Pacific Northwest School Social Work Conference

LIVE Sessions: May 13-14, 2021

Recorded Sessions: Available until June 15, 2021

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Intro and Welcome

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Keynote Session

Unlocking and Uncovering Our Multicultural Lens for Living in a Multicultural World

Mercedes Samudio

Session Type: Keynote
CEU Category: Cultural Awareness/Competency
Practice Level: All Practice Levels

SPEAKER BIO: Mercedes Samudio, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist, parent coach, speaker, and bestselling author who helps parents and children communicate with each other, manage emotional trauma, navigate social media and technology together, and develop healthy parent-child relationships. Mercedes is an adjunct professor at Chapman University and Pepperdine University where she teaches psychology, diagnosis of mental illness, and multicultural counseling. She is an accomplished speaker who explores topics such as parenting identity development, multicultural counseling, and developing a clinical identity. Mercedes started the #EndParentShaming movement as well as coined the term Shame-Proof Parenting – using both to bring awareness to ending parent shame. You can read more about her parenting expertise at

ABOUT THE SESSION: Join Mercedes as she presents Unlocking and Uncovering Our Multicultural Lens for Living in a Multicultural World. Multiculturalism is not just about race and ethnicity. It’s also about understanding that a person’s gender, sexuality, ability status, economic status, mental health, physical healthy, nationality, immigration status, trauma history, childhood experiences, family roles, occupation, living arrangements, relationship status, and other ways that we identify are a huge factor in how they show up in the world. We often forget that these identities influence so much of the ways we exist and they ways that we move forward in healing.

In this keynote presentation, licensed clinical social worker and bestselling author Mercedes Samudio will explore how developing your multicultural lens in your work lays the foundation for truly creating lasting change for your clients and their communities. She will explore cultural identity, innovative ways to showcase cultural competency, and how to intentionally adapt interventions to be culturally sensitive. Mercedes will also interweave her experiences in multiculturalism working with families in community mental health with her own experiences navigating a world as an African American woman creating a tapestry of experiences for attendees to use within their own work. This will be an interactive session where attendees will be able to reflect on their own multicultural identities as well.


  • Describe multiculturalism in the context of social work
  • Define microaggressions and implicit bias
  • Discuss intersectionality in the context of the social work profession
  • Identify strategies for assessing multiculturalism and cultural identity formation
  • Explore the concept of social justice in social work

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. – Break

2:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. – Breakout Sessions 1

Beyond Inclusion: Showing Up For LGBQT+ Youth

Denise Reddinger, M.Ed., NBCT, Serena Blue Tudela, Syd Welhelm and Audrey Huff

Session Type: Education Session
CEU Category: Cultural Awareness/Competency
Practice Level: Intermediate


Denise Reddinger (she/her/hers) is a High School Counselor at Richland High School in the Richland School District, since 1995. She earned her BA from Washington State University in 1991, her Masters in Education, specializing in School Counseling from Heritage University in 1995, and her K-12 Principal credentials from Washington State University in 2010. She is the Department Head for her school and in her District. Elected in 2018, she serves on the Washington School Counselor Association Executive Board as the High School Vice President and represents WSCA in various state level work. She is also the Corporate Board Secretary for Hugh O’Brien Youth of Washington (HOBYWA).

Serena Blue Tudela (She/Her), is a senior at Richland High School in Tri-Cities WA. She co-founded the student advocacy group Save Queer Youth which is dedicated to creating safer schools for LGBTQ+ students in the Columbia Basin. She has been a guest presenter for school counselor groups in her region. She, and other members of the advocacy group, created an At-Home Student Support document, a resource document with relevant student support information, not just for LGBQT+ youth, but for all youth as a response to school closures. This document has been shared with counselor groups.

Syd Welhelm (He/Him; They/Them) is a senior at Southridge High School in Kennewick and a co-founder of Save Queer Youth. He is dedicated to providing resources for LGBTQ+ students and raising awareness in support of student mental health. He specifically wants to help transgender individuals as he is one himself (female to male).

