Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2016 Georgia Family Engagement Conference #MeadowcreekHS #PTSA #gafeconf16

I was given the opportunity to attend the 2016 Family Engagement Conference.  I attended several sessions in an attempt to grow in my ability to be able to keep parents involved in the school.  Many of my friends know that I'm the president of the PTSA at my kids' high school.  Unfortunately, in the switch over from last year's board,  we ended up losing 2 of the new board members for the current year.  As a result, our PTSA isn't able to do anything productive right now.  This drives me nuts.  While we attempt to find more volunteers for the PTSA, I'm trying to learn how to be the leader the school needs.

I"m not going to give a full break down on the sessions, just a quick suggestion of the things that I picked up.  Toward that end, a couple of the sessions I went to were meant to help show schools what is possible when you engage the parents.  One of the first things they drove into my head was that I have to decide what parent engagement will mean to me, not necessarily as a parent specifically, but as a PTSA president.  Then it's a matter of figuring out the right approach to get the parents involved.  Once they're involved, I can potentially get them to be ENGAGED in helping the kids.

 I went to another by GA DOE Project AWARE that was aimed at providing training for Youth Mental First Aid.  That one hit me simply because of the personal exposure I have with teens and depression.  This project right now is working with three different school systems (you can get more info from their site) that will hopefully expand out to others.  In the meantime, it gave me some of the tools I may need if I encounter a teen that needs help.

All together, I enjoyed the conference.  The last general session brought out a man who was making it his mission to get us to continue our dedication to what we were doing.  I won't go into details on what he said, but I will say that it had everyone in tears.  I think my favorite statement was that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.  You can, though, give it salt and make it THIRSTY.

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