family meeting with educator

Family and Community Engagement:Conference for Educators and Related Professionals

One-day Conference

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
8:20 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (check-in: 8:00 a.m.)
Memorial Union Building, UNH, Durham Campus, NH

Register Early and Save!
$220 ($245 if registered after April 25)

Approved by NASW, NH Chapter, for 6 Cat. 1 CE Credits, Auth.# 3308


8:00-8:20 a.m.--Registration & Coffee

8:20-8:30 a.m.-- Welcome

8:30-10:00 a.m.--Keynote Speaker: Karen Mapp, Ed.D.
Building the Capacity for Effective Family-School Partnerships

10:00-11:45 a.m.--2 Breakout Sessions

  • Promoting Shared Decision Making in the Special Education Process
  • Making the Connections: Family Engagement in Early Childhood Settings (Birth-Grade 3)

12:00–12:45 p.m.--Lunch

12:45-1:45 p.m. --Featured Speaker: Richard Feistman, Ph.D.
Utilizing Local Resources to Build a Sustainable Family and Community Engagement Program

2:00–3:45 p.m.--2 Breakout Sessions

  • Nashua Model of Family and Community Engagement (Elementary and Middle School)
  • Managing Difficult Conversations: Find a Way Forward

Session Descriptions

Keynote Address: Building the Capacity for Effective Family-School Partnerships

The purpose of this keynote is to share what we now know about the critical role that partnerships between families and school staff play in the support of academic achievement and school improvement. Dr. Mapp will discuss the link between these partnerships and student outcomes as well as the high impact strategies that lead to effective partnerships between families and schools. Dr. Mapp will summarize the research and promising practice strategies featured in the 2007 publication Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships, the 2011 publication, A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform, and the 2014 USDOE Dual Capacity Framework for Family-School Partnerships.
Keynote Speaker:  Karen Mapp, Ed.D., is a Senior Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and the Faculty Director of the Education Policy and Management Master’s Program.

Featured Speaker: Utilizing Local Resources to Build a Sustainable Family and Community Engagement Program

New Hampshire’s schools/districts have many resources available to them on the national, state, and local level for developing a sustainable system of family and community engagement. The problem is that those resources are often useless unless an interested school/district has a team comprised of staff and families that can properly assess their own needs and seek assistance in serving those needs. This presentation will focus on how to set up those teams as well as present some of the resources and material available – often and low to no cost.
About the Speaker: Richard Feistman, Ph.D., is the Senior Research Associate for the Center for Collaborative Education whose mission is "to promote innovative models of schools and to engage in related activities that increase justice and opportunity for all learners."

4 Breakout Sessions

Promoting Shared Decision Making in the Special Education Process

The special education process requires that parents make informed decisions about their children’s education. How do school staff promote parents’ informed participation in decision-making? Currently, many health care professionals (including here in NH) are using the Shared Decision Making (SDM) model to help patients make informed decisions in their medical care. This model supersedes older, authoritarian models of professional-patient interaction and has been shown both to build patient trust and improve patient outcomes. Application of the SDM model to decision-making in special education holds promise of achieving the goals of building family-school partnerships and improving results for students and their families. This session will describe a recent practice model of SDM that has clear applicability to engaging families in decision-making related to the special education process. Through interactive discussion and activities, we will discuss how the three key steps in the practice—Team Talk, Option Talk, and Decision Talk—can be implemented in the context of IEP meetings. Please note: presenter Batya Elbaum will join the presentation via an online meeting.

Presenters: Batya Elbaum, Ph.D., University of Miami & Jennifer Cunha, Project Director-NH Parent Information Center

Making the Connections: Family Engagement in Early Childhood Settings (Birth-Grade 3)

Explore family engagement and the connection between families’ involvement in early childhood education with children’s outcomes and school readiness skills. Barriers to family engagement will be discussed, along with principles of partnering with families. You will have the opportunity to complete a family engagement self- assessment, and begin to develop family engagement strategies to meet your organization’s needs. You will learn concrete strategies to create family engagement initiatives, and identify ways to create family-friendly environments. This workshop is appropriate for teachers, social workers, administrators, and center directors of private or public educational programs serving children birth through Grade 3. This session was presented at the 2016 NH Educators’ Summer Summit.

