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Special Education in the Large Ensemble: Successful Strategies for your Band and Orchestra

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  • It’s easy to feel like we don’t have the resources to make inclusion work, but I’m here to tell you that it CAN! This presentation will guide you through the world of Special Education and show you strategies to successfully include students with special needs into your ensemble, thus making it a positive experience for all. Discover unexpected partnerships to help you find solutions for the seemingly impossible challenges that face your Special Education, and General Education students today.
  • Julie Syperek (jasyperek@gmail.com)
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  • Julie Syperek became the Beginning Band Director in Lombard School District 44 in 2004. Her responsibilities include directing the Beginning Band, teaching 4th and 5th grade Band Lessons District-wide, and co-teaching the Glenn Westlake Middle School Jazz Band. She has also been teaching French Horn at Glenbard East High School since 2014. Julie Syperek is a proud alumnus of Glenbard East High School (1999), and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she was a Chick Evans Scholar. Julie graduated in 2003 with a Degree in Music Education and studied French Horn under Kaz Machala. She has 42 hours of graduate work focusing on Psychology and School Counseling from Roosevelt University, and also composes original works and arrangements for young musicians in ensembles both large and small. Julie resides in Chicago where she enjoys Traveling, Photography, Spinning, Cooking, Volunteering, and Fundraising for children with special needs. Julie has also proudly completed 5 Chicago Marathons. Ms. Syperek writes: “I love teaching in my hometown and giving back to the Lombard community, and music program that gave me so much inspiration growing up. The Staff of District 44 and District 87 have been so supportive, and marvelous to collaborate with-from the Instrumental and Choral Music Staff to the Classroom Teachers, the Therapists, and the Administration. As Beginning Band Director, I feel very strongly about laying a solid foundation for all of our students, and giving ALL students the opportunity to play a musical instrument. I feel very lucky to work in a place that values that as well.”
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  • Maria Shea-Michiels, Ed.S.
  • Maria Shea-Michiels is the school psychologist at two elementary schools in Lombard, Illinois District 44. Her responsibilities include facilitating progress review meetings, completing special education evaluations and developing behavior intervention plans. She also conducts 504 plan evaluations, implements small group interventions and assists in the development and implementation of universal SEL interventions. Ms. Shea-Michiels graduated from Emory University with a degree in psychology. She went on to work at the University of Chicago for two years as the project director of a longitudinal study on children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Following her work at the university, she enrolled in the school psychology graduate program at National Louis University where she earned her school psychology degree. Upon graduation in 2010, Ms. Shea-Michiels began her work as the school psychologist in four schools in Berwyn, Illinois. After supporting staff and families in this community for two years, she moved to her current position in Lombard, Illinois. Ms. Shea-Michiels frequently presents at the district and school level. Topics covered include CHAMPS universal behavior system, Ross Greene’s Collaborative Problem Solving, trauma, de-escalation techniques and behavioral and social emotional intervention. Ms. Shea-Michiels lives in Chicago where she enjoys reading, running with her Miniature Australian Shepherd, meditating and creating healthy dishes. She enjoys travel and has studied Spanish in Guatemala and Spain. Ms. Shea-Michiels writes: “I am immensely fortunate to work with talented and passionate individuals who believe in teaching to the “whole child”. There is an understanding that growth takes place when children feel safe, cared for and treated with respect. Teachers in Lombard work hard to create an environment in which every student can thrive. I am very lucky to be a part of a community with those values.”
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  • Danielle Slansky
  • Danielle received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology from Marquette University in Wisconsin. She holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association and is Illinois State licensed. Danielle received specialized training to administer and interpret the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule in order to identify persons with the Autism Spectrum Disorder or other Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Danielle has 14 years of experience working with children 3-11 years of age in the school and private settings. Danielle works full time in a school setting addressing school aged students with a range of disorders including: language, pragmatic, speech production and fluency. Danielle enjoys working with pragmatic/social skills, articulation skills and children experiencing difficulty with expressive and receptive language skills. Danielle lives in Naperville with her husband and three sons.
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