Family Engagement and Cultural Effectiveness





October 30-November 3, 2017 | Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki Beach Resort

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.—Frederick Douglass

Since Head Start inception more than 50 years ago, family engagement has always been a pillar of the program. Underlying the Head Start focus on the whole child is the understanding that parents are the primary educators and advocates of their child. Moreover, when parents engage with their child, they not only improve the child’s happiness and success—but theirs as well.

The Family Engagement and Cultural Effectiveness conference is designed to celebrate the different cultures, traditions and practices that are reflected in the modern family. In so doing, participants learn how to use the strengths and attributes of culture to aid a child’s own successful walk through the world.

In this conference, nationally and internationally known practitioners, researchers and motivational speakers share their knowledge, to teach us and to learn from us, about parent engagement through the lens of cultural awareness.

NOTE: We are pleased to announce that our keynote speaker is Walter Gilliam, the lead researcher on a new Yale University study on implicit bias.  Our 2017-18 Board President Wassy Tesfa  has some interesting insights about the study in the R9HSA July advocacy blog.


Meet our Keynote Speakers



Dr. Walter S. Gilliam

Opening Keynote, October 31st at 4 pm – He is the Director of The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy and Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology at the Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine.

Venus Rosete-Mederos
General Session, Wednesday, November 1st at 9 am, Region 9 welcomes Venus Rosete-Mederos from the Kamehameha Schools.  She has recently been named  as its regional director for Maui County. Rosete-Medeiros is responsible for leading and facilitating KS regional planning, strategy and action-oriented implementation throughout Maui, Molokai, and Lnai.
 Silvia Esqueda
Silvia Esqueda is a bilingual/bicultural licensed therapist, who has worked for over sixteen years with Latino parents and their children. She is the national lead facilitator for Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors program, and a consultant for multiple non-profit organizations. She is a trainer, conference speaker, and writer of Latino immigrant issues as it relates to education and mental health.


October 31, 2017 | Pre-Conference Sessions

Session #1 – Cultural Humility and Effectiveness:  What’s Personality Got to Do with It?
Dr. Sheryl White


Cultural humility is a lifelong journey that starts with increasing understand of one’s self and effectively managing ourselves in relation to others. The most well intended actions and plans can get derailed in the midst of cultural misunderstandings and clashes. Add to that the complexity of individual and personality differences and it’s easy to see how an experience unintentionally could leave a child, parent or staff member feeling hurt, instead of helped and open to engagement and growth.  Learn More



Session #2 – Using Learning Stories as a Pathway to Engage Families in Authentic Dialogue

Wendy Lee & Dr. Annie White


More than just a tool or a format for observing young children, Learning Stories are part of a philosophy for pedagogy and an innovative approach for assessment, with a huge international following. Grounded in socio-cultural theory and narrative inquiry, the Learning Story approach honors the child, family, teacher and community. Using Learning Stories, early childhood educators write from the heart, in a way that engages families, while also connecting to required assessment indicators. Learn More





The Vision

All children, regardless of their circumstance at birth, deserve a full and prosperous life.

The Mission

  • Support high-impact Head Start programs for children and adults by creating opportunities for collaboration, networking and information sharing.
  • Unite with state and national Head Start organizations to ensure regulatory and budget outcomes that support our work.
  • Champion the message that every child and family who succeeds makes their community a better place.

Contact Us

1225 8th Street, Suite 342
Sacramento, CA 95814



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