Audrey Huff (She/Her): Audrey is a student at Columbia Basin College, and is a member of Save Queer Youth. She is also a statewide organizer with Washington Youth for Climate Justice.


SESSION DESCRIPTION: The student advocacy group Save Queer Youth will teach foundational knowledge on sexuality and gender identity from their unique, personal student perspective. Their presentation will consist of the modern language used to describe queer identities and experiences. Save Queer Youth will address the need for LGBTQ+ tools for mental health support and provide a variety of crisis resources for staff and youth. The presentation will breakdown the unique obstacles faced by LGBTQ+ youth and methods of supporting them. Information will be shared via PowerPoint followed by a student panel for open questions & answers. How does the proposal relate to School Social Work & Student Support?
This proposed workshop will provide new and experienced educators with relevant, contemporary information about supporting students who identify as LGBTQ+, as well as those who are allies to the LGBQT+ community. This workshop teaches suicide prevention and youth empowerment from an equitable and essential perspective. In addition, evidence-based options that can be implemented in schools will be discussed.

Stop Counting Us Out. Start Inviting Us In.

ShaShuna Cain and David Holm

Session Type: Exploration Session
CEU Category: Cultural Awareness/Competency
Practice Level: All Practice Levels



ShaShuna Cain will graduate from the MSW Program at Portland State University in June. Upon graduating, she will also become a Licensed School Social Worker. ShaShuna has 20+ years of experience providing services with youth and families. Currently, ShaShuna works as a Student Success Advocate with Portland Evening and Summer Scholars with Portland Public Schools.

David Holm has worked in the field of education for 15 years in a variety of roles, such as paraeducator, middle school teacher, Student Management Specialist, and Behavior Coach in two school districts. For 6 years David has been an administrator for Portland Evening and Summer Scholars in Portland Public Schools.


SESSION DESCRIPTION: The intent of this session is to collaboratively engage in a learning community that is poised to center student voice as we receive students back to in-person instruction. We will focus on the importance of building and strengthening trusting relationships between school staff, students, and families. By doing this, we are committing ourselves to create a web of support that holds and cares for our youth, with intentional consideration given to our values of equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Session participants will have opportunities to engage in self-reflection and peer dialogue and will discuss unmet needs, gaps, opportunities, and implementation strategies.

Supporting Schools to Develop a Tier 3 Integrated Mental Health & Academic Program: The BRYT Approach

Dr. Courtney Tucker, LICSW, PhD and Katherine Houle, LICSW

Session Type: Education Session
CEU Category: Clinical Social Work Practice
Practice Level: All Practice Levels



Dr. Courtney E. Tucker is a native of Decatur, Ga. Dr. Tucker received her B.S. degree in Chemistry from Clark Atlanta University, M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Ph.D. in Educational Studies from Emory University. While working as a researcher and evaluator, Dr. Tucker saw not just the lack of affordable and quality mental health services in the Black community, but also the impact of undiagnosed and treated mental illness among those from underserved communities. As a result, she pursued her clinical M.S.W. at Smith College School for Social Work. While maintaining a vigorous academic life, Dr. Tucker has manifested a fervent commitment to serving in the areas of teaching, mentoring, and training youth and young adults for the past 15+ years. After completing her M.S.W., Dr. Tucker was awarded a post-MSW W.E.B. DuBois fellowship at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she was able to expand her role beyond the traditional therapeutic hours by nourishing existing community partnerships and creating new ones. At the end of her fellowship, she was employed as a clinical social worker at The Pennsylvania State University where her passion for clinical work both within and outside of the clinic environment guided her interest in providing outreach, consultation, and support to various members of the State College community. Presently, she is employed as the BRYT’s Associate Director of Business and Partnership Development through the Brookline Center for Community Mental Health where she is actively involved in expanding the reach and capacity of the network to help k-12 schools support students experiencing mental health difficulties.

