WOBURN – Woburn Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Courtney Young and Interim Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Maureen Ryan wish to invite caregivers to a comprehensive speaker series designed to support student success and wellbeing in school and at home.
The series will cover a range of topics taught by industry experts. All events are free of charge and will take place in the Woburn Memorial High School Auditorium, 88 Montvale Ave, at 6:30 p.m.
“These events are designed to build a supportive partnership with our families,” Ryan said. “We are excited to bring our families together alongside field experts to better empower students for overall success. We encourage families to attend any and all events that interest them.”
Powerful Executive Function Strategies to Start the School Year! with Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC/SLP
When: Monday, Sept. 12
What: Join Sarah Ward, Sarah Ward, M.S.,CCC/SLP and co-director of Cognitive Connections, for back-to-school strategies to ensure a successful 2022-2023 school year. Ward has over 25 years of experience in diagnostic evaluations, treatment and case management of children, adolescents and adults with a wide range of developmental and acquired brain-based learning difficulties and behavioral problems. She is an internationally recognized expert in the field, and holds a faculty appointment at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions.
Helping Multilingual Families Navigate School: An overview of public schools from an immigrant perspective: Dr. Phitsamay Uy
When: Thursday, Oct. 6
What: As a Lao American educator, Dr. Phitsamay Uy is a diversity and equity trainer with over 25 years of experience. Uy was the first Lao American refugee to receive her education doctorate from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She also is the first tenured Lao American faculty member in a College of Education in the United States. Uy is an associate professor in the College of Education and co-director of the Center for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Her session is designed to support multilingual families in navigating public school.
Empowering Your Child’s Literacy Development: Dr. Melissa Orkin
When: Thursday, Oct. 13
What: Join Dr. Melissa Orkin to better understand the literacy work happening at the Woburn Public Schools and how caregivers can better support this development in the home setting. Orkin is a developmental psychologist who specializes in learning disabilities and achievement motivation. She trained in the assessment and remediation of reading and learning disabilities with Dr. Maryanne Wolf at the Tufts’ University Center for Reading and Language Research, where she received her doctorate and served as a program director. She has worked as a reading teacher in the classroom and in clinical settings. Orkin teaches about learning disabilities at Tufts University and has lectured on reading disabilities at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
School Writing at Home with No Tears! with Dr. Bonnie Singer
When: Thursday, Nov. 10
What: Bonnie Singer, Ph.D., will lead an interactive discussion and give parents strategies to ensure after-school work goes smoothly at home. Singer is a speech-language pathologist and internationally recognized expert in language, literacy and learning. For over three decades, Singer has been interested in the ways in which aspects of language and cognition support and constrain spoken and written language and school performance. She is particularly passionate about working with students who struggle with executive functions and written expression. In partnership with her long-time research partner, Dr. Anthony Bashir, Singer developed EmPOWER, a method for teaching academic writing as well as several other methods for teaching aspects of literacy that are challenging.
Social Media and Gaming: Find a Healthy Balance: Jessica Smith, LICSW
When: Thursday, Dec. 1
What: Join Jessica Smith for strategies to help students find a healthy balance between social media, gaming, school work and social life. Smith is a licensed social worker and trauma expert, who has been working with children and families for over 20 years. She has worked in a variety of settings, including shelters, schools and hospitals. Now, she has a private practice working with children and families in Woburn and the surrounding communities. Smith is a mother of two children, and a caretaker of a dog, cat, two bunnies, a parakeet and two goats.
Be Good to Yourself: Nutrition and Self Care: Nora Oliver
When: Thursday, Jan. 19
What: Inspirational speaker and Mindset Coach Nora Oliver will cover self-care strategies to help students nourish themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. Oliver believes and lives by the mantra that each of us has the capability to be the Hero or “Shero” (female version) that we so desperately need and deserve, and to create the life of our dreams. Born and raised in Kosovo, she, along with her parents and siblings moved to America after staying at a refugee camp. She attended Suffolk University and had a 13-year executive career in the Wireless Telecom Industry. Throughout life, Nora has learned strategies for supporting people through difficult times.
Supporting the LGBTQ Community: Jeff Perrotti
When: To be announced
What: Jeff Perrotti will provide a workshop on sexual orientation and gender identity for families. He is the founding director of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Safe Schools Program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Students. Perrotti has taught and advised students at Harvard University, where he has received several awards for excellence in teaching. He has appeared on Italian Rai International Radio, ESPN, 20/20 with Anderson Cooper, and in The New York Times, Boston Globe, Boston Herald and Harvard Ed. Magazine.
Making Sense of Diagnostic Alphabet Soup: ADHD, ASD, LD, NLD, GAD: Ann Helmus, Ph.D.
When: Thursday, March 9
What: Join Ann Helmus to decode the alphabet soup to help caregivers make sense of various diagnoses and how to better support their children. Helmus is the founder of the Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents (NESCA). NESCA is one of the most well-respected and recognized pediatric neuropsychology and integrative treatment practices in New England. She also is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist who has been practicing for many years. She is an active participant in the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, a project involving a multi-disciplinary group of professionals working together to better define and meet the educational needs of children who have been traumatized. A highly-skilled clinician, consultant and compelling speaker, she is prominent locally and in high demand internationally.
Collaborating with Your Child’s Special Education Team: Jennie DunKley
When: Thursday, April 13
What: Jennie DunKley has been a special education advocate and consultant for over 20 years representing hundreds of families and attending thousands of IEP meetings. Her training includes advanced programs at William & Mary Law Institute of Special Education Advocacy and Suffolk Law Schools, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) and OSEP-developed Special Education Advocacy Training with a practicum at the Disability Law Center, the Federation of Children with Special Needs Parent Training Institute and Wrightslaw. DunKley is a past chair and current representative of the Massachusetts Special Education Advisory Panel. She serves on the SpedEx Advisory Committee, a DESE-funded alternate resolution program. She recently participated as a core stakeholder for DESE’s IEP Improvement Project. In 2012, DunKley designed and coordinated the implementation of a transition program at the Ivy Street School. She is a member of COPAA’s Government Relations and Social Racial Equity Committees.
Summer Brain Learning: Dot Lucci, M.Ed., CAGS
When: Thursday, May 4
What: Dot Lucci will provide an informative workshop on how to structure a summer routine that ensures a smooth transition to summer break while maintaining academic and social skills. Lucci is the Director of Consultation and Psychoeducational Services at NESCA, and has been active in the fields of education, psychology, research and academia for over 30 years. She is a national consultant and speaker who specializes in program design and the inclusion of children with special needs, especially those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has experience as an elementary classroom teacher, special educator, school psychologist, researcher, director and college professor. For thirteen years, Lucci was Program Director and Director of Consultation at MGH/Aspire where she built child, teen and young adult programs.