This webinar series will not be recorded. Participants must attend each session “live.” PDPs and CEUs will not be awarded.



Penny Copplestone, M.Ed. and Kathleen Larche, Ed.D., Athena K12 Speakers


Paraprofessionals are every schools’ VIPs. The role of teaching assistants and paraprofessionals is varied, supporting students with the most complex needs. It can be different in every school and every classroom depending on the students’ needs and the teachers’ needs.  Because of this it is important to have a toolkit of effective strategies to support students’ academic, emotional, behavioral and social needs. This series will examine effective strategies for you to draw on as you work with your students.

This session will define the 13 categories of Learning Disabilities and discuss the eligibility for services for each disability. This includes a discussion of Student Support Teams, Student Support Specialists, and their roles as well as the differences between the IEP and 504.

This session will examine the autistic spectrum. We will share the criteria to be met and the major components of autism. We will also look at social, communication and academic strategies, modifications, accommodations and reinforcements used to support students on the spectrum.

Paraprofessional roles and responsibilities are vast and varied. In this session, we will discuss the paraprofessional’s roles and share strategies used to guide and support the day to day academic, social, and emotional needs of our students.

Presenters will discuss three supports, accommodations, modifications and interventions, for student needs. Examples of each support and common issues that can arise will be discussed. This webinar includes scaffolding and how to mix it altogether.

How do you establish a relationship and culture with your students? This session examines how well you know your students and what you can do to use what you know to support them. Inclusive practices and effective management strategies will be included, as well as the causes of disruptive behavior and inattentiveness.

About the Speakers

Penny Copplestone, M.Ed., Penny’s career in elementary education was founded on the belief that building relationships with students and championing their individuality is fundamental to their capacity to engage with learning, and to become responsible, kind human beings as well as critical thinkers. Core to her efforts is the desire to close the achievement gap between students who excel and students who fall behind because of race, economics or ethnicity. Penny holds a Masters Degree in Guidance and Counseling from Framingham State University, a BA in Elementary Education from UMass Amherst, and is certified as a K-8 teacher in Massachusetts with additional training in teaching the whole child and teaching in an inclusion classroom.

Penny’s educational interests include effective teaching strategies, differentiation in the classroom, effective modifications and adaptations in the classroom, and classroom management. She also enjoys supporting teachers in Readers’ and Writers’ Workshop, and Effective Guided Reading Strategies. Additionally, she has written units of study based on Massachusetts Core Curriculum Standards for Gifted and Talented, co-taught workshops in methodology for differentiated curriculum for Gifted and Talented students and in the use of broad based curriculum for all students. She is a consultant teacher, delivering methods and materials to classroom teachers to facilitate higher-level, critical and creative thinking. She also served on the Diversity Leadership Team for the Wellesley Public Schools.

Kathleen Larche, Ed.D., has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Speech and Hearing Science, a Master’s degree in Speech Pathology and a doctorate degree in Child and Youth Studies. She has worked as a professor at Eastern Nazarene College, Newbury College, Salem State University and, is presently, an assistant professor and program supervisor at Framingham State University. She teaches Language Development and Communication, Assessment Procedures, and Learning and Human Development. Other responsibilities include supervising student teachers during the Practicum experience. Her teaching experience also includes the roles and responsibilities of a speech/language pathologist including the assessment, diagnosis, selection and dispensing of augmentative and alternative communication devices and direct intervention of various communication disorders in public schools. Dr. Larche has led workshops for teachers, paraprofessionals and support staff (OT, PT, SLP, school nurses) for various school districts addressing, Effective Teaching Strategies, Differentiation in the Classroom, Effective Modifications and Adaptations in the Classroom and Classroom Management. 

Membership Information

Most MPY webinars are available ONLY to current staff from member districts and organizations. Public school memberships include police and fire personnel. Former and retired employees and members of committees, including but not limited to, PTO/PTA, PAC, School Improvement Councils, Health Councils, Drug/Alcohol Councils, and school volunteers, are not considered MPY members.

PDPs and CEUs

PDPs and CEUs will not be offered for this webinar series.

Event Cancellation Policy

If you are unable to attend a MPY webinar you must cancel, through Bonnie Mullen at, one business day before the webinar.

For MPY hybrid conferences, the date in-person registration closes will be posted on MPY’s website. Virtual conference registration will close one business day before the hybrid conference. You cannot cancel or switch your registration from in-person to virtual after in-person registration closes. Please email Bonnie Mullen at with any questions regarding registration.

  • Enrollment in this course closed on 02/28/2024.

This webinar series will not be recorded. Participants must attend each session “live.” PDPs and CEUs will not be awarded.

All sessions are 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

  • Session 1: February 28, 2024, Characteristics of Disabilities
  • Session 2: March 13, 2024, Autism Spectrum
  • Session 3: March 27, 2024, Roles and Responsibilities of the Paraprofessional
  • Session 4: April 10, 2024, Accommodations, Modifications and Interventions
  • Session 5: April 24, 2024, Inclusive Classroom Practices