2021 Leadership and Project Directors’ Conference


Monday, July 19, 2021 – Thursday, July 22, 2021


Virtual Meeting

Registration is now open.  

Meeting Who

Leadership Audience

  • Part B State Directors and agency staff working across federal programs
  • Part C Directors/619 Coordinators and staff
  • Parent Center Directors and staff
  • Part B and Part C Data Managers
  • Part D Technical Assistance Providers
  • State Advisory Councils and State Interagency Coordinating Councils
  • OSEP and U.S. Department of Education staff

Project Directors'  Audience

  • Personnel Development Project Directors
  • Technical Assistance and Dissemination Project Directors
  • Educational Technology, Media, and Materials Project Directors
  • Parent Center Project Directors
  • State Personnel Development Grant Project Directors
  • Data Center Project Directors
  • OSEP doctoral scholars
  • Project Evaluators
  • OSEP and U.S. Department of Education staff


The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) will hold its Leadership and Project Directors’ Conference virtually July 19 – 22, 2021. This year’s conference will combine OSEP’s bi-annual Leadership and Project Directors’ conferences. Sessions that are applicable to Leadership Conference and Project Directors’ Conference audiences will be offered.



Presenter Information

If you will be presenting at the 2021 OSEP Leadership and Project Directors’ Conference, please use the resources below in preparation for your session.

Please remember, ALL presenters must be registered for the conference. Please ensure all presenters on your session are registered.  

  • Important Deadlines
  • Submitting Materials
  • Section 508 Accessibility Requirements
  • Breakout Presenters
  • Poster Presenters
  • TA Center Exhibition Booth Presenters
  • Technology Demonstration Presenters 
  • Contact Us 

Important Deadlines

  • All Breakout and Poster presenters received notification decisions in May. The deadline to make any changes to sessions (title, descriptions, and speakers) has passed. If you have questions regarding an accepted session, email osep-meeting@air.org.
  • The deadline for submitting Section 508 compliant breakout, poster, and technology demonstration session materials and recordings is July 2, 2021.

Submitting Materials

Presenters should have received an email from osep-meeting@air.org with a URL to access your individual folder for submission.

  • When accessing the URL, you may be asked to verify your identity. If so, please click the “Send Code” button and a verification code will be emailed directly to you within a few minutes.

Once opened, please ensure that the name of the folder matches your session’s title.

Finally, to upload your recorded presentation, timed captions, and any accompanying handouts, please click on the “Upload” dropdown option toward the top of your screen and select “Upload File.”

  • When submitting your recorded presentation and any accompanying handouts, you are confirming that all presenters and co-presenters consent to granting OSEP permission to edit your session, disseminate your session via the OSEP IDEAs That Work Resources YouTube Channel, and archive your session on our conference website.

Section 508 Accessibility Standards

Digital materials distributed at OSEP Conferences are required to meet the standards outlined in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 508 was adopted in 1998). Section 508 requires that Federal agencies’ electronic and information technology are accessible to people with disabilities. This includes electronic and information technologies developed by and for organizations that receive Federal funds.

For general information about Section 508, visit https://www.section508.

Presenter Requirements for Section 508 Compliance

To confirm that all digital materials (including presentation recordings, captions, PowerPoints, handouts, and any other electronic files) at OSEP Conferences meet Section 508 guidelines, presenters will be required to complete several steps to ensure content is compliant.

For Information on making your Word or PowerPoint Presentation accessible, please refer to the following guides:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Section 508 Guidelines

  • What materials need to be Section 508 compliant at OSEP Conferences?

All digital materials that will be distributed at the conference need to be Section 508 compliant. This includes all recorded presentations (captioned), handouts, and presentation content.

  • What is the easiest way to ensure Section 508 compliance?

In short - keep it simple! Images and complex tables, smart art graphics, fonts, and animations make the Section 508 process much more difficult. Adding in “alt text” that clearly describes the meaning of a visual is a good place to start to ensure content is compliant. 

  • Help! I want to make a Section 508 compliant Portable Document Format (PDF) file, but they are very difficult to create.

Unfortunately, making an accessible PDF is much more difficult than making a Section 508 compliant Word document or PowerPoint presentation. To create an accessible PDF, it is easiest to first generate an accessible Word document or Power Point presentation. Presenters can submit their Section 508 compliant Word documents to the conference team, who will then adapt it into a 508 compliant PDF

Breakout Session Presenters

About Breakout Sessions

Breakout sessions are opportunities for participants to share innovative ideas, address persistent issues, and discuss effective practices in preparation, research, technical assistance (TA), technology, practice, and policy for improving results for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and their families.

