Cecily’s Advocacy Conference 2020

Cecily’s Advocacy Conference 2020

Rosalind Wiseman

Educator, Parent Expert, and Social Activist

From where we learn to where we work, Rosalind Wiseman fosters civil dialogue and inspires communities to build strength, courage and purpose. Through professional development training, speaking, teaching, and consulting in a wide array of organizations, educational institutions and corporations, Rosalind is reimagining social emotional learning for all: so we can all be in better relationships with each other.

National media regularly depends on Wiseman as the expert on ethical leadership, conflict, media literacy, youth culture, parenting, and bullying prevention. She has been profiled in The New York Times, People, Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and USA Today. Wiseman is a frequent guest on national media like The Today Show, CNN, and NPR affiliates throughout the country.

Wiseman’s presentations transcend cultural and economic boundaries. Her engaging and forthright delivery captures audiences, inspires them to strengthen their professional and personal relationships, and gives them practical tools they can immediately apply to their lives.

She is the founder of Cultures of Dignity; an organization that shifts the way communities think about our physical and emotional wellbeing by working in close partnership with the experts of those communities — young people, educators, policy makers, and business and political leaders.

In addition, to her work at the Anti-Defamation League as a contributor and curriculum creator, she is best known for being the author of Queen Bees and WannabesHelping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World — the groundbreaking, best-selling book that was the basis for the movie and Broadway Musical Mean Girls, and in 2016 was fully revised for a third edition. And Wiseman is the author of the Owning Up Curriculum, a comprehensive social justice program for grades 4-12 which is in widespread use across the world.

Her other publications include the New York Times best seller, Masterminds & Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard PowerLocker-Room TestsGirlfriendsand the New Rules of Boy World, which addresses the social lives of boys and was awarded Best Parenting Book by Books for a Better Life in 2014.

Wiseman has spoken to audiences throughout the US and abroad, South by Southwest, Microsoft, The Royal Society for the Arts, the Association for the Advancement of International Education, the American School Counselors Association, the Game Developers Conference, the American Association of School Administrators, at the White House many times and numerous schools, governments, organizations, and corporations throughout the US and abroad.

  • Creating Cultures of Dignity for Young People
  • Queen Bees & Masterminds: Navigating Friendships, Social Conflicts & Popularity
  • Behind the Screen: Understanding the Power of Social Media in Young Peoples’ Lives
Cecily's Advocacy Conference Save the Date


Queen Bees & Masterminds: Navigating Friendships, Social Conflicts, and Popularity
Rosalind Wiseman
Educator, Parent Expert, and Social Activist

Speaker Rosalind Wiseman, New York Times bestseller author Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence; Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World pulls back the curtain on what’s really going on between boys and girls and why they can be so reluctant to ask adults for help. She’ll share how boys’ and girls’ social group dynamics influence their interactions and offer step-by-step advice on how to teach young people to treat each other with dignity. She’ll also give common-sense suggestions about how to deal with the frequent struggles between children and their parents – from video games and social networking to communication breakdowns.

Schedule of Events

8:30-9:00 am | Registration 

9:00-10:15 am | Keynote 

10:30 am-11:40 am | Workshop Session 1 

11:45 am-12:45 pm | Rosalind Wiseman Q&A and Lunch 

12:50-2:00 pm | Workshop 2 


Workshop Session 1

Creating Cultures of Dignity For Young People
Rosalind Wiseman
Educator, Parent Expert, and Social Activist

Based on over twenty years of teaching and constant feedback from today’s generation of young people, Rosalind Wiseman pulls back the curtain on what’s really going on in children and teens lives and shows the critical importance of social emotional learning to their overall health and happiness. From young people’s friendships, social media use, gossip, drama, bullying, and the constant pressure to “keep up,” she’ll share how children and teens develop their sense of self and guide their decision making in everything from their academic choices, friends, and how they manage conflict. In addition, she’ll give concrete advice to parents and educators so they in turn can guide their children through the normal yet challenging problems young people face–while avoiding the common communication breakdowns and power struggles between children and adults.

