Tuesday, May 5, 2020
at Four Points by Sheraton, Norwood, MA

Reserve overnight rooms for $145/night plus taxes and fees.


Register Here

Conference Agenda

  • Register, Network and Enjoy Breakfast: 8:00 - 8:45 a.m.
  • Welcome: Claire Leheny, AISNE: 8:45 a.m.
  • Opening Keynote Address: Hakeem Rahim: 8:50 - 9:45 a.m.
  • Break: 9:45 - 10:00 a.m.
  • Session I: Presentations and Conversations: 10:00 - 11:15 a.m.
  • Session II: Self-Care and School Community-Care: 11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
  • Networking Lunch: 12:20 - 12:55 p.m.
  • Session III: Presentations and Conversations: 1:00 - 2:15 p.m.
  • Closing Keynote: David Epstein: 2:20 - 3:15 p.m.
  • Reflections and Farewell: Becky Biggs, AISNE: 3:15 p.m.


Our Keynote Speakers: Hakeem Rahim and David Epstein


Hakeem Rahim, Mental Health Speaker and Trainer

Hakeem Rahim is an internationally recognized mental health speaker, educator and advocate. In 2012, Hakeem began speaking openly about his 19-year journey with bipolar disorder. He rose from struggling with illness in college to become a leading mental health advocate. Through his advocacy work, Hakeem has spoken to law enforcement officials, individuals with mental illness and their family members and to over 60,000 middle school, high school & college students. Hakeem has testified on Capitol Hill before several Senate and Congressional committees and panels, where he has shared his experience living with bipolar disorder. He has been featured in major news outlets for his advocacy work including USA Today and in print and television ads as part of New York City’s ThriveNYC Mental Health Awareness Campaign. He is a national board member of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and a TEDx Speaker. Hakeem graduated Harvard in 2004 with honors and went on to earn two master’s degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University.

David Epstein, Author, Journalist, Speaker

David Epstein is the author of the #1 New York Times best seller Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, and of the New York Times best seller The Sports Gene, which has been translated in 18 languages. David has given talks about performance science and the uses (and misuses) of data on five continents; his TED Talk has been viewed 8.5 million times, and was shared by Bill Gates. He has master’s degrees in environmental science and journalism. He has worked as an ecology researcher in the Arctic, studied geology and astronomy while residing in the Sonoran Desert, and signed up to work on the D-deck of a seismic research vessel shortly after it had been attacked by pirates. David enjoys volunteering with the Pat Tillman Foundation and Classroom Champions. An avid runner, he was a Columbia University record holder and twice NCAA All-East as an 800-meter runner.


Opening Keynote Address

8:50 - 9:45 a.m.

Breaking Through Stigma: The Highs and Lows of Mental Health | Hakeem Rahim

Hakeem will share his personal story of mental illness, recovery and wellness. Be inspired by his resilient journey and take away his message of embracing awareness for mental illness and reducing the stigmas surrounding it.


Session I: Presentations and Conversations

10:00 - 11:15 a.m.

A) Conscious Leadership: Keep Yourself Whole So You May Care for Others

Facilitated by: Marie Mechtaly, Certified Professional Coach

Step into your own inner leadership. Consciously choose how you show up for yourself and those around you. Learn how to slow down, hone in and connect with the leader within you! Enjoy this experiential and interactive program. Leave with new tools for avoiding fatigue and burnout.

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B) We Are More Than Labels

Facilitated by: opening keynote speaker, Hakeem Rahim

Participate in a conversation about stigma, labels and acceptance. Experience Hakeem's Acceptance Formula, a unique wellness tool designed to empower with the knowledge and comfort that a mental health diagnosis isn’t a negative, and that life beyond it is limitless. Challenge yourself to think in new ways about mental health. Go forward with powerful new approaches for supporting positivity and self-acceptance, personally and professionally.

