Making Connections: Session Information for Support Staff

General Information

The purpose of Making Connections is for ACPS staff to participate in professional learning together. Sharing our practices across the division with one another builds our personal and collective capacity to end the predictive value of race, class, gender and special capacities for our children's success through high quality teaching and learning for all.  

Date: November 7, 2022

Time: Coffee will be available at 8 a.m. in the Cafeteria. Sessions will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the last session will conclude at 11:30 a.m.

Location: Albemarle High School, 2775 Hydraulic Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901

Registration Information

All attendees should register for Making Connections sessions through our Professional Learning Management System (PLMS) as it will help us finalize our planning.

To register for sessions, first click on the desired session link in the left hand column of the chart below.  The link will take you directly to the PLMS course to register for session.  Make sure to select the time slot you would like to attend.

Resource: Click here for more detailed instructions on how to use the PLMS.

Note: You can also search for Making Connections sessions directly through the PLMS, but for ease of planning, we recommend using the Making Connections website to navigate session offerings.

Session Information
Session Title Session Description Presenter(s) 8:30 to 9:20 9:30 to 10:20 10:30 to 11:20 Room Number
Balancing Work and Life ID the components of a balanced lifestyle, ID and explore the balance between home responsibilities, career requirements and leisure activities Alphonso Spence   X   128
Basic Excel Functions Workshop

This course is designed to introduce office staff to the basic functions of Excel. Whether you are looking to learn something new, or to refresh your knowledge of Excel, this class will help walk you through the basic steps of manipulating data within an Excel spreadsheet.

Functions that will be discussed:

  • Copying and pasting into an Excel document
  • Column/row adjustments
  • Sort/Filter options for Columns
  • Add, subtract, multiply, divide
  • Sum
  • VLookup
Corey Hunt X     115
Being Safe Online: Cybersecurity Boot Camp Learn how to keep yourself, your students, and your colleagues safe in this intro session to cybersecurity. We will teach you how to be a human firewall, how to spot phishing messages, and general tips for staying safe online. The skills learned in this session will pay dividends in your work and personal life moving forward! Michael Gonyar X X X 125
Best Practices in Leading Teams This session is designed for employees who are in leadership roles within the division. The session will provide tips and strategies on support team management and leadership. Participants will deepen their understanding of ways to effective lead and manage teams. Attendees will leave with practical tools to support building effective communication between team and among team members, project management, and strategies to support your staff in performance improvement. Dallas Hitt X X X 105
Compensation Study Informational Session This session will discuss:
- compensation study findings
- impact on current employees
- long term planning
Brodie Downs     X Auditorium
Conflict is Normal - How Do We Conflict?

Conflict is a normal part of the human experience. Conflict occurs in our personal lives and in the workplace. Conflict can affect productivity, morale, and working relationships in negative and positive ways. Understanding and working with conflict is an important part of a successful organization.

This interactive workshop will engage participants in discussion, presentation, and practice of knowledge, skills, and methods for understanding, engaging, and responding to the daily experiences of communication, misunderstanding, emotion, disagreement, and conflict that may arise in the workplace. The content includes:

  • Styles of conflict resolution
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Communication
  • Listening and paraphrasing
  • Naming common ground
  • Identifying issues in a conflict
  • Problem-solving
Bob Garrity 8:30 to 10 10 to 11:30   39/40
Coordinating Substitutes Join Human Resources’ Substitute Coordinator, Eva McGehee, for this roundtable discussion of all things substitute management. Eva will present on how to use Frontline’s Reports feature to get the most out of the system’s data. A structured discussion will follow where the true experts on substitute management, the in-school staff who work tirelessly to fill absences every day, can share strategies and hear about what other schools have done throughout the substitute shortage. Come ready to share your tried and tested tools. Come with the big idea you have but haven’t had the time to pursue. Or simply come with open ears. Let’s learn from each other to reach the goal of a substitute for every absence, every class, and every school. Eva McGehee X X X 158
Courageous Conversations about Race The Courageous Conversations Protocol is one tool we rolled out to help our faculty and staff understand how to engage in difficult conversations. Join members of our Anti-Racism Committee to participate in the introduction and purpose of Glenn Singleton's protocol, which will include understanding the elements of having a courageous conversation. Ayanna Mitchell and Eric Irizarry     X 150
CPI Initial Training for Bus Drivers and Bus Assistants CPI Recertification Training will be offered for those Special Education TAs who are currently CPI certified but need the annual recertification training. This session is a full day training. Jared Walding All Day Session Monticello High School
CPI Initial Training for Special Education Teaching Assistants CPI (Crisis Prevention Intervention) is required for all Special Education Teaching Assistants. Initial training for those who have not been certified in CPI before will be offered. Online modules will be assigned in advance and must be completed before coming to the full day in person session. Katy Compel All Day Session Monticello High School
CPI Recertification for Special Education Teaching Assistants CPI Recertification Training will be offered for those Special Education TAs who are currently CPI certified but need the annual recertification training. This session is a full day training. Katy Compel All Day Session Monticello High School
Culturally Responsive Customer Service This session will focus on providing customer service to our non-English speaking families, and how to support connecting them to school in culturally responsive ways. Jonathan Antigua X X X 129
Data Privacy Strategies in Action Join us as we look at how ACPS takes steps to protect student data. Corey Hunt     X 115
Demystifying Workers Comp & How to Prevent Job Related Injury Hurt on the Job? Now what?! Understanding what your resources are and what next steps you need to take. Review of the how, what, when, why scenarios as well as simple, but effective strategies that will help you and your colleagues stay safe at work Alex Patterson and Michelle Bailey X     127
Equipment Care This session is for building services and custodial crews. Proper maintenance and care of equipment will be discussed during this session as well as basic demonstrations on how to maintain equipment properly Tony Minton   x x Small Gym
Exporting Data from PowerSchool This session is designed to help office staff find specific fields within PowerSchool, to export student information used for reports or other lists. We will look at the various fields that are used to store data, as well as the List Students and Quick Export Functions. Staff do not have to have permissions to run these reports to take this session. It is a good course to learn where and how the data is stored, along with how it can be used and exported. Corey Hunt   X   115
Find Serving Others

