or Clinical Supervisor (CS) as designated by the Fellow.

Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) Certified Level Part I

For those who have already completed their Associate coursework and practicum, we are excited to invite you to Certified I. 

Session: Fridays, 1:00-4:00 pm


September 7
September 28 
October 19
November 2 
November 30 
December 7
January 11
January 25
March 8
March 29
April 26
May 17
May 31 (Make up, if needed) 

Instructor: Theresa Collins 

Prerequisite: AOGPE Associate 

Cost:         $1,550

The Certified Level coursework is designed to expand and deepen the trainee’s Associate knowledge base. This 36-hour course will further develop the trainee’s understanding of facets of dyslexia, such as its neurobiological underpinnings, the history of literacy education and impact of current public school practices on the dyslexic learner, and dyslexia’s effects over the lifespan. Participants will review phonological concepts as needed and hone their ability to use multi-sensory strategies to teach comprehension and writing. They will explore ways to incorporate study skills, self-advocacy skills, and organizational skills in their lessons.  Broadening their awareness of programs and materials derived from the Orton-Gillingham approach will allow them to work with students who have already received intervention through those programs and to make informed decisions about incorporating program materials in their own lessons. 

Participants will continue to expand their knowledge of formal and informal assessments and practice interpreting test results to craft student profiles and diagnostic and prescriptive lesson plans in preparation for their Certified Level applications. 

This course does NOT include the practicum, which is required for Academy membership at the Certified Level. The Practicum can be arranged for an additional fee. 

Curriculum: AOGPE Certified Level curriculum guidelines 

Certified Members are considered independent practitioners qualified to tutor individuals and to teach small groups in the Orton-Gillingham Approach.

Available upon request for an additional fee: Practicum: 200 hours supervised practicum over 2 years (minimum), which includes 10 observations conducted by the Fellow of the trainee teaching complete lessons in a one-on-one setting through on-site, unedited video or web-based applications. Seven out of the 10 observations may be conducted by a FIT or Clinical Supervisor (CS) as designated by the Fellow.  

LD-EdTech: How Can Technology Help My Child?

Date: Tuesday, October 2

Session: 8:45-10:00 am 

Instructor: Sharon Plante

Cost: $20.00

Today’s educational technologies are prime to be incorporated to support the academics needs of students with learning differences (LD); moreover, they are in everyday devices that students are eager to use. How does a parent support their child’s usage of the range of tools, apps, and websites entering the educational landscape that is ever-changing and daunting to explore, while knowing there are no one size fit all solutions for those with learning disabilities?  What resources are available for families and how do they access them? 

In this presentation, we will explore the basics of available accessibility among current devices and programs. Additionally, we will discuss thoughts to consider when choosing assistive technology, along with other educational tools that can support students in various academic areas.  The technologies discussed are by no means the only ones that exist, but are examples of ones that represent ways to provide learning support. They demonstrate that possibility to provide for LD students the opportunity to find their own academic successes through the use of technology.

Executive Functioning for Educators

Three-part series of interactive seminars

Tuesday, September 25 
Tuesday, October 2 
Tuesday, October 9

Instructor: Dr. Tim Heitzman and Jeffrey Ruggiero

Session: 4:00 - 6:00 pm

Cost: $225 

Executive Function Workshop - What are our goals as educators?

“Executive functioning involves activating, orchestrating, monitoring, evaluating, and adapting different strategies to accomplish different tasks.” (-- National Center for Learning Disabilities).  But knowing this is only half the battle. The goals of educators are associated with shaping these behaviors, and teaching students to develop these functions.  Success is achieved when they know what to do, and they do what they know.  

Teachers are tasked with implementing school curriculum and working directly with the students - what is their approach to Executive Functions and how do they reach their goals? Through this three part seminar presentation, educators will focus on how such goals can be feasible and reachable.

  • Identify developmentally typical and atypical classroom and education-based executive functions in a broad sense (ie, learning and behavior), and a specific sense (ie, performance in content areas).
  • Recognize the immediate and specific threats within EF domains, and environmental threats to EF in general.
  • Learn how to operationally define and measure  executive functions for each student.
  • Review strategies to compensate for executive dysfunction, and how to go beyond accommodations with activities and techniques that support the development of EF in the classroom as a whole and in the individual student.
  • Implement these activities, techniques, and strategies in the classroom and reflect on changes and results over time.

General approach to enhancing Executive Functions

  • Support the development of goal-directed, problem-solving skills within positive, meaningful daily routines.
  • Allow student to “overlearn” executive function processes, to support skill consistency and automaticity.
  • Provide real-world relevance and application of strategies and routines.
  • Parents and teachers are “coaches,” peers are models.