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C) Everyday Empathy: Teach Relational Skills in Academic Classrooms

Facilitated by: Lauren Porosoff, Author and Educator

EMPOWER is an approach to instructional design that integrates opportunities for students to explore and enact their values. Drawing from contextual behavioral science, this work guides students to notice how their assignments and interactions can be contexts for values-consistent behavior, and to choose to live by their values even when it’s hard. Learn new ways to help students make more intentional decisions about how they treat each other. Take away methods you can immediately apply in your school.

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D) The Professionalization of High School Sports: Parents, Coaches and Schools

Facilitated by Michael Thompson, Author and International Speaker, and Rick Melvoin, Consultant and former head of Belmont Hill School

Club sports, club coaches and the significant financial investments some families are making to advance children's athletic careers have altered relationships between students, parents, coaches and schools. Expectations of parents and schools are increasingly misaligned, leading to animosity and deep frustration. Join this candid talk for a conversation about these dynamics, and helpful approaches for best supporting student athletes and their parents and caregivers, while also best equipping your school and coaching organization for success.

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E) YES+ (Youth Educators for Sex Positivity): Peer-to-Peer Sexual Health Education

Facilitated by: Flavia Vidal, Director of Brace Center for Gender Studies, and Susan Etsy, Director of Wellness Education, Phillips Academy

Recent studies, including a data analysis performed by SHIFT, the Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, suggest strong, inclusive, ongoing sexual education in middle and high school correlates with lower rates of sexual assault in first-year college students. Given the higher rates of students of color and LGBTQ+ students experiencing sexual assault in college, a strong and inclusive, intersectional sexual-education program may be seen as a social-justice mandate for all schools. Learn about the work of YES+ at Andover, including the group’s selection and training processes, and the techniques and ideas they have used to make forward progress in integrating race, class, gender and sexuality into Andover’s overall curriculum.

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F) Teaching About Consent? Teach About Intimacy First.

Facilitated by: Deborah M. Roffman, MS, CSE, Author, Speaker, Master Teacher

Many young people today express the opinion that as long as protection is used and there's mutual consent, having sex is "fine." How are they defining words like "protection" and "having sex," and why do they set such low expectations for themselves and their potential partners? Explore how traditional approaches to sexuality education may contribute to limited ways of thinking, and how an in depth focus on powerful concepts like human intimacy can help change the paradigm.


Session II: Self-Care and School Community-Care

11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

A) Enjoy a Chair Massage

Take 15 minutes for some self-care. Chair massages available by sign-up at AISNE's Health & Wellness 2020 Registration Desk. First-come, first-to-secure.

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B) Refresh with Yoga

Lead by: Marie Nagode, Yoga Instructor and Mindfulness Coach, Dedham Country Day School

Yoga offers an opportunity to carve out time to just be with ourselves. This is an all-levels class, suitable for those who are new to yoga and those who practice regularly. We will combine stretching, poses, meditation and relaxation to reset, and achieve a state of well-being that will carry us through the rest of the day.

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C) Youth Mental Health First Aid: The Numbers, The Need, The Movement

Facilitated by: Kacey Como, Mental Health First Aid

According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, one in five teens and young adults live with a mental health condition, with half developing the condition by age 14. 64.1% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people age 15-24. Learn the elements of the 8-hour Youth Mental Health First Aid training program, be introduced to the 5-step action plan and engage in a case scenario. Elevate mental health conversations within your school.

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D) Gamified Social-Emotional Learning: Playful, Values-Based Education

Facilitated by: Lauren Porosoff, Author and Educator

Living in connection with and celebration of one's personal values is an important component of happiness and well-being. Engage in a Values and Questions game, designed to help students discover the personal values they wish to exemplify in school and beyond. See how this game approach helps students visualize new possibilities for ways of approaching learning and relationships. Discover examples of how the game helps students open up, connect with peers and adults, and move past conflict.

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E) Support Community Members Who've Lost Loved Ones

Facilitated by: Jennifer Borislow, Borislow Insurance

The passing of a loved one can bring about a tidal wave of emotion and unanticipated challenges. Gain smart approaches for establishing your school as a leader in grief support, employee education and advisory services.

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F) Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tips and Meal Ideas

Facilitated by: FLIK Independent School Dining

Learn easy ways for becoming more heart healthy. Take away healthy, simple and delicious meal ideas and recipes for busy school days and nights.


