2018 Fall Institute: Enhancing Parent Engagement & Family Partnerships

Fall Institute

Enhancing Parent Engagement & Family Partnerships

Strong family-school partnerships are built on mutual respect and trust and are based in a foundational belief that student success and district improvements are a joint responsibility. MATSOL’s two-day fall institute will explore these collaborative relationships at the classroom, school, district and community level, including practices to support the new English Learner Parent Advisory Council (ELPAC) requirement of the LOOK Act.


Thursday & Friday, November 8 & 9, 2018
8:30 AM – 3:30 PM

Registration Deadline midnight on October 31


Double-Tree by Hilton Hotel, Leominster MA

Day 1: Principles and Practices for Building Family-School Partnerships 

Thursday, November 8
Presented by:  Dr. Bertha-Elena Rojas

Day 2: Harnessing the Power of Partnerships in the Classroom and Beyond

Friday, November 9
Presented by:  Dr. Debbie Zacarian

Register for one or two days. A 15 PDP opportunity is available for participants attending both days.

Download a flier


PK – 12 ESL, bilingual, classroom teachers; content teachers; specialists; coaches; supervisors and administrators.  Teacher educators from higher education institutions and professional developers involved with pre-service and in-service work.


Day 1: Principles and Practices for Building Family-School Partnerships 

Family engagement anchored in culturally and linguistically responsive approaches not only improves student outcomes, but also strengthens partnerships among schools and their surrounding communities. In this workshop, participants will learn about parent engagement research related to students’ academic success and explore the Dual-Capacity Framework for Family-School Partnerships. We will examine specific practices that a district can employ to encourage family voice and advocacy:

  • Providing training for staff on working with culturally and linguistically diverse families
  • Providing training for families
  • Employing family engagement principles as a key for successful parent engagement, including English Learner Parent Advisory Councils:
    • Foster a welcoming culture and invest in PD to increase competencies among district leaders, principals, teachers and staff
    • Develop communication systems that diminish barriers and ensure access of information to all parents
    • Help parents to gain knowledge about school systems and the important roles families play in support of student learning and achievement
    • Develop structures for parent forums and focus groups
    • Involve community partners to serve as bridges to develop strong, trust-based relationships with parents
  • Reviewing the proposed ELPAC Guidance and its objectives to promote family engagement
  • Developing an action plan to improve family engagement.
Day 2: Harnessing the Power of Partnerships in the Classroom and Beyond
During this interactive session, participants will explore proven tools and strategies for increasing student, family, school, and community partnerships to strengthen students’ academic and social-emotional development. We will begin with student and family partnerships in classroom contexts and work outward to include school and community partners. In pairs and small groups, we will examine the following:
  • Defining the urgency for partnerships - as it applies to English Learners and former English learners (including the epic number living with adversity).  
  • Exploring key ideas for building active and engaged teacher, student, family and school community partnerships that value student/family assets.
  • Accessing school and district programs and services outside of the classroom to engage students and their families.
  • Collaborating with community partners (such as local non-profit and youth organizations, businesses, universities, libraries, cultural and faith-based communities) to strengthen students’ learning and engagement as active contributing classroom and community members.
  • Building a culture of caring for harnessing the power of partnership practices.
  • Creating classroom-based events to empower students and families.


Dr. Bertha-Elena Rojas served as the Manager of English Learners and Supplemental Support Services for Worcester Public Schools for many years; in that capacity, she worked with California’s Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) to ensure that Worcester families had a voice in their children’s education.  PIQE was honored as America’s top Community-Based Organization at increasing Latino student success in college. Dr. Rojas is currently a consultant to school districts working on improving their programs and practices with English learners, diverse populations, students with disabilities and parent engagement.  She also consults with districts and organizations to support their diversity and inclusion frameworks and practices. She is the Founder and CEO of Humanity Advanced, LLC.

Dr. Debbie Zacarian is known for her work in advancing student achievement with culturally, linguistically and economically diverse populations and expertise in family-school partnerships and strength-based instructional and leadership practices. Her most recent books include: Teaching to Strengths: Supporting Students Living With Trauma, Violence, & Chronic Stress (with Lourdes Alvarez-Ortiz and Judie Haynes); and In It Together: How Student, Family, and Community Partnerships Advance Engagement and Achievement in Diverse Classrooms (with Michael Silverstone). With three decades of combined experience as a school district leader, university faculty member, and educational service agency administrator, Dr. Zacarian is the founder of Zacarian & Associates.

In partnership with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and MATSOL, both Dr. Rojas and Dr. Zacarian have been involved in creating the Massachusetts guidance document for the new English Learner Parent Advisory Councils required under the LOOK Act.


As a service to our participants, MATSOL will offer the opportunity to earn 15 Professional Development Points (PDPs) to participants who attend both days of the Fall Institute and complete a final project related to classroom, school or district parent engagement. The final project will be due one month after the institutes have ended. More information will be provided on the first day of the Institute.

Registration - 

Payment by credit card, check or purchase order.

Registration with credit card: Register online (includes option to join/renew membership) : REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

Registration with PO or check: REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

  1. Download excel form and complete: 
  2. Upload form to the registration upload link: 

All registrants will receive an email confirmation after the registration is processed.

 Registration Fee One Day Two Days
Current Member $ 220.00 $440.00
New/Renewing Member
(includes membership)
$260.00 $480.00
(no membership)
$275.00 $550.00

Registration fee includes required book, continental breakfast, and luncheon.

Please see the MATSOL Registration Policy for payment and cancellation information.

Last Updated on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 08:01 AM