All times are listed in US Eastern time.

Tuesday, Oct. 5

Virtual Exhibit Hall Open (as of 8:00 a.m.)

8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

Reflect and Refresh: Mindful Movement and Meditation

Join us, as we open the 2021 Paving the Way to Educational Success Conference, at Reflect and Refresh, a social and emotional activity-based opportunity that offers tools to ground yourself, energize, and prepare your mindset for conference attendance and for use in your work and roles.

Mindful Movement and Meditation incorporates elements of mindfulness as well as emphasizes the power and role of breathing in staying centered and calm while mindfully moving, which helps you stay rooted, empowered, focused, and energized.

Ludy Soderman, Reiki Master and Yoga Instructor, Natural Healing: Body, Mind, and Soul LLC, Ardmore, PA

9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Paving the Way Institutes

Our institutes introduce basic components, key concepts, and critical thinking for building foundational professional and content development. Extended session time allows for greater depth of subject exploration as well as an opportunity to participate actively.

Social and emotional competencies, such as self-regulation, problem-solving skills, and positive relationship skills may reduce the negative effects of trauma and strengthen resilience. Institute participants will understand how adverse childhood experiences and protective factors affect learning, behavior, and relationships. Participants will examine a trauma-informed social and emotional learning model of support and discuss strategies for creating safe and reliable environments responsive to adversities and trauma while developing social emotional learning skills to enhance resilience.

Stephanie Colvin-Roy, Training and Organization Development Associate, Center for Schools and Communities, Camp Hill, PA

Alison Kreitzer, Ph.D., Project Specialist, Center for Schools and Communities, Camp Hill, PA

Elizabeth Hoffer, Youth Development Coordinator, Center for Schools and Communities, Camp Hill, PA

This institute, intended for child welfare and educational professionals, will include an overview of state and federal education laws that affect youth in foster care. This session will highlight topics related to enrollment, attendance, truancy, educational stability, and educational decision-making with the purpose of providing a legal framework for professionals dedicated to removing educational barriers for youth in care. Test your knowledge in a pre-training quiz.

Alyssa “AK“ Holstay, Esq., Attorney and Legal Training Specialist, Voce, Harrisburg, PA

Got Game? Come test your skills and knowledge on educating students experiencing homelessness. This session will cover the basics while also providing boots-on-the-ground insights about ensuring students without housing can access and succeed in school. This foundational institute is intended for new Homeless Liaisons and others looking to learn about or refresh their understanding of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

Christina Endres, Program Specialist, National Center for Homeless Education, SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina, Browns Summit, NC

Sonia Pitzi, Regional Coordinator, Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness, Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12, New Oxford, PA

Andrea Sheesley, Regional Coordinator, Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness, ARIN Intermediate Unit 28, Indiana, PA

Systemic racism plagues the foster care system, and racial inequities are often the root cause of homelessness for youth of color. African Americans constitute 40% of people suffering from homelessness. They are twice as likely as white youth to experience recidivism. Our institute will provide contexts for the historical injustices and apathy that result in a disproportionate number of displaced black and indigenous people of color youth. Action steps to diminish the problem will be explored with participants.

Bonita Allen, Parent and Family Engagement Consultant, Division of Federal Programs, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pittsburgh, PA

Cindy LaCom, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Diversity Officer, Transforming Culture Consultants, New Castle, PA

Maria Searcy, Parent and Family Engagement Consultant, Division of Federal Programs, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pittsburgh, PA

This foundational institute will engage with understanding the experience of trauma as well as how it may manifest in the lives of students and educators as they return to school post-pandemic. Participants will experience activities that support themes of connection and compassion. There will be space to reflect on the Circle of Courage and Universal Needs in order to commit to building an environment of well-being and resilience.

Erin Reed, Well-being, Healing, and Resilience Educator, Starr Commonwealth, Albion, MI

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Meet the Exhibitors

Hear from our conference exhibitors about their products and services during this live, online session.