This seminar looks at five components in our work and home life as a way to continue to positively and joyfully serve others. Attendees will participate in interactive discussion and feedback based on the following five principles:

  • Following the Golden Rule
  • Forgiving others and ourselves
  • Living a Healthy Lifestyle
  • Living “Simply”
  • Seeing, Saying and Doing the Little Things
Frank Squillace X     118
Google Basics: Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides for Classified Staff In this session, we will look at ways to organize our Drive, how to format, comment, and assign tasks in Docs, how to use sheets in the office setting, and how to use some of slides presentation and formatting features. I encourage participants to bring their questions and devices. It will be a working session. Alfred Toole X X X 114
Initiating Difficult Conversations This session will describe why arguing never helps, the three sides to any difficult conversation and where to begin, how to adopt a positive learning stance and think like a mediator, process of separating intent from impact, changing blame to contribution, ways to acknowledge feelings, how to use questions without eliciting defensiveness. Alphonso Spence     X 128
Kronos Open session for anyone that needs assistance with Kronos. Participants may drop into this session at any time. There is no formal presentation. We will be providing support with any questions or concerns related to all things Kronos. Any timekeepers that wish to attend should bring their laptops, but this session is open to all employees. Thomas Abell X X X 161
Love No Ego, The Courage to Be You The sharing of a message, including its pillars and principles that can be adopted into the school environment. That message involves the simultaneous removing of egotistical layers/challenges and the adding of daily practices that enhances human awareness, promotes learning, strengthens communities, and compliments growth. Freddy Jackson X X   Auditorium
Mandated Reporting Sessions As an ACPS employee and your role working with children, it is important to be aware of signs of abuse and what to do if a student tells you that they are being harmed. This session will discuss what to look for and what you should do if you suspect a student is a victim of abuse. Tammy Yarborough X X X 162
New Special Education Teaching Assistant VDOE PD All Special Education Teaching Assistants who are new to ACPS are required to complete a VDOE mandated training within the first 60 days of school. This training will serve to meet that requirement. All Special Education TAs new to ACPS should prioritize this training. Please make sure to bring a laptop with you to this session. Katy Compel X X X Media Center
Open Enrollment /ADP Lab Open lab for anyone that needs assistance using ADP to select their benefit for open enrollment. Participants may drop into this session at any time throughout morning. There is no formal presentation. We will just be providing support to access information. If you have questions about benefit options, you should attend the Open Enrollment/Benefits session. We will provide laptops. However, if you have smart phone, you may use it to participate in this session. Christine Ponton X X X Media Center
Pathway to Being a Teacher Have you ever considered being a teacher? Come learn about how you can pursue this dream! This session will provide information about pathways to becoming a teacher for our support staff. Come learn about how you can start your path to becoming a licensed teacher, to include information about course requirements, ACPS cohorts, and financial support. Clare Keiser     X 110
Procurement (Buying What you need with EASE) Has navigating the purchasing process been confusing or difficult? In this session we’ll get back to the basics on getting what you need more easily with new tools: using Amazon smarter; how-to ‘shop’ for best pricing; where to find on-demand training and more! Bring your questions. Dino Tubin and Lisa Thomas X X X 164
Professional Correspondence: Email Etiquette & Business Writing This is a session to support those in the ACPS community who frequently correspond with their school community or with multiple school communities. It would instruct them on best practices in drafting emails based on audience. Helen Dunn X X X 120
Project Management in ACPS This course will provide an overview of the Project Management process used in Albemarle County Public Schools and will share document templates for project charters, timelines, logic models, and other planning tools. There will be some time to look at case studies for real project scenarios and time for question and answer. Jamie Gellner X   121
Purchasing (Buying What you need with EASE) This session will cover topics in the form of demonstrations, round table discussions and hands on refreshers regarding ePro and Works. Please bring your laptop and an invoice to the session. Also, we will be seeking feedback regarding cross training. Nanette DeFrank X X X 153
Responding to Student Behavior This session will focus on ways to support student behavior in positive ways. We will look at ways to build positive relationships with students. Additionally, we will look at strategies that de-escalate student behaviors rather than escalate them. Participants will leave the session with concrete strategies to support positive interactions while correcting student behaviors in a variety of settings. Megan Williams X X X


