Family Leadership Conference

Saturday, May 21, 2016 - Plymouth North High School, Plymouth MA
I was honored to keynote the inaugural Family Leadership Conference, a free, half-day conference presented by the Plymouth Public Schools (PPS) in collaboration with many volunteers and community organizations - and linked to the PPS Strategic Plan (2016-2020)!
"The mission of the Conference is to provide training, information, and assistance to equip families with strategies to successfully support children." The conference offered a format for participants to learn about building positive relationships, supporting early literacy development, understanding the district's curriculum and instruction, parenting, nutrition, wellness, and more. Presentations were offered by educators and community organizations and targeted for various school levels - elementary, middle/high, all levels.
Following registration, coffee, and time for networking, PPS Assistant Superintendent Dr. Chris Campbell kicked off the conference with a warm welcome to all conference attendees. Chris introduced Plymouth School Committee member Kim Savery Hunt who then introduced me.
Following my keynote, sixteen workshop/presentations were offered twice during the morning. Here's a sample:
  • Elementary Focus
    • Building Positive Parent/Teacher Partnerships: Lead by an Elementary  School Counselor and two Elementary School Teachers. They discussed why it's important to build a parent/teacher partnership, how to approach and interact with your child's teacher/school, and how to handle difficult situations with your child's teacher/school.
    • Supporting early Literacy at Home: Presented by two PPS District Literacy Coaches, the focus was to learn a variety of strategies for helping children develop into strong and confident readers and writers.
  • Middle/High School Focus
    • Middle School Transitions: Lead by Plymouth South Middle School Counselor and Principal, focused on adolescent development to understand social, emotional, and academic transitions students experience between grades 5-8 and how parents can support their children through these pivotal years.
    • Prevention Resources and Education for Parents (PREP): Lead by the Regional Director of Caron Treatment Center, the program provides information on effects and consequences of gateway drugs and other drug trends, and to empower parents with effective communication skills when talking with their kids about alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.
  • All Levels
    • Building Relationships with Decision-Makers: I was happy to co-present this session with Stephanie Gray, Plymouth resident and President of Massachusetts PTA and Kim Savery Hunt, Plymouth School Committee Member/Secretary. We had a small group of attendees, that included parents Justin and Elisha (who have so much experience advocating on behalf of children in PPS, they could easily have lead a workshops of their own!), so we formed a circle for an intimate conversation about improving communications with stakeholders across the school district.
    • Learning Through Gardening: Lead by the Co-Founder and Director of Education for Terra Cura, Inc, about community gardening, permaculture, healthy eating, and environmental stewardship.
The inaugural conference was excellent, ambitious, and well organized. I look forward to future conferences and hope to see more parents and, perhaps, high school students encouraged to participate and lead sessions, too!

Crossposted to MAStewartMA.wordpress.com