BuildaBridge International
Cairn Guidance
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Educational Technology Consultants, Inc.
INSIGHTS Intervention, LLC
Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Welcome Remarks and ECYEH Updates

Remarks

Carmen M. Medina, Chief, Division of Student Services, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Harrisburg, PA

Amanda Dorris, Director, Bureau of Policy, Programs, and Operations, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Harrisburg, PA

ECYEH Updates

Storm Camara, Statewide Coordinator, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Harrisburg, PA

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Regional Caucuses Networking

During this networking opportunity, moderated by regional coordinators and regional office staff, attendees will discuss needs, strategies, and other hot topics specific to their region as well as to “get to know” their colleagues.

Wednesday, Oct. 6

Virtual Exhibit Hall Open

8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

Reflect and Refresh: The Healing and Educational Qualities of Art-Making

Reflect and refresh this morning with social and emotional activity-based opportunities that offer tools to ground yourself, energize, and prepare your mindset for conference attendance and to use in your work and roles.

The Healing and Educational Qualities of Art-Making — the therapeutic benefits of art in emotional learning and healing. Gather writing instruments, paper, and coloring pencils, crayons, or markers and learn about the definition of art therapy as well as join in an art therapy group exercise using intuitive art doodling as a technique leading to meaningful sharing and discussion.

Danyah Subei, Art Therapist, Phoenix, AZ

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Foster Care Updates and Panel Conversation

Educational Stability for Children and Youth in Foster Care Program Updates

Matthew Butensky, Youth Development Managing Coordinator, Center for Schools and Communities, Camp Hill, PA

Jillian Schreib, Human Services Analyst, Office of Children, Youth, and Families, Department of Human Services, Harrisburg, PA

Connecting the Dots: Moving Towards Recovery, Reengagement, and Accelerating Learning

Panelists will reflect on the impact of COVID-19 and how we can begin to move towards recovery, reengagement, and accelerate learning for students experiencing homelessness and students in foster care.

Panelists

Jorge Verlenden, Ph.D., Behavioral Scientist, Division of Adolescent and School Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

Serena Holthe, Senior Director of Programs and Strategy, American Youth Policy Forum, Washington, DC

Kenneth Chancey, Policy Manager, National Foster Youth Institute, Los Angeles, CA

Shirley Fan-Chan, Post-secondary Education Committee Chair, National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, Boston, MA  

Moderator

Sarah Wasch, Program Manager, Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice and Research, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Skill Builders

Skill Builders are an opportunity for you to explore, sharpen, and practice a particular tool, best practice, or skill set in a presentation or deep dive discussion format that can be utilized as a resource in your work.

Some parents hide their living situation from school personnel that can make it hard to identify children and youth experiencing homelessness. This session will explore common barriers families face, including the words and approaches professionals often use when interacting with individuals who experience homelessness. Strategies to create a welcoming culture for families and youth in transition will be explored as well as tips for improving identification of students experiencing homelessness.

Wendy Kinnear, Regional Coordinator, Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness, Midwestern Intermediate Unit 4, Grove City, PA

Mapping educational opportunities for students in foster care helps to inspire hope and pave the way to school and lifelong stability and success. This session, guided by alumni of the foster care system, will grow your skill set by highlighting education specific resources and providing helpful strategies working with students in foster care.

Constance Iannetta, Founder and Executive Director, FosterStrong, Glenside, PA

Colin McShane, Co-Founder and Board Member, FosterStrong, Glenside, PA

This peer-to-peer session will provide support to participants looking to create local housing and community cross-system collaboratives. Learn how these partnerships address root causes of homelessness among young people and young people in foster care by advancing long-term solutions through multi-level relationship building and community work. Participants will be able to develop an outline to open lines of communication among stakeholders.

Sonia Pitzi, Regional Coordinator, Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness, Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12, New Oxford, PA

Christina Kapp, Coordinated Entry Systems Manager, Cumberland County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Carlisle, PA

Local Education Agencies (LEAs) are monitored a minimum of every three years regarding McKinney-Vento compliance. This session will highlight the monitoring process from the original notification letter regarding the monitoring visit to the final report that is submitted post-visit. The intended audience includes Homeless Liaisons and other LEA personnel who might participate in an ECYEH program monitoring visit.