Growth Mindset: The Importance of Perseverance when Embracing Challenges
David Roth, MEd
Head of Middle School, McLean School

Research shows that having a growth mindset is one of the most important foundations for school and life success. In this workshop, participants will learn about the difference between a growth and fixed mindset, how to build resilience in young people, and ways to support student progress through the use of specific language. Participants will be given practical tips, as well as an opportunity to discuss evidence-based practices around mistakes, expectations, and praise.

David Roth, MEd has served as a school administrator for over 15 years as both a Head of Middle and Upper School. Currently, he is completing his seventh year as Head of Middle School at McLean School. His entire career has been spent focused on students with learning and attention challenges, and he has a keen interest in student motivation. Mr. Roth has presented multiple times at the National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference and, locally, at the Diamonds in the Rough Conference. In 2009, he earned the International Educator of the Year Award from CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) at their 21st Annual International Conference. In 2008, he received the CARE (Commonwealth Academy Recognition for Education) Teacher of the Year Award.

Non-Medicated ADHD and Executive Functioning Strategies for at Home Success
Eve Margol, MEd
Owner, LinkEducation Resources, LLC
Julie Kobylarek 

Is every night a struggle to get homework done or simple evening routines accomplished? Is every morning a challenge to get out the door on time with a string of last-minute problems? There is an answer. It’s all about Executive Functioning and managing ADHD. In this seminar, LinkEducation Resources founder, Eve Margol and JK Occupational Therapy, Julie Kobylarek will work with parents and caregivers to model and teach non-medicated ADHD and Executive Functioning strategies that will support your child at home and in school with a variety of tools in homework, organization, technology, and life skills.

Eve Margol is an educator with 18 years’ experience in the classroom and individualized instruction. She is a Director of an Early Childhood School serving kids from 18 months to five-years old. With a Master’s Degree in Early childhood Education, concentration in special education, coach for Non-medicated strategies for children with ADHD and trainer for the Phono-Graphix®reading technique. Eve’s guiding philosophy is to create a specialized learning environment that offers differentiated instruction and social/emotional strategies designed to help student learn and navigate their world. In addition, Eve is the owner of LinkEducation Resources which offers consultation services, training and educational therapies to meet the individual needs of students and the teams that support them.

Julie Kobylarek is an Occupational Therapist who specializes in working with children of all levels and abilities, particularly those with developmental delays and sensory processing needs. Julie is passionate about helping children of all ages and developmental levels maximize their potential in a fun and motivating way. Julie has worked in a number of schools and outpatient specialized programs in New York City and the DC metro area, providing services for children with special needs. Julie is dedicated to continuously expanding her knowledge in the field of occupational therapy. She holds a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Towson University, a Master of Arts degree in Motor Learning and Control from Columbia University (her thesis focused on sensory processing disorder in the classroom), and a Bachelor of Science degree in Movement Science from the University of Michigan. She is also certified in levels one and two of the Radiant Child Yoga Program (RCYP 1-2) and has taken courses in emotional regulation, yoga for kids, executive functioning skills, and Handwriting without Tears.

The DC Pressure Cooker: Supporting Adolescents in a Culture of Perfection, Competition, and Anxiety
Dr. Robert Chase, PhD
Briana Meader, LCSW-C
The Chesapeake Center for ADHD, Learning and Behavioral Health

As residents in the DMV area, we are familiar that the pressures placed on youth are extreme. With anxiety rates on the rise, Dr. Robert Chase and Briana Meader, at the Chesapeake Center seek to teach parents how to foster resilience and help minimize anxiety levels in their children. Issues addressed in this workshop will include the following:
●          Is my teen’s anxiety clinically significant or is their anxiety level normal?
●          What is typical for adolescent development vs. cause for concern?
●          Once upset or anxious, why is it so difficult for my teen to calm down?
●          Why do certain discussions become a battle with my teenager?
●          What tools and skills can I use to help alleviate some of the tension?

