Family Involvement Conference
October 22-24, 2023
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Session Descriptions - Tuesday

Welcome and Keynote Speaker

Fostering Equity and Family Engagement: Listening, Learning, and Leading
Shileste Overton Morris, Ed.D.
This keynote delves into the crucial intersection of equity and family engagement in today's evolving landscape. Discover why equity is not just a buzzword, but an essential foundation for building inclusive communities and empowering families to actively participate in their child's growth and education through listening, learning and leading. Whether you're an educator, administrator, parent, or community member, this keynote will equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to champion equity and cultivate meaningful family engagement. Join us as we work towards a future where every student's potential is nurtured and every family's voice is valued. Together, we can create lasting change.
Fifth Floor Ballroom
9:00 A.M. - 10:15 A.M.

8:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.
Fifth Floor Lobby
7:30 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.
Fifth Floor Lobby
7:30 A.M. - 8:45 A.M.
Fifth Floor Lobby
10:30 A.M. - 11:45 A.M.
Empowering Families: Supporting English Language Learners at Home
Jennifer Aponte
Innovation 1 - Third Floor
The purpose of this workshop is to equip families with practical strategies and resources to support their English Language Learners (ELLs) at home. By actively involving families in the language acquisition process, we can enhance students' English proficiency, academic success, and overall well-being. This workshop aims to provide families with valuable insights and tools to create a supportive learning environment outside the classroom.
necessary to effectively support their ELL children's English language development and academic progress at home. By the end of the workshop, participants will:
Understand the importance of parental involvement in ELL students' language acquisition and educational outcomes.
Learn practical strategies and activities to promote English language learning at home.
Explore resources and tools that can support ELL children's language development.
Gain insights into fostering a positive home environment that encourages English language practice and academic engagement.
Establish connections with other families to share experiences and best practices.
Targeted Audience: Families, Educators, Family advocates, All
Games from Around the World that Lead to Greater Understanding of Cultures for Families and School Communities
Marta Droddy
Innovation 2 - Third Floor
Most people believe the games they grew up playing originated in their culture and the only benefit was having fun. This presentation is a hands-on, interactive one where you will become aware of the origins of games and how this can help us learn more about other countries and cultures. Games also have a lot of health and educational benefits for children and families. For instance: Develops logic and reasoning skills, Increases verbal and communications skills, Enables concentration and focus, Promotes laughter which increases endorphins (the chemicals that bring up the feelings of happiness, relaxation and calm), Strengthen the family bond by spending time together and build learning skills, Reduces risks for cognitive decline (dementia, Alzheimer's) by keeping your mind engaged. Every participant will leave with at least 3 games to take with them.
Making Connections & Building Capacity of Parents, Family Members, Stakeholders and Advocates with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Barbara Mozina, John T. Cica
Innovation 3 - Third Floor
This interactive session will challenge special education stakeholders (parents, family members, and advocates) to connect services and activities to the 17 Special Education State Performance Plan Indicators of compliance and results to support the successful implementation of IDEA and by planning for positive educational outcomes for students with disabilities. This session will facilitate a more meaningful and substantial understanding of the State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report, Equity in IDEA, the federal public reporting requirements of IDEA, and the current activities of the Bureau of Special Education.
Intentional Strategies for Building Effective Relationships to Form Strong Partnerships
Dr. Sheila Jackson
Innovation 4 - Third Floor
Learning Objective 1: Participants will examine their perceptions and expectations about intentionality in building and sustaining effective relationships between home and school towards productive partnership establishment.
Learning Objective 2: Participants will experience a deep dive into evidence from research that demonstrate best practices for intentionally building effective relationships between home and school.
Learning Objective 3: Participants will walk away with relevant strategies and tips to intentionally build shared responsibility for building and sustaining effective partnerships between home and school.
Blurb: Over 70 years of research about the importance of engaging parents/families in the educational process illuminates that RELATIONSHIPS are the foundational component needed to initiate, build, maintain and sustain quality partnerships between home and school. To make sure we proactively ensure the entire community shares responsibility, we will uncover discrete "non-negotiables" for building and sustaining effective home-school partnerships in this interactive session.
Targeted Audience: Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Faith-Based, Family Engagement Professionals and Community Partners
12:00 P.M. - 1:00 P.M.
Fifth Floor Lobby
1:15 P.M. - 2:30 P.M.
Here Comes the Sun: Self-Care for the Caregiver
Amanda Ensor
Innovation 1 - Third Floor
Caregivers/Helpers will learn more about the lasting effects of compassion fatigue and how to start healing. They will have the opportunity to acknowledge toxic stress factors and learn mindful strategies to combat impact. In addition, they will learn how to practice conscious empathy and practice overall well-being.
Mindfulness for Families and Schools
Marta Droddy
Innovation 2 - Third Floor
Over the course of the past few years, families, students, and staff have experienced a spike in stress in their lives. One method for helping people deal with stress is Mindfulness. This presentation will present research-based theories on ways mindfulness has been proven to lessen stress. There will be hands-on activities and materials used to give everyone a chance to experience various mindfulness strategies. Every participant will be given items they can take home or to school.
Tween to Teen Transitions: Engaging with Families Through the Transitions from Middle School through College Career Readiness
Dr. Jessica Webster, Dr. Rita Perez
Innovation 3 - Third Floor
Families entrust educators with the academic and social-emotional development of their children. Between middle school and post secondary, adolescents are experiencing at least three major school-based, academic transitions. Secondary schools mark a time when academic expectations increase and the team of educators expands, all while students and parents tackle the uncertainty of physical and social-emotional transformations occurring during adolescent development. As students start to exhibit more independence from their parents, as their communication patterns and behavior changes, parents may also assume or perceive changes in family engagement strategies with the school, leaving them feeling less connected. Research shows that strong parent engagement opportunities lead to strong academic outcomes for students. Therefore, we must unpack the needs of schools, students and families to provide a framework for equitable engagement around the transition between middle school through post secondary education.
During this session, we will explore the developmental needs of adolescents to better understand why this transition is so important and what we can do to strengthen the connection between home and school.
This session will learn effective frameworks and provide example tools and resources to empower proactive collaboration between educators and families with the aim of strengthening the secondary school experience.
Enhancing Family Engagement: Strengthening Connections as Families Transition Through Education for Individuals with Disabilities
Teresa Giardina, Julie Conway
Innovation 4 - Third Floor
Staff members from HMS School will discuss the importance of family, school, and community partnerships in planning programming for an individual with physical/intellectual disabilities. Presenters will provide tangible examples of initiatives developed in a shared decision-making model and successful tools to create these processes and programs. Key takeaways will include tools to increase shared decision-making and advocacy and a breakdown of successful program and event ideas to facilitate connections between school-aged and adult families, community resources, and school staff members.
  • Identify the importance of a dynamic connection among families, school teams, and community resources for individuals with disabilities
  • Analyze methods to increase family engagement, including the use of shared decision making and specific program development
  • Adapt discussed methods to fit their own needs and feel empowered to create dynamic relationships, collaborations, and programs in the future
Panel Discussion: Empowering Families as Advocates and Community Partners
Jennifer Aponte, Dr. Sheila Jackson, Dr. Jessica Webster, Teresa Giardina, Julie Conway
Moderator: Dr. Dennis Williams
Session description coming soon
Fifth Floor Ballroom
3:15 P.M. - 4:30 P.M.