Presenters: Pam Lane and Heidi Toursie, Southern New Hampshire Services

Nashua Model of Family and Community Engagement (Elementary and Middle School)

Family and Community Engagement is a shared responsibility in which schools and other community agencies and organizations are committed to reaching out to engage families in meaningful ways and in which families are committed to actively supporting their children’s learning and development. It is continuous across a child’s life and entails enduring commitment but changing parent roles as children mature into young adulthood. Effective family engagement reinforces learning in multiple settings where children learn— at home, in prekindergarten programs, in school, in after school programs, and in the community. Please join us to learn what the Nashua School District is doing to encourage parent and community participation in all of our schools K-12 and join in on a discussion to brainstorm new ideas for your community.

Presenters: Cherrie Fulton, Title One Director, Nashua School District
Blanca Chavez, Home/School Coordinator and Lisa Stempler Parent Educator at Fairgrounds Elementary School; and Adelina Hernandez & Dora Vargas, Home/School Coordinators at Nashua Middle Schools

Managing Difficult Conversations: Find a Way Forward

Even with the best intentions, sometimes IEP Teams must have difficult conversations or may find themselves in conflict. In this session we will discover and apply different practices in order to move forward in an agreeable manner when these situations arise. Participants will learn to better recognize what makes some conversations difficult and use a structured framework to help conduct difficult conversations. Together we will explore different ways to deal with difficult behaviors and learn about possible strategies to defuse a difficult situation. This session will expand your ability to convert difficult situations into collaborative solutions and work with families in a productive way.

Presenters: Maureen Shields and Barbara Publicover from the NH Parent Information Center

What You Will Learn


Family and Community Engagement:Conference for Educators and Related Professionals

"It takes a village to raise a child." - African proverb

Attend the Family and Community Engagment Conference and you will understand:

  • the positive impact of effective family-school partnerships and student outcomes,
  • strategies for effective partnerships,
  • resources to establish family and community programs,
  • early education, special education, and general K-12 community models; and
  • community engagement for prevention of teen depression and suicide.


Travel & Site Information


Family and Community Engagement:Conference for Educators and Related Professionals

University of New Hampshire

Memorial Union Building, Stafford Room

83 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824


Instructor Bios


Family and Community Engagement:Conference for Educators and Related Professionals

  • Karen Mapp

    Karen L. Mapp, Ed.D., is a Senior Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and the Faculty Director of the Education Policy and Management Master’s Program. Over the past twenty years, Dr. Mapp’s research and practice focus has been on the cultivation of partnerships among families, community members and educators that support student achievement and school improvement. She served as the co-coordinator with Professor Mark Warren of the Community Organizing and School Reform Research Project and as a core faculty member in the Doctorate in Educational Leadership (EDLD) program at HGSE. She is a founding member of the District Leaders Network on Family and Community Engagement as well as the National Family and Community Engagement Working Group, is a trustee of the Hyams Foundation in Boston, MA, and is also on the board of the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) and the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) in Washington, DC.  From 2011 to 2013, Dr. Mapp served as a consultant on family engagement to the United States Department of Education in the Office of Innovation and Improvement.

    Dr. Mapp joined HGSE in January of 2005 after serving for eighteen months as the Deputy Superintendent for Family and Community Engagement for the Boston Public Schools (BPS).  While working with the BPS, she continued to fulfill her duties as president of the Institute for Responsive Education (IRE).  She joined IRE in 1997 as Project Director, was appointed vice-president of IRE in May of 1998 and served as president from September 1998 to December 2004.  Dr. Mapp holds a Doctorate and Master’s of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a Master’s in Education from Southern Connecticut State University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Trinity College in Hartford, CT. 

