PANEL (9:00 AM – 10:30 AM)

Where Do We Grow From Here? Taking a Village Approach to Post-Pandemic Recovery in Communities

Join us for an interactive cross-sector panel discussion on how to move forward from the COVID-19 Pandemic. This past year we have witnessed the vast divides in our social fabric that include the lack of access to remote technology, mental health services, resources to our public schools and early childhood system.  Additionally, there has been a disconnect to community health organizations, as well as systemic and institutional racism.  All of this has spotlighted the inequities that families must navigate to ensure their family’s safety and health.

Now is the time to reimagine what community means and how we care for our children and their families. It is clear that these systems and structures need to be updated and improved.   This will require us to examine social policies and past practices: now is the time to reimagine, and rebuild. How we choose to heal will have a lasting impact on our communities, children, and society for decades to come. We are excited to have you join the conversation.

Friday Moderator:  Commissioner Beth Bye, CT Office of Early Childhood
Friday Panelists:
Gil Noam, Ed.D, Ph.D, Founder and Director, Institute for the Study of Resilience in Youth (ISRY) at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Merrill Gay, Executive Director, Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance
Adriana Fontaine, M.Sc, Early Childhood Programs Manager, Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center
Cailin O’Connor, Senior Associate at the Center for the Study of Social Policy
Claire Conroy, Consultant, State Education Resource Center of Connecticut

SESSION I (11:00 AM – 12:30 PM)

Transforming Education During the Pandemic and Beyond

Based on his latest book, Ten Big Bets: Transforming Education During the Pandemic and Beyond, Dr. Gil Noam will introduce some core topics which are of particular importance for educators and afterschool practitioners not only in the difficult times during the pandemic, but also during the productive years of rebuilding ahead. Those who attend this workshop can apply this transformational framework, evidence-based findings, and concrete recommendations to their professional roles in educational settings—all in the service of building more resilient school and afterschool settings in Connecticut.

Gil Noam Ed.D, Ph.D., Founder & Director of Institute for the Study of Resilience in Youth (ISRY) at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Strengthening Families’ Support System, Helping Families Through the Transition After the Pandemic and Beyond  

Families will need good information before returning their little ones to school or community programs. Learn how you can support families to reintegrate while building a solid system of support for their child’s future.  Guidance comes from The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations Leadership Team’s Guide for Re-opening Programs and parents of children with special needs.

Jane Hampton-Smith, Co-Executive Director, CPAC, Inc. & Adriana Fontaine, Early Childhood Programs Manager, CPAC, Inc.

SESSION II (1:00 PM – 2:30 PM)

Achieving Equity in Bloomfield with Cross-Sector Partnerships: A Case Study

In this workshop, participants will gain insights into the journey of one local early childhood collaborative’s journey in learning and leading efforts to build equity in three key areas; education, family and community engagement, and public policy.

Randi McCray, Social Justice and Equity Consultant

The Power of Personal Stories to Make a Change

Change happens when those with the power to make it happen, are compelled to do so. Of all the ways we take in information, nothing is more compelling than a well told personal story. Many people who have experienced problems caused or made worse by bad policy and feel powerless to fix the problem.  Our stories are our power.  This workshop will include lots of examples of personal stories that have led to change and tips on how to tell a story well.

Merrill Gay, Executive Director, Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance

What Does Tech Equity Look Like?

During the pandemic, disparities in access to technology have become clear. In this session we will reflect on how we have progressed over the past year in ensuring equitable virtual learning opportunities for all students. We will define tech equity, review examples of success, and look at how we can continue improving as a community of leaders, educators, and families to meet the needs of all students. This session will also provide resources and examples of tools that are free and easily available to ensure access.

Claire Conroy, Consultant & Smita Worah Ph.D, Consultant, Connecticut State Education Resource Center of Connecticut

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