The Ohio Family Engagement Leadership Summit is a free day of professional learning and networking with those dedicated to advancing effective family-school-community partnerships across Ohio and beyond. Our Summit brings research to action by providing schools, families, and community partners with the tools they need to work together to launch all children to success. If you are a teacher, leader, family liaison, parent/caregiver, or community partner looking for opportunities to find joy and power in partnerships, this summit is for you! The 2023 Summit was on September 22, 2023. It was a virtual event on Zoom from 9 AM – 3 PM ET. Stay tuned to hear about our 2024 Summit. To view past Summit pages, scroll to the bottom of this page.
9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Concurrent Learning Sessions #1
Session 1: Exploring A New Self-Reflection Tool to Promote Family and Community Engagement
This session delves into the transformative potential of reflection as a key catalyst for deepening family and community engagement in various educational settings. The session will begin with an overview of the Family Engagement Core Competencies which is a compendium of the knowledge, skills, practices and dispositions that family facing professionals utilize to engage families equitably. Participants will then reflect on each of the core competencies using a new self-assessment tool co-developed by NAFSCE and The Ohio State University. The session will conclude with an interactive conversation among participations about their perceptions of the tool and how they might use it in their own settings to bolster relationships with families.
Session 2: Meaningful Relationships with EL/immigrant families in the SPED process
Active parental involvement in the Special Education process is critical for the academic and social success of students. Legal mandates are designed to promote parent involvement in their child’s general educational experiences as well safeguard the education of students with disabilities. Despite existing laws, immigrant families face significant personal and systemic barriers in the process of advocating for their child. The focus of this presentation is on examining barriers for immigrant parents of K-12 students in the SPED process and ways to build meaningful partnerships and shared understandings of the high-stakes decisions. The presenter will start by outlining challenges and implications for parent involvement and student outcomes. The context and research approach of the study will be described. Major findings will be shared using visuals and graphics. Practical implications for districts and parents will be outlined with the goal of developing shared understandings, responsibility, and ownership of positive student outcome.
Session 3: Communicating with Families about Dyslexia: Two Ohio District Examples
Do you wonder how to effectively communicate with families about dyslexia and the process of learning to read? Despite many states passing laws regarding how students with dyslexia are screened and supported with instruction, educators are often left with the difficult task of deciding when and how to communicate with families about dyslexia and instructional supports. Come hear from two dyslexia experts, from Ohio school districts, share how they have taken a proactive and collaborative approach to creating new ways to communicate with families aligned with new Ohio dyslexia laws. You will walk away with templates and examples for your own use.
Session 4: Attendance Matters: Addressing Early School Absenteeism for Success
In “Attendance Matters: Addressing Early School Absenteeism for Success,” the presenter will discuss the critical role of early school absenteeism. Attendees will gain insight into both factors contributing to school absenteeism along with the long-term consequences. Moreover, the talk will present strategies and interventions that can be implemented to effectively combat school absenteeism.
Session 5: Students at the Center: Empowering Adolescents' Voice and Role in Family-School Partnerships
In this session, participants will learn about the importance of and strategies for including student voice in family-school partnerships. The presentation will offer an overview of research on student voice and family engagement, with a particular focus on the adolescent years. We will discuss evidence-informed strategies for integrating students in meaningful ways into family-school partnerships. Participants will leave the session with concrete, research-based approaches to elevate the roles of students in their schools or districts family engagement practices and policies.
Session 6: Family Engagement: Importance and Benefits to Out-of-School Time Programs
Participants will learn about the importance of family engagement in out-of-school time programs. They will hear about real-world experiences from 21stCentury Community Learning Center program managers who took part in the 21st Century Advancing Family Engagement program. Participants will also have an opportunity to create next steps focused on their out-of-school time programs.
Session 7: Finding Your Voice: A Journey of Student Self-Discovery
In this session, participants will hear the first hand experience of the journey for students through through the special education system and towards the life they want to achieve for themselves. Come hear how helping a student to find their own voice can make all the difference.