The end goal for students is to establish reliable behavioral and cognitive routines and habits that support increased independence and effective goal-directed activity.

Executive Functioning for Parents, Grandparents, and Guardians

Three-part series of interactive seminars.

Tuesday, October 16 
Tuesday, October 30 
Tuesday, November 13

Instructor: Dr. Tim Heitzman and Jeffrey Ruggiero

Session: 9:00 - 10:15 AM

Cost: $150 

For the past four years, The Southport School has collaborated with Dr. Tim Heitzman, a developmental neuropsychologist, to develop our Proprietary Executive Function Program that benefits your child directly, and on a daily basis.  Though many parents and teachers associate executive functioning with “organization,” it goes well beyond that, involving the ability to regulate behavior, emotion and cognitive skills. But knowing what to do is only half the battle.  Parents and teachers share goals associated with shaping these functions and creating adaptive, performance-based habits at home and school. Success is achieved when children not only know what to do, but also  do what they know.  

This educational and hands-on workshop will require a three-day commitment due to the nature of  the content and application to real-life with your own children at home.

Does your child take a long time to get ready to leave the house? Does he/she seem disorganized and overwhelmed when demands pile up? Do you feel that you are often reminding him/her to do things or transition between activities?  Are you frequently asking him/her to “Sit down,” “Calm down,” or “Hurry up”? 

What seem like simple tasks may take your child an inordinate amount of time or don’t get completed at all. Often times as parents, we identify with their feeling of helplessness because we are unable to provide the help they need. 

Thought processes required to plan, remember, initiate and/or complete tasks, as well as the ability to regulate behavior and emotions are referred to as executive functions and are a critical area of child development.  As we focus on the end-goal, these skills are often overlooked or taken for granted. Yet, they must develope for our children to achieve independent success in and out of school. 

This three-session workshop that includes discussion and hands-on activities that will help you gain a better understanding of executive functions and how you can help your child develop these critical skills at home. 

Session 1 - Introduction to Executive Functions

  • Develop an understanding of executive functions
  • Learn how executive function instruction is provided to your child in private and public school settings

Session 2 - Connecting Executive Functions to Home Experience

  • Recognize developmentally typical and atypical executive functions in the home
  • Examine your child’s executive function strengths and challenges

Session 3 - Developing Executive Functions at Home

  • Explore games and activities that can be used to develop your child’s executive functions
  • Examine strategies to consider within the executive function coaching model

TechnolOGy: EdTech to Enhance Structured Literacy Instruction

Saturday, November 17th 

Instructors: Theresa Collins and Sharon Plante

Session: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm (lunch provided)

Cost: $270

Structured Literacy approaches have been shown historically to be the most effective for remediating language difficulties. Many of those approaches, such as Orton-Gillingham, have traditionally been used in a 1:1 setting, but the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators has recently embraced a Classroom Educator model, in hopes of providing more educators with the tools to deliver effective instruction to a greater number of dyslexic students. e challenge becomes how best to provide that instruction in a small group environment.

The utilization of technology (interactive screens, iPads, apps, and websites) can make Structured Literacy instruction a multi-sensory process that is engaging and explicit while maintaining the individualization and diagnostic-prescriptive aspects of the lesson that are its hallmarks. Technology can support the organizational challenges for necessary lesson materials that can occur when working with multiple students at once, while also allowing for ease of differentiation within a small group format. Additionally, educational technology can provide ways for the teacher to collect work samples and data from multiple students simultaneously and allow for individualized feedback. An Orton-Gillingham Fellow and a Director of Technology share how they have collaborated to include technology as an instructive and assistive tool following the traditional OG approach in the small classroom setting. e session focuses on the use of various tools that can support differentiated and individualized engagement during small group multi-sensory Structured Literacy instruction.

Making Math Meaningful

Instructor: Dr. Honi Bamberger

Each Session: 4:00 - 5:30 pm

Cost: $225

This four-part series of interactive seminars has been designed for educators of pre-kindergarten through 8th grade students. An educator for more than 40 years, Dr. Honi Bamberger will share research-based practices that positively impact student’s mathematics confidence and achievement. The NSF-funded Project IMPACT (Increasing the Mathematical Power of All Children and Teachers) provided Dr. Bamberger, one of two Co-Principal Investigators, with evidence that all students could become mathematically proficient given instruction that enabled them to make sense out of the mathematics concepts and skills they were learning. Participants will explore, discuss, and be involved in activities that support teaching mathematics for understanding. Resources, both technological and print, will be provided.

