Learning Session "E" - Tuesday April 2, 2019 12:45pm - 2:00pm

E1         Restorative Justice, Trauma and Foster Youth with Disabilities: Individualizing a Promising Practice

Cheryl Theis, Education Advocate, DREDF

Alex Montes, Education Equity Advocate, DREDF

Devion Jackson-Seals, Encinal High School, Alameda CA


How do we adjust promising best practices to support youth in foster care with disabilities at school?  Restorative   Justice is increasingly popular in school settings as a way to reduce punitive discipline, prevent suspensions and       increase connection and positive school climate and community.   Students with learning disabilities, autism, emotional disturbance, intellectual disability or autism are far more likely to struggle with behaviors that may result in school exclusion, removal or incarceration, yet few districts have bridged the gap between special and general education and used IEP or 504 plans to ensure equal access to and benefit from restorative justice approaches to discipline. And these practices can fail to take into account the unique needs of students who have experienced trauma and/or      disabilities that impact their ability to participate effectively in these practices. We will focus on how to ensure that ALL students can benefit from restorative justice approaches and are meaningfully included in the practice.


E2      Best Practices for Foster Youth Education-Lessons Learned from a Collaborative Learning Network

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

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

Marc Trovatore, Director of Student Services, West Covina Unified School District

Garry Creel, Director, Child Welfare and Attendance, Azusa Unified School District


A network of 6 districts have been working together for the past 2 years to balance equity and reality for foster youth education. In this session, we will share best practices we have developed, insight from Directors of Student Services, and access to tangible tools such as legal summaries and data collection suggestions. Topics addressed will include partial credits, enrollment, education rights holders, trauma/resilience and special education/discipline.


E3      Improving Foster Youth Outcomes through Effective Education Case Management

Jessica Larsen, School Social Worker, Foster Youth Services, Elk Grove Unified School District

Cathy White, Project Specialist, Foster Youth Services, Sacramento County Office of Education

Sal De Leon, Project Specialist, Foster Youth Services, Sacramento County Office of Education


Elk Grove Unified School District, the 5th largest school district in California, will talk about their program and processes for supporting academic achievement. You will learn how the district decreased out-of-school suspensions and how they used tools within the Foster Focus system to support their efforts. Sacramento County Office of Education will also demonstrate how to use Foster Focus Education Plans and the other tools to support successful transition to college and career.


E4      Examining the Impact of Trauma and Building Resiliency in Foster Youth

La Shona Jenkins, Coordinator, Karen Timko, Specialist, Katrina Taylor, Specialist, Iola Smith, Specialist

Los Angeles Unified School District, Foster Youth Achievement Program


By viewing a child’s experiences through a trauma lens, it has been recognized that disruptive behaviors, difficulty engaging or trouble learning may be a student’s attempt at communicating an emotional need to cope with symptoms of trauma. By shifting away from questions like, “What’s wrong with you?” and asking instead, “What happened to you?” -  an opening is created to the path of recovery.  In this training we will cover some of the ways in which trauma manifests itself by examining behavior as our guide and subsequently exploring strategies to build resiliency. You will also learn about the supports that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Foster Youth  Achievement Program (FYAP) provides to foster youth.

E5         School of Origin Transportation Partnerships to Fulfill Every Student Succeed Act Mandates

Patty Armani, CSA II, LA County Dept of Children & Family Services

Stefanie Gluckman, Education Coordinating Council, LA County Office of Child Protection,

Senior Director of Public Private Partnerships; Barbara Spyrou, Management Fellow, Office of Child Protection, Qiana Patterson, Senior Director of Public Private Partnerships, Hop Skip Drive


The Federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirement to transport foster youth to their School-of-Origin (SOO) upon detention or replacement, if it is determined to be in their best interest, is an unfunded mandate for child welfare and school districts.  The long-term challenge is going to be to find funding either through legislation or philanthropic means.  Come hear the success L.A. County has had utilizing existing bus services, caregiver reimbursement options and the services of Hop Skip Drive over the recent 2 years.  Also learn how Colorado is funding this service. Hear from a foster youth how remaining in her SOO benefited her.  Let's share your funding ideas and sources.  How might we move legislation to fund this? 


E6      ABCs of Wellness

Betsy DeGarmoe, Manager, Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program, Orange County Dept of Ed


This interactive presentation will share proactive strategies that you can incorporate in the workplace to take care of yourself and increase overall wellness.   Strategies to prevent burnout and concrete tips to use in the workplace will be discussed and practiced, plus we will have lots of fun!


E7      Building a Model for Collaborative, Multi-tiered, School-based Supports for Students Impacted by Trauma

Thea Anderson, Social Worker and Jennifer Caldwell, Social Worker, San Francisco USD


San Francisco Unified School District has developed multi-tiered programs to provide interventions at schools impacted by trauma. We will provide an overview of the model, highlighting lessons learned, discuss key collaborations and best practices in school-based services for youth.  Strategies will be given that educators, social workers, and other service providers can use to support the students in classrooms, schools, and communities; and we will reflect on opportunities to build supportive partnerships to serve students and families impacted by trauma. 


E8      The FAFSA and More...

Britney Slates, Guardian Scholar Financial Aid SST, Sierra College


What happens once the FAFSA application is finished? Financial aid is a complicated process that relies on a multi-step procedure for youth to receive the funds they are eligible to utilize in their education journey. We will go over the key points in the FAFSA that tend to hold up our foster youth students transitioning to higher ed as well as the steps necessary after the FAFSA is complete. We will discuss how to stream-line the process by utilizing the resources and knowledge of the financial aid office. Leave with great tools to use to get students successfully thorough the process.


E9      #FosterStability Education


California Youth Connection (CYC) members will present the development of the #FosterStability campaign. The campaign will focus on creating a youth-centered process for educational stability, placement stability, long-term connections, health, and wellness. CYC wants to create a system that honors and nourishes the mind, body, and soul of every young person impacted by California’s foster care system. We will show how youth advocacy can help increase stability and positively impact the lives of those in the child welfare system. CYC members will facilitate and engage participants through the workshop, group activities, a short video, and a panel of questions for the facilitators.

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