National Family Engagement Summit

3 Days – 3 Phenomenal Keynote Speakers!

WEDNESDAY, March 21st, 2018


Ravi Hutheesing, better known as just “Ravi”, will kick off the 2018 National Family Engagement Summit!  Ravi is internally well-known, not only for being a cultural diplomat for the U.S. Department of State but for his rock star guitar playing for the band Hansen!  He is the author of the book; “Dancing with Hansen” and we are eagerly hoping that he will “Mmmmbop” across the stage for us during his keynote presentation about “Millennial Mojo”. 

“The classroom must do three things; nurture talent, inspire curiosity, and provoke critical thinking.” – Ravi

“It’s not about teaching cultural competency, it is about un-teaching cultural incompetency.” – Ravi

THURSDAY, March 22, 2018


Dr. Adolph Brown will join us on day 2 of the Summit and bring his wit, humor and master storytelling to the stage and have us laughing and crying all at once!  Dr. Brown comes from a humble and troubled inner-city beginning, complete with rural farming lessons from his granddad.  He credits his success on his beginnings in Head Start and public education.  He is a thought leader, author, humorist and master teacher.  He is a family and community engagement speaker that will challenge our stereotypes of becoming “naysayers to supporters” and he is a highly sought after Title I Speaker that will revolutionize our thinking from “low income to high outcomes”.

FRIDAY, March 23, 2018


Todd Whitaker will join us for the last day of the Summit.  He is an American educator, writer, motivational speaker, educational consultant and professor.  He is the author of over 40 publications, including the national best sellers; “What Great Teachers Do Differently” and “Dealing with Difficult Parents”.  He will address our attendees on the subjects of teacher leadership, staff motivation, and principal effectiveness. 

“A good teacher has a love of teaching.  A great teacher has a love of learning.” – Todd Whitaker

Register today for the 2018 National Family Engagement Summit!  Don’t miss these three phenomenal keynote speakers! 

National Family Engagement Summit Breakout Sessions

The National Family Engagement Summit offers educators many opportunities for professional development. In the 2018 summit, we have extended our conference to three days which allows us the extra time to provide five breakout schedules that will offer 10 sessions each that are available for attendees to select from the Nation’s outstanding family engagement experts and practitioners.   

We are offering a broad spectrum of topics on family engagement that include sessions on engaging parents & families of preschool children, K-12 students, special education children, Latino families, how to engage fathers and successful home visitation programs.

We will hear from school district leaders from across the nation that have implemented sustainable family engagement partnerships that are giving them measurable results in student achievement and school improvement.

We have the nation’s experts on parental involvement like Dr. James Casale who will lead a session on “How to Create a culture of Learning at home and Guide your child to Success in School and Life.”

Dr. Aaron Spence from Virginia Beach Public Schools will share with us, “Strategies that work: engaging military families and others in transitions”.  He will also have a session on “Engaging Families in Meaningful Partnerships for Authentic Learning.”

Another breakout session will come with Sal Romero who will inform us on ways to “Empower and Engage our Latino Families”.

These are only a few of the exciting breakout sessions being offered at the 2018 National Family Engagement Summit on March 21-23.  You don’t want to miss this wonderful professional learning opportunity for educators across the nation.

Educators Have to Learn Too – ESSA & Professional Learning

The Background

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the nation’s newest education law, redefines the standards for high-quality professional development for teachers and K-12 leaders.

Why is that important?

At least one national observer says the law could have a significant impact in moving schools away from the one-day workshop model that has dominated professional development for years and toward a new, more personalized—and more highly effective—approach.

ESSA updates this definition by stating: “The term ‘professional development’ means activities that … are sustained (not stand-alone, 1-day, or short-term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom focused.” (S. 1177, Section 8002, page 295, paragraph 42)

In other words, professional development should be an ongoing process that is seamlessly woven into a teacher’s experience throughout the year, the law says—and not just a series of unconnected, “sit and get” workshops.

There are two other terms that show up repeatedly within ESSA to describe the kinds of professional development activities the law should fund: “personalized” and “evidence-based.”

For example, under Section 2103, the law lists “providing high-quality, personalized professional development that is evidence-based” among the activities intended for funding under Title II, Part A: Supporting Effective Instruction. (S. 1177, page 127, paragraph E)

Just as students benefit from opportunities for personalized learning, teachers and school leaders do as well, the law implies—and it directs funding to professional development activities that are grounded in research and targeted to educators’ specific needs. (Summarized from ESSA Redefines Professional Development for Teachers. Are You Ready for This Shift? By Dennis Pierce)

The Challenge

When school districts commit to offering more personalized professional development then challenges arise, namely how they will;

·         Deliver consistently high quality, aligned, differentiated professional learning for teachers and principals?

·         Unify professional development opportunities in a district with a culture of site-driven decision-making?

·         Shift people from a compliance mindset to a growth mindset?

·         Address the time pressures that everyone feels?

·         Give teachers more power to choose their own pathway?

·         Leverage new technologies to address persistent professional development issues?

