Workshops

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The U.S. Department of Education has outlined 8 school strategies called “Turnaround Principles” that have been identified as indicators for  School Improvement Plans (SIP)  for priority and focus schools.  According to the New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:33-1.3,  two of the interventions, changes to climate and school culture to promote a quality learning environment with high expectations and the development of family and community engagement strategies that focus on improving academic achievement, are what Powerful Visions believes are the two most important and relevant factors in a successful turnaround.  Powerful Visions outlines a strategy for school improvement that is symmetrical.  Research suggest that poorly performing schools must set in motion the appropriate interventions to move the school from poor to a fair performance school. It is at the fair position that a school can then begin the journey of interventions to move to a good performing school and ultimately to excellent performing school.  Powerful Visions has determined that there are different sets of interventions necessary to move a poorly performing school to fair in comparison to moving a fair performing school to a good performing school depending upon data.

 We provide customized, interactive training models, workshops and programs for educators, students, citizens, parents, private businesses, community organizations, churches and non-profit organizations in a variety of areas to help communities develop an understanding of their challenges from a wholistic perspective.  Here are the generic breakdown of the most popular workshops that can be customized according to community needs.

Re-thinking Community Development in light of the effectiveness of College Education in Reducing Recidivism and Increasing Post Release Employment Opportunities

How does your community provide support for formerly incarcerated individuals who have obtained or are pursuing college degrees? Is your community helping college educated men and women coming our of the correctional system transition effectively back into society? How do parents who are formerly incarcerated citizens whose children attend your elementary, middle and high schools become effective role models and first tier teachers in their homes upon return?   If you are an employer, did you know that college educated individuals make for higher quality and committed workers?  Resent research suggests that college education not only reduces significantly the chances of offenders repeating crime, but it is also points to the notion that this population of society is underrepresented in our workforce.  College educational programs like the Princeton University Prison Teaching Initiative (PTI), and New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons (NJSTEP) are providing pathways from correctional facilities to higher education and eventually to successful employment, but are in need of volunteers to join the trending national movement to reform the  criminal justice system.  This workshop explores the need for our communities to re-think how corporate, private, public, non-profit, religious, and community centered organizations can partner together to combine resources to make transformation a reality for every man and women returning to our communities.

Workshop participants will be engaged in an interactive and working session which will address the following:

1.  Current trends and proposed legislation that will have significant impact on reentry of offenders and reforming of the criminal justice system

2.  Review needs assessments of college educated offenders to successfully transition back into their communities including but not limited to technology, housing and employment

3.  Explore partnerships for entrepreneurial and business opportunities

4.  Develop a clearinghouse of resources available online and through Smartphone Apps

 

Financial Aid and Scholarship Bootcamp 101 and Advanced

Applying for financial aid and scholarships can be a challenging experience for uninformed parents and students who desire to finance a college education.  Since federal, state and university funding have not kept pace with the cost of living and the cost of education, many students become saddled with tremendous loan debt and parents with unnecessary stress in trying to pay high college tuition costs. One of the major shortcomings I have witnessed in many households is that parents fail to facilitate the construction of an “appealing student profile” beginning from the 8th grade.  90% of students applying for scholarships wait until senior year to begin the process which should be started in the 8th grade and continues through junior year in college.  Preparation to fund your college education, debt free with scholarship money should begin in the 8th grade, not senior year!  In this workshop, we explore the obvious which is the financial aid process (FAFSA).  But greater attention is placed on the extraordinary and how to be intentional  in winning exceptional amounts of scholarships by strategically and effectively building a student profile that is appealing to scholarship funders while helping students mastery the skills and work ethic that is necessary for your student to shine like a bright star above the rest!

In this hands on workshop (laptops/computer access required), we will help families and communities:

1.  Identify key checklists, profile builders and resources for students to follow from the 8th grade to senior year that will  prepare them for college and demonstrate how to win the maximum scholarships.

2.  Learn how to create a realistic “top 10 school choice list” and demonstrate how to access tools to assess admissibility and scholarship acquisition

3.  Create a personal, systematic, structured, focused, and accountability enriched approach to identifying, applying and winning scholarships based on proven practices of previous winners and the best resources available in the “Big 3” major areas.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. Identify new technologies, websites and social media tools that will be helpful in obtaining the best resources for researching and educating individuals and communities to make informed decisions concerning college and career choices while helping participants develop strategies to overcoming challenges and improving personal strengths.