Responsive Classroom for Support Staff Students learn and grow best when the adults in their community work together to support them. This makes all adults, including support staff, integral to a school’s success. In this one-day workshop, learn how to apply Responsive Classroom principles and practices in non-classroom spaces—such as in the cafeteria, at afterschool programs, and on the bus—in order to create consistency between adult actions and student expectations throughout the day. Sarah Scavone All Day Session Monticello High School
Step Coordinator Roundtable Discussion This session is for any STEP coordinator who is interested in working together to discuss successful strategies that are currently being implemented in your schools and to learn from one another. Dale McDonald     X 166
Strengthening Partnerships for Students Experiencing Homelessness: What OA’s Need to Know Students in homeless situations need our collaboration in order to succeed!
Our discussion will spark greater understanding of ACPS procedures that provide stability for families experiencing homelessness and allow students to thrive.
  • Strengthen and refresh your understanding of McKinney-Vento requirements for school enrollment and transportation.
  • This session is helpful whether you are an experienced School Registrar, Office/Counseling Assistant, or new to the division.
  • Powerpoint, Q & A with the ACPS Families In Crisis team.
Laura Brown X X X 123
Student Registration In this session, we will discuss best practices regarding student registration in ACPS. We will discuss protocol and procedures regarding the registration process. Also, we will do case study analysis around residency, custody, and homelessness. Dr. Jesse Turner and Ross Holden X X X 165
Superior Customer Service I This seminar looks at the whole aspect of providing superior customer service. Part I focuses on the three questions of “Why is providing superior service so important?” “Who are our customers?” and “How do we actually put great service into practice?” Frank Squillace   X   118
Superior Customer Service II This seminar looks at the whole aspect of providing superior customer service. Part II deals with providing service to those who are difficult, the use of non-verbals and the whole aspect of communication, the key to all aspects of service. Frank Squillace     X 188
The Basics of Graphic Design: How to Make Your Information Visually Interesting This session will delve into some of the basics of graphic design like visual hierarchy and color theory. Then, with these basics, we will go over how to use free programs like Canva to create stunning but legible and logical designs that effectively communicate information to your community. Lauren Hunt X X X 124
Time Management Tools: Organizing/Prioritizing/Time Management This session will describe for managing appts, describe tools for organizing tasks and responsibilities, identify ways to make sure mission critical things don’t get lost in chaos Alphonso Spence X     128
Understanding Your Benefits & Open Enrollment This presentation will help you understand the benefits options available to you during the annual Open Enrollment window. Claudine Cloutier X X X 116
Understanding Your Retirement Benefits

The purpose of this session is to provide a high level understanding of VRS and County Retirement Benefits and familiarize staff with the plan levels, websites, plan necessities and additional retirement benefits. I will answer the following questions in the session:

  • Am I a VRS Member and if so, which plan do I belong?
  • How can I learn more about my retirement plan?
  • What should every VRS Member do?
  • In ADP, what do my VRS deductions mean and how can I check them?
  • If I’m not a VRS Member, why and what does that mean for me?
  • Do I need to submit a VERIP Application in November?
  • When should I think about additional benefits such as Medicare or additional retirement savings plans?
Jenny Stearns X X X 163
Using Interpretalk to Communicate with Families In this session, we will review and discuss interpretation protocols and procedures, including how to use Interpretalk, best practices when working with interpreters, do’s and don’ts (such as using children to interpret) and parental rights to interpretation. Ambha Lessard X X X 126
Visitor Management - ScholarChip: An Open Lab

Join this Open Lab Time to ask those questions! What do you need to know? What have you been trying to accomplish and need some help? Share any tips that have helped you.

Come with questions or share your experiences. This is an opportunity to learn from other professionals at ACPS! There is no structured format to this session, just time to learn and share. We will have a kiosk on-site to work with.

John Mitchem X     122
Working with a Diverse Team This session will discuss ways in which people’s cultures impact their relationships with others. Participants will self-reflect on how their cultural preferences contribute to team dynamics and learn strategies to support building trust and strengthening team dynamics by taking advantage of diversity. Ayanna Mitchell and Eric Irizarry X X   150
Your Guide to Accessing All Things EAP This session will describe what EAP stands for and what resources you have right at your fingertips! An overview of how to access your assistance benefits and how to reduce stressors that could impact your work life balance. Alex Patterson and Michelle Bailey   X X 127