Western States Early Learning Institutes



February 11-14, 2019

Region 9’s Western States Early Learning Institutes has been expanded to offer a variety of experiences for education staff, program leaders and program partners.  You may attend just one element or a package that best fits your agency’s training priorities.

All activities will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe.  Located just minutes from the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, this location presents easy access for attendees from all area of Arizona, and throughout Region 9.  The Double Tree offers airport shuttles and on-site parking is free. Reserve your room by January 27, 2019.



Western States Early Learning Institutes Overview


Opening Session – Keynote Presentation Slides

Marcella Wilson, Ph.D.
CEO & Founder
Transition To Success®

Marcella Wilson, Ph.D., has over 30 years of extensive experience in healthcare administration, not-for-profit management, behavioral health, criminal justice and public sector programming. Dr. Wilson, a University of Michigan alumnus holds degrees in psychology, sociology, a Master’s degree in Social Work and a Ph.D. in Health and Higher Education. Dr. Wilson is committed to developing a national standard of care that changes the paradigm of understanding and response to the condition of poverty as a treatable, environmentally based condition not a character flaw.

Learn more


Special Guest

Charity Woods

R9HSA’s 2018 Legacy Scholarship Award Winner

Argosy University


Closing Session – Slides

Maureen Burns Vermette

Supervisory Program Specialist

Office of Head Start, Region 9

Prior to joining the federal team, Maureen served as the Regional Field Specialist and an Early Head Start/Head Start director in the region.  During her tenure as the Regional Field Specialist, she provided support in all areas related to School Readiness, as well as she working collaboratively to roll out Practice-Based Coaching across Region 9.  Maureen spent the first decade of her career as a pre-k-8 classroom teacher, inclusion specialist, and mentor.   She holds bachelor’s degree in child development and a master’s in teaching with a specialization in early childhood education.  Maureen lives in San Francisco with her husband and three imaginative children.

Special Guest

Dr. Marvene Lobato


Fowler Elementary School District

Dr. Lobato is the superintendent of the Fowler Elementary School District, where she is completing her eleventh year in the position.  She oversees a school district of approximately 5,000 students in preschool through grade eight.  The district has five elementary schools, two middle schools and a child care center that services infants, toddlers and preschool children. 

Learn more.

Three tracks will be offered:

  • Management Systems

Trainer: Kristen Hayes, Management Consultant

Seminar: Building Highly Responsive Programs Strategies

This two-day seminar will provide participants with a framework for considering program change – namely, the implementation of services that are highly responsive to the needs of the community.

The Office of Head Start is increasingly requesting information that demonstrates that the program options are responsive to the needs of the community.  Developing a truly responsive plan requires a careful balance of agency, staff, and family priorities.  This seminar will consider the use of data in informing change management, the role of community partnerships in meeting the individual needs of families, and leveraging the agency’s experience in the community to foster a program that is compliant, high quality, and in demand. We will consider what the data tells us, how social service programs market their services, and how leadership oversees change.  Participants will be asked to bring a variety of internal data and documents to this seminar, and will be encouraged to engage in strategic problem solving with Head Start colleagues.

Learning outcomes:
This two day session will promote learning through multiple formats, including lecture, case studies, sample frameworks for planning for change, and dialogue with peers.  Participants will:

– Critically consider their own organizational culture and its impact on the achievement of goals

– Work within a framework to identify opportunities for change and growth in their program

– Learn strategies to support change management with the program’s leadership team

  • Family Self-Sufficiency

This institute will be comprised of a strand of workshops that address key aspects of moving our families toward Self-Sufficiency.  From employment and financial literacy to volunteerism, soft skills development and community partnerships will be highlighted.  A panel on effective practices by Head Start agencies will be included in the series.  Participating programs will be encouraged to set up display boards of unique strategies.

Tuesday February 12, 2019

  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    • Beyond Polite – Cultural Competence for Families
      • Larry Campbell – Catholic Charities
        • Does your organization have a defined vision and blueprint for building principles for cultural competence?  Often times we “jump” right in working with families on self-sufficiency strategies and family partnership agreements.  But before all of that it’s imperative to really understand that family and not make assumptions.  The “soft skills” are very important to know before embarking upon this sensitive work with families.  Many times cultural competence is thought of as a person’s good intention to not offend someone from another ethnicity, race or culture.  However, it goes way beyond that. Cultural competence is the ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures, being aware of one’s own worldview, developing positive attitudes towards cultural differences and gaining knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews.  It’s a journey rather than an endpoint.
  • 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
    • Transition to Success

      • Dr. Marcella Wilson and Debra Spring – Transition To Success

        • Join Dr. Marcella Wilson & Debra Spring for an introduction to the Transition To Success training model.  Learn the specifics of creating an environment and organizational philosophy to support client goals and  measurable data specific to the impact of case management utilizing the TTS methodology to improve self-sufficiency and the social determinants of health.