December 6, 2018 - Seminar I
Mathematics Routines that Reinforce and Solidify Mathematics Instruction

In his book, Accessible Mathematics: 10 Instructional Shifts That Raise Student Achievement, Steven Leinwand insists that the daily warm-up or launch activities “incorporate cumulative review” so that students can continue to practice content they’ve been exposed to. In this interactive, hands-on workshop participants will experience mathematics routines that have been incorporated into four different successful mathematics research projects.  The activities can be integrated into the beginning of the mathematics period, or they can be done at different times during the academic day. All revisit important mathematics vocabulary, skills, and concepts that students tend to forget if they aren’t reviewed regularly.

January 10, 2019 - Seminar II
Authentic and Engaging Problem Solving to Stimulate Student’s Curiosity and Interest

Have you ever wondered how it is that 1 + 2 = 3; and 4 + 5 + 6 = 7 + 8; and 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 = 13 + 14 + 15? Are these equations true? What would the next two rows look like; and how does this work?  Problem solving and noticing patterns are at the heart of mathematics. And problem solving needs to go beyond the simple problems that are often found in textbooks. During this seminar participants will review specific strategies that enable students to make sense out of the problems they are given. Participants will also learn about 3-act tasks (conceived by mathematical leaders and advocates Graham Fletcher and Dan Meyers), and will solve several non-routine, but highly engaging problems.

March 7, 2019 - Seminar III
Multisensory Mathematics Instruction to Build a Solid Understanding of Place Value

Without a solid understanding of our place value numeration system students memorize computational procedures. For those whose memories are good, this way of learning works until decimals are introduced. Then, without a conceptual understanding, students find that they no longer can get the correct answers that they were getting in earlier grades. And, for those whose working memories are not very good, they struggle to get correct answers even in the lower grades.  Participants will experience activities that build a strong conceptual understanding of whole number and decimal computation.

April 4, 2019 - Seminar IV
Making Sense Out of Fraction Concepts and Skills

The authors of the Standards for College and Career Readiness chose wait to introduce fractions until the third grade. While this may now be more developmentally appropriate, unless the concepts are taught using a variety of representations, scenarios, and authentic problems, students will continue to find fractions confusing. Fraction concepts “open the gates” to Algebra and are critical for students to make sense out of. In this interactive session participants will experience fraction concepts using a variety of materials and through a variety of activities.

The Southport School Presenters

THERESA COLLINS is a Fellow of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners
and Educators and IDA Certified Dyslexia Therapist. Currently the Director of Language Training and Director of Southport Teacher Training Institute at The Southport School,
she has been an Orton-Gillingham practitioner for over 30 years. She first developed her interest in learning differences while pursuing her BA in Psychology at Colgate University. She later earned her MS in Educational Psychology from the State University of New York at Albany. She has presented at various conferences, including the Annual Conference of the International Dyslexia Association, the New York and New Jersey branches of the IDA, the annual conference of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, the annual conference of the Assistive Technology Industry Association, Learning Ally’s Spotlight on Dyslexia, and the Assistive Technology Conference of New England. 

SHARON PLANTE, an educator with over 20 years teaching experience in special education, currently serves as teacher and Director of Technology at The Southport School. As a Classroom Educator certified Orton-Gillingham tutor (CE/AOGPE), sheuses her training and understanding of technology to empower students with learning disabilities. Sharon is the co-author of Using Technology to Engage Students with Learning Disabilities, which highlights the incorporation of technology through the Universal Design Model to reach all learners. She has presented at IDA, Everyone Reading, EdRev, ATIA, New York Chapter of ALTA, and Spotlight on Dyslexia. Sharonis a member of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools Commission on Technology. She wa​s awarded the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award from George Mason University College of Education and Human Development. 


DR. TIM HEITZMAN is a licensed psychologist whose practice and clinical research integrates the fields of developmental psychology and neuropsychology. He is known in both academic circles and the clinical community for his diagnostic skills, his work with the learning and behavior of children with developmental disorders, and the evaluation and management of concussions in children, adolescents and young adults. Dr. Heitzman is intimately interested in skill-based interventions, helping parents and teachers recognize levels of readiness in their children while tailoring a goodness of fit model between strategies and the student’s strengths and weaknesses.

is a Professor Emerita from the Department of Mathematics, at Towson University, in Baltimore, Maryland.  She is also the Executive Director of MathWorks: Promoting Excellence in Mathematics Education, an agency providing Professional Development in mathematics for teachers and administrators, Pre-kindergarten through Eighth-grade.  The author of numerous books and articles, Dr. Bamberger has been conducting research since 1989; investigating the strategies and instructional shifts that positively impact student achievement. A former classroom teacher, Dr. Bamberger continues to work with students and teachers in a variety of schools, throughout Maryland and other states proving to herself and others that all students can become mathematically powerful.