FRANKLIN — Executive Director Margie Daniels and the Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth (MPY) are pleased to announce that a conference was held today, featuring an all-star cast of professionals, presented to support educators to better serve newly arrived immigrant and refugee students and their families.

“Meeting the Moment,” a keynote address by Massachusetts Secretary of Education Dr. Patrick Tutwiler, highlighted the timeliness and relevance of this conference to better meet the needs of newly arrived students and their families. Secretary Tutwiler praised Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth for providing information from experts and an opportunity for discussion about complex challenges and opportunities.

The conference also featured remarks from Dr. Raul Fernandez of Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development and Dr. Jeffrey Winer, attending psychologist at Boston Children’s Hospital’s Trauma and Community Resilience Center and Assistant Professor in the Psychiatry Department of Harvard Medical School.

This virtual conference focused on developing, disseminating, and implementing culturally responsive and trauma-informed psychological interventions for youth and families of refugee and immigrant backgrounds. The values of equity, anti-racism, and structural systems change were at the center of the presentations.

The Trauma Systems Therapy for Refugees (TST-R), a clinical and organizational model for the efficient and effective delivery of psychosocial services for youth of refugee and immigrant backgrounds, was featured. Dorys Lemus, a Cultural Broker/ Consultant from the Trauma Community Resilience Center, gave an account of her personal journey from El Salvador, with suggestions helping newcomers develop a sense of belonging.

A presentation from a team of Milford Public School educators provided an overview of lessons learned and best practices for providing structures and services for immigrant and refugees students and their families. Dana Gastich French, M.A., Founder and Lead Consultant from UpRiver Education ended the conference with recommendations about how to nurture a smooth transition for students to join classrooms and learning communities.

“The conference today was an opportunity for educators, service providers and the Massachusetts community to come together to share best practices, highlight resources and identify ways to support newcomer students building community and a sense of belonging,” said Lisa Kingkade, LMHC, M.Ed, who is the Director for Social Emotional Learning at Milford Public Schools.

“It was a joy to participate in today’s full-day conference on welcoming and supporting newcomer youth in schools. The conference highlighted both the breadth and depth of work that is currently underway, and is desperately needed, for the sustained well-being and belongingness of newcomer youth living in Massachusetts, said Jeffrey Winer, Ph.D., Attending Psychologist, Trauma and Community Resilience Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Assistant Professor in the  Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “We heard a powerful range of voices from providers, educators, those with lived experience, academics, and policymakers. A day well spent – and much more work to be done!” 

“This was a vital, timely event as Massachusetts schools and communities are including newly arriving students and their families, many of whom have experienced significant trauma ,” Director Daniels said. “We are thankful to Secretary Tutwiler, the expert speakers and all of the participants for sharing insights and resources.”

The conference drew more than 150 live viewers via Zoom after the in-person portion of the conference was cancelled due to inclement weather. Approximately 400 educators had registered for the conference and will be able to view it later via a conference link.

About the Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth, Inc.

Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides training, fosters collaboration, and develops programming to increase the health and safety of students. MPY is committed to bringing cutting-edge information and high-quality trainings to constituents and endeavors to provide solution-oriented, community-based, multi-disciplinary approaches to reducing and ideally eliminating risky behaviors for youth. MPY Programming reaches nearly 6,000 educators per year in Massachusetts, spread across approximately 300 districts, with more than 150 webinars and over a dozen conferences. 

Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth is governed by a Board of Directors made up of school superintendents, police and fire chiefs, and other community leaders who work closely with MPY staff to deliver this mission. To learn more, visit:

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