Katherine Houle, LICSW, is BRYT’s Associate Director. She has worked in a variety of social work positions over a 16-year career, including six years as the BRYT Program leader at Brookline High School in Brookline, MA. For the past eight years she has been supporting schools across Massachusetts, in Oregon and beyond in developing and continuously improving BRYT-model programs. Katherine and the BRYT Team share a deep commitment to racial equity and is working to address the questions of who gets to have BRYT model programs, in schools that have programs which students have access to them, and how effective are the programs for all students who access them.


SESSION DESCRIPTION: The first known program of its kind in the nation, BRYT (Bridge for Resilient Youth in Transition) provides short-term, transitional supports for students whose learning has been affected by serious mental health and/or other medical challenges. BRYT began in a single Brookline, Massachusetts, high school and is now available to more than 160,000 students in 145 schools across Massachusetts and beyond, including in the Portland and Bend-LaPine school districts.

In the context of the pandemic, ongoing institutional racism, and the impact of both on our communities and schools, BRYT has become increasingly important as an approach to support students with the most intensive sets of needs. This session will include an overview of BRYT and a deep dive into BRYT’s approaches to program planning, technical support for implementation and continuous improvement, and professional development for BRYT-model program staff. We will also share some of the ways in which BRYT is supporting schools in bringing students back to in-person learning with mental health and equity in mind.

The Time is Now: Bridging High School and College Through Social Workers

Shoshana Zeisman-Pereyo, Ed.D. and Jessica Kenny, MSW, LSSW

Session Type: Education Session
CEU Category: Cultural Awareness/Competency
Practice Level: All Practice Levels



Dr. Shoshana Zeisman-Pereyo (she/her) has over 20 years of experience supporting students in post-secondary educational settings including community colleges, medical education, and traditional higher education. She has helped develop and launch a pipeline program for Alaska Native/ American Indians for entrance to medical school, written and published research articles, and worked tirelessly to ensure that all students have the resources, skills, and academic support necessary to meet their educational goals. Currently, she is the Interim Director of the Learning Center at Portland State University.

Jessica Kenny (she/her) recently received her Masters in Social Work from Portland State University, and became the professional academic coach at the Learning Center in the fall of 2020, where she leads and provides task supervision for a team of six other coaches (four of them MSW interns). She is also a TSPC licensed school social worker, and has a variety of experiences working with students in K-12 academic settings, including serving as City Year AmeriCorps member in Boston, and interning in public schools in the Portland area. In her role as an academic coach, she has presented at the OCSSA Student Success and Retention Conference, PSU Culturally Responsive Symposium, and the Northwest Regional Equity Conference on the ways in which academic coaching and culturally responsive, strengths-based approaches to student earning can promote academic success.


SESSION DESCRIPTION: This past year created unprecedented barriers to education for students at all levels. PSU recognizes that this has hindered access to higher education for prospective high school students. Specifically, research is emerging that the “loss of learning” effect on black, Hispanic, and low-income high school students is worse, such that it exceeds those of white, upper income students (Kuhfeld, Condron, & Downey, 2019). To address these disparities, PSU has developed a Summer Bridge program that will allow incoming freshmen the opportunity to come to campus and enroll in introductory classes for free prior to the start of Fall term. One course in particular– College Success– is designed to meet the needs of students coming out of the remote learning environment, and will be taught in part by instructors with a social work background to ensure that we are meeting the needs of students who have navigated a variety of traumas this past year. This session is a call to action for all high school social workers to reimagine how they help prepare high school seniors for college and beyond, and how school social workers can partner with social workers in higher education to bridge the access gap for our students.

4:00 p.m. – Special Sessions

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Affinity Session

Shauna Adams


SPEAKER BIO: Shauna is a licensed clinical social worker, educator and leadership consultant who provides professional development, leadership coaching and collaborative planning for schools, human service organizations, and community leaders.
She has worked in a variety of roles over the course of her 30 year career; including mental health therapist, program administrator, equity consultant, and social justice professor at Lewis & Clark College, Portland State and Marylhurst Universities.
Ms. Adams believes that trusting relationships are essential to health and wellness, and focuses on connection, collaboration and community as power sources for transformational change.

