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Connecting with families when it’s more important than ever

Presenters: Oscar Harris, Tunette Powell, & Christina Armas

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School-family partnerships have never been more important than they are now. Whether students are learning at home, in person, or in a remote model this year, parents and caregivers will play a big role in their children’s learning. Families need and deserve support to fulfill this role. At the same time, they should have opportunities to inform and co-create learning plans and to give voice to their needs and desires for student learning. This webinar will examine how to empower and support families at a time of enormous stress, and consider this fall as an opportunity for new kinds of connection.   Participants of this webinar will: Learn strategies for connecting with parents and caregivers during remote and hybrid learning; Gain ideas for how to

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Presenters

Oscar Harris, Director, Office of Family and Engagement, Spokane Public Schools
As director of the Office of Family and Engagement, Oscar Harris directs and oversees the facilitation of Spokane Public Schools’ parental involvement strategies to families and community organizations. His work helps build bridges to help facilitate better communication and relationships with stakeholders. He is also the district’s foster care liaison. Previously, he was student support services coordinator for the district. Harris holds a BA in History, a master’s degree in social work, and an Educational Doctorate Degree (Ed.D) in Transformational Leadership.  His research interests include community engagement and advocacy to/for marginalized families and improving the service delivery efforts of agencies.

Tunette Powell, Interim Director, UCLA Parent Empowerment Project 
Tunette Powell is an activist mama, researcher, storyteller, and educator who has been on the frontlines fighting for her village, locally and nationally, to reimagine and rebuild the village in schools. As an established author and researcher, Powell has published several books and papers on issues of parent and family engagement, kinship, race, racism and school-induced collective trauma. She was a 2013 TEDx speaker and has appeared on Oprah’s Lifeclass, NPR, CNN, and MSNBC. She earned her PhD in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2020. She is currently the interim director of the UCLA Parent Empowerment Project, a project focused on co-constructing culturally relevant and responsive family engagement and parent leadership in schools.

Christina Armas, English as a New Language Teacher, New York City Public Schools
Christina Armas is an English as a New Language teacher in Corona, Queens in New York City. In July 2020, she wrote an essay for Chalkbeat titled “During remote learning, parents became my co-teachers. Now I want to keep that partnership going.” In 2018, she was a teacher Fellow at Understood.org, which provides resources and information to support people with learning and thinking differences. For her capstone project, she created a checklist to use when designing lessons to reduce cognitive load and apply ENL scaffolds. She holds a BA in literature from Purchase College and an MA in TESOL from Hunter College.

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