One Solution

Successful Innovations, Inc. is the creator of the nation’s largest family engagement conference for educators and has dedicated seven years to providing educators with consistently high quality professional development through the National Family Engagement Summit and subsequent follow-up, on-site professional learning opportunities.  This year is no different!  The 2018 National Family Engagement Summit will be held on March 21-23, 2018 in Richmond, VA.  The Summit promises some of the most intellectual and thought-provoking leaders in education to help attendees improve their content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and skills which will lead to improved instructional practices and greater student achievement.  The National Family Engagement Summit focuses on providing educators from all across the nation with proven, research-based solutions and techniques for impacting school reform efforts and for conquering demographic, socioeconomic, equity and diversity challenges.  Join us for three days with some of the nation’s leading family engagement experts; keynote speakers – Ravi, Dr. Adolph Brown and Dr. Todd Whitaker, break-out presenters- Dr. James Casale, Ph.D., J. Michael Hall, Dr. Sal Romero, and many more, and round table experts-Dr. Aaron Spence, Kris Amundson, and many more and colleagues from across the country.

At Successful Innovations, Inc. we believe that continuous and innovative professional learning created through collaborative partnerships is an integral component to transformational change within school districts all across the country.  Our professional development offerings, including the National Family Engagement Summit, are infused with innovative practices that build capacity and expertise in new skills for educators that will ultimately bring value to teachers and administrators and academic success to students.

To learn more about and register for the 2018 National Family Engagement Summit visit our website;  We look forward to meeting you in March and revolutionizing your professional learning and family engagement goals!

13 Tactics for Reducing Stress as a Parent Coordinator

Adapted from the publication; The Parent Coordinator’s Manual

Congratulations!  You are a parent coordinator, one of the most important careers in education.  In your role as parent coordinator you will wear many different hats; “social worker”, “administrator”, “liaison”, “cheerleader”, “friend”, “counselor”, “ambassador”, “presenter”, “salesperson”, “problem prevention expert”, “event planner”, “advocate”, “mediator”, “customer service representative” and “scholar”.  You are an integral and vital part of your school and community; you have the power within your position to bridge gaps and build cohesive, long lasting family and school partnerships.  The most important “hat” you will wear as parent coordinator is that of being a leader.  You are in a leadership role and with this role comes much responsibility.  But even the best leaders can become overwhelmed and suffer from stress on the job.

Numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports the following:

  • 40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful
  • 25% view their job as the number one stressor in their lives
  • Job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems

So what does stress look like for the parent coordinator?  Listed below are nine irreversible and damaging triggers or actions that are a result of stress and pressure experienced by even the best of parent coordinators.  Please try to avoid the following:

1.       Being defensive – accept your roles and responsibilities willingly and with a positive attitude

2.       Blaming others – be genuine and quick to admit your mistakes, ask for help and forgiveness and make the situation right

3.       Going for the quick fix – success takes time, talent, persistence, hard work and dedication, after all – “Rome wasn’t built in a day!”

4.       Demanding uncritical allegiance – allow all stakeholders to have a voice and an opinion, embrace diversity and cultural differences

5.       Ignoring suggestions for improvement – quality improvement is something you practice with others, there is always room for improvement and growth

6.       Insisting everything be an immediate priority – make a to do list, prioritize the list, and work efficiently and effectively towards completing each task, usually poor planning constitutes a crisis and an urgency for everything to become a priority…plan wisely

7.       Keeping your vision a secret – your mission and vision for a superior family engagement program should be well communicated with all stakeholders

8.       Becoming incapable of delegating responsibility- remember you are only one person and you need help, rely on the talents of others to assist with your roles and responsibilities

9.       Being rude, abrupt, and insulting – you are a good will ambassador and the customer service representative for your school and/or district, there is no room for negativity, bad manners and uncivilized behavior

As the parent coordinator, you will need to learn to recognize these harmful triggers and actions and attempt to reduce stress from your daily work environment.  This job is not for the faint hearted!  Below are five tips for dealing with stressful situations as the parent coordinator.

Recognize when you’re becoming stressed.  Your body will let you know if you’re stressed on the job.  Are your muscles or your stomach tight and/or sore?  Are your hands clenched?  Is your breath shallow?  Are you “forgetting” to breathe?  These are all signs that you might be stressed. 

Take a moment to calm down before making any final decisions.

  • Bring your senses to the rescue and quickly manage stress by taking a few deep breaths, clenching and relaxing muscles, turning on some calming music, getting a cup of coffee, or recalling a soothing, sensory-rich image, for example, the beach or your favorite vacation spot.  The best way to rapidly and reliably relieve stress is through the senses; sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.
  • Look for humor in the situation.  When used appropriately, humor is a great way to relieve stress.  When you or those around you start taking things too seriously, find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or amusing story.  Be sensitive to cultural differences and never use crude or derogatory humor, be professional!
  • Be willing to compromise.  Sometimes, if you can bend a little, you’ll be able to find a happy middle ground that reduces the stress levels for everyone concerned.
  • The ability to manage your stress level while performing all of your duties and responsibility as the parent coordinator is critical to your effectiveness, personal health and overall attitude toward ensuring a successful family engagement program at your school or district.  Find your inner strength, rely on close colleagues, friends and family for support and maintain a healthy lifestyle to manage your stress and perfect your craft.  Your passion for engaging, equipping and empowering parents should always be your focus, never stress!