    Dr. Mapp is the author and co-author of several articles and books about the role of families and community members in the work of student achievement and school improvement including: A New Wave Of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family and Community Connections on Student Achievement (2002); “Having Their Say: Parents Describe How and Why They are Engaged in Their Children’s Learning” (2003); Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships (2010); “Debunking the Myth of the Hard to Reach Parent” (2010); “Title I and Parent Involvement: Lessons from the Past, Recommendations for the Future” (2011); A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform (2011), “Partners in Education: A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships” (2014), and “From Private Citizens to Public Actors:  The Development of Parent Leaders through Community Organizing (2015).”

  • Batya Elbaum

    Batya Elbaum, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education and Psychology at the University of Miami, is a developmental psychologist and special education researcher with a strong interest in the intersection of special education policy and outcomes for children with disabilities and their families. In her empirical research, she has examined academic and social outcomes of inclusion for students with learning disabilities, the impact of testing accommodations on student performance in mathematics and reading, the effectiveness of one-on-one reading interventions for struggling readers, family outcomes of early intervention, and schools’ facilitation of parent involvement. Dr. Elbaum has a long history of promoting the collection and use of data from parents to inform the evaluation of special education services. As part of ongoing discretionary grant from the Florida Department of Education that was first awarded in 1999, Dr. Elbaum has been responsible for the design and administration of the state’s annual statewide parent survey addressing the needs and concerns of parents of students receiving special education services. From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Elbaum served as a consultant to the National Center for Special Education Accountability Monitoring and led the development and validation of the Schools’ Efforts to Partner with Parents Scale, the survey tool that has been adopted by approximately two-thirds of states (including the state of New Hampshire) to address Indicator 8 of the State Performance Plan. Between 2007 and 2012, in her role as a consultant to the OSEP-funded Data Accountability Center, Dr. Elbaum worked with multiple state Part B and Part C agencies on the collection, interpretation, and utilization of parent data. Dr. Elbaum’s related dissemination and technical assistance efforts have included over 50 invited presentations, workshops, and OSEP-sponsored teleconferences on topics ranging from survey design to the interpretation of parent survey data to the development of district- and school-level action plans.

  • Jennifer Cunha

    Jennifer Cunha has worked for the Parent Information Center for over 14 years in a variety of roles, currently as the Project Director for the NH Connections project.  She hold a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Special Education. Jennifer has provided professional development, training and coaching to families and multiple school districts, pre-service and in-service teacher training programs and has presented on the state and national levels on family-school partnerships in special education.

  • Pam Lane

    Pam Lane received her B.A. in Psychology from Springfield College and has been working with children and families for over 35 years. She began her career in Massachusetts working with families receiving public assistance and child protective services, child care licensing and the public school settings. Since 2002, Pam has worked with the Southern NH Services (SNHS) Head Start and Early Head Start programs overseeing the program’s Family and Community Partnership services. Pam has presented at the 2015 and 2016 NH Educator Summer Summits and conducts ongoing staff training at SNHS Head Start in family engagement, family partnerships, and family goal setting.

  • Heidi Toursie

    Heidi Toursie has a degree in Early Childhood Education.  She is a recent graduate of the NH Leadership Series through the Institute on Disabilities at UNH. She has been working with children and families since 2003 with a focus on literacy, family engagement and parent leadership. Since 2005, she has worked with the SNHS Head Start and Early Head Start programs as the Family Engagement Specialist.

