The 2024 How-To Symposium for School Safety, Wellbeing and Growth

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Green Hills AEA and the Department of Justice “STOP” Grant present: 

“The How-To Symposium for School Safety, Wellbeing, and Growth” 

June 11, 12, and 13, 2024 | Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs

Green Hills AEA is thrilled to have a Department of Justice STOP Threat Assessment Grant! With this grant, we are bringing you a 3-day conference unlike any other!

We are reminded every day of the challenges facing schools and educators.  We know the “What”. We often know the “Why”. What we need help with is the “How”!  How do we deal with the issues? How do we better ensure student safety? How do we work on our own well-being and growth in order to better serve students? Our keynote speakers and breakout sessions will address all of these questions and more!

Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Scott Poland

Dr. Scott Poland is a Professor at the College of Psychology and the Director of the Suicide and Violence Prevention Office for NSU Florida in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He is a licensed psychologist and an internationally recognized expert on school safety, youth suicide, and school crisis prevention/intervention. He has authored or co-authored six books and many chapters and articles on these subjects, and has served as a legal expert in several lawsuits.

Dr. Poland also authored the Suicide Safer School Plan for the state of Texas, the Crisis Action School Toolkit-Suicide for the state of Montana, and the Florida STEPS School Toolkit for Educators to Prevent Suicide. He previously directed psychological services for Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in Texas for 24 years and is a past President of the National Association of School Psychologists and a past Prevention Division Director of the American Association of Suicidology.  He is very dedicated to prevention and has testified about the mental health needs of children before the U.S. Congress on four occasions. He was a founding member of the National Emergency Assistance Team and has personally assisted school communities after many tragedies, including school shootings and suicide clusters. He is known for his dynamic and practical presentations. He has received many awards, including being named the most outstanding psychologist in Texas. Dr. Poland also has received the Houston Wage Peace Award, the Parkland Helping the Community Heal Award, and the APA Division 16 Distinguished Career Award.

*sponsored by the University of Iowa Scanlan Center for School Mental Health

Dr. Melissa Reeves

Dr. Melissa Reeves, Ph.D., NCSP, LPC is a nationally certified school psychologist, licensed special education teacher, licensed professional counselor, and former district coordinator of social/emotional/behavioral services. She is past president of the National Association of School Psychologists (2016-17) and most recently was an Associate Professor at Winthrop University. Dr. Reeves has over 20 years of experience working in public schools and a private school, in addition to providing mental health services in day and residential treatment settings. Dr. Reeves is a co-author of the internationally and nationally recognized NASP PREPaRE School Safety and Crisis Preparedness curriculum and travels both nationally and internationally training professionals in crisis prevention and intervention, threat and suicide assessment, trauma and PTSD, and cognitive-behavioral interventions. She is a senior consultant with ONTIC (formerly SIGMA Threat Management Associates) and also a threat assessment & mental health specialist and senior advisor for Safe and Sound Schools, an organization founded by two parents who lost their children in the Sandy Hook tragedy. She has authored multiple books and publications focusing on school safety, trauma, and threat assessment. Dr. Reeves has also served as an expert witness in court cases involving targeted school attacks and threat and suicide risk assessments.

*sponsored by Public Consulting Group

Dr. Jennifer Roberts

Dr. Jennifer Roberts is the Director of Training for the suicide prevention organization, Hope Squad. With over 30 years of experience across multiple domains, Dr. Roberts has served in the education landscape as a teacher, school counselor, and Director of Student Services. Her leadership was recognized by the American School Counseling Association’s Texas affiliate, LSSSCA, and named the School Counselor Supervisor of the year in Texas for 2023. As a licensed clinician, Dr. Roberts was appointed to the HB 906 School Mental Health Task Force by the Texas Education Agency in 2019, passionately working to provide recommendations for Texas legislators on mental health support for the more than 5,000,000 Texas public school students.  As a counselor educator since 2013, Dr. Roberts pours into a profession she loves by teaching graduate clinical mental health courses specializing in grief and adolescent trauma. Dr. Roberts has been a sought-out speaker presenting internationally, nationally, and regionally on topics such as, school-based mental health, suicide prevention, trauma informed care and educator


Dr. Lina Alathari

Dr. Lina Alathari is the Chief of the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC), where she oversees the agency's research, training, and consultation programs on behavioral threat assessment and the prevention of targeted violence, including school violence, workplace violence, attacks against government officials, and mass attacks in public spaces. Dr. Alathari has testified before Congress, frequently presents on threat assessment to a variety of audiences, and consults on complex threat cases and the establishment of threat assessment programs. Dr. Alathari's previous experience includes mental health treatment, behavior analysis, and crisis intervention at the Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute, an inpatient state psychiatric facility, where she oversaw the behavior management program for patients who posed a risk for violence, self-harm, and suicide. Dr. Alathari earned a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuropsychology from George Washington University.

