Idaho State Prevention Conference

"The 21st Annual Idaho State Prevention & Support Conference is a gathering focused on innovation, best practices, collective problem-solving and motivation to most effectively address youth risk behaviors, foster optimal health and realize academic success for Idaho students."

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Scott Poland

Suicide and violence prevention: Lessons from the front lines of school crises
Dr. Scott PolandThe incidence of bullying, school violence, and suicide requires that schools improve prevention efforts. This presentation will help schools and communities develop and enhance their knowledge and understanding of serious risk factors for students and how to respond for the prevention of suicidal and violent behavior. Research has emphasized the need for all students to feel a connection to their school and it is very important for each student to have a significant relationship with one or more adults at their school. Numerous school tragedies could have been prevented if students had come forward and alerted school officials and other adults about the warning signs of suicide and/or violence. Participants will also learn effective strategies to improve mental health services for students and how to increase student involvement in school safety.

Presenter: Dr. Scott Poland is one of the premier experts on school crisis, mental health and prevention. He has been invited to testify before the U.S. Congress on four occasions and was a member of the National Emergency Assistance team for many years and has personally responded to help schools in the aftermath of 13 school shootings, numerous youth suicides, the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11/01 in New York and Washington D.C. He has authored four books and numerous chapters and articles on school crisis prevention and intervention. He was previously the President of the National Association of School Psychologists and has been the keynote speaker at numerous state and national conferences on these issues. He previously directed psychological services for 24 years for a massive Texas school district. He is currently a psychology professor and the co-director of the Suicide and Violence Prevention Office at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Dr. Matthew Wappett

Matthew WappettDr. Matthew Wappett is the Associate Director of the University of Idaho Center on Disabilities and Human Development and an Associate Clinical Professor in the UI College of Education Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Wappett is also the driving force behind the University of Idaho Laughter Club and as a result has become known as the “Laughter Doctor”! Dr. Wappett also conducts research and writes about the effects of laughter on physical and mental health. Dr. Wappett's teaching and research also focuses on the effects of stress on student learning/behaviors, and creating inclusive learning environments that foster a sense of belonging. Most importantly, Dr. Wappett genuinely enjoys teaching people how to laugh! Dr. Wappett's raison d'etre is to provide educators, counselors, and other professionals with the tools they need to manage their stress and to create healthy student-centered learning environments.

Laughter and Learning: The Science Behind the Success of Happy, Relaxed Students
The topic will be looking at the latest neuroscience on stress and its effect on the developing brain, and then a practical introduction to some quick stress-management techniques that can be used to help students manage stress. There will be a specific focus on how stress affects the learning process and results in maladaptive behaviors…I will present evidence on how simple stress management techniques can be used to increase students' attention spans, to promote positive prosocial behaviors, thereby leading to improved academic achievement. (Oh yeah, it will be funny and engaging too!)

If you have any question please contact Camille McCashland at