          Information will be shared specific to client assessment utilizing the self-sufficiency matrix, application of case management techniques and goal setting with clients. Review of the standards of care – the need to train case managers to ensure they are providing a full C.A.R.E. (Coordinating All Resources Effectively) plan and using vision boards to help Case managers build goals with families.

  • 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
    • Workforce Development Panel
      • Lead Panelist: Eve Del Real – Maricopa County
      • Co-Panelists: Lisa Carr and William Walker – SETA Head Start, Monica De Vera –  Contra Costa County Human Services Department. 
        • Providing families with opportunities for higher levels of educational attainment and job skills training is an effective strategy to promote self-sufficiency and increase household earnings for disadvantaged populations. Maricopa County Human Services,   Contra Costa, and Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA), developed promising practices that prepares parents for specific occupations in combination with family centered coaching strategies and coordinated case management approaches that produces positive impacts.

Wednesday February 13, 2019

  • 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

    • Advancing the Conversation on Healthy Home Environments

      • Jacquelyn Menghrajani and Fabiola Estrada – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

        • Housing conditions can affect health. This workshop will provide an overview of common environmental and safety hazards found in homes within the Healthy Housing framework and how to address them. Participants will learn how environmental asthma triggers, lead, and other environmental hazards can affect children’s health and well-being. Participants will gain a basic understanding of how to explain the connection between housing conditions and health outcomes, and resources available to support implementation of healthy home practices. Participants will engage in role playing to help build confidence in explaining healthy homes concepts to parents. In addition, participants will receive a packet of materials to help guide their efforts to support parent education and outreach.

  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    • An Interactive Family Engagement Approach for Better Child Outcomes
      • Tori Bleher – Learning Genie
        • This workshop discusses strategies to strengthen family engagement. Participants will examine their own attitudes toward family involvement, share their experiences, and consider innovative strategies. An interactive approach for family engagement will be presented and discussed addressing the following aspects: effective sharing of children’s learning information, setting goals, actively engaging and getting feedback from families, and tracking of child outcomes.
  • 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
    • Head Start and Community College Partnerships
      • Rene’ Manning – Rio Salado College
      • Eve Del Real  – Maricopa County Human Services
      • Amy Corriveau – City of Phoenix
        • There is a growing need for high quality early educators on a national level. Ongoing professional development and higher educational attainment that supports current research and best practice affords unique challenges for grantees and requires strategic partnership to leverage local resources, when available. In an effort to hire and retain a highly qualified workforce Maricopa County and the City of Phoenix implemented innovative practices in partnerships with Rio Salado Community College to facilitate a Parent CDA Cohorts and Education Navigation services. 
  • Education Services






    Trainer: John Gunnarson, Consultant, Early Care and Education

    Seminar: Behavior Management + CLASS = A Comprehensive Framework

    Finally… a comprehensive, easy-to-understand approach to behavior management!   This two-day seminar with follow-up webinars will provide participants with a strong framework that they can use on behavior management.  Apply this framework program-wide or with individual classrooms.  On Day 1, you will learn concrete strategies for creating a classroom culture that embraces positive expectations, skills, and behaviors.   These are the foundational pieces that exceptional teachers use to develop their class into a cohesive, cooperative group.   Strategies will be presented using the CLASS Behavior Management indicators.   On Day 2, you will learn specific options for responding to the misbehaviors of individual children.  You will emerge with a comprehensive framework that you can apply to any misbehavior in any classroom.

    The intended audience and participants for this seminar are education program managers, coaches, teachers, directors, and support staff.   Teams are encouraged to register.  All participants will receive a handbook to support their implementation of positive behavior strategies.

    Here is the two-day agenda…

    February 12, 2019

    Proactive Behavior Management:  Use CLASS to Create a Classroom Culture that Supports Positive Behaviors

    Learn specific techniques for creating classrooms in which teachers intentionally teach children positive behavioral expectations.  Using CLASS and other research, this engaging seminar will focus on:

    • Intentionally teaching behavioral expectations
    • Redirection of misbehavior
    • Proactive
    • Clear behavior expectations
    • Support for autonomy and leadership, and
    • Classroom meetings.

    February 13, 2019

    Reactive Behavior Management:  Use Effective Strategies to Respond to Behavior Problems

    In response to misbehaviors, participants in this engaging seminar will learn concrete strategies to apply to any behavior problem.  After identifying the goal of the child’s misbehavior, teachers have effective options to choose from:

    • Ignoring the behavior
    • Restructuring the environment
    • Directing the behavior
    • Offering choices,
    • Problem-solving, and
    • Logical consequences.

    Participants will practice using a comprehensive Positive Discipline Action Plan that can be applied to any misbehavior.

    February 26, 2019 – 3:00-4:00 pm

    Webinar:  Implementing Positive Behavior Management:  Strategies, Questions, Discussion

    March 26, 2019 – 3:00-4:00 pm

    Webinar:  Sustaining Positive Behavior Management:  Strategies, Questions, Discussion


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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