  • These sessions should be stimulating, address multiple perspectives, and challenge current practices and expectations. 
  • Breakout sessions will be 30 minutes in length. The number of presenters is limited (up to 3). 
  • Breakout presenters are responsible for pre-recording their sessions on their own, and presentations will be made available to conference participants asynchronously. 
  • At least one presenter from each session will be required to participate in a topical roundtable discussion during the conference. This will be a time for presenters with similar topics to engage with conference attendees in a conversation and answer any questions.
    • Roundtable discussions are scheduled for Thursday, July 22 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Breakout Presenter Guidelines and PowerPoint Template

All content must be Section 508 compliant. Final documents must be submitted in Word format.

  • 2021 Recording Guidelines for Presenters
    • Guidelines include additional information about how to record sessions, incorporate captioning into videos, and best practices for presenters.  
  • Breakout Presentation PowerPoint Template
    • PowerPoint slide decks will not be shared with the audience (see next bullet), but you are required to use this template when recording your presentation.
  • Breakout Presentation Handout Template
    • Instead of posting slide decks, we ask that you create a handout (using this template) for your session. 
    • The handout should support your session planning to ensure your presentation highlights the most critical information for the audience.   

Additional Guidance for loading your captions directly onto your video will be available soon. An email will be sent to presenters when the content is ready   

Tips for Engaging Presentations

OSEP Conference breakout presentations are expected to be approximately 30 minutes in length. At least one presenter from each session will also be required to participate in a topical roundtable discussion. Below are helpful tips to consider as you prepare your presentation:

  • Remind yourself that many participants are also doing this work, so they are looking for solutions, strategies, and an answer to “how did they do/achieve xx?” rather than “what is xx?” Frame your presentation with this in mind.
  • Accommodate different learning styles by enlivening your slides with pictures or graphics. Insert short video clips to hear from clients, experts, or leaders or incorporate polling questions. But make sure you consider accessibility for individuals who may have visual or hearing impairments.
  • Keep it simple - concentrate on your core message, always keeping in mind the question, “What is the key message (or three key points) for my audience to take away?”
  • Remember the “Less is More” Rule for presentations: Slides should contain less, rather than more, information, expressed simply.
  • Tell a story to illustrate your points: Stories help us to pay attention and remember things. If you can use stories in your presentation, your audience is more likely to engage and remember your points afterwards.
  • Per Section 508 compliance best practices, captions should be grammatically correct and spell out any acronyms.  
  • Use person-first language in your materials and presentation. For example: “students who are blind,” not “blind students”

Poster Session Presenters

About Poster Sessions

Poster sessions provide opportunities for you to share information that can be easily understood without a formal presentation component. Your proposal should highlight innovative practices in your State, program, or individual grant that lead to improved outcomes for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and their families.

  • Poster presenters are responsible for developing a slide/handout around their topic and pre-recording a 3-5 minute presentation that will be made available to conference participants asynchronously.

Poster Presenter Guidelines

All content must be Section 508 compliant.

TA Center Exhibition Booth Presenters

About TA Center Exhibition Booths

About TA Center Exhibition Booths

Exhibition booths provide opportunities for TA Centers to share relevant information about available resources, supports, and upcoming events. Each TA Center will have a virtual “booth” space with options for sharing videos; images; handouts, TA tools, or resources; website links; and social media connections. Booths will also have options for audience members to schedule networking sessions with TA Center staff or contact them via email. 

TA Centers will be able to showcase up to two (2) videos in their booth listings:

  • One video can be a high-level introduction/overview of your center (5 minutes maximum).
  • A second video should be content-specific and focused on a topic related to returning to learning (in person) (approximately 10-15 minutes).

Populating TA Center Exhibition Booths

Each TA Center Director will receive an email asking them to identify one staff member who will be responsible for uploading content directly into the platform. Once the staff member is identified, we will provide an example of how the booths are structured and instructions for logging into the conference platform to add content. File size and other requirements will be shared.

Technology Demonstration Presenters

About Technology Demonstrations

Technology Demonstrations will provide an opportunity for OSEP grantees to share about new technologies available to practitioners, State education agencies, researchers, and technical assistance providers.

Technology Demonstration presenters will create a video that:

  • Describes who the technology is intended to benefit,
  • Walks users through the technology, and
  • Highlights key features.

Technology Demonstration Presenter Guidelines

All content must be Section 508 compliant.

Contact Us

Questions? Please contact osep-meeting@air.org.