Session 8: Equity, Huh? The Power of Youth Voice in Defining Racial Equity in K-12 Schools
While many people talk about equity in education, few know how to implement it effectively for students and families affected by racial bias and discrimination. Project DREAMS offers one solution using youth voice. Throughout the program students document objects, situations, and places that represent racial equity or inequity. In a culminating event, youth describe policies, practices, norms, and behaviors that chronically disadvantage youth of color in school. In this session the speaker will reflect on the process, share key leadership values, and summarize equity practices that can help educational leaders skillfully engage youth of color and their families. Participants in the workshop will develop understanding of the challenges some youth face, determine the factors in their school that influence change, and list next steps for equitable futures.
Session 9: Charting the LifeCourse in Ohio's Schools
The Charting the LifeCourse framework was developed by families to help individuals with disabilities and families at any age or stage of life develop a vision for a good life, think about what they need to know and do, identify how to find or develop supports, and discover what it takes to live the lives they want to live. The Ohio Department of Education Office for Exceptional Children has joined as a partner in this work with other Ohio agencies, including the Ohio State University Nisonger Center, by training 128 LifeCourse ambassadors across the state, building internal capacity within the Department of Education, and intentionally making connections across agencies, organizations and spaces to support families in utilizing this framework and tools to create their good life. Participants in this session will learn about what Charting the LifeCourse is, where and how to access the associated tools, what is happening in Ohio and what opportunities exist to to join in this movement as a family member and/or educational leader.
12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Student Panel: What does family engagement mean to you?
12:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Workshop 1: Deepening Student Voice: Students as partners in learning and change
Student voice is a process in which young people influence decisions in their schools, classrooms and communities. Our research has demonstrated that student voice practices can improve student academic, social and behavioral outcomes; they can also impact family-school engagement and schoolwide reform practices.
This session examines ways that schools can engage students to impact family-school engagement. Drawing from ongoing research, this interactive workshop explores the range of student voice activities and looks at strategies to improve success with implementing student voice efforts.
Workshop 2: Get R.E.A.L. with Families About Attendance and Engagement
With 30.2% of its students chronically absent, Ohio has an attendance crisis. Showing up to school matters. From a whole child perspective, being in school supports students’ social, emotional and physical well-being while providing opportunities to learn and achieve.
Join Attendance Works to learn who is chronically absent in your school community as well as why and how partnering with families is essential to improving attendance and engagement.
Participants will find out about free Attendance Works materials including the Showing Up Matters for R.E.A.L. toolkit. They will also have time to practice caring conversations and identify tiered strategies for working with families to reduce absenteeism.
Workshop 3: School Counselors and Families: The Power of Partnerships to Change Student Outcomes
The impact of strong school counselor and family partnerships on student outcomes is life changing for students. Attendees to this session will gain insight into how school counselors use root cause analysis to match interventions to student needs, which can result in increases in positive mental health, increases in hope and school belonging, and opportunities to ensure all students, especially multilingual students, experience school and life success. Participants will leave with practical strategies for building a systemic approach to family and school engagement, tips and tools for building hope and school belonging in students, and methods for centering the culture of our students’ and their families as assets and strengths in these efforts.
12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Concurrent Learning Sessions #2
Session 10: Engaging New American Families with Schools
One of the challenging process in the integration of the American system is schooling and family’s engagement with districts. From Lack of education to intimidation contribute to the difficulty of participation of parents/guardians into the journey of their children’s education system. Ethiopian Tewahedo Social services is implementing a unique Family Engagement program into several districts to support families, school system and serve as a bridge between the two. It is not just about language translation, there are several factors that contribute to the success of family engagement, and ultimately the success of students.
Session 11: Student Voice Matters: Best Practices for Engaging Students in their Special Education Journey
Family engagement models are designed to assist educators and families in considering the most collaborative and effective ways to support school-aged children and youth. The student and their unique needs are centered in these models and are critical to the application of the models in practice. As such, they should be considered active participants in school-family engagement. Join one of the authors Ohio State Family Engagement Center’s 2022 Research Brief “Partnering with Families Through Special Education” and other colleagues representing the Ohio Parent Mentor Project as they further investigate Strategy #6: Support children and youth in their family engagement. Research-based and practical strategies for Special and General Educators will be explored.
