SMART Center 2021 Virtual Speaker Series

NW - SMART Speaker Series

The school mental health supplement to the Northwest MHTTC co-sponsored the UW SMART Center's 2021 Virtual Speaker Series. Originally a series of in-person events, we moved these presentations to a virtual format due to COVID-19.

Learn more about the UW SMART Center here.

New Resource!

2021 UW SMART Center Speaker Series Recordings, Materials, & Resource Document 

Please feel free to share with anyone that might be interested.

Dr. Rhonda Nese: "Developing an Instructional Alternative to Exclusionary Discipline Practices" with Q&A

Rhonda Nese
December 2nd, 2020 



In this session, the presenter will discuss the negative impact of exclusionary discipline practices on students’ social, emotional, and academic outcomes, as well as alternative strategies to use in lieu of punitive responses.  The presenter will also introduce a preventative model for responding to student behaviors that holds promise for improving student-teacher relationships and skills, and reducing subsequent removals from instruction.


  • Participants will learn about the negative impact of exclusionary discipline practices
  • Participants will learn about preventative approaches and alternatives to exclusionary discipline practices


Dr. Rhonda Nese, Ph.D.,  is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences at the University of Oregon. Dr. Nese currently serves as the Principal Investigator of an IES grant to refine and test an intervention to reduce exclusionary discipline practices, improve student behavior and student-teacher relationships, and increase instructional me for students in secondary settings, and Co-Principal Investigator on three additional IES grants to identify factors that predict implementation and sustainability of evidence-based practices, to develop technology to improve online learning for educators, and to develop and validate an automated scoring system for oral reading fluency. Dr. Nese also provides technical assistance to state, district, and school-level teams across the nation on preventative practices, including addressing implicit bias in school discipline, effective classroom behavior management strategies, bullying prevention, and alternatives to exclusionary discipline practices through the OSEP-funded National TA-Center on PBIS. Dr. Nese’s research involves intervention delivery within a multi-tiered behavior support framework focused on preventative strategies for improving student outcomes.

Dr. Anne Gregory: "Strengthening Relationships and Repairing Harm: A Paradigm Shift in School Discipline Practice and Research"

Anne Gregory
March 3rd, 2021


In her presentation, Dr. Gregory will discuss school and district efforts to reduce punitive approaches to discipline, decrease racial disparities in suspensions, and increase access to social emotional learning and restorative practices. Drawing from interviews with educational leaders engaged in discipline reform, she will describe their challenges with school staff buy-in and their strategies for changing mindsets. Dr. Gregory will further discuss researcher social positionality and ways of conducting equity-oriented research from the stance of strengthening relationships and repairing harm.


  • Participants will learn about research on school-based Restorative Practice initiatives.
  • Participants will learn about ways to center equity in school discipline reform.
  • Participants will learn about 12 indicators of RP implementation and strategic considerations for roll-out.


Dr. Anne Gregory, Ph.D., is a professor in the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. Dr. Gregory is a researcher in the area of racial and gender disparities in discipline and is currently examining school-wide restorative practices and equity-oriented social and emotional learning. She has authored over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and numerous book chapters. Publications include The promise of restorative practices to transform teacher-student relationships and achieve equity in school discipline, and Social-emotional learning and equity in school discipline. Dr. Gregory recently received the Joseph E. Zins Early Career Contributions Award from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

Dr. Ilene Schwartz & Ginger Kwan: "Using a Racial Equity Theory of Change (RETOC) to Facilitate Collaboration Between University Researchers and a Community Based Organization​"

Ilene Schwartz & Ginger Kwan

April 7th, 2021 



Open Doors for Multicultural Families and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education have been working together to increase the capacity of programs and provides to meet the needs of diverse children and families who have disabilities.  Recently we have worked through a process to create a joint Racial Equity Theory of Change (RETOC).  In this presentation we will share how this collaboration between a community based organization (CBO) and a university-based program came to be and what we do to support this partnership. We will also introduce the RETOC process and share the results of our process.


  • Participants will become familiar with the RETOC process
  • Participants will increase their knowledge of variables that support the collaboration between CBOs and university-based organizations.