Symposium Prework

Symposium Postwork

Special Needs

Mobile Website

Lodging, Dining, Activities

Call for Proposals


Agenda At-A-GlanceWe have received many questions in anticipation of this year’s conference, and are excited to share more information to help you plan your virtual experience! Once we go live (July 19-22), the agenda will become interactive on the conference platform. The agenda page contains: agendas at-a-glance, descriptions of the various session formats, and engagement guides with tips to ensure you get the most out of this year’s virtual conference.
The agenda structure provides a suggested way to plan your conference experience,  but you can choose to plan your day differently.  Just make sure not to miss out on the live sessions!

Full Agenda(s)

11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ET
Plenary Session (Live Session)

12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET
TA Booth/Tech Demo Exploration
(Asynchronous Session)

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 ET
Large Group Panels (Live Session)

2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET
Informal Networking (Live Session)

2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET
Breakout/Poster Session (Asynchronous Session)

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. ET
Speed Networking (Live Session)

4:00 p.m. ET
(Asynchronous activities on your own)

11:00 a.m.  - 12:30 p.m. ET
Plenary Session (Live Session)

12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET
Informal Networking (Live Session)

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET
Large Group Panel (Live Session)

2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET
Breakout/Poster Session
(Asynchronous Session)



3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. ET (Live Sessions)
MSIP State Team Meetings

  • Team A: AL, AR, DC, IA, KY, MO, NM, OR, PA, RI, SD, TX, VT, WY
  • Team D: BIE, CA, CO, GA, IL, IN, LA, MN, MS, MT, NC, PR, VA, WV, WI

Program Area Meetings: 

  • Personnel Development Program (PDP) 
  • Parent Centers
  • Data

4:45 p.m. - 5:15 ET
OPTIONAL Asynchronous Input Activity 

11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ET
Plenary Session (Live Session)

12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET
Informal Networking (Live Session)

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET
Large Group Panel (Live Session)

2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET
Breakout/Poster Session
(Asynchronous Session)




3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. ET (Live Sessions)
MSIP State Team Meetings

  • Team B: AS, CNMI, CT, FSM, GU, RMI, MD, ME, MI, NV, OH, OK, PU, SC, TN, WA
  • Team C: AK, AZ, DE, FL, HI, ID, KS, MA, NE, NH, NJ, NY, UT, VI

Program Area Meetings: 

  • Educational Technology, Media and Materials (ETMM)
  • State Personnel Development Grants (SDPG)
  • Technical Assistance & Dissemination (TA&D)

4:45 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. ET
OPTIONAL Project Officer "Office Hours" - Live Session


11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ET
Policy Panel (Live Session)

12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET
TA Booth/Tech Demo Exploration
(Asynchronous Session)

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 ET
Topical Discussions (Live Session)

2:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET
Informal Networking (Networking Session)

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. ET
Speed Networking (Networking Session)

4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET
Breakout/Poster Session (Asynchronous Session)

5:00 p.m. ET
End of Day!

Session Formats

Large Group and Policy Panels: Panels are live, moderated sessions that share important topics with cross-stakeholder appeal. Panelists represent multiple perspectives (Federal, State, research, practitioner/exemplar). Attendees will be able to submit questions that may be answered during a live Q&A. Panels will be archived on the platform within 24-48 hours. 

Breakout Session: Implementation exemplars discussing effective practices for prioritized topics are highlighted in 30 minute, pre-recorded videos and are available throughout the conference. 

Topical Roundtable Discussions:  Accompanying component for breakout presenters and attendees to engage around shared topics. At least one presenter from each breakout session is required to participate.

Poster Sessions: Innovative practices in a State, program, or grant are briefly highlighted in a 3-5 minute, pre-recorded video and are available throughout the conference.  

Technology Demonstrations: Presenters will demonstrate new technologies available to practitioners, State education agencies, researchers, and technical assistance providers. Tech demonstrations are 10 minute pre-recorded, videos and are available throughout the conference.

TA&D Booths: Booths are intended for attendees to learn more about available funded TA Centers. Centers present content through pre-recorded videos and share resources relevant to returning to in-person learning. Attendees have the option to contact Center personnel. Booths can be accessed throughout the conference. 

Speed Networking: Like speed dating, but for the professional setting! Randomly matched group networking sessions. Conversation starters provided.   

Informal Networking: Schedule networking sessions with other participants at times convenient for you.

Engagement Guides

The attendee engagement guides can help you determine which sessions you shouldn’t miss. They also provide detailed information about various session types (e.g., informal/speed networking, optional office hours), including guiding prompts and more about how to navigate the sessions in the platform.

View the Engagement Guides