Need to relieve stress?  Register for the 2018 National Family Engagement Summit!  Thursday, March 22, 2018 we will host the extremely funny and delightful comedian; Gail Burns! Join us for a night of laughs and stress relief!  For more information visit our official Summit website at

Celebrating Family Engagement Month

The month of November provides a wonderful opportunity for schools and districts around the nation to recognize and honor the significant role of families who collaborate as equal partners in their child’s education. 

fam engagement month logo.jpg

Family Engagement Month is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of successful family and school partnerships.  It is also a time to set ambitious goals to outreach effectively to more diverse families.  Data from the Census Bureau indicates that one out of five students speak a language other than English at home.  The changing demographics that we see in our schools emphasize the critical need for strong family and school partnerships.   Family Engagement Month provides schools, districts, and states the opportunity to share best practices to support effective family engagement and strategic outreach. 

In many states, the Governor will sign a proclamation in honor of Family Engagement Month to recognize the importance of these essential partnerships.  In addition to these proclamations, some states have created a variety of resources to assist schools and districts with activities to highlight and recognize families this month.  The Florida Department of Education - Office of Family Engagement has some of the best resources in the nation to celebrate Family Engagement Month.   These resources consist of a family engagement toolkit, a pledge for parents in different languages, flyers, logos, social media post templates, and a family engagement video contest. (Click here to view these resources)  These outstanding resources are extremely beneficial for schools around the nation seeking innovative ideas and activities to celebrate Family Engagement Month. 

If you are interested in learning about more creative ideas and strategies to support collaborative family and school partnerships, be sure to attend the 2018 National Family Engagement Summit ( and learn revolutionary ideas from Florida’s fourth largest school district, Orange County Public Schools @OCPSnews.

The Right Answer to WHO and WHAT Could Mean Family Engagement Success

Adapted from Building a High Achieving School 3 C’s to Success

Tis the season for planning special events and spreading good will and holiday cheer!  When preparing for that holiday event you probably take into consideration two very important components to a successful gathering; who and what.  The same is true when planning special events at school.  Meaningful and impactful school events can have powerful and lasting effects when the entire school and community are brought together for a common purpose. 

Events can be social or non-academic, informative and academic, or appreciative, but consider making all events educational, engaging and empowering for all stakeholders.  Plan special events consistently throughout the year that stakeholders look forward to attending.  By constantly evaluating the level of interest, participation and success of each event, you will be ensuring the relevancy and impact that each special event has on stakeholders.  Do not get caught in the trap of “doing the same thing, year after year, and expecting greater results.”  Administrators and teachers sometimes get stuck in a rut doing the same special events at their schools, year after year, because that is what always has been done without really making the event “special” at all. Keeping with tradition is fine as long as stakeholders are receiving beneficial information and/or services and teachers feel supported and valued and students succeed.  If stakeholders are disengaged with the events, then it is time for a necessary change! 

Special events can be time consuming to plan and execute, but worth it when school-family-community partnerships are built, boosted and maintained as a result.  Finally, when planning the special event, keep in mind “who” needs to be engaged in the event and “what” is the purpose of the event.  Below is a list of possible suggestions for who to invite to special events at your school and what type of special events to implement during the school year to ensure maximum engagement.


So who needs to be invited to different events?  Consider the following individuals when hosting any school event:

  • Parent and/or primary care giver
  • Grandparent
  • Aunts, uncles, cousins, and extended family members
  • Siblings
  • Foster parent
  • School Board members
  • Political leaders; town mayor, city council members, delegates, senators, governor
  • Community leaders; chamber of commerce president, CEOs, church council members, fire/police department chief, department of transportation official, college president, civic organizations’ board members, non-profit groups, television personalities, athletes, authors
  • Private citizens; those in the school’s neighborhood, philanthropists, doctors, retired professionals, volunteers
  • Business owners and partners


Aligning the appropriate groups of stakeholders to the special events is the key to creating partners in education to help all students succeed. Consider the following list of events:

  • Non-Academic Events
  • Academic Events
  • Application Events
  • Carnival
  • Back to School Night
  • Multi-Cultural Awareness Dinner
  • Holiday Festival
  • Academic Fair
  • Volunteer Luncheon
  • Talent Show
  • Parent University
  • Military Family Recognition
  • Book Fair
  • Technology Night
  • Awards Assemblies
  • Sporting Event
  • Career Fair
  • Teacher Appreciation Week
  • Band Concert
  • Business Symposium
  • Grandparents’ Day
  • School Play
  • Literacy/Math Nights
  • Black History Month
  • Field Day
  • Parent Workshops
  • PTA/PTO Breakfast

These events, when well attended by the matching “who”, can be excellent networking opportunities for all stakeholders involved.  Be sure to recognize and honor those special guests in attendance and thank them for their continued support and efforts in helping your school achieve its goals.  Special events are a means to creating and building strong family-school-community partnerships which in turn build a better future for all of our students.

For more innovative outreach ideas, register for the 2018 National Family Engagement Summit.