Click here to find the available speaker handouts. Please note: not all session handouts are available for download.


Sunday, February 12 to Tuesday, February 14
Royal Sonesta Hotel in Houston, Texas!

The Inclusion Works! Conference Purpose:

The Inclusion Works! provides learning opportunities for parents, educators, and school administrators to improve skills in collaborating to educate students who qualify for Special Education services in the regular educational environment with supplementary aids and services. The ultimate goal is to offer families and school staff information and education about research-based practices so that eligible students are effectively prepared for further education, employment, and independent living according to the purposes of the I.D.E.A.

The Inclusion Works! Conference values and indicators of implementation of inclusive practices on a campus or in a district:

  • Disability is considered by adults and students as only one of many attributes possessed by each child;
  • All students with disability labels are members of the general education community;
  • Students receive special education services and supports in general education settings;
  • Students with disability labels are involved and making progress in enrolled grade level curriculum based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) or Pre-K Curriculum; and
  • Special educators and general educators work together in general education settings to meet students’ needs.

At the Inclusion Works! Conference, participants can expect to learn how to:

  1. Provide access to the general curriculum for students with disabilities using the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and the Pre-K Curriculum.
  2. Support students with disability labels in inclusive settings-including use of Assistive Technology and school-wide positive behavior interventions & supports.
  3. Improve skills in planning, collaboration and co-teaching.
  4. Use PLAAFP to write grade level standards based IEPs and how to implement them.

Download a copy of the preliminary schedule. Check back for the latest update!

Registration, meals and all conference activities will take place at the Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston Galleria.


Keynote: Universal Design Daily: 5 Powerful Ways to Support All Students in the Diverse Classroom
Dr. Paula Kluth

Are you looking for new ideas for your lessons? Feeling bored with the techniques you currently use to support students with and without disabilities? Overwhelmed with all there is to learn about universal design and differentiated instruction? If so, this keynote presentation by Dr. Paula Kluth will “hit the spot”! Based on her new book of the same title, this talk is designed to give busy educators ideas for teaching and supporting all learners during busy school days. Specifically, Paula will recommend that teachers “teach up”, change the learning state, center on strengths, rely on rituals, and be goal oriented. She will discuss not only the practices associated with designing learning experiences for all, but habits of mind as well. This presentation contains video clips, classroom stories, examples and illustrations, and collaborative activities. More importantly, it features ideas to help all teachers better respond to the diversity that exists in their classrooms every single day.

Dr. Paula Kluth is a consultant, teacher, author, advocate, and independent scholar who works with teachers and families to provide inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities, and do create more responsive and engaging schooling experiences for all learners. Paula is a former special educator who has served as a classroom teacher and inclusion facilitator. Her professional interests include differentiating instruction, active learning, and inclusive schooling.

She is the author or co-author of more than 15 books and products including “Don’t We Already ‘Do’ Inclusion?”, “From Text Maps to Memory Caps: 100 More Ways to Differentiate Instruction in K-12 Inclusive Classrooms”, and “You’re Going to Love This Kid!”. Paula is also the director of a documentary film titled “We Thought You’d Never Ask: Voices of People with Autism.”

Book:  UDL Daily coming out in late 2016!

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Keynote: Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites – 20 Instructional Strategies That Engage the Brain
Marcia L. Tate, EdD

If students don’t learn the way we teach them, then we must teach them the way they learn. Whether you are a special education or regular education teacher, principal, or parent, you will experience 20 brain-compatible strategies that take advantage of the way all brains learn best. Use music, metaphor and movement to increase academic achievement for all students. Explore research as to why these strategies are preferable to others.  This keynote has been called practical, informative and so much fun.

Marcia L. Tate, EdD, is the former Executive Director of Professional Development for the DeKalb County School System, Decatur, Georgia.  During her 30-year career with the district, she has been a classroom teacher, reading specialist, language arts coordinator, and staff development executive director.  She received the 2001 Distinguished Staff Developer Award for the State of Georgia and her department was chosen to receive the Exemplary Program Award for the state.

Marcia is currently an educational consultant and has taught over 500,000 administrators, teachers, parents, and business and community leaders throughout the world.  She is the author of the following eight best-sellers: (1) Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Instructional Strategies that Engage the Brain – (3nd Ed.); “Sit & Get” Won’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Professional Learning Strategies that Engage the Adult Brain – (2nd Ed.); (3) Reading and Language Arts Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Literacy Strategies that Engage the Brain – (2nd Ed.); (4) Shouting Won’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Techniques to Detour Around the Danger Zones – (2nd Ed.); (5) Mathematics Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites – 20 Numeracy Strategies That Engage the Brain and (6) Preparing Children for Success in School and Life: 20 Ways to Increase Your Child’s Brain Power; (7) Science Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Instructional Strategies That Engage the Brain; and (8) Social Studies Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Instructional Strategies That Engage the Brain; and her latest book, Formative Assessment in a Brain-compatible Classroom: How Do We Really Know They’re Learning?.  Participants in her workshops refer to them as the best ones they have ever experienced since Marcia uses the 20 strategies outlined in her books to actively engage her audiences.

