Conferences & Workshops

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Redefining Student Support K-12: Meeting the Physical, Emotional, Social, Educational, & Health Needs of Generation Z

Date: Monday - October 29, 2018
Time: All Day
Location: Mohonk Mountain House

New Paltz, NY
Phone 845-255-1000

Monday, October 29 - 31, 2018
Speakers: Jennifer Bryan,
 Justine Fonte,  Ali Mattu, and Rob Tuckman
Sold Out


With greater awareness of sexual harassment, racial violence, social media dependence and the rise in suicide and school shootings, how are you meeting the student support needs at your school? The current polarizing social and political environment makes consensus about what constitutes a healthy school culture difficult to confidently identify, yet as educators, we know our students are struggling with these contemporary realities.

Whether you are a counselor, psychologist, health educator, nurse, dean, advisor, residential life staff, coach or teacher, a critical part of your job is to promote health and wellness for all students. Because of the inherent challenges in supporting GenZ, those responsible for student support are particularly vulnerable to stress, anxiety, and professional/personal fatigue.

Our Big Questions

  1. Who is in charge of supporting the “whole” GenZ student?
  2. What does that support look like?
  3. How can the Student Support Professional (SSP) maintain their own health and wellness?!

 Our Conference Goals:

  • provide a restorative, supportive opportunity for student support professionals (SSP)
  • explore and clarify multiple roles of the SSP at school
  • examine channels of communication between SSP and others
  • explore the role and skills of the SSP-as-consultant
  • design a holistic Student Support Mission Statement
  • offer best practices, structural changes, and resources for building a comprehensive health curriculum
  • Create a network of/for SSP’s
Tentative Schedule - subject to change
Conference sessions will be in the Conference House.
Meals in Main Dining Room except for Tuesday dinner in West Dining Room.
Cocktails both nights in Lake Lounge.



Lunch and Registration in Main Dining Room

1:30 – 2:45

Conference House

Session 1 - Arriving, Unloading, Reflecting
Facilitators: Jennifer Bryan, Rob Tuckman, Justine Fonte

The conference starts with an opportunity to fully arrive! We explore the different roles you have and jobs you do at your school. Using the concepts of role and task we begin to identify the explicit/implicit organizational expectations that impact your work. What’s the best part of what you do? The hardest? We will zoom out and zoom in to better understand who you are and what you do.

2:45 – 3:00


3:00 – 4:15

Conference House

Session 2 – Communication and Roles

What does the “flow” of communication look like at your school and where are YOU in it?! Understanding how and when communication is (in)effective is essential for SSP’s, particularly if confidentiality and privacy are of concern. In addition, SSP’s should determine when to adopt the role of “consultant” versus “direct service provider.” Others may be most comfortable referring problems to you. Your work may be in helping a colleagues address the problem themselves.

4:15 - 4:30


4:30 – 5:15

Conference House

Session 3 - The Whole Child: What Health Education Can Actually Be
Presenter: Justine Fonte

Approaches to Health Education strategically include prevention, yet too often the preferred metric of success is that “nothing bad happened.” This is a hard sell to get funding and support. As SSP’s, we are the first know how much of a disservice this is to our schools. This session will address some of the practices that have worked best for The Dalton School who is in its seventh year of a comprehensive health program. This program is a critical part of the student’s EDUCATION, as it truly addresses “the whole child” via mental health, sexuality, nutrition, digital literacy, and community building. It also intentionally includes three key constituencies: students, parents, and faculty.

5:15  – 6:30

Hotel Check In/Free Time

Lake Lounge


Main Dining Room



7:30 – 8:15


8:30 – 8:45


8:45 – 9:30

Home Groups 1

9:30 – 10:30

Conference House

Session 4 - Case Studies by SSP Teams (nurse, counselor, administrator, health educator, PE teacher)

A health educator, nurse, counselor, administrator, and a PE teacher walk into a bar….

Actually, it’s no joke--for one hour, we will simulate what having a full SSP team looks like, what wearing the hat you were hired to wear because it’s your expertise feels like! Pretty radical, we know :) You will be organized in a team format to work with an SSP team on a division-based case study. As an SSP team, you will make a plan, find a solution, and understand the power of SSP teamwork.