Alfred Quarles, Ph.D., Regional Coordinator, Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness, School District of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

Jeff Zimmerman, Regional Coordinator, Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness, Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18, Kingston, PA

Anne Salerno, McKinney-Vento Program Monitor, Scranton, PA

The American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Education School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to provide a host of holistic resources to children and families, especially those most affected by the pandemic. Evidence-based and comprehensive afterschool programs and summer enrichment programs will serve as important resources for students experiencing homelessness and students in foster care on their path towards academic recovery and accelerated learning. This session will elevate components and examples of high-quality afterschool and summer programs, and how programs can be beneficial in meeting the social, emotional and mental health as well as academic needs of students.

Jodi Grant, J.D., Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance, Washington, DC

Kristal Moore Clemons, Ph.D., National Director, Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools, Washington, DC

Shaquite Pegues, Director, Ella Baker Leadership Development, Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools, Washington, DC

In April, Congress allocated $800 million to the education of homeless children and youth through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), which is more than the last 10 years combined. How can Local Education Agencies (LEAs) strategically use these funds to ensure children and youth receive the services and support they need, while also being strategic about ensuring these funds are sustainable? Hear from SchoolHouse Connection along with LEAs across Pennsylvania to learn how they are using ARP funds.

Barbara Duffield, Executive Director, SchoolHouse Connection, Washington, DC

Erin Patterson, Director of Education Initiatives, SchoolHouse Connection, Washington, DC

11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Break

1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Workshops

Our workshops, with varying presentation styles, will focus on a specific topic of need.

Getting students in foster care back on track educationally, requires advocacy. Attendees will receive a snapshot of educational outcomes for children and youth in foster care, highlighting the need for effective advocacy, review a brief overview of relevant federal law, and explore the heightened need for advocacy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants will engage in discussions about best practices and strategies for advocacy and engagement with an emphasis on cross-agency collaboration, and learn more about Pennsylvania-specific provisions that support students in foster care.

Sneha Barve, J.D., Staff Attorney, American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Washington, DC

Kathleen McNaught, J.D., Director-Education Projects, American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Washington, DC

Emily Peeler, J.D., Staff Attorney, American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Washington, DC

Brain development in the early years lays the foundation for a healthy future for our children and is essential for their future success. Young children experiencing homelessness are at great risk for adverse childhood experiences that can negatively affect their brain development. Access to early care and education programs is especially vital for families experiencing homelessness. Join us as we explore how quality early learning programs can help to mitigate the negative outcomes of homelessness and prepare children for school and success later in life.

Tracy Duarte, Director, Pennsylvania Head Start Association, State Office, Harrisburg, PA

Joe Willard, Vice President of Policy, People’s Emergency Center, Philadelphia, PA

Promoting educator and youth service provider well-being is essential to addressing equity issues. We must practice and prioritize self-care as we work to disrupt injustices affecting children and youth experiencing homelessness and historically under-resourced students. A deeper understanding of homelessness and dimensions of wellness will be illuminated, along with why/how preventing compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress, and burnout are imperative to creating safe, healthy, inclusive, empowering environments. Let us refuel our spirits, and advance social justice.

Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D., Professor and Endowed Chair of Social Justice Education, Stetson University, DeLand, FL

What if your foster care transportation plans extended beyond the border of your county? Engage in an interactive session designed to provide insight into what one area of Pennsylvania is doing to ensure that transportation plans encompass best practices and reach across county lines. The session will offer you the opportunity to brainstorm how such strategies might work in your area of the commonwealth. Join us as we share our experiences and learn from each other!

Leigh Dalton, Esq., Ph.D., Attorney, Stock and Leader, York, PA

Missy Gosnell, Program Liaison and Foster Care Coordinator, Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness, Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12, New Oxford, PA

This workshop will support school and community staff to reengage with caregivers during a time when everyone is overwhelmed. Participants will consider the role of mindset, approach, and activities in building connections with the adults in students’ lives. Participants will listen, reflect on their experiences, and share strategies in both large and small groups. Session content is derived from family engagement research, concepts from family support work, and shared experiences of family leaders.

Rijelle Kraft, Family Support Managing Coordinator, Center for Schools and Communities, Camp Hill, PA

Katherine Noss, Family Support Technical Assistance Coordinator, Center for Schools and Communities, Camp Hill, PA

Transgender and gender expansive youth disproportionally face housing insecurities and are overrepresented in the foster care system. This workshop takes participants through a review of basic gender concepts and terminology. Building on this foundation, the session will describe concrete methods for applying the lens of gender diversity to best practices around issues faced by gender expansive youth experiencing homelessness or in foster care.

