Here’s what to expect at the sixth annual California MTSS Professional Learning Institute


The Orange County Department of Education and the Butte County Office of Education are once again teaming up to host the annual California MTSS Professional Learning Institute from July 16 through July 18 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

The three-day event will bring together educators, administrators, school counselors, psychologists, mental health clinicians, district leaders, county education leaders, higher education faculty and community-based organizations to support inclusive and equitable learning environments.

The 2024 PLI theme, “Inspire, Innovate and Thrive,” emphasizes promoting excellence, equity and access for all learners through the California MTSS framework. Participants will engage in professional learning specifically designed to achieve these outcomes.

Thinking about going? Here’s what you need to know.

Keynote speakers

The 2024 PLI will feature three keynote presentations — or one for each day.

Hailed by The New York Times as “the Marie Kondo of brains,” Catherine Price is an award-winning science journalist and author of “How to Break Up With Your Phone” and “The Power of Fun.” Her work, including her popular Substack “How to Feel Alive” and a viral TED talk, focuses on helping people develop healthier relationships with technology, including scrolling less and living more.

California MTSS PLI logo

George Couros is a globally recognized leader in innovative education, emphasizing that true innovation stems from human connections. With over 20 years of experience in roles ranging from teacher to district administrator, he currently teaches at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Couros is the author of several books, including “The Innovator’s Mindset” and the “Because of a Teacher” series.

Dr. Shree Walker, founder of Resilient Walker, is scheduled to open the event. Dr. Walker is a former director of special education in Los Angeles County and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. With extensive experience in supporting diverse learners, she has developed policies to improve educational outcomes and stability. Dr. Walker holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Tennessee State University and has authored “Resilient Walker” (2018).

Conference sessions

Sessions at the sixth annual conference will address a broad spectrum of topics, from the complex needs of students’ mental health to integrating MTSS with career education and innovative uses of artificial intelligence to enhance learning opportunities. 

For example, Kunal Dalal and Wes Kriesel, OCDE’s administrators of artificial intelligence and innovation, will delve into AI applications in education, while Career Education Director Kathy Boyd will explore aligning MTSS frameworks with career education for future-ready success.

Michael Funk of the California Department of Education will spotlight expanded learning as a crucial component of MTSS, highlighting its role in comprehensive educational strategies. And author Andratesha Fritzgerald will challenge conventional norms with her session on dismantling oppressive practices within educational settings.

You can find a complete list of presenters and their bios on the California MTSS Professional Learning Institute website.

Wellness and inclusion

Several sessions at the conference will focus on wellness and inclusion.

One will explore how high-quality expanded learning programs create supportive environments that foster long-term success and wellness for children and youth. Another will highlight the California Integrated Supports Project’s approach to culturally relevant practices, social-emotional learning and trauma-informed practices.

Additionally, Kevin Schaefer, director of equity and inclusive practices for the El Dorado County Office of Education, will discuss improving educational outcomes for students with disabilities through inclusive practices and purposeful play.

Innovative teaching

With support from Instructure, a Diamond-level sponsor, and other key contributors, the conference will explore innovative and sustainable methods to optimize teaching and learning. 

Sessions will cover the latest techniques and digital tools to enhance curriculum design, making learning more individualized, engaging and effective.

Registration fees

Early bird registration, which runs through May 31, offers rates of $599 for the pre-conference and conference, $499 for the conference only, and $99 for the pre-conference only. 

Beginning June 1, regular registration rates apply: That’s $649 for the pre-conference and conference, $599 for the conference only, and $149 for the pre-conference only.

To register or to learn more about the event, visit the California MTSS Professional Learning Institute website.