The Chalkguy

Ben Glenn is a renowned speaker who has been captivating audiences since 1995 with his unique blend of inspiration, education, and entertainment. Ben leverages his extensive experience to connect profoundly with adult audiences. His presentations, however, go beyond traditional speaking. They include a remarkable ‘Speedscape’ live art performance, set to beautiful music, which adds an element of surprise and delight. This audio-visual experience, unparalleled in its impact, transforms into a memorable and powerful journey. Ben’s passion and life’s work revolves around personal growth, mental wellness, and becoming the best possible version of yourself.

*sponsored by Family Educator Partnership

Breakout Sessions:

June 11th

June 11th Breakout Sessions
Schools and Suicide: Legal Issues and Case Review
Language Matters in Prevention
Access Support from the USSS National Threat Assessment Center – Research, Training, and Consultation
How to Provide Safe Learning Environments for LGBTQ Students in the Current Landscape
Standard Response Protocol (extended session)

Part 1: Intro to the SRP

Part 2: Implementation of the SRP

How to Talk About Online Safety With Kids (extended session)
How to Question, Persuade, Refer: A Suicide Prevention Overview
Access Support from the USSS National Threat Assessment Center – Research, Training, and Consultation (repeat session)
How to Utilize an Anonymous Reporting System
Scanlan Center for School Mental Health: Overview of Services and Resources
Stimulants & Opiates on the Brain and Body and Narcan Administration
Cybersecurity in Our Schools

June 12th

June 12th Breakout Sessions
How to Make a Threat Assessment Team Work in Your School 
Cybersecurity in Our Schools
How to Question, Persuade, Refer: A Suicide Prevention Overview 
The Effects of Social Media on Student Mental Health: Risk Factors & Protective Measures
Home Visit Safety - extended session
Building Hope in Yourself and Others- extended session
How to Remain “Present” with Mindfulness Techniques
Nurturing Resilience in Ourselves and Others
How to Create an Effective Reunification Process and Team: Standard Reunification Method 
Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management (BTAM): Special Education Considerations
How to Address School Avoidance: “The Pie Approach” (extended session) 
How to Identify and Prevent Human Trafficking (extended session) 

June 13th

June 13th Breakout Sessions
Teaching with Purpose: A Story of Resilience and Influence
Investigative Response to Child Abuse
How to Create and Promote the Hope Squad 
Stimulants & Opiates on the Brain and Body and Narcan Administration
The Effects of Social Media on Student Mental Health: Risk Factors & Protective Measures
No Magic Wand Required! Launching a Hope Squad in Your School 
Investigative Response to Child Abuse (repeat session)
How to Make a Multi-Agency Crisis Team a Reality
The Effects of Social Media on Student Mental Health: Risk Factors & Protective Measures (repeat session)
Cybersecurity in Our Schools 
Language Matters in Prevention
Stimulants & Opiates on the Brain and Body and Narcan Administration (repeat session)

Conference Highlights:

  • Breakout sessions offered all 3 days
  • Special exibits available for viewing all three days
    • The Lisa Project promotes the prevention of child abuse, increases community awareness, and provides resources and information in order to help protect children and strengthen families.
    • We Can features imagery and interactive exhibits that help guests to identify steps to support children and families. Messaging focuses on building and supporting protective factors- resilience, social and emotional competence, concrete support, knowledge and parenting and child development, and social connections. Also, the personal perspective and buy-in that we all can all make a difference, and we all play a role in supporting children and families.
  • Community/vendor booths on-site each day
  • Lunch included with registration fee
  • Tuesday, June 11th, evening professional networking event


$99 - Early Bird Special (register by May 1st)
$125 - Price after May 1st
Registration closes Friday, May 17th

Family Night Event on June 12th:

Lodging, Dining, and Activities in Council Bluffs and surrounding areas!


Thank you to our sponsors!

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