Joel Baum, Senior Director, Gender Spectrum, San Leandro, CA

Understanding how young people experiencing homelessness or in the foster care system are affected by COVID-19, this session will explore creative online engagement, ideas, and approaches for youth as we continue to navigate education during the pandemic. Youth Collaboratory will share their Tip Sheet, Online Safety Tool, and other virtual youth engagement resources. Tying this session together will include conversation on empowering young people to ensure their physical, social, and emotional safety on virtual platforms.

Bellis Furlin, Youth Catalyst Member, Youth Collaboratory, Normal, IL

Maria Kelly, Youth Catalyst Consultant, Youth Collaboratory, Storrs, CT

Mirielle Milne, Youth Catalyst Member, Youth Collaboratory, Spokane, WA

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Meet the Exhibitors

Hear from conference exhibitors about their products and services during this live, online session.

Kinful
Milton Hershey School
PA Association for the Education of Young Children
PATHS Program LLC
SafeSecureKids.org (PCAR)
Sensory Friends
TEAMology
The Umbrella Project

Thursday, Oct. 7

Virtual Exhibit Hall Open (closes at 5:00 p.m.)

8:30 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Coffee Talk Networking

Opportunity to network with State Partners, CSC Coordinators, and Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3 Data Experts.

9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Awards Ceremony and Keynote Address by Logan Taylor

Presentation of 2021 Advocates of the Year Awards

Keynote Address: Finding Your Inner Voice When Life Happens

Logan Taylor, Founder and CEO, Y.B. Normal?, Chattanooga, TN

Logan Taylor, founder and CEO of Y.B.Normal?, is a youth mentor, motivational speaker, and facilitator of community outreach. His goal is to inspire and empower at-risk youth to strive for greatness. Taylor currently mentors struggling youth in schools, implements curriculum and journal writing with a focus on social emotional development, and leads community projects. Join us as he shares his story of experiencing homelessness as a student, how COVID-19 has affected missing students and unaccompanied youth, and hear about inspiring ways to tap into our resiliency to support youth experiencing homelessness with extraordinary opportunities for educational achievement.

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Briefings

Informational show and tell of topic, organization, or best practice.

The American Bar Association’s Education Barriers Project focuses on improving education outcomes for children in foster care as a key component to permanency and life success. The project guides its work around three principles: 1) School stability strengthens placement stability and often speeds permanency for children and families; 2) School success guides life success; and 3) Collaboration between schools, child welfare agencies, and courts is key to supporting students in foster care. The Education Barriers Project is actively seeking new project or technical assistance counties as part of their ongoing work with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Attendees will learn about current and past projects as well as opportunities for participation.

Emily Peeler, J.D., Staff Attorney, American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Washington, DC

Families and youth experiencing homelessness have endured more hardship than many of us can imagine. Through conversation and discussion learn how Homeless Liaisons help youth and families share their story. Stories and quotes shared directly from voices of youth and families can build empathy and awareness to the obstacles they may face.

Jani Koester, TEP Resource Teacher, Madison Metropolitan School District, Madison, WI

Julie Ratekin, Vice President, National Association for the Education Homeless Children and Youth, Westland, MI

Kelly Jo Shebeck, National Association for the Education Homeless Children and Youth Board Secretary, Homeless Liaison, Clark County School District, Las Vegas, NV

Nicole Steward, Homeless Liaison, Radical Tendencies, San Jose, CA

Everyone is in agreement about our shared purpose: we are here to support the development and learning of students in foster care. Navigating the path to success, however, is not so clear and disagreement or conflict occurs among stakeholders. We will discuss how to use conflict, collaboration, and compliance as tools for success. This session will also use scenarios to shape discussion around common situations and participants will share ideas and strategies on how to move forward when conflict occurs.

