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Learning Session "E" - Tuesday March 28, 2023
1:15 pm - 2:30 pm


Student Oriented Workshop

E1     Using Data to Maximize Impact and Drive Change: Best Practices and Positive Outcomes for Youth in Foster Care

Alaina Moonves-Leb, Senior Staff Attorney, Alliance for Children's Rights

Mark Rodgers, Senior Director, Student Services, Bonita Unified School District

Jill Rowland, Director, Alliance for Children's Rights


How are foster youth doing in your district? What is the impact of the support you are giving them? Identifying your foster youth, gathering data about their needs and outcomes, and analyzing what that data means is labor intensive and frustrating. Yet, this data is vital to shaping appropriate policies and practices, ensuring necessary resources are allocated to your youth, and driving positive change in education experiences and outcomes. Six school districts have spent 5 years developing best practices for how to effectively use data to meaningful serve their foster youth. Panelists will share their experiences including the struggles, break through lessons learned, specific data points and how to get them, and incredible data outcomes.

E2     Using TLC to Foster Positive Outcomes for Students with Disabilities in Foster Care

Jennica Paz, Assistant Professor/Co-Director, 

Tonika Green, Associate Vice President, Campus Community Affairs

Ashley Kruger 

San Diego State University


Students in foster care who have disabilities need our collective tender loving care. They deserve and require leaders who are collaborative advocates, knowledgeable about scientifically-based research and practices for youth exposed to trauma, and skilled in prevention and intervention services to improve the quality of special education services. In this workshop, attendees will become oriented to Project TLC: Trauma Leaders Consortium, and deep dive into the benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration on the educational success of youth in foster care with disabilities. Key project outcomes from this OSEP funded specialty training grant will be provided, and lessons-learned activities will provide attendees with expanded knowledge about how to navigate and tap into the expert knowledge across a variety of disciplines important to the educational success of youth in foster care.

E3     Vaping, Nicotine, and Marijuana Use: How to Support Our Foster Youth

Corie Goldman, TUPE Program Specialist

Addison Saenz, TUPE Program Specialist

Theresa Gonzales,  Program Specialist

San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools


We will explore how foster youth are disproportionately susceptible to exposure and use of tobacco, vaping and marijuana. Through the lens of the Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) program, we will explore why foster youth have higher tobacco and marijuana lifetime and daily use compared to their peers. You will learn how the TUPE program educates middle and high school youth about the harms associated with smoking, and trains and empowers youth to conduct peer education at their school sites. We will provide you examples of how the TUPE program teaches youth about healthy coping exercises and tools to improve mental health.

E4 Creating Hope And Resiliency For Our Most Vulnerable Student Population

Elena Acevedo, Student Services Specialist II, San Bernardino City Unified School District

Karen Guy, CalSAFE Teacher, San Bernardino City Unified School District

Jose Acevedo, Instructional Tutor LH/PH, SBCUSD Pacific High School


Come learn about H.E.A.R.T.S (Helping Everyone Attain Resiliency, Togetherness and Success), which is a program that aims to provide a welcoming community and introduces students to numerous community resources which are available to them.  H.E.A.R.T.S offers engaging and inclusive activities, support services, and mentoring to foster camaraderie at school to provide students with the sense of a second home. We will discuss the model and the basis of H.E.A.R.T.S and how it can be implemented to yield positive results for students academically, socially, and mentally. H.E.A.R.T.S values the importance of students’ mental and physical well-being to maximize students’ success. In this workshop, H.E.A.R.T.S we will share our approach on how to continuously empower all students to achieve their personal best, make positive choices, embrace learning, and successfully plan for their future.  

E5     The Cost of Caring

Maria Tello, Program Activities Specialist, Los Angeles County Office of Education

Christina Navarette, Program Activities Specialist, Los Angeles County Office of Education


“The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet.” Rachel Naomi Remen. Let’s talk about the cost of caring. In this workshop we will identify the toll that the cost of caring can take on our daily lives, both personally and professionally. Join us as we develop a toolkit to care for ourselves so we can truly care for others. Let’s preserve that gift that is within each one of us.

E6      Could Something Else be Going On? Special Education Assessment for Students in Foster Care

Ann Simun, PsyD, Licensed Psychologist (PSY20113), Simun Psychological Assessment Group, PC

Sandra Dixon Shove, Non-attorney Special Education Advocate, EPIC Advocacy and Consulting


What should you do if you think a child or youth may have a disability and need special education services and supports? Does a student need a medical diagnosis in order to qualify? Is trauma considered a disability in educational settings? Do you know all the ways a student can get free support from the public schools? The first step in educational planning is accurate assessment. This session provides an opportunity to learn about the special education evaluation process and what it means for students who are struggling. Who does the evaluation? How long do evaluations take? What questions should you ask? What kind of children qualify for help? Participants will learn basic testing knowledge, what should be in school assessment reports, learn what types of needs may qualify a student, and use small group activities and collaborative practice exercises to increase their ability to build appropriate, data-informed and meaningful educational plans for students.

E7     I Don't Feel Like Talking:  Using Expressive Arts to Support Your Self Expression

Christine Dennis,  District Social Worker, Lake Elsinor USD


Join this immersive workshop where you will be guided through interactive projects to experience the effects of expressive arts firsthand. The arts are a diverse tool that can be used with different populations and cultures. Expressive arts can be a valuable tool for you!  The arts are an internal process that does not require another person; making it a valuable method for you to use independently when you do not have anyone to talk to, or when you don’t know how to express and process how you are feeling. Two interactive activities will be facilitated during the workshop. The first activity will allow you to experience a creative writing activity and the second activity will be an art-based activity using paints. This workshop is open to all students and no prior art experience is required. 

E8     Using Trauma-Informed Practices to Build Positive Relationships

Andrew Crowe, Deputy Director, Scholarship Prep

Dennise Allotey, Principal, Scholarship Prep


While all children may encounter adverse childhood experiences, foster youth disproportionately face complex or developmental trauma.  The increased incidence of trauma among foster youth result in developmental repercussions that must be identified, acknowledged, and addressed. It is only through being aware of the effects of trauma on students that we can effectively connect with and support our youth. Please join Scholarship Prep staff who will share how to build positive relationships between staff, foster youth, caregivers, and community partners using a trauma-informed approach.  Scholarship Prep is a network of public charter schools committed to creating community change by operating university-inspired, trauma-informed schools for all students, especially those experiencing homelessness or those in the foster care system.

E9     Independent City: A District's Journey Toward Creating an Event Educating Students on Independent Living

Justin Prewitt, Coordinator of Guidance Services, Antelope Valley Union High School District

Matt Case, Director of Behavior Interventions, Antelope Valley Union High School District

Michelle Stanford, Head School Counselor, Eastside High School 


Come learn how to leverage district, community, and human resources to put on an unforgettable one-day event for your Foster Youth. We've been doing it for 6 years and want to tell you all about it!  You'll hear about how it started and how it's going, what we have learned, and what we are working on improving. Find out how district funding supports this event, how to get staff involved, and how to run the “city”. Walk away with concrete information for you to start an Independent City program in your area. Our wellness is integral to our work. Join this community space led by Manpreet Singh for a dose of wellness during your Blueprint conference experience. Attendees will experience a calming sound bath and body scan meditation. This space is mindfully curated to promote restoration for all attendees.

E10     Centering Wellness

Manpreet Singh

Our wellness is integral to our work. Join this community space (for students and adult supporters alike) led by Manpreet Singh for a dose of wellness during your conference experience. Attendees will experience a calming sound bath and body scan meditation. This space is mindfully curated to promote restoration for all attendees.


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