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Parent Leadership Conference | Speak Up! Take Action! Create Change!

Speak Up!  Take Action!  Create Change!

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OUR AGENDA | May 6, 2017 | 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM

8:00 AM | Registration, Breakfast & Networking with Exhibitors

9:00 AM | Conference Welcome Address – “You Are The Change!” | SPAN Executive Co-Directors Diana Autin & Debra Jennings

10:00 AM | Building Our Skills to Speak UP!

From Advocate to Leader:  Taking your Skills to Another Level | Are you new to educational advocacy? Are you overwhelmed by the IEP process? This workshop is designed to give you the confidence to become a parent leader by building a solid foundation in advocacy skills and identifying your leadership strengths. A panel of SPAN staff will share their personal journey from IEP novice to parent leader. We will explore how to redirect a conversation, diffuse emotional responses and provide tips on how to prepare for a meeting in the context of the IEP. Workshop attendees will have the opportunity to practice advocacy and leadership skills by participating in various small group activities that include role playing and skits.  Presented by: Patricia Paraskevacos , Director Family WRAP, Kim Rivers, Family Resource Specialist, Erin Seigh, SPAN Transition Coordinator, Tatsiana DaGrosa, Bilingual Family Resource Specialist, Henry Tejada Bilingual Family Resource Specialist and Garima Jain, Bilingual Family Resource Specialist

Parent Leaders' Success Stories! Partnering to Create Healthier School Environments | Research shows that healthy students do better in school and parents play a critical role in children’s health and learning. SPAN’s “Parents as Champions for Healthy Schools” program based on the CDC Whole School Whole Child school health model is providing parents with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to partner with schools to promote healthy schools.  Parent panelists will discuss the important role that parents can play in making schools healthier, how the training helped them to become effective partners with schools, and how the grant opportunity afforded by the workshop encouraged school administrators to collaborate more closely with parents.  Interactive activities will give participants an opportunity to consider the role of health in schools and how to work effectively with school staff to create a healthier school environment.  Presented by: Joanne Aidala and Karen Straim, SPAN School Health Specialists; and Parent leaders from the Jersey City Parents as Champions for Healthy Schools group

Telling your Story to Create the Change! | Stories about how public policies impact children and families can have a powerful influence on decision-makers.  While data and research is critical, it is stories that make legislators and policy makers want to act.  This workshop will provide participants with information and tools to develop and deliver a powerful story aimed at making a positive change that impacts many children and families.  Presented by: Diana Autin, SPAN Executive Co-Director

You’re At the Table!  Now What?! | Joining decision-making groups is an important way for parents to have a voice and improve the lives of children and families. This session will prepare and empower you to successfully serve as an advisor and critical friend in systems change groups. You can make a difference!   Parent leaders will be able to: recognize your personal leadership skills. build an understanding about decision-making groups and develop skills essential for active and meaningful participation.  Presented by: Karen Antone, Director, SPAN START Project and Myriam Alizo START Project Parent Group Specialist

There's a Place at the Table for YOU!  What ESSA-Title I Says About Parent Leadership | Throughout ESSA, the federal law governing education, there are specific requirements and strong suggestions that states, districts and Title I schools engage families as stakeholders in our children's education.  This session is for parent leaders who are ready to learn where their voices can and should be heard as critical friends and champions in improving their schools through effective family engagement.  Presented by: Debra Jennings, SPAN  Executive Co-Director

12:30 PM | Forums on Critical Issues to Create Change!

We have invited informative and stimulating panels of policymakers and advocates to discuss what’s working in systems serving children and families and also to share some areas of concern where your voices and energies are needed in order to ensure better outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth in the next decades.   Choose from one of these topical areas:

1.       Education Matters – From Cradle to Career. Moderated by Carolyn Hayer, SPAN Director of Parent & Professional Development

2.      Health Matters – Caring for the Whole Child. Moderated by Jeanne McMahon, SPAN Director of Health Programs

1:45 PM | Building Our Skills to Take ACTION!

NEW Guide to Developing & Running Effective Special Education Parent Advisory Groups | This session will provide an overview of the Special Education Parent Advisory Groups in New Jersey Guide to Developing and Running an Effective SEPAG that was developed in partnership with New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), Office of Special Education Professional Development and Office of Special Education Policy and Procedure and the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network, Inc. (SPAN).  Presented by: Karen Antone, SPAN START Project Director and Myriam Alizo, START Project Parent Group Specialist

Numbers Count!  The 1-2-3 of Using Data for Advocacy | Understanding and using data is an important tool for parent leaders in advocacy and advisory positions.  This session takes you step-by-step through interactive activities and tools that will help you get over your fear of numbers and find true meaning and direction in the data.  Then, you'll learn to create a plan of action to Move The Numbers!  Whether you're concerned about inclusion or discipline, achievement or absenteeism, school climate or access to recreational programs, disparities in health care or treament of juveniles in the criminal justice system, this session will help you tell the story that gets the attention that creates change.  Presented by: Michele Tyler, SPAN START Parent Group Specialist

Powerful Meetings with Elected Officials | The most powerful form of influencing policymakers is a face-to-face meeting, yet the thought of meeting with legislators can be intimidating.  This workshop will provide participants with tips, tools and strategies to prepare for, engage in and follow up on meetings with legislators about important policy issues that impact children and families.  Presented by: Diana Autin, SPAN Executive Co-Director and Peg Kinsell, SPAN Institutional Policy Director

Your Leadership Compass: Appreciating Diverse Work Styles | Leadership is about working well with your team.  In this workshop participants will explore four primary work styles, as a tool for self-reflection and leadership growth.  Through hands-on activities and interactions, participants will discover why they work the way they do, as well as identify skills and strengths they would like to enhance.  This self-reflection is also a tool for improving team accountability by pushing people to consider the way in which their style(s) plays out on a team and how their style might help balance a team or fit a given professional situation.  Presented by: Stefanie Babits and Tatsiana Dagrosa, SPAN Parent Group Specialists

Shared Leadership:  A Model for Empowering the Parent Voice | Shared Leadership:  A Model for Empowering the Parent Voice | When NJ decided to develop County Councils for Young Children, little did the state know that they would ignite a movement of families of young children taking the lead to make the promises of its Early Learning Challenge Grant a reality.  In this session, these dynamic parent leaders demystify parent engagement by sharing some of the strategies that they are using to collaborate with community partners and galvanize parent/family participation.  Presented by: Fattthiyah Boulden, Project Coordinator/Parent Leader, Camden County Council for Young Children and Della Walker Jr. Co-Chair/Parent Leader,  Essex County Council for Young Children

3:00 PM | Closing Session, Acknowledgements & Door Prizes