10:45 – 11:30

Debrief Case Studies

11:30 - 12:10

Reflection Activity

12:15 – 1:15


1:30 – 2:45

Conference House

Session 5 – Let’s Talk about Sex: Sex-Positive Programming PreK-12
Facilitator: Justine Fonte

In the ideal world of sexuality education, no one would ever say, “They’re too young for that!” Even with porn being readily accessible to kids of every age and the #MeToo movement growing every week, we are still far from adequately equipping our schools with comprehensive sexuality education to address these trends. The fundamentals of sexuality education include feelings, communication, and connection--topics no one is too young to learn. Core principles and foundational concepts of the sexuality education field relevant in PreK-12 will be addressed in this session and leave you with more than just a condom and a banana.

2:45 – 3:00

Break and Transition

3:00 – 3:45

Concurrent Sessions: choose one

Session 6AWorking to support students extracurricularly: guiding students with stressors outside of the classroom in balancing sports, arts, and the home life 
Presenter: Rob Tuckman  

Over-scheduled, highly stressed, multitalented students of today are doing everything in their power to balance their involvements in a multitude of different interests.  Driven by messages from parents, school, peers, etc.  Today's student is scheduled to the max, with days that start at the crack of dawn and end well after the sun settles.  Each activity comes with the expectations that the student will "commit" all of their attention and dedicate themselves fully, but at what price?  In this breakout, we will look at all that our students are attempting to manage and ways that we, as helping professionals can support them. 

Session 6B: The Pedagogy of Experiential Learning or When In Doubt, Act It Out!|
Presenter: Jennifer Bryan

Having students learn by doing is a highly effective teaching approach, yet many educators avoid adding experiential learning to their pedagogical toolbox. Role plays take too much time! What if the activity gets out of hand!? In this session we will explore the basic principles of experiential learning and identify ways to maximize the benefits of working in this modality.

Session 6C: What’s on that Screen?!: Navigating the Digital Jungle with GenZ
Presenter: Justine Fonte

The digital age has brought about a whole new layer of complexity to sexuality and affecting our most vulnerable population: youth. It has changed how we have relationships, view body image, and understand consent. This presentation will provide attendees with tools to feel more comfortable initiating sexuality-based conversations.

3:45 – 5:45

Free Time

5:45 – 6:30

Conference House

Session 7: Unconference
Facilitator: Barbara Swanson, NYSAIS

  • Explore topics and challenges that are of most importance to you, either within the conference theme or not.

Lake Lounge


West Dining Room


8:00 – 9:00
East Dining Room

All Work + No Play Makes Counselors & Health Educators Dull

  • Health and Wellness Jeopardy!
  • Improv for the Weary and Wicked


7:30 – 8:15


8:30 – 9:30

Morning Startup & Home Groups

9:30 – 9:40


9:40 – 10:40

Conference House

Session 8 - Student Anxiety
Ali Mattu

Anxiety is a normal emotion. But when does anxiety become a problem for our students? What are the signs that something is wrong? And what can we do about it? This session will help student support providers identify the emotional developmental milestones of childhood and adolescence, understand how anxiety can impact development, and learn the most important skills to help students cope with anxiety. 

10:40 - 10:50

Break and split rooms

10:50 – 11:45

Concurrent Sessions: choose one

Session 9A - Student Anxiety -- a deeper dive
Presenter: Ali Mattu

A continuation and QA with Ali Matty

Session 9B: Working With Difficult Parents
Presenter: Rob Tuckman

As support professionals, difficult parents tend to come across our desks either directly or through the support of our colleagues. We will explore how we can work with difficult parents while keeping our professionalism intact.  We’ll discuss techniques, approaches, protocols, etc. to working with difficult parents directly and indirectly and discuss ways that we can help train and support our faculty and staff.

Session 9C: Gender and Sexuality Diversity 101
Presenter:  Jennifer Bryan

Having an informed, contemporary understanding of gender and sexuality is emerging as an essential 21st-century skill. For educators looking for a new way of thinking about the role of gender and sexuality in PreK-12 schools, this session will provide an introduction to the Gender and Sexuality Diversity (GSD) framework and the New Diagram of Intersecting Identities. 