ABOUT THE SESSION: Join Shauna as she facilitates Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Affinity Session. This session is to provide space for BIPOC social workers to explore, unpack, discharge and engage in honest dialogue about the impact of addressing racial justice in this politically charged and polarized climate. Together we will create an impassioned & compassionate space for holding our individual and collective trauma and grief; and a place where we can reconnect with our deepest knowing and share our healing wisdom.

Accountability & Anti-Racist Action Planning for White Identified Social Workers

Jane Strugatsky (she/her) & Amy White (she/her)


JANE STRUGATSKY BIO: Jane Strugatsky  is a licensed clinical social worker at two elementary schools in Portland. She previously worked as a Perinatal Social Worker and prior to that in alternative education. Jane received her Masters in Social Work from Portland State University in 2016 and obtained her license in clinical social work in 2019.

AMY WHITE BIO: Amy has worked for the past 18 years as a school social worker & counselor in Portland. She has spent her career serving students in alternative high schools and is currently working at Alliance @ Meek High School in PPS. Amy is a licensed clinical social worker and licensed school social worker who received her Master’s in Social Work from Portland State University.

ABOUT THE SESSION: Join Jane and Amy as they facilitate Accountability & Anti-Racist Action Planning for White Identified Social Workers . The intent of this session is to facilitate a conversation among white identified social workers concerning the existence of white supremacy and privilege in our daily practice. We will discuss how to create and implement a personal anti-racist action plan built on de-centering whiteness and prioritizing individual accountability.
Through the use of group conversation, breakouts and individual reflection we will explore what gets in the way of action and how to be fully present as a co-conspirator. Each participant will have the opportunity to leave with concrete actions they can apply to their personal lives and professional practice.

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – Kickoff and Opening Remarks

8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. – Breakout Sessions 2

#CounselorsNotCops: Deconstructing Authority As Practitioners In Schools

Dr. Elisa Meza

Session Type: Exploration Session
CEU Category: Clinical Social Work Practice
Practice Level: All Practice Levels


SPEAKER BIO: Dr. Elisa Meza is a Latinx associate clinical social worker in the Bay Area with a doctorate in educational leadership from San Francisco State University. Dr. Meza obtained her master’s in social welfare from UC Berkeley and her bachelor’s in English and Mexican-American Studies from the University of Arizona. Dr. Meza has her PPSC after working in Bay Area school districts for the past 8 years. Dr. Meza is currently a community-based mental health practitioner working in school, home, and community settings to strengthen relationships between children, their families, their school, and their community. Finally, Dr. Meza also works as a consultant and facilitator focused on anti-racist practices, liberation, and healing with Black, Indigenous, Queer, and Practitioners of Color.


SESSION DESCRIPTION: Many mental health practitioners recognize the impact oppressive school systems have on our relationships with youth and families; many also wonder how to disrupt these very systems. This workshop will explore how our socialization in schools contributes to our belief system around authority and how our approach to interventions can impact our relationships with youth and families. We will discuss authority within the context of the #DefundThePolice movement which has historically advocated for the redistribution of resources to increase the presence of mental health clinicians in communities and schools across the globe. We will explore the difference between education and schooling to examine how we approach our work when referrals for mental health services are made due to issues related to schooling. Participants will walk away with a deeper understanding of what authoritative practices and approaches look like and how these approaches are often perpetuated through racism, prejudice, white supremacy, and how we are taught to trust or distrust authority throughout our lives. To this end, developing a deeper awareness of how we have been socialized as practitioners to think, act, and practice while prioritizing the experiences of Black and Brown youth to strengthen our practice is critical to implement anti-racist practices.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: Identifying and Responding to Sex Trafficking

