News

February 3, 2023

Pittsburgh Regional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Educators Conference

Join the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) at this annual conference to explore culturally aware and responsive ways to foster an inclusive environment for our marginalized learners. Educational leaders will discuss topics involving race and ethnicity, LGBTQIA+ and gender identity, and serving students with disabilities.

Conference Details

Saturday, March 25 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites
One Bigelow Square
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Cost for AIU employees and staff of AIU member school districts: Free
Cost for others: $40

Register

Learn More

This conference is presented by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Attendees will have the option to attend a number of informative sessions throughout the day, including a presentation by keynote speaker Eva Reign, star of Pittsburgh-native Billy Porter’s directorial debut, “Anything’s Possible.” The film, released in 2022, centers on the experience of a Black transgender teenager.

Educators can earn up to six Act 48 credit hours by attending the event.

News

January 20, 2022

Co-Creating A Healing Community of Equity & Trust

Join Trying Together for an upcoming session, “Co-Creating a Healing Community of Equity & Trust”.

Communities, however defined, are made up of people who bring a range of experiences and histories. Remaining open, curious, and culturally humble is essential to understanding a community’s resilience, strength, and wisdom. Claudia Woody says, “Inclusion means not ‘just we’re allowed to be there,’ but we are valued there.” Participants will explore the 5 Blocks of Building Restorative Relationships that allow caregivers to create holistic and supportive spaces that are responsive to historical trauma and equity literacy which holds us accountable to doing the work of learning together, seeking understanding, and creating a safe, valued, and heard community.

UnConference: Creating a Safe Place with Trauma-Informed Care

This session is a part of Trying Together’s upcoming UnConference. Between February 8-18, expert-led workshops will share content related to trauma-informed care. We begin the UnConference with keynote speaker Dr. Veirdre Jackson and dive into how we can create an environment of healing through equity and trust. Following the keynote, workshop sessions include how to identify family stressors, how to provide responsive care-giving for children experiencing trauma, and an overview of the recently launched Rapid Response Team from Trying Together.

Individuals can learn more and register on Trying Together’s website.

News

Registration Open for UnConference: Creating a Safe Place with Trauma-Informed Care

Registration is now open for Trying Together’s “UnConference: Creating a Safe Place with Trauma-Informed Care,” which will be held February 8 to February 18, 2022.

Between February 8-18, expert-led virtual workshops will share content related to trauma-informed care. We begin the UnConference with keynote speaker Dr. Veirdre Jackson and dive into how we can create an environment of healing through equity and trust. Following the keynote, workshop sessions include how to identify family stressors, how to provide responsive care-giving for children experiencing trauma, and an overview of the recently launched Rapid Response Team from Trying Together.

Registration is now open and specific workshop dates and times will be added. For a flat fee of $25, you may attend as many sessions (keynote or workshops) as you like. Sessions will also be recorded for viewing after the UnConference has completed. You must register for the UnConference in order to access session recordings.

PNC Grow Up Great is the series sponsor.


Featured Sessions

Keynote: Co-Creating A Healing Community of Equity & Trust

Tuesday, February 8, 2022 | 6:30 – 8 p.m. 
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Veirdre Jackson, Living Strong Consulting

Communities, however defined, are made up of people who bring a range of experiences and histories. Remaining open, curious, and culturally humble is essential to understanding a community’s resilience, strength, and wisdom. Claudia Woody says, “Inclusion means not ‘just we’re allowed to be there,’ but we are valued there.” Participants will explore the 5 Blocks of Building Restorative Relationships that allow caregivers to create holistic and supportive spaces that are responsive to historical trauma and equity literacy which holds us accountable to doing the work of learning together, seeking understanding, and creating a safe, valued, and heard community.

Rapid Response Team: Reducing Expulsions and Suspensions in Early Childhood Education

Thursday, February 10, 2022 |  6:30 – 8 p.m.
Presented by: Alicia Sebastian, Trying Together

This session will discuss the ongoing and growing issue surrounding expulsion and suspension in early childhood education that have been linked to staff implicit bias, challenging behaviors, and staffing issues. The presentation will guide parents, caregivers, directors and staff working with children ages 0-5 on how to prevent expulsion and suspension in early childhood education. The session will discuss ways to implement evidence-based strategies to promote positive behavior support, self-regulation, and positive mental health. We will share community resources and programs for children and families in Allegheny County.