Marcia received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and elementary education from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.  She earned her Master’s degree in remedial reading from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, her specialist degree in educational leadership from Georgia State University and her doctorate in educational leadership from Clark Atlanta University.  Spelman College awarded her the Apple Award for excellence in the field of education.

Marcia is married to Tyrone Tate and is the proud mother of three children: Jennifer, Jessica, and Christopher; and six grandchildren: Aaron, Aidan, Christian, Maxwell, Roman. And Shiloh.

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Opening Keynote: The Global Ready Graduate: Skills, Literacies, and Dispositions for a World in Flux
Will Richardson
Monday, February 13 (9:00 – 10:30 AM)

These are interesting and challenging times around the world. Our internal realities as educators are increasingly mismatched with a world that is filled with information, knowledge, people, and technologies accessible by a few swipes on our phones. Because of our immediate, ubiquitous connections, our day to day understanding of events is becoming more complex yet more tenuous. The need to be a curious, critical consumer and creator of information is more important now than ever before. And that now is the foundational work of schools and educators. We’ll take a look at the opportunities and challenges of the new realities we now must negotiate, and what that means for our work as individuals and as systems as we move through a very disorienting moment into an equally uncertain future.

A parent of two teenagers, Will Richardson has spent the last dozen years developing an international reputation as a leading thinker and writer about the intersection of social online learning networks and education. He was one of a handful of original education bloggers (willrichardson.com) and his work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers, and magazines such as Ed Leadership, District Administration, Education Week, The New York Times and English Journal. He is an outspoken advocate for change in schools and classrooms in the context of the diverse new learning opportunities that the Web and other technologies now offer.

Will has authored six books, most recently From Master Teacher to Master Learner (2015, Solution Tree Press). In total, his books have sold over 150,000 copies worldwide.

A former public school educator of 22 years, Will is a co-founder of Modern Learner Media and co-publisher of ModernLearners.com which is a site dedicated to helping educational leaders and policy makers develop new contexts for new conversations around education. Over the past eight years, he has spoken to tens of thousands of educators in 16 countries about the merits of online learning networks for personal and professional growth.

Will lives in rural New Jersey with his wife Wendy and his children Tess and Tucker.

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Special General Session: SPEAKing for Inclusion
Ricky Broussard
Tuesday, February 14 (9:00 – 9:30 AM)

Project SPEAK (Sharing Personal Experiences And Knowledge) is an emerging tool for supporting people with intellectual developmental disabilities to learn specific speaking skills, identify an issue that is important to them, and develop a presentation. Now in the process of development to meet TEKS standards, Project SPEAK is a proven tool for assisting youth and adults with significant disabilities to use their voice. And, with the support and assistance, presentations are making an impact – at the individual level such as in education meetings or staff meetings, local organizations such as the Rotary or School Board, and state conferences. As Peer Leader for Project SPEAK, Broussard will share his experience in being a peer mentor, working with the SPEAKers and the amazing impact this tool has had in the lives of the participants.

Ricky Broussard is a leader in the self-advocacy movement for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and an experienced speaker on self-determination. In his work as the Peer Leader for Imagine Enterprises’ Project SPEAK, Mr. Broussard assists new speakers through their own discovery process by sharing ideas and experiences, helping prepare their personal message, practicing, and handling the jitters. He promotes Project SPEAK to education and advocacy audiences throughout the state. Mr. Broussard’s career started in 2005 while living in an ICF group home, when he asked the Imagine team to assist him to start a business promoting self-advocacy, called Get-A-Life in Texas! His life-long mission is to “change the world for people with disabilities and those who support them.” He is a peer mentor to many people throughout Texas as well as a member of the Health and Human Services Commission’s Consumer Direction Workgroup and IDD Redesign Committee.

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Please check back for more Keynote Speaker updates!


The Inclusion Works! Conference often sells out before the deadline – REGISTER EARLY!

Type Price Dates
Professional Early Bird Registration $230 October 3 to October 31, 2016
Regular Registration $255 November 1 to December 31, 2016
Late Registration $280 January 1, 2017 – Day of Conference
Parents / Students Registration $105

 *Stipends (hotel and registration) are no longer available.