In this workshop, the presenters will share the differences between typical and concerning adolescent development and behavior. They will discuss the importance of validation and how it can diffuse difficult situations. For parents in particular, they will discuss how to help identify triggers (both your own and your child’s) and why this is so important. Participants will walk away with skills and techniques to

Dr. Robert Chase is a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist with over 25 years of experience. In addition to performing psycho-educational and neuropsychological testing of children, adolescents, and adults, Dr. Chase also specializes in the assessment and treatment of motivational and emotional issues related to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and perfectionism. Throughout his career, Dr. Chase has given numerous lectures and workshops on these and many other issues to both mental health and academic professionals, as well as to lay audiences on behalf of: The Stixrud Annual Lecture Series, CHADD of Montgomery County, the Frederick County Public School System, The Lab School of Washington’s Professional Lecture Series, and George Washington University, among others.

Briana Meader is a highly experienced psychotherapist with specialized training in both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Incorporating mindfulness and emotional regulation techniques into her work, Ms. Meader encourages children, adolescents, young adults, and families to address negative thought patterns that often times interfere with achieving positive life changes. She has practiced in the Washington/Baltimore area for the past 13 years.

Let’s Talk about Stress, Baby!
Pleasance Silicki, MSED
Founder LOLA, lil omm yoga & wellness, Professor at American University, Author, Mother, and Stress Management Facilitator

Kids, educators, parents and families everywhere are stressed out all the time. Stress is the main cause of disease in our bodies and our relationships. Stress can impact our sleep, our mood, and our digestion in ourselves and our children. In this interactive and engaging workshop we will learn practical evidence- based strategies to work with our stress and help our children work with the stress in their daily lives as well.

Pleasance Silicki is a mother, teacher, creator, author, speaker, podcaster, holistic health coach, facilitator, and an Enneagram type 4. She teaches from the foundations of evidence-based, Positive Psychology and integrates with the Yogic and Ayurvedic wisdom traditions. In 2020, she will also become a certified Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant. She is the founder of THRIVE, an online self-care class and community, and LOLA an academy for women’s leadership, stress management, and life design. Pleasance is the author of Delight: 8 Principles for Living with Joy and Ease, published in 2016 and the host of the LOLA Community Podcast. As founder of lil omm yoga studio, the Co-Founder of The National Kids Yoga Conference and Septima Clark Public Charter School, Pleasance is passionate about bringing well being into a variety of communities and to all humans. She has taught Mindful Explorations at George Mason University and teaches Strategies in Stress Management at American University. She facilitates Mind-Body Medicine Skills Groups, Stress Management and Self-Care workshops, and retreats to a variety of individuals, groups, and organizations. She leads groups on The Artist’s Way and community circles specifically on Social Justice and parenting.

iParent 101: Parenting Challenges in a World of Digital Dysregulation
Dr. Adam Pletter
Child Psychologist
iParent 101, LLC

Our children were born into this digital world. They are using electronic devices such as iPads and iPhones at such an early age. So how can we be in charge of teaching them when we are the Digital Parenting Pioneer? Join Dr. Pletter in an information-packed discussion focused on practical suggestions encouraging parents to actively guide their children’s emerging self-regulation skills in the face of an overly stimulating digital world.

Dr. Adam Pletter is a licensed clinical psychologist in Maryland in his 19th year of private practice. He received his doctoral degree from George Washington University and specializes in the treatment of children, adolescents, and young adults. Dr. Pletter has developed and runs iParent 101, LLC, a digital parenting workshop and online course, and has been featured on National Public Radio, Good Morning America, and NBC-TV as well as written on the topic for The Washington Post and other media outlets.

Workshop Session 2

Empowering Your Child Towards Future Financial Independence
Chuchi Arevalo, CFA, CFE
CEO, SPARK Business Academy

Financial literacy is an essential life skill, yet it is not widely taught in schools and parents often struggle to talk to their kids about money. Join us for an interactive session to learn useful tips and help your child adopt prudent financial habits and make sound financial decisions.

Chuchi Arevalo is the founder and CEO of SPARK Business Academy. Chuchi has 20 years of professional experience in finance and 6 years of expertise designing and implementing innovative financial literacy programs at many of the top private and public schools in the US. Mr. Arevalo has worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers as Financial Services Director, and as an Associate at Economists Incorporated. Mr. Arevalo received an MBA from Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and a BA (Economics, Honors) from the University of West London, England, Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).

What’s the Big Deal about Brain Skills?
Maureen Loftus
Executive Director at LearningRx (Reston and Tysons)

Have you or a former teacher labeled your child a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner? Peel back that label and understand what may be causing your child to avoid certain kinds of work and gravitate towards others.