Self-Care Isn’t Selfish, It’s Necessary: Practical Tools for Early Childhood Educators to Reduce Stress and Avoid Burn-Out

Monday, February 14, 2022  |  12:30 – 2 p.m.
Presented by: Tracy Larson, Director, Early Childhood Partnerships, Office of Child Development

In this session, participants will learn why self-care is necessary, how to recognize when they need to be more intentional about self-care, and research informed strategies and activities to reduce stress and avoid burn-out. At the end of the session, participants will create a personalized self-care plan.

Talking to Listen: Exploring Family Stressors and Creating Positive Relationships to Support Families

Tuesday, February 15, 2022 | 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Presented by: 
Patrick M. McKelvey, MS, NCC, National Youth Advocate Program Inc.

Children react differently to stress and trauma, which can sometimes exhibit itself as challenging behaviors in the classroom. This workshop helps educators understand the impact that family stressors (such as a death, food insecurity, changes in placement, community violence, etc.) can have on both children and their caregivers. Participants will learn how to notice these family stressors; how to communicate with caregivers to build relationships that provide a supportive environment for young children; and self-regulation strategies to manage strong emotions when having difficult conversations with caregivers.

Teaching Children Through a Trauma Lens

Thursday February 17, 2022 | 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Presenters:  Amanda Harrison, MA, LPC, NCC, Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant with the PA Keys

Research continues to show the detrimental effects that complex trauma has on the developing brain with our most vulnerable population. Over time, these young children are at risk for developmental delays, limited positive relationships, and a host of other difficulties. Our early education classrooms can create safe, responsive, and equitable environments to assist in reducing these harmful effects. This presentation will identify different types of trauma, how young children with trauma may present in the classroom, and supportive strategies teachers can implement to foster environments that encourage healing.


Registration

Registration for the UnConference: Creating a Safe Place with Trauma-Informed Care can be found on our UnConference page.

For a flat fee of $25, you may attend as many sessions (keynote or workshops) as you like. Sessions will also be recorded for viewing after the UnConference has completed. You must register for the UnConference in order to access session recordings.

Participants will receive PQAS and/or Act 48 hours.

More Information

For questions about the UnConference, contact Yu-Ling Cheng at conference@tryingtogether.org. For additional information, including FAQs, visit our UnConference page.

News

January 19, 2022

UnConference: Creating a Safe Place with Trauma-Informed Care

UnConference Details

Between February 8-18, expert-led workshops will share content related to trauma-informed care. We begin the UnConference with keynote speaker Dr. Veirdre Jackson and dive into how we can create an environment of healing through equity and trust. Following the keynote, workshop sessions include how to identify family stressors, how to provide responsive care-giving for children experiencing trauma, and an overview of the recently launched Rapid Response Team from Trying Together. 

Video recordings of the sessions are available until April 20, 2022. You must have registered for the UnConference in order to access session recordings. If you are having trouble viewing the recordings, please contact Allison Hritz at allison@tryingtogether.org.

Please share this flyer with your networks.

What Do I Receive?

    • PQAS and/or Act 48 hours.
    • Networking with colleagues.
    • Interactive workshop sessions.
    • Refreshed or refined thinking about your work with young children.

 


 

Featured Sessions

Keynote: Co-Creating A Healing Community of Equity & Trust

Tuesday, February 8, 2022 | 6:30 – 8 p.m. 
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Veirdre Jackson, Living Strong Consulting

Communities, however defined, are made up of people who bring a range of experiences and histories. Remaining open, curious, and culturally humble is essential to understanding a community’s resilience, strength, and wisdom. Claudia Woody says, “Inclusion means not ‘just we’re allowed to be there,’ but we are valued there.” Participants will explore the 5 Blocks of Building Restorative Relationships that allow caregivers to create holistic and supportive spaces that are responsive to historical trauma and equity literacy, which holds us accountable to doing the work of learning together, seeking understanding, and creating a safe, valued, and heard community.

Rapid Response Team: Reducing Expulsions and Suspensions in Early Childhood Education

Thursday, February 10, 2022 |  6:30 – 8 p.m.
Presented by: Alicia Sebastian, Trying Together

This session will discuss the ongoing and growing issue surrounding expulsion and suspension in early childhood education that have been linked to staff implicit bias, challenging behaviors, and staffing issues. The presentation will guide parents, caregivers, directors, and staff working with children ages 0-5 on how to prevent expulsion and suspension in early childhood education. The session will discuss ways to implement evidence-based strategies to promote positive behavior support, self-regulation, and positive mental health. We will share community resources and programs for children and families in Allegheny County.

