Recap: The 14th Annual NAME Conference
By Rena Steyaert (MT) Conference Chair and Teresa Pastore (MA) Conference Co-Chair
Beautiful Montana weather greeted 266 attendees as they arrived in Bozeman, Montana for the 14th Annual NAME Conference, September 18-21, 2016. The conference was held at the Best Western GranTree Inn and the Holiday Inn in Bozeman MT. The view from anywhere in Bozeman offered a tremendous site of mountains and sunny skies. The use of two hotels located next to each other made this conference unique and attending general sessions, nuggets and breakout sessions in both facilities was done with ease by the attendees. The close location to Yellowstone National Park was a plus and was taken advantage of by many of the conference attendees during their time in Montana.
NAME's federal partners from the Office of Special Education Programs and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services were not able to join us for this year’s conference. However, we had many sessions on the topic of Free Care and examples of some states work in that new area of providing health services in a school setting.
Thanks to financial support from seventeen organizational sponsors, NAME was able to keep 2016 Conference attendees' costs down. We acknowledge and are grateful to the following sponsors:
Compliance Services Association
Paradigm Healthcare Services
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Over 100 people attended the NAME Academy: Introduction to Medicaid School Based Services session that featured three speakers on the roles of Medicaid, Education and the Local Education Agency (LEA). In the evening, attendees participated in the Welcome Reception and some ventured to learn line dancing from conference chair, Rena Steyaert from Montana.
Monday, September 19, 2016
NAME Executive Director John Hill (KY) filling in for NAME President Tracy Brunner (IN) in her absence, welcomed all participants. Additional welcomes were provided by Montana’s Special Education Director, Frank Podobnik and Montana Medicaid School Based Service Program Officer, Rena Steyaert, who read a welcome from the Department of Public Health and Human Services. Updates from NAME and introduction of the Leadership Team as well as the Scholarship winners were introduced: Christine Arena (CT-Region 1), Julie Neurerer (MN-Region 2) and Stacey Bushaw (WA-Region 3). The opening keynote address The Flint Water Crisis! The Situation and Our Response was delivered by Cheri Wager, Assistant Superintendent for Special Education in Michigan and Deb Marshall, Supervisor of Student Data Management and Medicaid Coordinator in Michigan. NAME offered its first Regional Town Hall where attendees reconnected with those in their region to discuss issues they are experiencing. The rest of the day provided attendees with Nugget sessions on a wide variety of topics. The day concluded with attendee’s taking the opportunity to participate in one of two Social Events: A trip to the Museum of the Rockies for food, drink and touring the Dinosaur Hall exhibit as well as 2 short movies in the theatre at the museum; or, a fun Scavenger Hunt around the Montana State University and the downtown area of Bozeman.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Activities commenced at 7am with the 4th Annual Anysia Drumheller Memorial Scholarship 5K Run/1 Mile Walk. Over 50 people participated in a refreshing ‘right after the rain’ mountain air run/walk. Congratulations to all who participated and a big thank you to Lauren Holahan of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction for organizing the event!
The annual Fireside Chat lead by John Hill included the knowledgeable participants of Amy Edwards (VA), Shannon Huska (CO), Elaine Lerner (NJ), Margie Bobe (CA) and Mark Smith (OH). Those in the audience learned the most recent actions around Free Care and an update from the convening meeting held in Washington DC on July 27 this year where all the above attended.
A Related Service Practitioner Panel Discussion followed the Fireside Chat, featuring representatives from the American Physical Therapy Association, American Occupational Therapy Association, American-Speech-Language Hearing Association, National Association of School Psychologists and the National Association of School Nurses. This was led by Lauren Holihan (NC).
Our first of three Breakout sessions started after a break and during lunch, representatives from the Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA) from Bozeman informed attendees about their program. Through NAME’s silent auction efforts, a $200 certificate donation from the Westin, Fort Lauderdale hotel and your generous contributions, NAME was able to donate $3,500 to this well deserving organization. Thank you to all who contributed so generously.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
The last day started with a closing keynote speaker, Charlie Sibenga, that shared his personal stories and inspirations in a talk titled Meet the Need. The NAME Regional Town Hall meetings concluded, providing a final opportunity for members to gather in their respective regions and reflect on the week and discuss what issues NAME should focus on in the coming year. The annual Membership Meeting was held and new NAME President Shannon Huska (CO) took office, as did new NAME President-Elect, Kevin Bauer (MI) and other elected representatives to the NAME Board of Directors. For the first time an actual gavel was presented to Shannon. Fort Lauderdale, FL was announced as the site of the 2017 NAME 15th Annual Conference to the music of Kokomo by our very own BEACH GROUP from Florida that entertained us with lyrics written and referring to past NAME conferences. Shannon used her new gavel to conclude the meeting and the conference.
The NAME Leadership Team participated in meetings through the rest of Wednesday and all day Thursday, planning long range organizational goals for NAME.
The 2016 NAME Conference Committee would like to thank all those who attended this year’s conference, and is deeply grateful to all those who volunteered their time to plan and work the event. The 2017 Conference Committee will study the results of all 2016 conference evaluations to prepare for next year. It is never too early to begin the process of securing approval for travel to the 2017 NAME Conference. We think it will be worth your efforts!