Social and Emotional Learning 

One the reasons why we do not see higher levels of academic achievement in challenging educational environments is due to the lack of a significant presence of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) concepts that are integrated into curriculum.  Evidenced based research has documented that SEL designed intervention solutions can build students’ skills for managing their emotions, teach them to show compassion for others, help them make responsible decisions, and form positive relationships. These outcomes will significantly improve school climate, culture and yield high levels of advanced student proficiency in all all subjects.

If this is the case, why is it that so many school districts fail to integrate this proven intervention into their curriculums?

This session is designed for educators, parents, students and community partners to learn the basics about SEL and the Collaborative to Advance Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) in an effort to map out a strategic plan for effectively integrating SEL into their community.

School – Community Partnership Workshops

1). Family Engagement: Re-framing the Vision

This interactive workshop is designed to give an overview of the National Policy Forum for Family, School and Community Engagement’s 7 areas for moving to new research based strategies for family and community engagement strategies that supports improvement in the academic achievement, social, emotional, and health of all students:

A). Individual Responsibility to Shared Responsibility in Partnership

B). Deficit-Based/Adversarial to Strength-Based and Collaborative

C). Random Acts to Systemic

D). Add on to Integrated

E). Events Driven to Learning and Outcomes Driven

F). Compliance to Ownership and Continuous Improvement

G). One Time Project to Sustained

Intended Audience: Students, Parents, School Boards, Non-Profits, Social/Civic Groups, Educational, Business and Community Leaders

 

2). The Impact of School-Family Engagement on Student Achievement, School Culture and Climate

How does a school with chronically poor performance improve? How does a school with good performance excel? One of the most effective ways to improve student learning and development is through the creation of family, school and community partnerships that are systemic, integrated and sustainable. Effective partnerships have the potential to make poor schools successful and average schools exemplary. This highly interactive, one-hour program will show you how to build partnerships that have a direct, positive impact on student performance, school culture and climate. Specifically, as a result of this workshop, participants will be able to do the following:

1. Define family, school and community engagement.
2. Describe the impact of school, family and community engagement on student learning and development.
3. Identify the benefits of implementing school, family and community engagement programs that are systemic,integrated and sustainable within your community.
4. Describe the best practices for your school to positively change its culture and climate with school, family and community engagement strategies.                                                                                                                                                                                                   5. Develop a vision, mission, and core values for an effective school, family and community engagement plan that improves student achievement and the social, and emotional well being of students and educational community.

This introductory workshop provides basic information for all stakeholders to understand authentic “family, school, and community engagement” as a shared responsibility and enduring commitment. The changing cultures, technologies, roles of parenting and effective involvement strategies that reinforces learning and behavior in the multiple settings where children learn—at home, in school, faith-based institutions and the community are discussed.

Intended Audience: Students, Parents, School Boards, Non-Profits, Social/Civic Groups, Educational, Business and Community Leaders

 

Family Involvement Instruments with Parents and Teachers as Respondents

This workshop provides a guide to some of the leading evidenced based tools for assessing and measuring parental motivation for involvement and teacher capacity for outreach to school sponsored engagement activities. Because “informed” family involvement is a responsibility shared by many individuals in a child’s life, this session provides guidance for educators to review and adapt the leading data collection instruments for your school context from Web-based searches, Surveys and Parent Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs) that provide frameworks for interventions that successfully  improve climate, culture and student achievement.

Intended Audience: Students, Parents, School Boards, Non-Profits, Social/Civic Groups, Educational, Business and Community Leaders

 

3). Fostering Meaningful Family –School Connections in the Urban Context to

This workshop explores the common challenges and barriers to increasing family involvement in schools that has emerged from research studies on schools situated in the urban school context. Best practices in supporting students from dysfunctional home environments, and development of a logic model that outlines short term, midterm and long term inputs, outputs and outcomes for sustaining cultural and social capital within the partnerships between schools and community.