Christina Endres, Program Specialist, National Center for Homeless Education, SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina, Browns Summit, NC

Learn about Pennsylvania KinConnector and the services it offers designed to help kinship families across Pennsylvania thrive. Pennsylvania KinConnector is a no cost and confidential resource providing empathy, assistance, and referral services to kinship caregivers and their families. Pennsylvania KinConnector also helps agencies and providers tune into the needs of families headed by relatives, and provide education to the community about the kinship caregivers and the systems they must navigate.

Tia-Maria Smith, Program Director, Pennsylvania KinConnector, Harrisburg, PA

Alex Maasdam, Kinship Navigator, Pennsylvania KinConnector, Harrisburg, PA

This session provides an overview of the services provided by The Office for Dispute Resolution (ODR), including information about ConsultLine, a special education parent helpline, available options when parents and schools disagree about a child’s special education program, and how to access ODR’s services and resources.

Samantha Pudloski, Program Manager, The Office for Dispute Resolution, Harrisburg, PA

United Way of Pennsylvania presents ALICE — Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE workers educate our children, keep us healthy, and make our quality of life possible — yet do not earn enough to support their own families. In order to better understand this growing population, learn how the ALICE project provides a framework, language, statistics, and tools that community stakeholders can use to generate advocacy and solutions for ALICE households struggling to achieve family financial stability. This session will also include a brief simulation activity, “ALICE: The Experience.”

Rebecca O’ Shea, Advocacy Engagement Coordinator, United Way of Pennsylvania, Lemoyne, PA

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Break

1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Workshops

Our workshops, with varying presentation styles, will focus on a specific topic of need.

This session focuses on providing best practices supporting unstably housed students or students in foster care make a successful transition to post-secondary endeavors. Experts at high school and college levels will describe their programs, ways to reconnect with youth after a year of remote learning, and necessary steps to build positive support. Panelists will also share recommendations to replicate their programs and practices in your area as well as discuss outcomes from their programs and students.

Melissa DeMotta, Program Specialist, Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness, Berks County Intermediate Unit 14, Reading, PA

Susan Mangold, Assistant Dean of Students, Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA

Leanne Eckenrode, School Social Worker and Families in Transition Coordinator, Reading School District, Reading, PA

Lindsay Gregg, Coordinator of Parent Involvement and Families in Transition, School District of Lancaster, Lancaster, PA

Lisette Rivera, Site Coordinator Families in Transition, School District of Lancaster, Lancaster, PA

Youth who experience homelessness are at greater risk of experiencing sexual harassment, abuse, and assault. During this workshop, participants will explore the connection between youth homelessness and sexual violence and will learn how early intervention can help prevent victimization. Participants will leave the workshop with tools and resources to use with youth, adults, and other school professionals.

Tatiana Piper, Community Advocacy Coordinator, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, Harrisburg, PA

Jackie Strohm, Prevention and Resource Coordinator, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, Harrisburg, PA

Youth experiencing homelessness, adversity, or involvement with child welfare services are at an increased risk to be targeted for exploitation and trafficking. Learn what exploitation looks like in Pennsylvania, how to assess whether students have experienced exploitation, and gain tools and resources to enhance services for our most resilient youth. Attendees will gain resources and strategies for intervention and prevention as well as participate in a brief, simulated activity to build understanding and empathy.

Joy Lenzi, Founder, Mission Delco, Glenolden, PA

This session will provide skill-building activities and knowledge to educators and child welfare professionals who are working with black girls and adolescents in the foster care system. Through research and storytelling, foster care alumna Jamerika Haynes shares how societal stereotypes affect black girls and adolescents in the system. Attendees will learn about the significance of these experiences as well as what they can do to serve girls of color during and after foster care best.

Jamerika Haynes, CEO and Founder, Clever Jam Communications, Seattle, WA

Learn more about the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program (ECYEH) and Millersville University’s Migrant Education Program (MEP) essential partnership aspects as well as services and support available to migrant students, parents and families in their corresponding regions. An overview of the challenges of migratory homeless children as well as opportunities for coordination between ECYEH and MEP with a goal of creating a focused plan of action will be shared.

