2019 Reclaiming Youth Seminars Presenters and Topics
Check back soon for more presenters and topics!

Karla Abbott, DNP, RN, Faculty of Nursing, Augustana University

Walking in Two Worlds:  Exploring Stress and Resilience with Traditional Lakota Talking Circles
Talking circles, often associated with restorative justice and strength-based problem solving, was used by a group of researchers at Augustana University to study stress, prenatal care, and poor nutrition on pre-term birth on a Native American population in South Dakota. Native American pregnant mothers and tribal elders shared their thoughts about stress and experiences of pregnancy and motherhood using the talking circle as the primary way to gather information. In addition to providing an overview of this research, the workshop explores the process and benefits of the talking circles and how that approach might be used with youth of all backgrounds. Dr. Abbott is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe and teaches at Augustana in the area of behavioral health.

Randy Boardman, EdD

It’s About Time: Time to Teach! Time to Learn
Research suggests teachers leave education in their first 3-5 years because “Nobody told me I would have to deal with this foolishness!” Dr. Boardman will present examples of practical strategies to manage 80-90 % of low-level and off-task behaviors, decrease office referrals by up to 70 %., and make your classroom a healthier place for learning for each student. This presentation highlights a sampling of skills taught in the One-Day Time To Teach! training, from the Center for Teacher Effectiveness, for which Dr. Boardman is an approved National Trainer. He will examine the impact on learning of six core concepts such as pre-teaching to expectations, re-teaching skills to help students re-engage with learning, and unconditional positive regard. Randy has an inspirational presentation style that interfaces best practices supported in the literature, as well as his personal and professional experiences with troubled and troubling youth.

Adrienne Brant James, MSW, and Tammy Lunday, EdD candidate, Turtle Island Learning Circle

Moccasin Paths and Other Trails
Moccasin Paths and Other Trails draws together Indigenous knowledge and contemporary research to build strengths and foster cultural pride in Native American and First Nations youth, families, schools, and communities. A related goal is to foster a greater understanding of how blending Indigenous science with contemporary research can create positive environments for well-being and respect in any cultural group or setting. Presenters on this topic are Adrienne Brant James (Mohawk) and Tammy Lunday, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate (Dakota). This session will also include a talking circle. 

Larry Brendtro, PhD, Reclaiming Youth at Risk; discussant Beate Kreisle, PPC Germany

Positive Peer Cultures and Inspired Staff Teams
Positive Peer Culture (PPC) offers a roadmap for creating positive climates in schools, treatment, juvenile justice, and child and youth care settings. PPC is not an isolated curriculum but a total system to build bonds of respect among youth and with adults in their lives. PPC is listed as a highly rated research-based practice by the California Evidence-Based Clearing House (CEBC) which provides this description: “PPC is a peer-helping model designed to improve social competence and cultivate strengths in youth. Care and concern for others is the defining element of PPC…. These norms not only extinguish antisocial conduct, but more importantly reinforce pro-social attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.”

Larry K. Brendtro, PhD, Reclaiming Youth at Risk, and Robert Foltz, PsyD, Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Planning Restorative Outcomes [PRO Assessment] reframes problems as opportunities for learning with children and youth at risk. Grounded in the Circle of Courage model of resilience, this strength-based approach moves beyond the narrow focus on deficit and disorder of traditional diagnostic methods. The young person is seen as the key expert on his or her life and is enlisted to develop positive plans for healing and growth. PRO Assessment can be used for brief crisis resolution, for developing social and emotional learning and treatment plans, and for reclaiming interventions with youth who are experiencing serious conflict or trauma. PRO Assessment is transforming education, treatment, juvenile justice, and child and youth care. Presenters highlight this approach which is now available through on-site or online courses.

Martin Brokenleg, EdD, Professor Emeritus of Native American Studies, Augustana University

Transforming Cultural Trauma into Resilience
A major challenge facing Indigenous populations is cultural trauma which is perpetuated by the disruption of colonialization and the epigenetics of intergenerational transmission. Researchers have described three lenses through which Indigenous cultural trauma is being viewed:  1) the clinical model—treating a mental health disorder like PTSD, 2) the resilience model—developing strengths to cope with stressful life experiences, and 3) the decolonization model: recognizing and resisting ongoing traumatization by repressive systems such as structural racism  embodied in coercive models of education, justice, and treatment.  In tune with the positive psychology movement, Native people are reclaiming their cultural pride. Dr. Brokenleg combines his own experiences in a family who survived colonial boarding school oppression with the Circle of Courage model of wellness and resilience.

