More than 150 experts to share academic, behavioral and social-emotional strategies at three-day MTSS conference

PLI logo

Educators from throughout the state are gearing up to attend a three-day summer conference that will share best practices to support the academic, behavioral and social-emotional success of all students.

The California MTSS 2022 Professional Learning Institute — or PLI for short — is expected to draw thousands of teachers, administrators, counselors and other school-based professionals to the Anaheim Convention Center July 12 through July 14. The theme is “Hear Us, Together We Rise,” and there’s still time to register at

Anaheim Convention Center

“Now more than ever, it is essential to focus on our educators as we learn together what it will take to move forward and create psychologically and physically safe spaces for adults and students to thrive in the future,” OCDE Learning Supports Director Dr. Jami Parsons said. 

Thinking about attending this year’s PLI? Here’s what you need to know:

What’s the focus?

Hosted by OCDE, the Butte County Office of Education and the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools, the fifth annual PLI conference aims to inspire and enlighten educators with scores of keynote speakers, presentations and interactive breakout sessions tied to California’s Multi-Tiered System of Support, commonly known as MTSS.

So what is MTSS? It’s a comprehensive framework that aligns academic, behavioral, social-emotional and mental health supports while offering differentiated interventions to meet each student’s needs. In 2016, OCDE was selected as the lead agency to help scale up MTSS statewide.

“MTSS predates the pandemic, but the framework feels like it was made for this moment,”  Orange County Superintendent Al Mijares said. “It can be thought of as a schoolwide commitment to a set of proven strategies that address academic, behavioral and social- emotional needs.”

Who’s presenting? 

The 2022 PLI has lined up more than 150 presenters for dozens of sessions that will cover knowledge and practices, equity and access, and school conditions and climate. ​​This year’s keynote speakers are Dr. Daniel Amen and Dr. Adolph Brown, III. Here’s a little more about them: 

Dr. Daniel Amen
Dr. Daniel Amen

Dr. Amen is a physician, adult and child psychiatrist, and founder of Amen Clinics. His mission is to end mental illness by creating a revolution in brain health. He’s also the founder of BrainMD, a science-based nutraceutical company, and Amen University, which has trained thousands of medical and mental health professionals. Dr. Amen has produced 16 national public television shows about the brain, and his online videos on brain and mental health have been viewed more than 300 million times. A 12-time New York Times bestselling author, he’s written such books as “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,” “The End of Mental Illness” and “Healing ADD.” His latest book, “You, Happier,” was published in March 2022. 

Dr. Adolf Brown
Dr. Adolf Brown

Dr. Brown is a career educator and mental health professional known for relevant, relatable and entertaining presentations. As a former at-promise student who “had one foot in gifted education and the other in alternative education,” he reinforces the idea that the whole student deserves a whole education. Raised by a single mother in housing projects, Brown experienced many adverse childhood experiences, including the murder of his only brother when he was 11 years old. Yet he says many of his greatest life lessons occurred while spending summers in rural Virginia on his grandparents’ farm. In his presentations, he addresses best practices in the classroom and beyond using the latest research and his vast experience as a veteran educator.

Finally, the last day of the conference will offer a panel presentation called “The Other Side of the Smiley Sticker: The Science of Social Emotional Learning.” Moderated by Mark Sparvell, Microsoft’s director of education marketing, the panel will feature: Dr. Kim Schonert-Reichl, a renowned expert on social and emotional learning research related to children and adolescents; Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, an accomplished educator, author, board member at MindUP: The Goldie Hawn Foundation and founder and CEO of the nonprofit Why Not? Incubator; and Andy Du Ross, superintendent of the largest elementary school district in Illinois who in 2017 introduced the positive psychology principles of Harvard Researcher Shawn Achor.

How do I learn more?

For more on the conference, including schedules, accommodation options, registration links and frequently asked questions, visit the event website at