Session 12: Family Engagement Efficacy Beliefs of Educators: Measuring Mindsets with the FEEB-E
Have you put time and effort into professional development and wondered if it’s really shifting mindsets about family engagement? Bring cutting-edge research to practice by learning about a new tool for measuring family engagement efficacy beliefs of educators: the FEEB-E!
Session 13: Cross-Agency Family Engagement to Prepare Transition Students for Adulthood
The secondary transition planning process can be overwhelming and complicated for students and caregivers. It is important for agency partners – schools, County Boards of DD, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, and more – to coordinate their family engagement strategies to best inform, prepare, and empower youth and families. Hear from a cross-agency professional panel and their set of family engagement strategies, lessons learned together, and next steps for engaging families throughout the secondary transition planning process. Attendees will also learn about professional learning available to help them engage families in collaboration with their local partners.
Session 14: Connections for Families with Children Who Are Deaf/Hard of Hearing or Blind/Visually Impaired
From birth to adulthood, get connected to the supporting resources, best practices, and agencies available to support families with children who are deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired.
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Concurrent Learning Sessions #3
Session 15: Building Bridges: Engaging Multicultural Families in Special Education
Attendees will learn about the work that the Coalition does in serving families in the area of special education in Ohio. Our speakers will touch on our modes of service, especially in relation to the multicultural population having special needs. There will be information related to the changing demographics of the population and how this relates to the services we provide. One area to be discussed will be the Somali population and their unique needs. We will focus on non-traditional ways to serve families and promote parent engagement.
Session 16: Partnering with families of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds
Key takeaways that will empower you to improve family engagement in your educational settings:
- Identifying and recognizing barriers;
- Creating inclusive environments;
- Celebrating diversity;
- Collaborative partnerships;
- Commitment to equity.
Session 17: Leading School Systems for Family Engagement
It is up to leaders to facilitate the change in school landscapes to support family engagement school and district-wide. Their actions can create an inclusive and supportive school climate. Leaders share their vision for strong school family partnerships with the school community, support and encourage teachers to actively participate in the work, and welcome and empower families to be genuine partners. This session will present eight essential practices for leaders for family engagement. Participants will identify ways can they can take steps this school year to strengthen family engagement system-wide, leading changes that will result in reaching more families and implementing more effective family engagement.
Session 18: Is your website ENGAGING to families?
Your school website is one of your most valuable communication tools. Students, parents and people from your local community will use it to find out more about your school, so it’s important that you make the best possible use of it. In this session, we will share best practices and guidelines for creating or enhancing your parent webpage to be user-friendly, while communicating effectively with students, families and the community. The presentation will include templates, tools and examples to assist in a clean and easy way to navigate.
Session 19: Ohio's Parent Mentor Project: Facilitating Partnerships between Families and Schools for Students with Disabilities
For over 30 years, the Ohio Department of Education has funded and supported the Parent Mentor Project. Parent Mentors are parents of a child with a disability and work in a school district or educational service center to provide free support and resources to families of children with disabilities and school staff members. They receive ongoing professional development and oversight support from The Ohio State University Center on Education and Training for Employment. This session will describe how Parent Mentors partner with families and school districts to support educational success for students with disabilities. Practical considerations for starting or improving peer-to-peer parent support will be discussed. Participants will leave with ideas for specific next steps to further their goals in providing parent-to-parent supports within their educational setting.
Session 20: Inside Out: Centering Student Voices to Shape School Climate
When students have a strong sense of belonging they have better attendance, better grades, and better relationships. This session will highlight the importance of centering student voices in school-wide initiatives to help improve school climate and student sense of belonging. Participants will hear examples from administrators, school counselors, and most importantly students of the ways one school is working to give power to their students to help improve their school for everyone.