Scott Conner provides transportation courtesy of Alcester Public Schools


Visit Good Earth Historic Native Settlement: Friday, 3:00-5:00 pm
Fifteen miles from Sioux Falls is “Good Earth” which until the year 1700 was larger than New York and Boston. This trade center on the Big Sioux River brought together Indigenous peoples of many tribes for peaceable commerce. Join a short bus trip to the Good Earth visitor center where you will see an inspiring video featuring descendants of the original occupants and view historic displays of life in one of the greatest early North American cities first occupied 8,000 years ago. Across many Native American languages, “Good Earth” refers to the source of all life—from where we come and to where we return. We depart by bus from the Commons Building Circle at 3:00 Friday and return to the campus by 5:00.  

Robert Foltz, PsyD, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Medicating our Youth: Unpacking the Evidence & Discovering Myth-Information
This session will examine the research used to guide the practice of medicating our challenging youth. In reviewing the Practice Guidelines & current trends in care, concerns include weak or unavailable evidence to support this increasingly common practice. Discussion will include case examples and critical review of research across stimulant, antidepressant, ‘mood stabilizer’ and antipsychotic medications.

Mark Freado, MA, Growing Edge Training

The Art of Kid Whispering
Problem behaviors are often the focus of intervention instead of recognizing that these are expressions of inner pain and distress. This presentation by the co-author of Kid Whispering is the pathway to discovering the private logic and goals of the inside kid. Understanding what is going on in the private logic of a young person helps caregivers decode troubling behavior and begin to replace hostile, resistant encounters with respectful bonds.

The Three Pillars of Transforming Care: Trauma and Resilience in the Other 23 Hours
This is not another trauma training for therapists but addresses those working directly with traumatized youngsters in foster care, residential care, schools, youth justice workers, and the family. These individuals need therapeutic strategies in order to meet the needs of young people whose behaviors can be baffling and challenging. Three Pillars is also useful for professionals who train, mentor, and support direct care providers. This training is unique as it blends trauma research with resilience science. Much healing from trauma takes place beyond formal therapy in the natural environment of “the other 23 hours.”

Vikki Hennard, PhD, Char-Em ISD

The CLEAR™ Behavior Planning Process: Clarifying Needs and Solutions

This session describes a collaborative approach to providing positive behavior support for youth with challenging behavior. The CLEAR™ Behavior Planning Process identifies the student’s stressors, including how past trauma has impacted thoughts and emotions and brings stakeholders together to assist the youth in using strengths to overcome challenges. Professionals and families unite as understanding the young person’s perspective becomes the key to discovering solutions and developing well-being. The CLEAR™ process guides professionals and families to plans that are designed to meet the universal growth needs for Belonging, Mastery, Independence, and Generosity.

Susan Jones, MSEd, Trauma Informed Practices Coach, Broome-Tioga BOCES

Leaving an Imprint: One Student, One Family at a Time
This is about doing education differently, education on an imprint level–individualizing and personalizing the learning approach for each student given their abilities and life experiences. Considering, not just what our students need to be successful, but our families as well. Topics include an overview of The ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) Study, Trauma & Impact on Brain Development, Building New Pathways,
The Conflict Cycle, Power of Home Visits, Circle of Courage (Reclaiming Youth at Risk) and Collaboration with Community Resources/Stakeholders.

Stacy Kelsey, MA, Wentzville School District

The Power of Moments
Defining moments shape our lives. Research shows that you learn best within moments and you have the power to redefine the meaning of your moments. This presentation will share how the value of teaching to moments can have transformative effects on children, and it will illustrate how successful this mindset has been in positively influencing the educational and personal journeys of some of our most complex children. 

Beate Kreisle, MA, Jugen Kolleg am See, Moos, Germany


Positive Peer Cultures and Inspired Staff Teams

JR LaPlante, JD, Director of Tribal Relations, Avera Health


Distinguished Keynote Presenter. From Risk to Resilience: The Native Experience
JR LaPlante was just out of college in 1990 and heading back home to the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation to start a youth ministry when he first heard about the late Gov. George Mickelson's Year of Reconciliation. The governor's untimely death did not quell JR's lifelong pursuit of that goal. His current position is Director of Tribal Relations for the premiere Avera Health organization a leading provider of health services for Indian country. His rich history of contribution to Native American affairs includes being the first Secretary of Tribal Relations for the state of South Dakota. After graduating from USD Law School, he maintained a practice specializing in American Indian law. He also served as the chief judge and court administrator for the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe in Fort Thompson. He was assistant U.S. Attorney in South Dakota and lead efforts to ensure safety in Indian Country by addressing the high crime rates in tribal communities. JR LaPlante is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. His wife Kathy is an associate professor of social work at the University of South Dakota. 