Payment Policies

Registrations are accepted on a first come, first served basis. The easiest way to register and pay is by credit card. Purchase Orders (POs) are accepted, but do not constitute payment for registration. ONLY full payment by check or credit card completes the registration process. Please send POs with complete list of those individuals covered on the PO to the address indicated on your registration confirmation. Your registration is not complete until payment is received.

Payments must be received by Friday, February 10. Checks may also be brought to the conference through the “Unpaid Line.” For more questions about payments, email Vanessa Diamos at vdiamos@thearcoftexas.org.

Confirmation Notices

Confirmation notices will be sent by email as soon as you register. If you do not receive a confirmation of registration, stipend or cancellation, call 1-(800) 252-9729 ext. 7738.

Registration Cancellations and/or Transfers

Cancellations are NOT ALLOWED after payment has been made. Registration may be transferred to another person if arrangements are made through the online registration before January 31, 2017.

What Your Registration Fee Includes

Conference registration for all attendees includes the workshops on both days; breakfast and lunch on Monday; reception on Monday; and breakfast and lunch on Tuesday.

*Parent Stipend Information

A limited number of parent stipends are available. Stipends are available on a first-come, first-served basis until the balance of the funds are depleted. Stipends may cover conference registration only OR conference registration and hotel lodging for one or two nights. Hotel lodging stipends will cover half the room rate for one or two nights. You must make your own hotel reservations. Please limit one stipend per family and hotel stipends are limited to those who live outside of the Houston area.

Update: Thank you for your interest in the Inclusion Works! Conference! We’re currently out of stipends for the registrations and hotel lodging stipends. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-800-252-9729.

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Attendees at the 2017 Inclusion Works! Conference will stay at the Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston Galleria where all conference events will take place.

Special room rates of $131 for single/double standard guest rooms have been secured for 2017 Inclusion Works! Conference attendees, and include complimentary guest room Internet access.

To Make Your Reservation

2017 Inclusion Works! Conference attendees can make their hotel reservations with the Royal Sonesta Hotel online (Link) or by calling 855-463-3091 and using the group code 0212ARTX.

Or you can easily make your hotel reservations online.

To ensure the special rooms rates and room availability all reservations must be made no later than Wednesday, January 25, 2017. It is recommended that if you would like to stay earlier or later than the conference dates, to make your hotel reservation as far in advance as possible.

All guests at the Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston Galleria may enjoy these hotel amenities.

Please note:  Several attendees have contacted us regarding sleeping room availability. Rooms are still available, but all of the double/double rooms have been reserved. At this time, you will need to reserve a king room at the conference rate of $131 per night.

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2222 West Loop South
Houston, TX  77027
Reservations: 1-800-766-3782


Valet and garage parking is available to guests.  Discounted parking rates have been secured for garage self-parking.

Day Parking 0-3 Hours Day Parking 3+ Hours Overnight Parking
Valet $15.00 (tax included) $23.00 (tax included) $32.00 (plus tax)
Self-Parking $10.00 (tax included) $18.00 (tax included) $22.00 (plus tax)


The Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston Galleria is easily accessible 16 miles from the William P. Hobby Airport and 28 miles from George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Check here for detailed travel information.

The Arc of Texas has partnered with Accent Travel to provide the best airline rates to attendees. Click here for more information.

Ground Transportation

Follow the signs at the airport for ground transportation and taxi service.


Houston is the 4th largest city in the United States. Many local attractions can be found near the Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston Galleria neighborhood.

Galleria Neighborhood
Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau


Exhibitor Information

The Arc of Texas invites you to exhibit at the Twenty Fourth Annual Inclusion Works! Conference February 12 – 14, 2017 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Houston, Texas. Professionals and parents regard the Inclusion Works! Conference as the premier source for training and information about inclusive education practices.

Inclusion Works! Conference participants include school district and campus administrators, special education directors, general and special educators and parents of students with disabilities from across Texas, and even some out-of-state attendees! Evaluations always indicate a desire for more authors, vendors, and exhibitors so if you have a colleague we should include, let us know!

Exhibit days and times are:

  • Exhibitor set up is Sunday, February 12 between 3:00 – 5:00 pm or Monday, February 13 prior to 8:00 am;
  • Exhibits are open Monday, February 13 from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm;
  • Exhibits are open Tuesday, February 14 from 8:00 am – 9:00 am; and
  • Exhibit tear-down is Tuesday, February 14 starting at 9:00 am and no later than 12:00 pm.



Opening Keynote Sponsor

Interested in sponsoring the conference? Contact Deborah Wallace at dwallace@thearcoftexas.org or at 512-454-6694.

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