Elizabeth Alston

Session Type: Education Session
CEU Category: Cultural Awareness/Competency
Practice Level: All Practice Levels


SPEAKER BIO: Elizabeth Alson has 10 years of experience within the topic of sex trafficking, including running a safe home, street outreach, and directing a documentary geared towards 13-18 year old students. She has conducted classroom sessions about sex trafficking to thousands of students in the Pacific Northwest, including a few years being embedded at multiple local middle and high schools in order to provide support around mental health and sexual exploitation. Alston has a masters degree in leadership studies from Hope International University, and is a PhD candidate at Johnson University, conducting a case study around lived experience of sex trafficking survivors. She is currently the Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSEC) coordinator for the state of Oregon office of child welfare, and directs state response to sex trafficking including training law enforcement, school staff, advocates, and the community, analyzing legislative concepts, conducting forensic interviews, and staffing cases with case workers statewide.


SESSION DESCRIPTION: Social workers interact with children and youth consistently, may understand a youths background and vulnerabilities, and can even observe red flags of trafficking before the indicators become known to others. This session is designed to help anyone who interacts with students understand what sex trafficking and sexual exploitation look like, and some tools for engaging and supporting students who are displaying high risk behaviors.

Participants will learn:

  • Key indicators of sex trafficking and exploitation
  • Common apps and websites used to exploit, groom, and traffic children and youth in the Pacific Northwest
  • How Covid-19 impacted commercial sexual exploitation in the US
  • Tools for teaching or mentoring in the areas of internet safety, reporting, child sex abuse material (CSAM, formerly referred to as child pornography), and other practical tips that are applicable to use by educators and social workers

Please note that this session can contain content which may be challenging for some listeners. The session will conclude with some practical tips for working with and educating students, and empower social workers to be able to connect with students around this issue in new and creative ways.

Creating Cultures of Care In Our Educational Systems

Amber McGill, Amy Yillik, Erin Taylor and Sierra Jackson

Session Type: Education Session
CEU Category: Cultural Awareness/Competency
Practice Level: All Practice Levels



Amber McGill is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed School Social Worker, Licensed Principal with 16 years in school-based social work, including 13 years in Portland Public Schools (Marshall & Franklin High Schools). She has been a PSU Field Instructor for school-based MSW Interns for 13 years. Amber is currently a Culture of Care Coach for the High Desert Education Service District (HDESD) with the grant mission of “Impacting educational culture and outcomes with Trauma-Responsive, Restorative, and Equitable practices that systematically promote wellness, safety & community support for all.” Shifting mindsets, skills and practice across central Oregon through systems level coaching, professional development, community collaboration, and resource creation at school, district and regional levels.

Amy Yilik is a Culture of Care Coach & Adjunct Faculty for USC’s Rossier School of Education Licensed School Psychologist, Clinical Trauma Specialist, Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist, CONNECT Trainer and HTR Specialist. She has 27 years experience in education with expertise in Educational Neuropsychology, Trauma-Responsive Education and Practices & Professional Resilience.

Erin Taylor is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and a Licensed Education Administrator. She currently works as a Culture of Care Coach with previous experience as a Behavior Specialist, School Psychologist, Elementary and Special Educator. She is a Crisis Prevention Institute Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Instructor and has 20 years of educational experience in Indiana, Texas, and Oregon.

Sierra Jackson is a Culture of Care Coach and Qualified Mental Health Associate with 10 years working in community mental health at various capacities (case management, crisis management, advocacy, behavior specialist)- including but not limited to adolescent mothers, individuals experiencing SPMI, adolescents and young adults from historically underserved populations. Currently serving the Jefferson County Education Service District (JCESD) under Culture of Care grant.