Kari McCluskey, Lost Prizes

Risk and Resilience in Trauma-Exposed Work
Service providers play an important role in the lives of youth and their families as they work to develop safe and meaningful relationships. As a result of these connections, we are exposed to the stories and traumatic experiences of others. Caregivers dedicated to the progress and resilience of those in their charge, often extend themselves beyond job requirements, healthy boundaries, and available resources. Over time, trauma exposure and extended efforts can have adverse consequences for our professional and personal lives. Unfortunately, the struggles and challenges we experience as a result of difficult work often happen in isolation. This session will discuss risk and resilience factors for burnout, caregiver fatigue, and vicarious trauma; followed by individual and collective strategies for building resilience in trauma-exposed work.

Michelle Powers, EdD, Augustana University
Autism-The Long Route to Learning
The presenter will share perspectives on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) from her positions as an educator and parent of a child with autism. A long-time special education teacher and administrator, Michelle and her husband, took the long route to learning to parent their #6 child, Delaney, who was formally identified as being on the ASD spectrum in 1st grade. Participants will gain key information about autism, signs and symptoms, rates of identification, supports for families, all from the perspective of an educator and parent. 

 Cheri Thurman, MS, Wentzville School District

Educational Support Counselors--A Teacher/Therapist Model
To be a Therapist is this model you need to have the willingness to and value the purpose of
  * Removing barriers to learning in the child’s “life space”
  * Blending two distinct and separate professional disciplines into one strong, cohesive partnership
  * Working side-by-side with the teacher or Administrator using complementary skills and identical beliefs about the value of the child
  * Continuing to have hope and work hard when the child does not
  * Willing at times to invest more than the child in their recovery
  * Being the other “23 hours” in the child’s actual life space
  * Being a co-regulator
  * Being the Calm in the chaos
  * Believing with a strong heart in the value of All children
  * Giving up is Never an Option

Larry Wilke and Darren Solomon, Little Red River School

Engaged Schools
The Little Red River School is working on engaging the whole school community.  Although the major emphasis is on student engagement, the school is working on engagement with the parents/caregiver, the Elders, and the community.  The Little Red River School has utilized training in The Art of Kid Whispering: Reaching the Inside Kid from J. C. Chambers,  The Three Pillars of Transforming Care from Mark Freado, and are now adapting the Schools That Matter model of Dr. Steve Van Bockern.  This workshop will highlight what has been taken place during the 2018-2019 school year and present plans for the future.

Steve Van Bockern, EdD, Augustana University

Schools that Matter: Teaching Minds, Reaching Hearts™
Many adults in school settings want to refocus their energy and efforts in ways that matter to their students. The race to the top of the academic mountain has done little to support our children in the right ways. Instead of seeing children as data points to be measured and sorted, Schools that Matter focus on the total well-being of the child and the adults who teach and care for children. This workshop will share the “road map” for building places that matter using ideas from Dr. Van Bockern’s recently published book, Schools That Matter: Teaching Minds, Reaching Hearts.

Host of Reception at the Augustana Center for Western Studies, Thursday, 4:30-6:00 pm
Meet other participants and explore the rich collection of Native American and other artifacts from the peoples who populated the Great Plains. Refreshments provided by Augustana University Department of Education, Growing Edge Training, and Resilience Resources.


Jerica WidowMeghan Tompkinsand students, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe


Cheyenne River Youth Project
Founded in 1988, this grassroots, not-for-profit organization is dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservations with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities. CRYP's ground-breaking teen internship program, which offers tracks in sustainable agriculture, social enterprise, wellness, Indigenous cooking, and the arts, gives young people a chance to learn vital job and life skills and gain significant hands-on-experience- that will serve them well all their lives. In this session, you will hear youth participants share their experience and describe how this has shaped their future plans. Also, view videos from CRYP's larger events held throughout the year for youth and the community.