By understanding your child’s learning strengths, you can help them develop successful learning strategies. But by understanding your child’s weaknesses, you can unlock learning potential.

Neuroscientists have discovered that our brains have the lifelong ability to adapt and build. No matter how old we get, our brains are always finding new and better ways to reorganize neural pathways (information highways, if you will) and even build brand new ones. You can help your child develop a faster, smarter brain.

This presentation will teach you about the cognitive profile, how to discover your child’s cognitive profile, and how to make it stronger in a way that will be fun for your child.

Maureen Loftus is the Executive Director at LearningRx in Reston and Tysons. She has worked with over a thousand families in the DC metro area providing one-on-one cognitive skills development training and education. Maureen has provided guest lectures on cognitive training in the public and private schools in Fairfax, Loudon, and Prince William counties, Virginia Occupational Therapy Association (VOTA) and numerous Virginia medical/therapeutic practices. She is the Chair of Youth and Education Committee for the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce and an active member of the ADHD Resource Group of Northern Virginia and several other special needs resource groups.

Prior to her career in cognitive skills training, Maureen has been leading successful start-up, high-growth and turnaround companies in the life sciences, high-tech, and financial services industries. Previous to starting LearningRx, Maureen was President of IBT Laboratories, a specialty clinical diagnostic laboratory in allergy, immunology, and infectious disease where she successfully steered a merger with Viracor Laboratories. Prior to IBT, Maureen led a turn-round of Bode Technology, a global leader in forensic DNA testing that played a key role in identifying victims from the World Trade Center disaster, Tsunami in Thailand, and Hurricane Katrina along with helping to solve thousands of criminal cases. Preceding her foray into life sciences, Maureen was known for her leadership in technology-enabled services start-ups in biometrics, online investing, and electronic payments. Before jumping into executive leadership, Maureen spent 10 years providing management, operational, and human resources consulting services to over 100 companies ranging from Silicon Valley start-ups to Fortune 100 companies.

Ms. Loftus earned her BSBA from Washington University in St. Louis and her MBA from-the Kellogg Graduate School of Business at Northwestern University.

Building Resilience and Conquering Negative Thought Habits: The Resilience Builder Program®
Mary K. Alvord, PhD
Psychologist and Director, Alvord, Baker & Associates, LLC
Founder and President of New Non-Profit, Resilience Across Borders, Inc.

Resilience, the ability to adapt despite the disappointments and challenges of everyday life, may come more naturally to some people than others but is a quality that can be fostered in all children. Helping children learn to be proactive and self-regulate is key. A significant aspect of being resilient is learning to change the unhelpful thoughts that get in your way – I can’t do it! I’m such a loser! What if . . . ? — to helpful, realistic thoughts. The good news is that the broad set of resilience skills, including techniques that help children and tweens take more initiative, gain leadership skills, and conquer their negative thinking patterns, can be learned and reinforced by parents and other significant adults. This talk will highlight and demonstrate numerous strategies to help build the many skills identified by research that build resilience.

Mary K. Alvord is a licensed psychologist with more than 35 years of clinical experience and is director of Alvord, Baker & Associates. Specializing in treating children, adolescents, and adults she uses cognitive behavior therapies (CBT) to build resilience. She has recently founded a charitable non-profit, Resilience Across Borders, Inc. As An adjunct associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, she supervises Psychiatry Fellows in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Co-author of ResilienceBuilder Program: Enhancing Social Competence and Self-Regulation, audio recordings, Relaxation and Self-Regulation Techniques for Children and Teens and Relaxation and Wellness Techniques (for adults) and Conquer Negative Thinking for Teens, she also wrote an essay for NPR: For Teens Knee-Deep In Negativity, Reframing Thoughts Can Help

Nutrition Strategies to Optimize Attention, Learning, and Behavior: The Surprising Ways the Wrong Food and Missing Nutrients Impact Mood and Cognition
Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND – Clinical Nutritionist and Author

In this workshop, we will explore how nutrition when used therapeutically, can improve brain function, attention, and mood. Going beyond the food pyramid and the basics of eating a balanced diet, Kelly will provide practical steps for uncovering clues behind nutrition-linked cognitive and emotional difficulties that present at school and home. You will leave with practical information and strategies to implement now.