Session 9D: Consent: Raising the Standard
Presenter: Justine Fonte

For decades, our refusal culture taught us that "no means no." It does, but what is the course of action if a "no" is absent, if the "yes" is said under the influence, or if it's a "yeah, I guess?" When it comes to sexual activity, this is where the blurred lines live, the mixed messages, and sexual assault. In this session, we flip the framework that is not only inclusive of "no means no" but raises the standard to one that is sex-positive and free of blurred lines:  "only an enthusiastic yes is a yes."

11:45 - 12:15          Closing toasts, reflections, takeaways.

We highly recommend that you make plans to be at Mohonk from the beginning to the end of the conference. The work we do over the course of three days is cumulative and relies on building an enjoyable, restorative, reliable learning community. Get the most while you are at the conference. You’ll be back at school soon enough!

Jennifer Bryan is a psychologist and educational consultant who currently specializes in helping PreK-12 schools address Gender and Sexuality Diversity. She is the founder and principal of Team Finch Consultants, and her book on this subject From the Dress-Up Corner to the Senior Prom: Navigating Gender and Sexuality Diversity in PreK-12 Schools, is for teachers, educators, and parents. She uses psychological and pedagogical frameworks, skilled group facilitation, and a lively sense of humor to help administrators, teachers, staff, parents, trustees, and students explore the complex terrain of gender and sexuality identity development.

Earlier in her career, she worked in the capacity of school counselor at The Hotchkiss School (CT), The Bement School (MA) and specialized in working with adolescents in her psychotherapy practice. She has provided clinical supervision to many school-based counselors over the years, including those in the Union 38 School District in Deerfield, MA.  In addition, she provides organizational consultation to non-profit and educational communities.

Justine Ang Fonte is the founder and Director of Health & Wellness at The Dalton School, a K-12 independent school in New York City. She also works as a consultant to schools and speaker for teachers, parents, and students in both public and private school institutions across the United States on feminist-based sex education.

Her work as a teacher began in middle school mathematics which gave her the groundwork to understand the administrative structures in school systems. She experienced first hand the negative impact that insufficient health care and access had on her math students’ learning. She co-authored for the National Association of Independent Schools, Sexuality Education: An Overview for Independent Schools.

She received her Master's in Education from the University of Hawai`i and her Master's in Public Health from Columbia University.

Dr. Ali Mattu is a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles where he majored in psychology and minored in Asian American studies. Dr. Mattu received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He completed a doctoral internship at the Bellevue Hospital Center and a post-doctoral fellowship at the NYU Langone Medical Center's Child Study Center.

Dr. Mattu presently serves on the Board of Directors of The Story Collider and creates curriculum for the Pop Culture Hero Coalition. Has has served in a variety of leadership roles within the American Psychological Association including the Board of Directors, Council of Representatives, Council Leadership Team, Policy and Planning Board, Good Governance Project, and the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students.

Dr. Mattu has been called a “forward thinker” in psychology. He was named one of The Mighty’s mental health heroes of 2015. His work has been described as “simple, thoughtful, and actionable.”

Rob Tuckman has worked in the capacity of school counselor for the past 22 years in five schools across the world;  Children's Psychiatric Center's High Point School, Manalapan, NJ, The Pennington School, Pennington NJ, The Anglican School, Jerusalem, Israel, Cincinnati Country Day School, Cincinnati, OH and most recently Princeton Day School, Princeton, NJ.  He has taught in the classroom, been a head coach at the Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Middle School level and chaired the Crisis Response Team whose charge was/is to develop Crisis response procedures and protocols.


Transportation - buses from Port Authority to New Paltz run frequently.

Registration is a 2-step process.

Reserve your room with Mohonk - do one of the following.  (RESERVATIONS OPEN SOON)
  1. Reserve online
  2. Click here to download the Mohonk Residential Reservation Form (room and board)
  3. Click here if you will be a day guest at Mohonk (meals only)
  4. Reserve by phone: 800-772-6646
Need car service? Please give the Mohonk 24 hours notice, or call a local taxi.
Sold Out -- Registration for the wait list here
Regular Registration Fees apply within 2 weeks of the event
  • NYSAIS Members - $425.00
  • Non-members - $465.00 

Early Registration Discount of  $50.00 will apply until 2 weeks before the event
Late Fee of $20.00 will apply 2 days before the event.

Questions about registration? Email

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