  • Cherrie Fulton

    Cherrie Fulton is currently the Director of Title 1 for the Nashua School District.  She has been a professional educator for more than 25 years in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Kansas.  Her educational experience includes: Preschool and Elementary teacher, GED Instructor, Mentor Facilitator, Math Consultant, Curriculum Writer and Administrator. She has facilitated Nashua’s national participation in Vermont’s Ongoing Assessment Project (OGAP) in multiplicative reasoning K-5.  While serving as an assistant principal and curriculum specialist, she has also facilitated teams of teachers building Understanding by Design units of study in Science, Mathematics, Social Studies and English Language Arts. Cherrie is also a national trainer for Mind in the Making (The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs). She currently serves on the board of the Greater Nashua Continuum of Care, is a member of My Brother’s Keeper and the Early Childhood Coalition for Greater Nashua.

  • UNH Cooperative Extension Field Specialists

    Rick Alleva, Ed.D, serves on the UNH Cooperative Extension (UNHCE) Youth & Family Team, promoting positive youth and family development efforts in partnership with other UNH faculty, local organizations, schools, coalitions and communities. Rick helps to identify and address needs of youth and families, targeting outreach to those with limited resources and in greatest need. In addition, he works to mobilize both human and material resources to impact positive outcomes for young people, their families and all our communities.

    Charlotte Cross, M.S., joined UNH Cooperative Extension as an Extension Specialist in 1981. Prior to that time she taught at the Middle School, Junior High, High School and University levels.  Charlotte is active in efforts to strengthen individuals, families and communities through research-based education and information in the areas of Family and Community Development; Adolescent Issues; and Youth Risk and Protective Factors. Her Youth Development Specialist efforts focus on providing leadership for 4-H Youth Development programming in the areas of Positive Youth Development, adolescence, and citizenship, along with directing the Operation: Military Kids program.

    Gail Kennedy, MSW. Since joining UNH Cooperative Extension in 1996 Gail has worked to develop and actively participate on local coalitions and collaborations that address issues and concerns facing families and communities including substance abuse prevention, community wellness and successful re-entry and reintegration of inmates of the Community Corrections Center in Sullivan County. She collaborated with her 4-H colleagues to coordinate the Sullivan County Strengthening Families Project aimed at preventing teen risky behaviors, strengthening parenting skills and building strong, healthy family relationships. She is a certified facilitator for the Strengthening Families Program for youth age 10-14 and their parents and caregiver and a leader of the Guiding Good Choices Program.

    Thomas Linehan, Ed.D. As a field specialist in youth and families for the UNH Cooperative Extension Thom’s areas of emphasis include designing, implementing and evaluating in-service training for early childhood, human service & education professionals. He has worked with families and children in a number of settings, including home-based family therapy, early care and education, and early intervention. Thom has earned advanced degrees in early childhood special education and family therapy.

  • N.H. Parent Information Center Facilitators

    Facilitators from the N.H. Parent Information Center: Maureen Shields and Babara Publicover

    Maureen Shields currently works as a facilitator for NH Connections.  Before joining the NH Connections staff Maureen worked as a volunteer advocate for Parent Information Center assisting parents to communicate effectively as IEP team members.  Maureen serves on the State Advisory Committee to the Bureau of Special Education, she is a certified Educational Surrogate Parent and she is also a 2016 graduate of the NH Leadership Program.  Maureen graduated from Nichols College and has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

    Barbara Publicover holds a B.S. in Sociology from Lowell State College.  She is an experienced facilitator, having successfully worked with schools and parents throughout the state on family/school partnerships in special education through NH Connections and Next Steps NH grants.  She was the founder of a special education parent support group in her town and is on various local and state committees promoting family school partnerships and children’s health.  She is also a facilitator with NAMI NH (National Alliance on Mental Illness).  She is also a graduate of the UNH Institute on Disability Leadership Series and the Parent Information Center Volunteer Advocate Training program.

    TPIC Logohe Parent Information Center (PIC), a New Hampshire statewide family organization, strives to achieve positive outcomes for children and youth, with a focus on those with disabilities and special healthcare needs. This is achieved through its partnerships with families, educators, youth, professionals and organizations.


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