Self-Care Isn’t Selfish, It’s Necessary: Practical Tools for Early Childhood Educators to Reduce Stress and Avoid Burn-Out

Monday, February 14, 2022  |  12:30 – 2 p.m.
Presented by: Tracy Larson, Director, Early Childhood Partnerships, Office of Child Development

In this session, participants will learn why self-care is necessary, how to recognize when they need to be more intentional about self-care, and research informed strategies and activities to reduce stress and avoid burn-out. At the end of the session, participants will create a personalized self-care plan.

Talking to Listen: Exploring Family Stressors and Creating Positive Relationships to Support Families

Tuesday, February 15, 2022 | 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Presented by:
Patrick M. McKelvey, MS, NCC, National Youth Advocate Program Inc.

Children react differently to stress and trauma, which can sometimes exhibit itself as challenging behaviors in the classroom. This workshop helps educators understand the impact that family stressors (such as a death, food insecurity, changes in placement, community violence, etc.) can have on both children and their caregivers. Participants will learn how to notice these family stressors; how to communicate with caregivers to build relationships that provide a supportive environment for young children; and self-regulation strategies to manage strong emotions when having difficult conversations with caregivers.

Teaching Children Through a Trauma Lens

Thursday February 17, 2022 | 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Presenters:  Amanda Harrison, MA, LPC, NCC, Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant with the PA Keys

Research continues to show the detrimental effects that complex trauma has on the developing brain with our most vulnerable population. Over time, these young children are at risk for developmental delays, limited positive relationships, and a host of other difficulties. Our early education classrooms can create safe, responsive, and equitable environments to assist in reducing these harmful effects. This presentation will identify different types of trauma, how young children with trauma may present in the classroom, and supportive strategies teachers can implement to foster environments that encourage healing.


 

Registration

Individuals may register for this event online. Recordings of each workshop session will be available on this webpage after the conclusion of each session. Please continue to monitor this page for updates.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Do I Attend this UnConference Virtually?

These sessions are hosted using the web-based video conferencing platform Zoom. Please download Zoom to your device of choice prior to the start of the UnConference. UnConference hosts send out all workshop links via email at least 24 hours before the start of each event.

How Do I Receive Credit?

PQAS and Act 48 credits are available to professionals who registered for and complete these sessions. More information, including the online Attendance form, will be sent via email to individuals who registered. Once completed, Allison Hritz, Professional Learning Coordinator at Trying Together, will process your credit. If you have questions specific to receiving credit, please email allison@tryingtogether.org.

More Information

For questions about the UnConference, contact Yu-Ling Cheng at conference@tryingtogether.org.

 


 

Presenter Information

Keynote Presenter: Dr. Veirdre Jackson, Living Strong Consulting

Dr. Veirdre Jackson is a woman pursuing her purpose, passion, and life’s priority to share her belief that all children deserve the best education available. She is an award-winning author, educator, and entrepreneur who is recognized as a leading educational trainer in trauma informed practices and cultural competence. She is a veteran educator with over 20 years of experience supporting non-profit and executive leadership.

Dr. Jackson is the CEO/Founder of Living Strong Consulting LLC and the Co-Founder of Fresh Fountain of Life Counseling and Wellness. She also serves on the educational executive boards of the Black Women’s Educational Alliance and Camp Endeavor. She is a highly sought-after keynote speaker and consultant, working with organizations like Lakeside Global Institute as a mentor trainer; Penn State Extension as an online course developer; Pennsylvania Early Head Start as a classroom and home visiting coach; Zero to Three as a Certified trainer in Infant Toddler Competencies and the Growing Brain; and various K-12 public and charter school districts as an Equity and Justice Consultant and Relational Coach. Her commitment to leaders and organizational development is elevated through her John Maxwell Team Certification which allows her to support leaders in sustaining growth and maintaining mission through trainings, mastermind sessions, lunch & learns, and coaching in such topics as Today Matters, Leadership Gold, How to Be a REAL Success, Becoming A Person of Influence, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, and more. 

