Family Involvement Conference
October 10-13, 2021
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Session Descriptions - Monday

Due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its possible resurgence in the Fall, we regret to inform you that after 45 years of continuing service, the Pennsylvania Coalition for Parent Involvement, Ltd. has decided to postpone its 46th annual Family Involvement Conference.

The conference has been postponed until October 10-13, 2021
Please check back often!

Welcome and Keynote Speaker

Deep Forgiveness: Looking Through A Different Set Of Lenses
Darryl C. Green
American author, coach, and speaker
The keynote will examine the impact of Trauma and its negative effects on the family unit, school and the community at large. Participants will look through the Lenses of Healing, Reconciliation and Deep Forgiveness by using the restorative practices model. In order to heal, one must be able to have those difficult but courageous conversation, and only then will you be free.
Ballrooms A+B
9:00 A.M. - 10:15 A.M.

8:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.
7:30 A.M. - 8:45 A.M.
Ballrooms A+B
10:30 A.M. - 11:45 A.M.
Let's Talk! Using the Café Model to Engage Families
Rijelle Kraft, Family Support Managing Coordinator
Ballroom C
Social connections are important for parents. One way to build these connections while also building resilience and other protective factors is through hosting café conversations. In this workshop, participants will experience this conversation model; learn how cafés can serve to engage families in sharing experiences with peers; and explore specific café models that can be used in their communities.
Making the Connection: Engaging Culturally Diverse Families
Tou N. Herr, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, CA
Paul Sinpraseuth, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, CA
Ballroom D
To work effectively with families from diverse backgrounds, school professionals must be intentional in their outreach and communication efforts. Engaging culturally diverse families begins with acknowledging the need to engage all families. It must be authentic, intentional, and purposeful. Understanding the existing structural, attitudinal, and cultural barriers to family engagement will ease the cultural dissonance between families and schools.
This interactive workshop enables participants to discuss the structural, attitudinal, and cultural barriers to family engagement. Presenters, both of whom work with multiple school districts, will offer proven strategies to effectively connect and engage culturally diverse families.
Introduction to Special Education and FERPA
JoAnne Eggleston, Parent Coordinator Philadelphia District, PA
Ballroom E
Participants will identify eligibility criteria for special education and identify the thirteen disability categories as listed in IDEA (Individual and Disabilities Act). Participants will also review and discuss how to identify a Student's Rights under FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.)
Bilingual Community Parent Involvement Specialist
Sonia I. Irizarry, Asbury Park School District, NJ
Harris Room
This presentation will cover parent/family leadership and community-based resources. Highlighted will be how schools can help parents become independent and empowered when they understand their roles as their child's advocate. Also included is how when community resources are included in the collaboration, the results can be rewarding for the entire family.
No More Guessing: Creating Family Involvement Opportunities Based on What Families Want and Need
Steve Watson, Central Dauphin School District, PA
Brian Longo, Central Dauphin School District, PA
Cameron Room
Participants will learn how the Central Dauphin School District's Prenatal - Grade 3 Team began to include the voice of families in the planning and implementation of family involvement events. Participants will receive resources to replicate this process in their own communities.
12:00 P.M. - 1:00 P.M.
Ballrooms A+B
1:15 P.M. - 2:30 P.M.
Welcoming All Families: It's All About Relationships!
Caroline Allen, PA Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network
Ballroom C
Join this session as conversations take place around best practices and strategies to engage families and how to develop a welcoming program. Participants will identify ways to build connections with staff and other parents. In addition, participants will learn how to braid the Strengthening Families Protective Factors into this effort. By building these strong, trustful relationships, children and their families will benefit and thrive.
Making Meaningful Connections with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families
Vera J. Lee, Drexel University, PA
Kristine S Lewis Grant, Drexel University, PA
Veronica Williams, Mastery Charter School, PA
Barbara Hoekje, Drexel University, PA
Ballroom D
Established best practices for parent engagement cannot be assumed to be effective when serving culturally and linguistically diverse families. These established practices do not account for cultural variation and differences in parental and family involvement with school-based activities particularly among multilingual families. This session will explore approaches and strategies that have proven effective in creating a climate of inclusion and equity for the families of English Language Learners.
What is FAMILIES TO THE MAX Pennsylvania Statewide Family Network
Jacqui DiDomenico, PA Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN), PA
Lorie Brew, PEAL Center, PA
Ballroom E