SESSION DESCRIPTION: Follow the journey of creating and implementing a Culture of Care in all Central Oregon schools. Funded by a cross-sector grant awarded by the Central Oregon Health Council, this team of coaches have sought to shift educational systems on both district and school levels to becoming more trauma-responsive, equitable, and restorative. Hear their process, stories of success, and how the work became more relevant than ever when COVID-19 changed our world. Taking this opportunity to challenge the status quo in education, the CARE team understands that the collective trauma we are currently living through can bring light to the ever present pain so many have been enduring for years. The CARE team’s focus has been primarily on building professional resilience, understanding how we can for ourselves and each other deeply impacts our capacity to serve others, and integrating culturally responsive approaches such as Restorative Practices, Social Emotional Learning, and Equity dialogues. The Culture of Care team is working to shift education in Central Oregon and beyond and would love to share their process, learnings and resources.

Teens Talk About Online School, COVID-19, Racism and Mental Health

Multnomah County Youth Action Council (YAC)

Session Type: Exploration Session
CEU Category: Cultural Awareness/Competency
Practice Level: All Practice Levels


SPEAKER BIO: The Youth Action Council (YAC) is a group of youth from across Multnomah County with diverse backgrounds and experiences with a passion in public health and empowering their communities to make healthier choices. The YACs also help to promote Student Health Centers and their services. The teens are experts in their own lives and experiences. Nicole Mayer has worked as worked with youth connected to Student Health Centers for four years. She hold a master’s degree in Public Health and a bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education. She worked with K-12 youth for over a decade and it passionate about creating a more resilient generation.


SESSION DESCRIPTION: Youth will share their personal experiences regarding online school, racism, COVID-19 and the effects on their mental health. They will also share data provided by area schools on things like how attendance is affected by racism and mental health. If the schools have not previously collected this data, students will create a survey to send youth to collect the data independently. Our objective with this presentation is to educate social workers about the diverse lived experiences of youth across Multnomah County, present actionable steps for social workers to create more equitable environments for young people, and create discussion groups around uncomfortable conversations that need to be had in regard to equity within the social work community.

10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. – Break

10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. – Breakout Sessions 3

Death Cafe: Normalizing Conversations of Grief, Loss, Death & Dying

Jett Koda

Session Type: Exploration Session
CEU Category: Cultural Awareness/Competency
Practice Level: All Practice Levels


SPEAKER BIO: Jett Koda is currently in her second year of the three year MSW program. She has been participating, facilitating and hosting Age and Death Cafes at her internship with Washington County Disability Aging & Veteran Services. As a practicing alternative counselor and group facilitator for nearly twenty years prior to returning school, she works closely with clients through transitional times, death and dying, grief work, trauma, loss (cultural, personal, familial), intergenerational healing and ancestral work. As a member of the queer community, she works with LGBTQ+ clients to support healing, transition, grief and loss. She recently hosted her first LGBTQ+ Death Cafe and will continue to create inclusive and safe spaces for folx to talk about death and dying. Jett is a Certified Yoga Teacher, meditation facilitator and Reiki Master. She works with hospice and is training as a Death Doula to further integrate her death practice with social work. Her counseling work with clients is trauma informed and holds the continuous practice of social justice awareness and anti-racism work.


SESSION DESCIPTION: Death and dying, grief and loss affect us all. Death Café is not a grief or bereavement group, but a space to normalize conversations about death and loss in a non-judgmental way. Particularly during the pandemic, a concentrated view on racial equity and a rapidly aging society, our communities have an urgent need to practice these conversations. Death Cafés are open to anyone and are a simple yet effective tool for social workers to create opportunities for their clients and community to explore feelings and thoughts about death and dying.

In this session, you will learn how to create, host and facilitate a Death Café for your community. Participants will practice a mini-version of Death Café by having conversations in an open facilitated group style. We will consider ways to have conversations that are inclusive of grief and loss for our clients and colleagues while also being mindful of burnout. Information on how to approach conversations ethically in different settings will be discussed. Participants will receive trauma informed care and self-care tools as ways to support conversations. The session will also provide considerations and best practices to create and facilitate Death Café for culturally specific populations including LGBTQ+ and BIPOC folx.

