Family Involvement Conference
October 27-30, 2019
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Session Descriptions - Monday

Our website is under construction for the 2019 conference.
All speakers and sessions will be updated as soon as possible.
Currently listed is content from the 2018 conference.
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Welcome and Keynote Speaker

Resilient Teachers, Parents and Students: Challenging the Status Quo
Salome Thomas-EL
Head of School
Thomas Edison Public Charter School
"Every child deserves someone to be crazy about them." This is the mantra of Salome Thomas-EL, award-winning teacher and principal, and internationally recognized educator. They shape his life-long commitment to answering the question, "How do we ensure that every child achieves their greatest potential?" This question lies at the heart of the national dialogue on family engagement and education policy, the day in and day out work of school personnel, and the hopes of every parent. Central to this challenge is how we succeed with children who are facing the most serious barriers to success: poverty, violence, neglect, and low expectations. For over 30 years, Principal EL has taken on this challenge with the absolute belief that every child can and will learn as long as adults in their world care enough to not give up. In his thought-provoking presentation, Principal EL will share how we can change school cultures and foster positive relationships so teachers and parents can focus on the protective processes that build resilience in all of our students. In his keynote address, Principal EL brings a powerful combination of passion, caring, and leadership to craft a refreshing, common-sense roadmap for all adults to help kids achieve their dreams, no matter the odds.
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.
Communicating with Families: Challenges and Solutions
Susan Hahn, Program Specialist, Baltimore County Public Schools, MD
Shannon Johnson, STAT Teacher, Baltimore County Public Schools, MD
Ballroom C
Participants will reflect upon previous experiences regarding parent involvement challenges; identify effective parent-teacher communication practices, discuss building effective community partnerships and access resources to support and promote student achievement.
Step Up Your Read Aloud
Susan Walbert, Supervisor: Early Learning, Title I, Title III and Migrant
Queen Anne’s County Public Schools, MD
Ballroom D
Participants will learn ways to enhance "read alouds" to increase student vocabulary and motivation for love of reading using the "gradual release model." Strategies on vocabulary selection for "read alouds" will be explored and participants will be actively engaged.
Taking a Collective Approach to a Shared Responsibility
Ajoa Agaypa Abrokwa, Visiting Professor
St. Joseph’s University, Newark, DE
Ballroom E
When a relationship between a school, parents and community is strong, everyone benefits. People are more likely to support schools if they see them as part of the community. Cultural awareness with a collective approach to family engagement empowers parents, caregiver, educators and student.
Diploma Project 101: What Educators Need to Know
Amanda L. Guzman, Student Support Specialist, Migrant Education
Lancaster, PA.
Harris Room
The Diploma Project Toolkit is a handbook created to assure success for migrant students to earn a high school diploma and to make a smooth transition to postsecondary education. Educators will learn how to teach students about postsecondary opportunities and graduation requirements. We will also identify barriers of Migrant and/or English Language learners that prevent them from accessing secondary options.
Children of Incarcerated Parents, Partnership: Parenting from Afar
Shai Scher, Founder and Executive Director, "Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership," Frederick, MD
Cindi Diamondstone, Co-President, "Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership." Frederick, MD
Cameron Room
This presentation will offer information on the group’s work with incarcerated mothers. It will include information of the effects of incarceration on their children. The workshop will be interactive and allow for Q and A. All participants will leave with curriculum samples and planning for putting work like this into action in other communities.
12:00 P.M. - 1:00 P.M.
Ballrooms A+B
1:15 P.M. - 2:30 P.M.
Be Inclusive: We Are All in This Together
Marta A. Droddy, Volunteer/Former Title I Teacher Specialist, Frederick County Public Schools, MD
Debbie Bostian, Volunteer/Community Leader, Emmitsburg, MD
Ballroom C
Everyone benefits when families, schools and school systems understand each other better. Through a series of classes, families will be able to identify and explore their child’s school and community. The end result is a stronger sense of community and increase in student achievement.
Help! My Child is Being Bullied
Mary Dolan, Bullying Prevention Consultant
PA Dept. of Ed., Office of Safe Schools, Harrisburg, PA
Ballroom D
Common challenges are faced by both parents and school staff in implementing effective bullying practices and intervention strategies. Attendees will have an opportunity to gain an understanding of best practices in bullying prevention and to discuss with school administrators in the event a bullying situation is not resolved.
Positive Parenting: Developing Children to Achieve Optimal Experiences
David Zupsic, Coordinator of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV
Grove City, PA
Ballroom E
Positive Psychology is an applied science that focuses on optimal performances to develop mind patterns that allow individuals to live a life of enjoyment and enthusiasm. This workshop has been designed using a coaching framework that will provide parents and caregivers the knowledge and mechanisms needed to create a habitat of happiness in their living environments. Participants will gain strategies hat increase levels of confidence, resiliency and positive emotions in children.
Father Engagement Through Empathy, Innovation and Empowerment
Dr. Joe Mazza, Co-founder/CEO, MakerDads via c64KID INNOVATION, 11c
Harris Room
MakerDads are DADS, GRANDDADS & OTHER MALE ROLE MODELS who model life and learning experiences for kids. The recipe is simple – Empathy + Innovation + Empowerment = MakerDads. Learn about this 6 month old family start up and how we are helping schools and communities come together in high and low tech ways with our traveling makerspace.
Promoting Family Literacy Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families
Ines Vega, MEP Statewide Parent Involvement and Special Projects Coordinator. CSC
Camp Hill, PA
Cameron Room
Family Literacy Programs has proven to be a successful educational model for all members of the family. In this workshop session, the presenter will interact with participants to discuss how cultural backgrounds can affect family reading practices. At the conclusion of the session, participants will be able to explore an array of interactive strategies that will enable parents and caregivers to connect to literacy with real life experiences and develop a high quality Family Literacy Program.
2:45 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Volunteers
Jennifer Brodhag, Director of Parent Education and Engagement, PA Virtual Charter School, King of Prussia, PA
Jason Fitzpatrick, Assistant Dean of Student Services, PA Virtual Charter School, King of Prussia, PA
Ballroom C
Volunteers are vital to an organization's success. How can you tap into the talent and insight of your volunteers to truly make a difference? This workshop will teach you strategies to effectively manage volunteers and maximize their impact.
Know Bullying: When You Know Better, You Do Better
Sederia Brown, CEO/Founder of The Know Bullying Coalition, Hatfield, PA
Eric Marsh, Co-Founder of The Know Bullying Coalition, Philadelphia, PA
Ballroom D
The workshop will enable parents, teachers and administrators to identify the various types and form of bullying. Participants will impart techniques that reduce incidents of bullying and foster healthy relationships.
Helping Parents Help with Homework
Jill Smith, Independent Contractor
Philadelphia, PA
Harris Room
Parents and caregivers will take a fresh look at how they communicate with their child/children when it comes to doing homework. Participants will practice skills that help families approach homework in a calmer and more productive manner. Helping with homework will change from a frustrating tug-of-war to a rewarding give-and-take between caregivers/parents and their students.
Healthy Relationships: Let's Start at the Beginning
Tammy Rogers, Education Coordinator, Domestic Violence Service Center
Wilkes Barre, PA
Cameron Room
This session takes a look at how relationships are built as children and the way we define them as we continue into adulthood. Discussion of social and intellectual development, along with family dynamics will be presented to encourage the healthiest relationships possible.
5:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.
Ballrooms A+B
7:00 P.M. - 8:30 P.M.
Welcome Reception and Hospitality Suite
Heritage Room