David Baird, Program Director, Migrant Education Program, Millersville University, Millersville, PA

Lees Chevere, Team Leader, Migrant Education Program, Millersville University, Millersville, PA

Amanda Guzman, Team Leader, Migrant Education Program, Millersville University, Millersville, PA

Kristen Hoffa, Regional Coordinator, Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness, Berks County Intermediate Unit 14, Reading, PA

A significant percentage of highly mobile children and youth receive special education services. This session will equip youth service providers with a general understanding of the special education process including the legal basis for special education; Child Find, screening, and referral; the evaluation and reevaluation process; the IEP process and implementation; and procedural safeguards — all within the context of meeting the special education needs of highly mobile students.

Amira Hill-Yancy, Ed.D., Educational Consultant, Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network, Malvern, PA

2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Skill Builders

Skill Builders are an opportunity for you to explore, sharpen, and practice a particular tool, best practice, or skill set in a presentation or deep-dive discussion format that can be utilized as a resource in your work.

Presenters will highlight Juvenile Law Center’s “Higher Education Guide,” which provides key information for advocates and supporters of youth in the child welfare system. Attendees will learn how to use the guide in order to leverage key resources available to youth that have experience in foster care in Pennsylvania on their path towards higher education. Youth leaders will join the presentation to discuss their higher education challenges and recommendations for improvement so that youth can reach their higher education goals.

Nadia Mozaffar, J.D., Senior Attorney, Juvenile Law Center, Philadelphia, PA

Tiara Greene, J.D., Staff Attorney, Juvenile Law Center, Philadelphia, PA

This discussion-centered session will provide an overview of the available COVID-19 relief funding streams that might be used to support students in foster care and review promising practices around the country. The session will allow for in-depth discussion about current practices throughout Pennsylvania as well as explore new ideas jurisdictions are contemplating as new strategies that are being developed to meet the ongoing needs of students in foster care.

Kathleen McNaught, J.D., Director of Education Projects, American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Washington, DC

Focused on ensuring the physical, social, and emotional safety of youth returning to classrooms in light of COVID-19, this session will focus on specific strategies for how schools and community based organizations (CBOs) can work together to create a safe, stable, and supportive environment for students. This session will highlight real-world examples of how school staff, youth service providers, and community leaders can successfully build and strengthen partnerships with CBOs that help students experiencing homelessness and students in foster care thrive. In particular, how CBOs play a critical role in addressing gaps and uplifting youth experiences and needs.

Brandi Gilbert, Ph.D., Managing Associate, Community Science, Gaithersburg, MD

In this session, Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness (ECYEH) Program contracted state evaluators from the Allegheny Intermediate Unit will review the ECYEH annual evaluation, what data are collected, and who and where such data come from. Included in this session will be a review of data collection and entry into the online ECYEH system.

Leslie McConnell, Program Director, Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3, Homestead, PA

Jim Ross, Evaluation Specialist, Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3, Homestead, PA

So often students who experience homelessness and students who are in foster care struggle academically. They tend to have in common a lack of housing stability, a lack of school stability and a lack of connection to community and natural support. This session will share the value of a trauma-informed engagement and will dig into ideas around connection to human service systems and community resources.

Samantha Murphy, Resource Services Manager and Education Liaison, Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Pittsburgh, PA

Kelly Protho, Applied Learning and Development Specialist, Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Pittsburgh, PA

Ashley Varrato, Prevention Services and Education Analytics Manager, Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Pittsburgh, PA

Unaccompanied homeless youth (UHY) face unique challenges and are entitled to a number of legal rights and protections. During this session, participants will learn about the educational rights of UHY under the McKinney-Vento Act and Pennsylvania state law as well as the rights of minors (as opposed to UHY who are 18 and over).

Patricia Julianelle, J.D., Senior Strategist for Program Advancement and Legal Affairs, SchoolHouse Connection, Washington, DC

3:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

2021 Conference Closing Activity — Reflect and Refresh: The Power of Expressive Writing

Join us to conclude the 2021 Paving the Way to Educational Success Conference, at Reflect and Refresh, with a social and emotional activity-based opportunity that offers tools to ground yourself, energize, and prepare your mindset for use in your work and roles.

The Power of Expressive Writing incorporates writing techniques that consolidate our conference experience. Through expressive writing, we can continue to enhance our well-being, self-knowledge and personal growth.

Nancy Scherlong, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Poetry and Journal Therapist, Founder, Change Your Narrative, Norwalk, CT