Ginger Kwan, Executive Director of Open Doors for Multicultural Families, A nonprofit, grassroots family support organization. The organization’s mission is to ensure multicultural families who have loved ones with developmental/intellectual disabilities and special health care needs have equal access to information, resources and services. She is also a parent of a fine young man with autism. Both her professional work and personal life have been involved with serving diverse families of loved ones with special needs. Ginger believes that with appropriate language and cultural support to refugee and immigrant parents who have limited English proficiency and to those from the communities of color, they will be empowered to make informed decisions and be strong advocates for their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Ilene S. Schwartz, Ph.D., BCBA-D Dr. Ilene Schwartz is a professor in the Area of Special Education at the University of Washington and the Director of the Haring Center for Research and Training in Education at UW. She earned her Ph.D. in child and developmental psychology from the University of Kansas and is a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA-D). Dr. Schwartz has an active research and professional training agenda with primary interests in the area of autism, inclusive education, and the sustainability of educational interventions. She has had consistent funding from the U.S. Department of Education since 1990 and serves on a number of editorial review boards including the Topics in Early Childhood Special Education and the Journal of Early Intervention. Dr. Schwartz is the director of Project DATA, a model reschool program for children with autism that has been in operation since 1997; and is currently working on projects to improve the quality of inclusive educational services in Washington state for students in P-12.

Dr. Emma Elliott-Groves: "Indigenous Systems of Relationality: Designing for Transformative Agency in Indigenous Community Psychology​"

Emma Elliott-Groves
May 5th, 2021 


Presentation PDF


In this session, Dr. Elliott-Groves will share several stories related to Indigenous trauma, healing, and relational restoration. By offering Indigenous understandings of relationality coupled with theories of social change, this talk uncovers strategies that can shift mainstream approaches to Indigenous mental health. This talk calls for a paradigm shift from the prevention model to a transformative model of understanding overall wellbeing. By shedding light on the interdependence of life, as understood through Indigenous systems of relationality, researchers and practitioners can cultivate spaces for healthy, equitable, democratic, diverse, beautiful, fun, and restorative healing practices for all living beings.


  • Participants will learn about Indigenous conceptions of well being, and consider how epistemic heterogeneity can inform collective health and wellness.
  • Participants will learn about theories of social change, and consider how participatory design research can cultivate different states of being, thereby opening up different possible futures.

Emma Elliott-Groves, Ph.D., MSW Dr. Elliott-Groves is an assistant professor in the Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development in the College of Education at the University of Washington. She holds both a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and a Master of Social Work in Children, Youth and Families. A large part of her research centers on understanding the meanings and explanations of suicidal behavior from the perspective of Indigenous peoples’. By employing a strengths-based approach to recovery, Dr. Elliott-Groves rigorously engages youth, families, and communities in the development of integrated behavioral health interventions to address complex social issues. Her research centers on ethical frameworks generated by Indigenous and place-based knowledge and practices to create process-centered approaches that illuminate Indigenous pathways toward collective livelihood.

Dr. Janine Jones: "Culturally Responsive School Mental Health Interventions: Adapting Evidence-Based Treatments"

Janine Jones
June 2nd, 2021


Presentation PDF


This presentation will include a rationale for cultural adaptations to evidence-based interventions, content for increasing cultural literacy, and strategies for integrating cultural variables into the intervention process. Examples will be shared to demonstrate the subtle and nuanced ways that culture impacts intervention efficacy. Through participation in this workshop, school mental health providers will learn ways to create a therapeutic environment that is conducive to cross-cultural counseling and subsequently increase the effectiveness of interventions for BIPOC youth.


  • Learn a rationale for implementing cultural adaptations to evidence-based treatments
  • Learn identity affirming practices for supporting the needs of BIPOC youth
  • Learn new tools and strategies for integrating cultural variables into the intervention process


Dr. Janine Jones (she/her) is a Professor of School Psychology and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Education at the University of Washington. She is a Licensed Psychologist and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. Her research focuses on providing culturally responsive school based interventions that address the socio-emotional health of students of color. Her work is framed around the belief that providing culturally responsive services and promoting resilience within the cultural context creates the path toward serving the “whole child.” She also consults with school personnel on culturally responsive practices that enhance teacher/student relationships and reduce some of the barriers associated with intractable opportunity gaps for students of color in schools.

Want more information and school mental health resources? Visit the Northwest MHTTC's School Mental Health page and sign up for our monthly newsletter for regular updates about events, trainings, and resources available to the Northwest region.

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