Intended Audience: Students, Parents, School Boards, Non-Profits, Social/Civic Groups, Educational, Business and Community Leaders

 

4). The Discussion: Ground Rules for Facilitating a Community Conversation

One of the keys planning and implementing an effective strategy for family and community engagement is to utilize public forums to build bridges that lead to trust, transparency and commitment from all stakeholders. This workshop provides the ground rules for facilitating and sustaining an effective and ongoing community conversation about the shared responsibility of school, family and community involvement that will provide for improved school culture and climate.

Intended Audience: Students, Parents, School Boards, Non-Profits, Social/Civic Groups, Educational, Business and Community Leaders

 

5). New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement Series

This workshop examines the growing evidence that family and community connections with schools make a difference in student success. This session provides a synthesis of 51 studies that addressed the impact of family and community involvement on student achievement as well as effective strategies for connecting schools, families, and community.

Intended Audience: Students, Parents, School Boards, Non-Profits, Social/Civic Groups, Educational, Business and Community Leaders

 

6). Teacher-Parent Relationship: Using Professional Development to Improve Family and Community Engagement

This workshop is designed to provide detailed guidance on how your school can effectively embed family engagement into its professional development, teacher preparation and instructional strategies such as project based learning that will  sustain school improvement core

Intended Audience: Students, Parents, School Boards, Non-Profits, Social/Civic Groups, Educational, Business and Community Leaders

 

7). Systematic Strategies for Engaging Family & Community Partners

This workshop provides participants with detailed information on how to embed family and community engagement into a systemic approach to school improvement. In this session we will explore the key concepts that correspond to effective engagement and provide to tools to assess the school and/or district wide changes, and strategies for fostering a systemic approach to engagement that improves student learning.

Intended Audience: Students, Parents, Educators, and Community Partners

 

8). Technology, Social Media and Marketing Strategies for Effectively Communicating Your Family, School and Community Movement


This workshop provides models and support for how schools can engage students and community partners in developing their marketing strategies and tools for their engagement activities. This session will focus heavily on tapping into the innovative advantages of using social media like Facebook, Blogging and Youtubes, traditional communication mediums and user-friendly Mac and Windows technologies for effective communication to all stakeholders.

Intended Audience: Students, Parents, School Boards, Non-Profits, Social/Civic Groups, Educational, Business and Community Leaders

 

9). School/Community Based Law Related Education and Youth Court Planting and Engagement

This session is a community session geared towards addressing issues of juvenile justice and law related education curriculum as well as alternative strategies for addressing bullying and other incriminating offenses.  Many secondary schools in urban areas are being called “cradle to prison superhighways” because of the alarming numbers of African American and minority youth who are going to juvenile or adult prisons rather then universities.

The objective of this session is to explore pathways for schools to help youth understand their constitutional rights under the law, and role-play as prosecutors, defense attorneys and jurors in real situations. Youth courts (also called teen, peer, and student courts) are programs in which youth sentence their peers for minor delinquent and status offenses and other problem behaviors. Please visit the National Association of Youth Courts 

Youth Courts can also serve as an impetus for encouraging youth to pursue career paths in law and law enforcement. The youth court concept is very popular in many states, but has yet to fully manifest as a viable alternative that averts non-violent youth from the juvenile justice system in New Jersey.

 

Intended Audience: Students, Parents, School Boards, Non-Profits, Social/Civic Groups, Educational, Business and Community Leaders

 

10). Life Skills
This model provides adult and youth coaching for individuals and groups in areas such as emotional/social learning, effective parenting, personality development, community/civic engagement and self management.

Intended Audience: Students, Parents, School Boards, Non-Profits, Social/Civic Groups, Educational, Business and Community Leaders

11). Technology, Youth Identities, and Moral Formation   Today’s technology has become the lens through which we experience our everyday realities. From Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram to Youtubes, Tumblr and Text Messaging, the landscapes on which young people communicate, build knowledge and learn have challenged traditional educational frameworks. This coaching module, designed for educators and all those who share the responsibility of educating our youth, will help individuals to:  (1) understand how student’s cognitive development and biological processes along with technology, influences young people’s learning capacity, (2) utilize technology tools and develop communication skills to integrate strategies that are effective in enhancing the student learning environment, and (3) build bridges with other community and business organizations for social capital and capacity sustainability.

Intended Audience: Students, Parents, School Boards, Non-Profits, Social/Civic Groups, Educational, Business and Community Leaders

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