Kelly Dorfman is one of the world’s foremost experts on using nutrition therapeutically to improve brain function, energy, and mood. She lectures internationally and has been featured on numerous television programs such as CNN’s American Morning and media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Oprah Magazine and Goop.com. Publisher’s Weekly claimed her awarding winning book, Cure Your Child With Food: The hidden connections between food and childhood ailments, (Workman 2013) was full of “fascinating and potentially life-changing advice.” Kelly has a master’s degree in nutrition and biology and is a licensed clinical nutritionist.

Bedtime Stories, Bribes, and Battles: How to Create and Celebrate a Culture of Reading at Home
Marie Marino, BS, MS
Coordinator of Learning Services and Assistant Head of Lower School, McLean School
Lauren Strycula, BS, MEd
Learning Commons Librarian, McLean School

You want your child to love reading at home but sometimes it’s not that simple. What do you do if your child only wants to read comics or wants you to read aloud the same picture book for the thousandth time? What if your child refuses to pick up a book at all? Why is this so hard and is it even worth the battle? Research shows that parent involvement is the number one predictor of early literacy success and habits of engaged reading. What an incredible (and sometimes intimidating) opportunity as a parent. Luckily, you’re up for this challenge and we are here to help! During this presentation, we will share insights about ​why​ the process of reading at home can be a struggle and ​how​ you can feel empowered with creative tips and strategies to implement with your child. You will leave armed with a toolkit of ready-to-use resources to inspire and nurture a culture of reading at home.

Marie Marino has been working in the field of early childhood special education for over 15 years in independent school settings, including in her current role as Assistant Head of Lower School and Coordinator of Learning Services at McLean School. Her past positions have been as a special educator, classroom teacher, learning specialist, and adjunct professor. Ms. Marino holds her BS in Early Childhood Education from the University of Rhode Island and her MS in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University. She has an Advanced Professional Certificate in Special Education: Infant through Grade 3 and is in the process of earning an Administration Certification I. Outside of her work at McLean School, Ms. Marino is the mother of a 3 year old son and a 5 year old daughter, who have given her the invaluable parent perspective of child development, early intervention, and both the challenges and celebrations that come along the way.

Lauren Strycula is currently the Learning Commons Librarian at McLean School and works across divisions with all K-12 faculty and students. This is her 5​th​ year in this position. Previously, she worked at The Diener School and taught 3​rd​ and 4​th​ grade students with autism, ADHD, ADD, and learning differences. She holds her BS in Elementary & Special Education from Mount St. Mary’s University and a MEd from Penn State University in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Children’s Literature. Reading and storytelling are her passions and she finds nothing more rewarding than sharing that passion with young people and helping them to develop a reading life and love of their own.

Ready to Launch: Helping Children and Teens Develop Competence, Confidence, and Life Skills for College and Beyond.
Rebecca Kullback, LCSW-C
Director of Outpatient Services
Metropolitan Counseling Associates, LLC

In addition to academic preparation, college students need to possess a wide range of social, emotional, and behavior skills to launch well. This workshop focuses on developmentally appropriate ways parents and professionals can help children and teens develop self-awareness, goal directed behaviors, emotional regulation, effective communication, and problem-solving skills necessary to be healthy and successful at school. Specific strategies and techniques will be discussed with special attention to increasing trends of skills deficits and misleading behaviors in college students that increase their risk of developing depression, anxiety, and disruptive behaviors at school.

Rebecca is the co-founder and Director of Outpatient Services at Metropolitan Counseling Associates, where she provides clinical supervision, training and psychotherapy to young adults, couples and families. In addition to direct clinical work, Rebecca is actively involved in program development and professional training on a wide range of issues pertaining to mental health prevention, support, and treatment. Her scope of work is driven by a passion to enhance prevention, assessment, and psychoeducation in mental health. Ms. Kullback provides consultation to many area health care providers, agencies, and schools. She is the co-creator of Launch Well, a program combining outreach services, assessment, skills training, and treatment to enhance the mental health and academic success of college students nationwide.