Dr. Jackson has been recognized for her expertise in professional development by Pennsylvania’s Keystone Stars’ Southeast Regional Key as a Professional Development Champion; is a featured presenter for the newly released “4 Part Trauma and Child Development Series” by Penn State’s Better Kid Care; has been a contributor to Women’s Entrepreneur Magazine; is a reoccurring keynote and breakout session speaker for conferences nationally and the guest speaker on several podcasts, and was recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of 40 Leaders Under 40.

Amanda Harrison, MA, LPC, NCC, Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant with the PA Keys

A 2000 graduate with a degree in elementary education from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, Amanda always had a passion for working with children. Soon after returning to her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she went on to complete a Master’s in Clinical Counseling in which she specialized in child and adolescent therapy. For the past 16 years, she has had various roles in the mental health field. Currently, she continues her passion of working with children and families as an Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant with the PA Keys. A current doctoral candidate at IUP’s Counselor Education and Supervision, PhD program, she also continues to specialize her education and assist others in becoming competent mental health professionals.

Dr. Tracy Larson, Director, Early Childhood Partnerships, Office of Child Development

Tracy Larson is a psychologist, educator and consultant who has worked in the early childhood education field for 17 years promoting adult and child social emotional learning and mental health and wellness. Dr. Larson empowers adults to build positive adult-child relationships and create supportive environments where all children thrive.

Patrick M. McKelvey, MS, NCC, National Youth Advocate Program Inc.

Patrick McKelvey earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Patrick is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Nationally Certified Counselor. Patrick has served in a variety of roles including a Clinical Program Manager overseeing pediatric and early childhood behavioral health programs in Western Pennsylvania, specializing in evidenced-based trauma treatments for children and families in various community and school-based settings and serving as an educational and outreach coordinator focused on childhood grief. Patrick currently serves as Clinical Supervisor for the National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP) in Columbus, Ohio where he oversees school-based programming and a newly developed rapid response team for children and adolescents. Patrick has spent the last 4 years collaborating with Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families to develop and implement staff supports to mitigate the effects of secondary traumatic stress. In addition, Patrick is a rostered Child- Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) therapist; and has a passion for developing innovative approaches to working within an interdisciplinary approach with other child-serving systems to advocate for strengthening child-centric and trauma-informed approaches to child and family supports.

Alicia Sebastian, Trying Together

Alicia Sebastian is currently spearheading a new project in Allegheny County focusing on decreasing and eliminating expulsions and suspensions in child care settings. Her current role as the Collaborations and Support Strategist focuses on creating a Rapid Response Team for child care providers to utilize if they are in need of external support for children, staff, and families. She has been working for Trying Together, a non-profit agency in Pittsburgh, PA since February 2020, where she started as an Early Head Start Coach providing support to Early Head Start staff. Prior to working with Trying Together, Alicia spent three years as a developmental therapist working with infants and toddlers ages zero to three throughout Allegheny and Washington County. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2013 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Disability Services and completed her Master’s Degree in 2016 at the University of Pittsburgh through a program in Early Intervention specializing in Autism.


Thank You To Our Sponsors and Partners

A huge thank you to our series sponsor PNC Grow Up Great.

 

PNC Grow Up Great logo


 

About Trying Together

Trying Together supports high-quality care and education for young children by providing advocacy, community resources, and professional growth opportunities for the needs and rights of children, their families, and the individuals who interact with them. Trying Together works regionally (in Southwestern Pennsylvania) and takes its expertise and models to statewide and national audiences.

News

November 3, 2021

Instructional Implementations of Interventions That Address Today’s Diverse Classroom

Join EdWeb.net for the upcoming webinar, “Instructional Implementations of Interventions That Address Today’s Diverse Classroom”. In this edWebinar, join Dr. Bonnie Cochran, Dr. Tonya Clarke, Jay Hillman, and Dr. Jessica Talada to hear what other district leaders from around the country are implementing in anticipation of the wider range of learning needs teachers will be facing this school year. The presenters will be exploring the best ways to select evidence-based solutions, designing flexible implementation models, and supporting teachers for accelerated student learning.

Additional Information

The learning loss as a result of the pandemic is no longer hypothetical. All students have been affected and educators are facing a larger number of students who need in-classroom interventions. This urgency requires all educators to find the right solutions that can address this gap knowing that:

  • All students have been affected in some way
  • Math and reading learning have seen the largest declines in scores
  • Students who were one to two years behind have even larger instructional gaps
  • Proven solutions that can be implemented in the classroom in flexible ways have to be considered for students to catch up

News

Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education

Join edWeb.net for their upcoming webinar, “Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education“. This edWebinar will present a fresh take on trauma-informed practices, with takeaways for teachers, school leaders, and anyone else who is invested in making change in education.