Preventing Dropout is Not Enough: The Promise of Persisting

Mathew Uretsky

Session Type: Education Session
CEU Category: Clinical Social Work Practice
Practice Level: All Practice Levels


SPEAKER BIO: Mathew Uretsky is an applied social scientist with advanced training in the use of linked administrative data systems, rigorous evaluation if intervention effects, and advanced modeling of longitudinal predictors of child and adolescent outcomes.His academic and practice careers have focused on promoting student academic and behavioral development through individual mentoring and counseling, family engagement and case management, and systems-level program development. In addition to his practice experience in schools, he currently leads the School Social Work Licensure Program for Portland State University. His recent research has focused on using advanced quantitative methods with statewide administrative data to examine inter-system and cross-level influences on the academic and behavioral development of emerging adults.


SESSION DESCRIPTION: Earning a high school diploma is a key social determinant of health, affecting the social, economic, and physical wellbeing of individuals and their greater communities. Accordingly, many researchers and practitioners have come to view dropout as a major public health issue requiring immediate and intensive intervention and prevention programming. In addition to dropouts, there is a crucial, but often overlooked group of non-graduates—persisters—who do not dropout or earn a diploma after four years of high school. Unlike dropouts, persisters remain behaviorally engaged in school making them a prime target for intervention. Nevertheless, persisters go uncounted and undiscussed in most schools leaving them functionally invisible to most practioners.

This session will begin a dialogue about the important gaps in the current conceptualization of, research, and current practices related to non-graduates. Persisters are positioned at the nexus of a series of critical social work issues including the intergenerational replication of poverty, racial justice/inequality, and the school to prison pipeline, among others. The discussion will focus not only on the characteristics of these young people, but also on the social and political contexts that converge to reinforce larger inequalities.

Restorative Justice: The Realities of Justice Actually Being Restored

Yusuf Leary

Session Type: Education Session
CEU Category: Cultural Awareness/Competency
Practice Level: All Practice Levels


SPEAKER BIO: Yusuf Leary is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in History and minored in Anthropology, he is currently pursuing his graduate degree at Warner Pacific College (MAT). Yusuf is the Restorative Justice Coordinator at Metropolitan Learning Center in Portland, Oregon where he focuses on transformative approaches to engaging students and staff alike in restorative practices. Yusuf has spent over 10 years working with inner city youth, he is the owner of a non-profit organization called “VoicesEmpower” which focuses on empowering young people to use their creativity and expression to voice their opinions while also teaching students conflict resolution techniques. Yusuf has facilitated many Restorative Justice trainings, and been a keynote speaker on the topic. Most recently Yusuf was a guest speaker for the School of Social Work at Sacramento State University. Yusuf is a voice for young BIPOC students and staff while encouraging schooling systems to examine ways they can be more inclusive in the community.


SESSION DESCRIPTION: When we examine the concept of “restorative justice” it is important to identify what that actually means, and why that means something different to various cultures. Restorative justice of any kind is subject to that person’s cultural understanding of what justice is and means. For example, African-American people have lobbied for reparations from the US government since the reconstruction era in the 1800’s, although there has been legislative and policy change to enhance African-American lifestyle in America, it falls short of what is considered compensation for the mistreatment African-American people have faced throughout history. Some people may object to such compensation such as reparations due to their cultural perception of what justice is and means. How does this translate to the education system you ask? It directly translates in the sense that justice is determined by cultural understanding. For some students having a School Resource Officer present can represent justice and a feeling of protection to where other students may have feelings of fear and anxiety based on cultural understanding of what law enforcement represents. Those differences in comprehension translate directly to a students experience and can impact them long term. When examining Restorative Justice, in which ways are we serving justice, and which students are we actually serving. Restorative Justice is intertwined with Inclusion and Equity, yet we still need to ask ourselves how the practice of Restorative Justice can be more inclusive. The topic of how restorative justice work affects students differently based on their cultural understanding is something not many people have examined and Yusuf hopes to shed light on the inequities even within “equitable” work. Through examination and historical context we can begin to highlight ways schools can be more inclusive in practices to restore justice in the community and classroom.