FAMILIES TO THE MAX is a group of Pennsylvania parents whose children receive special education services. Network members partner with educators to raise expectations, presume competence, and increase opportunities for students to have success in their educational experience and maximize their outcomes. Members build awareness and empower families through networking, attending training events, and participating in webinars. Session attendees can learn about joining or supporting regional teams, collaborating with other agencies and empowering parents and professionals around maximizing principles and practices. This session is open to parents, teachers, administrators and support agency representatives.
The Family Hub Model for Family Engagement
Leslee Miele, Glendale Elementary School District, AZ
Elizabeth Rivera, Glendale Elementary School District, AZ
Harris Room
Participants will learn an alternative model to the typical family resource center. Presenters will describe the structure, staffing, funding and data tracking that they have developed.
Building Parent Leaders with Learning Parties
Keri Hyde, Ready At Five, MD
Tara Burgess, Every Person Influences Children (EPIC), NY
Cameron Room
Children who start kindergarten ready for school are more likely to succeed academically, right up through high school. Available research demonstrates that deeper family engagement can lead to improved kindergarten readiness. Most early childhood education providers understand the importance of engaging families, but know that parents have competing priorities for their time and energy. Ready At Five (RA5), in partnership with Every Person Influences Children (EPIC) created the Parent Leadership Learning Party (PLLP) to help parents and families increase their own leadership and advocacy skills and build deeper connections between school and home.
2:45 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Games Around the World
Donna Quatman-Wilder, Frederick County Public Schools, MD
Marta Ann Droddy; Carroll County Public Schools, MD
Ballroom C
Join us for a new twist on Multicultural Nights. In this session, you will get a quick look at games from all around the world, as well as, their origins. Be ready to share your own game night experiences. Come play with us!
Barriers and Benefits to Father Engagement
Eric Marsh Sr., Focus on Fathers, PA
Ballroom D
Using research data and individual examples participants will gain an understanding of the importance of fathers and male caregivers in a child's education; the challenges preventing father's participation in school and children's lives; and ways to overcome the barriers and activate dads.
Family Engagement: Reaching More Families at the Secondary Level
Lauren Sheldon, The Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, PA
Ashlee Grennan, The Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, PA
Ballroom E
Struggling with low turn-out at family engagement nights? Facing challenging barriers to effective family involvement? Your school is NOT alone with these obstacles. At the final parent night of the 2017-2018 school year, The Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts only had 1 parent in attendance. We needed to make some serious changes to better engage our families and community. Setting a goal to dramatically increase both family engagement events and attendance, Charter Arts has begun to change the face of family involvement at our school. In a single year, we more than doubled our offerings and increased our attendance exponentially. Attend this session to hear about this journey and take away strategies and materials to share in your own schools. This session is geared to middle and high school educators or parents who seek a more dynamic and well attended family engagement program. Participants will learn strategies to diversify offerings, streamline communication, create incentives for attendance, improve accessibility for diverse family situations, and partner with the local community.
Engaging Families Through Student-Led Conferences and Events
Linda Cartwright, PA Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN), PA
Erin Campion, PA Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN), PA
Harris Room
Students gain confidence, independence, and responsibility when they participate in a meaningful way in meetings and events that are shaping THEIR education, even as early as kindergarten! In this session, participants will learn practical examples of how families are more engaged when their children lead an event (e.g., IEP meeting, student-parent-teacher conference, educational activities) and the audience can share their own examples of student-led events.
Differentiated Family Engagement
Tara N Burgess, EPIC - Every Person Influences Children, NY
Jamie Rackl, EPIC - Every Person Influences Children, NY
Cameron Room
Family engagement is a shared responsibility where schools and other community agencies are committed to supporting their children's learning and development. EPIC's Differentiated Family Engagement (DFE) is the process of engaging families by taking into account their ability and motivation to be involved. DFE is an EPIC copyrighted framework intended to help school based management teams, afterschool/agency staff, school and district leaders, teachers and parent advocates, and community leaders understand the goals and strategies for family engagement at each stage including variations in strategies from elementary through high school. This workshop will guide participants in understanding that a one size fits all approach to engaging families leaves a large majority of parents out of the picture. EPIC's DFE program assumes families have different needs and different strategies need to be utilized to reach and engage parents at each stage.
5:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.
Ballrooms A+B
7:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.
Welcome Reception
Main Lobby
8:00 P.M. - 9:30 P.M.
Hospitality Suite
Heritage Room