Alex Shevrin Venet, author of Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education, will introduce participants to the key understandings of the Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education framework, sharing stories from her work as a teacher and supporting schools with trauma-informed education. Participants can expect to leave with a new understanding of their role in trauma-informed education and ideas for how to get started.

This edWebinar will be of interest to PreK-12 educators, school leaders, district leaders, chief equity officers, and at-risk coordinators. There will be time for questions at the end of the presentation.

 

News

October 12, 2021

New Resources for Parents and Caregivers

New resources have been added to the Trying Together website for families and caregivers. These resources further Trying Together’s mission to supports high-quality care and education for young children by providing advocacy, community resources, and professional growth opportunities for the needs and rights of children, their families, and the individuals who interact with them.

New Resources

DAP Series Parts VII, VIII, and IX

As an early childhood nonprofit, Trying Together recognizes that a child’s parent is their first and most important caregiver. That’s why we created the Developmentally Appropriate Parenting (DAP) Series to assist parents and caregivers in creating high-quality learning experiences at the earliest stages of their child’s life. The series features digital and print content that provides information on critical early childhood topics.

New topics in the DAP Series include Part VII: Childhood Mental Health; Part VIII: Race and Equity; and Part IX: Transitions & Routines. Families and caregivers may also access previous parts of the DAP Series: Part I: Developmentally Appropriate Practice; Part II: Childhood Physical Health; Part III: Child Care; Part IV: Early Intervention and InclusionPart V: Safety and Emergencies; and Part VI: Social-Emotional Development.  Resources will continue to be added through 2022 as additional Parts are finalized.

Additionally, families and caregivers may now request a set of cards in the mail at no cost. These cards provide an overview of each part of the DAP series with a quick reference to local and regional organizations.

Parenting Together Pathway

The Parenting Together Pathway is a video-based learning series to provide high-quality information on early childhood development to parents and caregivers in Allegheny County and surrounding areas. Launched in April 2021, the Parenting Together Pathway provides families the opportunity to learn more about: brain development; play; interactions and relationships; technology; child care; and advocacy to better support their children’s healthy growth.

Two additional videos have been added to the Parenting Together Pathway: Early Intervention and Safety and Emergencies.

News

December 10, 2020

Infants and Toddlers Face Racism Too

Are you interested in gaining new insight into how racism shapes our lives from our earliest days? Join ZERO TO THREE on December 17 for their online event, “Continuing the Dialogue: Infants and Toddlers Face Racism Too.”

About

During this event, presenters will share excerpts from the session “Infants and Toddlers Face Racism Too: Science, Practice, and Policy.” Session participants will hear how racism affects America’s youngest residents, discuss this topic together, and learn about strategies and resources that can help address racism and advance equity in early childhood systems, services, and programs.

Registration

To register, visit the event registration page.

News

December 4, 2020

Let’s Chat About Early Language and Literacy

Join the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and Early Intervention Technical Assistance (EITA) from January through March 2021 for their 30-minute “Let’s Chat About Early Language and Literacy” webinars.

About

These 30-minute webinars will be offered at no cost to participants. Each session will be offered at 8:30 a.m. and repeated at 1:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of each month. This series runs from January through March 2021. Chat topics will include the following:

Registration

To register, visit the event webpage. Registration closes the Wednesday prior to each session at 4:30 p.m.

More Information

PQAS, Infant/Toddler, and Act 48 hours are available. Participants must attend two sessions in order to get one credit hour. For questions, contact Jodie Holmberg at jholmberg@pattan.net.

News

Let’s Chat About Early Language and Literacy

Join the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and Early Intervention Technical Assistance (EITA) from January through March 2021 for their 30-minute “Let’s Chat About Early Language and Literacy” webinars.

About

These 30-minute webinars will be offered at no cost to participants. Each session will be offered at 8:30 a.m. and repeated at 1:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of each month. This series runs from January through March 2021. Chat topics will include the following:

Registration

To register, visit the event webpage. Registration closes the Wednesday prior to each session at 4:30 p.m.

More Information

PQAS, Infant/Toddler, and Act 48 hours are available. Participants must attend two sessions in order to get one credit hour. For questions, contact Jodie Holmberg at jholmberg@pattan.net.