There is a pressing need in today’s world for innovation and transformation to serve the needs of all learners. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are all adjusting to a new normal and creating new and innovative ways to connect with our students through digital learning. Additionally, as students bring increasingly diverse and intense needs to general and special education settings, traditional approaches and methods of collaboration are no longer sufficient to meet student needs. The current educational system fails many of our students. Many schools do not prepare students with the skills needed for the jobs in the 21st century economy. In a hyper-connected world, the way we care for and educate our children needs to change. Many of the challenges facing today’s child-serving agencies have been met with outdated practices that leave children marginalized.
It’s time to put Kids First!
When children come first, all children have what they need to succeed. Children are doing the best they can in the environments they have been given. When we prepare children for their future, we teach them how to learn, equipping them with the skills necessary for a lifelong journey of discovery, the ability to think critically, and to problem-solve effectively. Trauma has a devastating impact on learning, behavior, and quality of life, yet schools are challenged to find ways to mitigate the effects of trauma so children can heal and thrive. We need to empower child-serving individuals to prioritize flexibility in responding to the needs of the child and addressing each child holistically. Equipping our providers with the skills they need to individualize their approach to meet the needs of our diverse learners benefits everyone. Recruiting and retaining talented professionals is paramount to the success of our students.
Kids First seeks to transform the way America cares for and educates its children.
So how do we respond?
The conference focuses on providing attendees with the skills, strategies, and structures needed to foster innovation and transformation in how we educate our children. The conference will explore ways to collaborate across sectors to support all learners, including those from diverse and high-need backgrounds. Improving our practices through innovation and transformation ensures all learners can succeed.
Attendees will learn how to transform the culture of their programs to prioritize mental health issues, equity, cultural competency, digital citizenship, and the recruitment and retention of professionals that embrace the growth mindset to innovate learning experiences for every child. The conference brings together professionals across disciplines to learn from and collaborate with each other and to identify innovative solutions to educational challenges.
Additionally, sessions that focus on culturally and linguistically responsive practices will be offered, providing attendees with opportunities to learn about innovative and transformative practices to support English learners and their families, as well as sessions focusing on resilience building and lessons learned from the pandemic and social distancing, as well as sessions focusing on digital learning.
Themes & Tracks
The Leadership Track is for the leader to leave the conference with a plan to bring about transformation in their organization, school, or school district. This will occur by using the appreciative inquiry process, helping leaders identify their organization’s strengths to determine what they can do more of to move closer to a possible, preferred future.
*Must select this option when you register
Learn how educators can thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Collaborate with experts in general and special education on creative ways to engage students and help them succeed!
Learn effective ways to manage the impact of COVID-19 on student achievement, adult and children’s mental health and wellness, and resilience during troubled times.
Hear from leaders in juvenile justice who have fostered transformation to achieve equity, mitigate the impact of trauma experienced by youth and staff, and overcome staff resistance. Those participating in these workshops will be exposed to strategies to prevent the school-to-prison pipeline and to “future proof” your school to make sure it is relevant and engaging.
Mental health providers have had to adapt and innovate to provide services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Workshops will range from examining successful therapeutic interventions to considering broader implications of delivering mental health services today and in the future.
A Must Attend For
- School Administrators, Superintendents, & School Board Members
- Child-Serving Professionals
- Social Workers & Mental Health Professionals
- Occupational Therapists
- Speech Therapists
- Behavior Specialists
- Juvenile Justice Professionals
- Parents/Guardians, Grandparents, & Foster Parents
- Certificate of attendance for all attendees
- Category I Social Work CEUs awarded for all sessions