13th Annual MELLFIN Conference
Unified Commitment, Renewed Purpose

Registration Extended until May 12th!

Please join us at our 13th Annual Conference on Thursday, May 25, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m (registration begins at 8:00am). You can register online or download the registration. The cost is $75.00 (Pre-registered) and $100.00 for on-site (Fee includes continental breakfast & lunch). Registration extended to May 12th.

We are hosting at a NEW location!
College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
3501 University Blvd. East, Hyattsville, MD 20783

Morning Keynote:
Hena Khan
Amina's Voice

Afternoon Keynote:
Dr. Joshua Starr
Chief Executive Officer,
Phi Delta Kappan International

Concurrent Sessions:

Connecting with Youth and Families from Central America 
Presenters: Matthew Peters, Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center
For nearly two decades, many communities in Maryland have seen an increase in the number of families from the Northern Triangle of Central America.  Join us to get insight into the history of this region, families' journey to the United States, and the daily struggles that many of these families face in their new community.

Maryland's Family Engagement Toolkit 
Presenters: Cyndi La Marca Lessner and Karina Cortes-Huddack, Maryland State Department of Education
Participants will learn about Maryland's Family Engagement Toolkit.  This resource helps educators and providers put the strategies of the Early Childhood Family Engagement Framework: Maryland's Vision for Engaging Families with Young Children into practice.  Participants will discuss various strategies and resources to support them as they work to increase and improve their family engagement practices.

Early Learners in Maryland
Presenters: Robin Hopkins and Steven Hicks, Ready At Five
Parents and families are their child's first teachers. Maryland's earliest learners deserve the best start possible to help them be ready to fully participate when they start kindergarten. In this session, we will explore the Kindergarten Readiness Data and the changing population of Maryland's youngest learners and their families and consider effective strategies for engaging families from the start. We will also cover Ready At Five's programs and resources designed to support young English learners, their families, and their early childhood educators.

Resettling Refugees in Maryland: Successes and Challenges 
Presenters: Ruben Chandrasekar, International Rescue Committee
This highly interactive session provides important information on who refugees are, the process they undergo in order to be resettled in the US, the services they receive and the successes and challenges associated with their resettlement in Maryland. Particular emphasis will be placed on how recent Executive Orders affect refugees in the US and Maryland. This session will be facilitated by the Executive Director of the International Rescue Committee, the largest refugee resettlement agency in Maryland.

Mi Refugio (My Refuge): Innovative School-based Youth & Family Development Program
Presenters: Angie Castro Moreno and Yecenia Castillo, La Clínica del Pueblo
This session will provide information about a program that delivers a culturally sensitive youth development model that addresses school, family, and social integration to immigrants students and their families at Northwestern High School.

Empowering Parents: How a Parent Resource Center (PRC) Increases Access to Special Education Information
Presenter: Courtney Davis, Ph. D, Alexandria City (VA) Public Schools
When students are identified to receive special education services, parents may be confused and feel overwhelmed. Often, they are unaware of the special education system and the appropriate professionals that can offer assistance to a family. For bilingual parents, challenges are multi-layered and complex. However, parents are offered support and access to resources at the Anne R. Lipnick Special Education Parent Resource Center (PRC). Diverse strategies will be discussed and action plans developed.

Evidence-based Family Engagement Practices
Presenters: Barb Sherr and Veronica Simmons, Maryland State Department of Education

United Voices: A Conversation with Immigrant Parent Leaders
Presenters: Parents from Anne Arundel, Frederick, Howard, and Prince George’s Counties
Anne Arundel, Howard, Frederick and Prince George's Counties in Maryland have parent leadership programs that equip and empower parents to serve in leadership roles in the school community. Come and meet four immigrant parent leaders and hear about their leadership journey in American schools. They will also share suggestions on how educators can partner with immigrant parents for student success.

USDE Newcomer Toolkit: Supporting Immigrant Students and Families
Presenter: Francisco Lopez, United States Department of Education
The USDE educational program specialist will share an overview of toolkits for educators and stakeholders.

Promoting Equitable Access and Culturally Responsive Family Engagement Practices

Presenter: Laurie Namey, Harford County
As our families and our students continue to transform so needs our ways of parental engagement. Learn culturally responsive practices that will engage families while honoring their differences. Learn ways to make the school house more engaging, welcoming, and accessible to our families.

Recognizing Complex Trauma in School Settings

Presenters: ESOL Counselors, Montgomery County Public Schools

Bullying of Ethnic and Language Minority Youth

Presenter: Meredith McKeen, Northern Virginia Family Service Center