Recharge Your Professional Life

Attend MHSA's Spring Assembly in Mt. Pleasant, May 4-5, 2017

(April 7, 2017) Mt. Pleasant, MI – Looking for a fresh start this spring? A chance to recharge up your professional life after the dull winter season?  Look no further than MHSA’s Spring Assembly, a two-day powerpack of professional development coming to Mt. Pleasant on May 4-5, 2017.

Keynote speaker Cheryl Priest, an associate professor at Central Michigan University, will kick things off with a presentation on inspired leadership.  “In these complex and evolving times, it’s become more important than ever for early childhood programs to model high-quality services, impact and outcomes,” she said.

Priest’s address, “Developing Quality Leadership in Changing Times: The Expectations Opportunities and Outcomes for Early Childhood,” is designed for Head Start directors and staff but is equally of interest to parents active in their community Head Start programs. Priest serves as program director for CMU’s new online major in Early Childhood Development and Learning and regularly takes students to northern Italy to study the educational practices of Reggio Emilia. Reggio Emilia is an approach to early childhood education that values the child as strong, capable and resilient.

Thursday’s program will also feature a panel of kinship care experts discussing the growing trend of grandparents raising grandchildren.  At home and nationally, there has been a rise in the number of elders raising their children’s children and today grandparents care for approximately one-third of children in the foster care system.  Michigan Kinship Care Coalition Jan Wagner, from Western Michigan, will be joined by Lynn M. Nee, coordinator of The Kindship Care Resource Center, School of Social Work, at Michigan State University. Other contributing panelists include Lisa Tams, extension educator with the Family Social and Emotional Well-Being, Michigan State University Extension; Helen Ellis, author of “The Kinship Guide to Rescuing Children; and Sandra Wisnewski, attorney and director of client services at Elder Law of Michigan, Inc.

That afternoon, directors, staff and parents will travel to CMU’s renowned Child Development and Learning Lab at Central Michigan University -- a national model for preschool programming -- for a behind-the-scenes tour with Director Margaret Desormes. The center is a working school serving children and families in the community, and also provides CMU students and faculty with exceptional research and learning opportunities.

On Friday, directors and staff will hear from Lansing School District’s Sergio Keck, Director of Special Populations and Programs, as he discusses “Nurturing a Culturally Sensitive Preschool Classroom.” Keck will pay special attention to English Learners (EL) recruitment strategies, effort preschool educators can make in their classrooms to support EL families while promoting an enriching learning environment for all children. The presentation is designed in part to assist classrooms in their goal of meeting the new Head Start Program Performance Standards.  

Then directors and staff will hear from a panel of experts on the new Administration's priority on immigration enforcement in a panel discussion titled, "Protecting the Rights of Preschool Families in a New Era of Federal Immigration Enforcement." Serving on the panel will be attorney Anna M. Hill from the Michigan Immigration Rights Center, our own Patricia Raymond, State Director, Michigan Migrant Head Start, and Melissa Kiesewetter, Native American Specialist & Civil Rights Specialist for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

Also Friday will be a special workshop just for parents about how children both give and receive love.  “The Five Languages of Love” will be offered by Annie R. van de Water, an academic adviser and instructor at Central Michigan University.

To register for the event, planned for the Comfort Inn and Suites Hotel in Mt. Pleasant, click here.