Session III: Presentations and Conversations

1:00 - 2:15 p.m.

A) Empathy in Promotion of Health and Wellness

Facilitated by: Carlos Hoyt, Director of Equity and Inclusion, Belmont Day School

Empathy improves connections across social identity differences, reduces stress through self-awareness and perspective-taking, and facilitates critical thinking and good decision-making, all of which are essential not only to optimal health and wellness but also to strengthened social-emotional and anti-bias competencies. Focus in on deep understanding of empathy, and how it is distinct from sympathy, compassion and altruism. Take away a step-by-step process for applying empathy in all forms of human interaction: with students, colleagues, parents, and in one's personal life. Participants are encouraged to read this paper in advance.

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B) Creating Mindful Spaces on Campus

Facilitated by: Wendy Gustavel, Librarian and Traci Fairchild, Director of Counseling and Wellness, Rocky Hill Country Day School

Hear experiences in designing and designating physical spaces devoted to mindfulness. Wendy and Traci will share specific examples from Rocky Hill Country Day School, covering how the spaces were determined and established, and how these spaces are positively impacting their school community. Be inspired!

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C) Understanding the Impacts of Adverse Childhood Events (ACE)

Facilitated by: Nicole Christian-Brathwaite

Traumatic events impact children's behavior, development and ability to learn and function in the classroom. Learn behaviors that may be expected from children who have experienced traumatic events, how to support these students, and how to create a more trauma-informed school community.

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D) Frequent Health Services Visitors: Signs and Strategies

Facilitated by: Adria Pavletic, Director of Health Services, St. Mark's School

Do you have students who are in Health Services quite a bit? Gain insights for unearthing the sometimes unspoken needs behind frequent visits. Hear approaches for strengthening relationships and support systems, and achieving improved classroom attendance. Consider when referrals or interventions may be most appropriate, and hear success stories, using anonymous student cases.

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E) Fostering Healthy Body Images in a Body-Shaming World

Facilitated by: Caryn Bello, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Community Educator and Public Speaker

The constant presence of diet recommendations, health food fads, Instagram fitness posts, and pressures to be perfect bombard adolescents with messages and images that shape their beliefs about health, beauty and personal worth. Research demonstrates that 40% of elementary school girls wish to be thinner, with this number rising in middle and high school years. Negative body images are linked to mood disorders, anxiety disorders, low self-esteem and eating disorders. Gain tools and resources for helping students develop resiliency within our image-focused, body-shaming culture. Take away specific approaches for talking with adolescents and techniques for fostering healthy relationships with food and our bodies.

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F) Finding Common Ground Around Values in Sexuality Education and Beyond

Facilitated by: Deborah M. Roffman, MS, CSE Author, Speaker, Master Teacher

Focus in on five different kinds of values that interface with school life, and the unique opportunities for schools to address each type. Explore how your school can develop new forms and levels of partnerships with parents and students, incorporating values in regards to education, as well as religious and cultural values, into your work. Consider how your school articulates the values of your sexuality education curriculum, and how you best support students in applying ethical yardsticks to their sexual decision making. Participants are encouraged to bring a copy of your school's mission statement.


Closing Keynote Address

2:20 - 3:15 p.m.

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World | David Epstein

Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you’ll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule. David examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields—especially those that are complex and unpredictable—generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Be inspired by his findings.


Books Available for Purchase at this Conference

Wellesley Books will join us on-site, selling the following titles:

Additional recommended reading:


Participating Schools

  • Belmont Day School
  • Belmont Hill School
  • Berwick Academy
  • Brooks School
  • Dedham Country Day School
  • Dexter Southfield School
  • Dublin School
  • Fontbonne Academy
  • Groton School
  • Middlesex School
  • Nashoba Brooks School
  • Noble and Greenough School
  • Phillips Academy
  • The Pike School
  • The Rashi School
  • Rocky Hill Country Day School
  • The Roxbury Latin School
  • St. Mark's School
  • Walnut Hill School for the Arts

Join These Schools