11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Lunch Break

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Breakout Sessions 4

Disrupting the Self Care Construct: Emotional Labor & Workplace Wellness

Melissa Gorgon Clark and Ida Lombardozzi, MSW

Session Type: Education Session
CEU Category: Cultural Awareness/Competency
Practice Level: All Practice Levels



Melissa Gorgon Clark (she/her) is in her final year of her MSW coursework at PSU while serving as the Office Manager for Services for Students with Children. Melissa is passionate about micro practice in relation to systematic oppression. She is single parent of 4 children, a social justice advocate, pop culture enthusiast, and fan of pugs. And she abhors the term “self care.”

Ida Lombardozzi (she/her) received her MSW from PSU in 2012 with a focus on macro practice. She was one of the first 9 people in the state of Oregon to receive her school social worker license. Ida has worked with children in families for more than 15 years as an educator, advocate, and program director. She is currently the Director of Services for Students with Children at PSU. Ida is a queer mom of two young children and an extroverted east coast native.


SESSION DESCRIPTION: “Self care” is frequently offered as a remedy to the stressors that social workers experience. We believe that the construct of “self care” is not only problematic but it upholds systematic oppressions. We intend on rewriting the narrative to illustrate how the remedy does not lie with the individual, it lies with the structures that impose the need for “self care.”

Ethics In An Epidemic & Other Emergencies

Jim Raines

Session Type: Education Session
CEU Category: Clinical Social Work Practice or Social Work Ethics
Practice Level: All Practice Levels


SPEAKER BIO: Jim Raines calls himself an accidental academic with the heart of a practitioner. He earned his MSSW at Columbia University in New York City and his Ph.D. from Loyola University of Chicago. Jim has been President of the Illinois Association of School Social Workers, Midwest Council of School Social Workers, and the School Social Work Association of America. He has written five books published by Oxford University Press on evidence-based practice, school social work, ethical decision-making, and treating DSM-5 disorders. He has keynoted state, national, and international conferences. He was the Department Chair of Health, Human Services and Public Policy at California State University Monterey
SESSION DESCRIPTION: This webinar explores nine ethical dilemmas that social workers and other school-based mental health professionals face when providing continuing services to students during epidemics and other emergency situations via electronic communication platforms, such as Google Meets, Skype, or Zoom. Ethical issues include terminology, self-determination, self-care, boundaries, technological competence, confidentiality, recordkeeping, informed consent, and social justice. It identifies the psychosocial effects of a quarantine on students and their families. It provides legal guidance from FERPA, HIPAA, and COPPA. It addresses ethical guidance from the revised NASW Code of Ethics (2017) as professional social workers meet their responsibilities to clients, colleagues, school districts, and society.

Going Back To (Our) Basics

Jesús Navarro Meza

Session Type: Education Session
CEU Category: Cultural Awareness/Competency
Practice Level: All Practice Levels


SPEAKER BIO: Jesús Navarro is a CADC II, QMHA I who’s been working in the field of addiction culturally specific treatment for over a decade and working in substance use prevention services for almost a decade. He’s presented a cultural conflict and resolution “Mi Casa” at the National Mental Health and Addictions conference in Anaheim CA and many other audiences such as police departments, school district staff, community members to mention some. He’s also a former MHACBO trainer on “Treating Latinos and Other Cultures”.


SESSION DESCRIPTION: During this presentation we will learn to connect our culture origins and the diverse skills, and put into practice during hard times in particular. How to become more flexible and more patient, both with ourselves and with others we live and work with and to simplify our expectations. This is of great value during the process of acculturation, particularly during natural events such as the Covid-19 pandemic new way of living. In particular to the populations many of us work with. We will expand of view on developing, and implementing, new strategies to our daily life at home and professionally.

2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Closing Remarks