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2017 Literacy Connections Conference: Opening Minds Through Literacy

Date: March 31, 2017

Location: Pineland Farms, New Gloucester, ME

Registration Workshop Descriptions Conference Program
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Join the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy for our ninth annual Literacy Connections Conference in Maine. For more information on the workshops offered, view the descriptions here.

Please note: When paying by purchase order or personal check, please select the “Pay Later” button and an invoice will be sent to you.


Katilin Roig-DeBellis

Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, Founder of Classes 4 Classes

Choosing Hope: Moving Forward from Life’s Darkest Hours

Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis was teaching her first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School the day tragedy struck. She managed to save the lives of all 15 of her students by hiding them in a small bathroom located in the classroom. Since then, she has focused on moving forward with hope, determination, optimism, and sharing her story in order to help others. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Classes 4 Classes, a 501(c)(3) organization that serves as a social networking tool for every student in the United States to learn compassion, caring, kindness, and empathy through active engagement. Classes 4 Classes has worked with more than 3,500 students in 25 states, and will expand into all 50 states in 2017. Kaitlin is also the author of Choosing Hope: Moving Forward from Life’s Darkest Hours, which was a finalist in the category of memoir for the Books for a Better Life Awards.

Her awards include being selected as a Top 50 Teacher by the Global Teacher Prize; the alumni association’s Humanitarian Award from the University of Connecticut; two Honorary Doctorates; the Dedicated Teacher Award from the Chicago International Conference on Education; being honored as one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year alongside Nobel Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai and Congresswoman and shooting survivor Gabby Giffords; and being selected by L’Oreal Paris as one of their “L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth,” for which she was recognized as one of “10 Inspiring Women Making Beautiful Differences in their Communities.” Kaitlin graduated from the University of Connecticut and earned her Masters of Education, with honors, from the NEAG School of Education. She currently teaches Education courses at Bay Path University as an Adjunct Professor and writes weekly educational blog posts for the Huffington Post.


Steven Rowe, President and CEO of Maine Community Foundation

Building Launch Pads for Lifelong Success

Steve Rowe has led the Maine Community Foundation (MaineCF) since 2015. MaineCF is a statewide community foundation with the mission of improving the lives of all Maine people. Before joining MaineCF, Steve led the Endowment for Health, New Hampshire’s largest health foundation. Prior to that he practiced law at Verrill Dana LLP and served for eight years as Maine’s Attorney General. Steve also served in the Maine Legislature, including a term as Speaker of the House. Prior to serving in government, Steve worked at UNUM Corporation and Fairchild Semiconductor in Maine. A graduate of West Point, Steve served as an Army officer. He now works out of MaineCF offices in Ellsworth and Portland.

Steve will discuss why high quality early childhood development is so important to lifelong learning and success, the impact of challenges faced by children and families today, and strategies to help others understand the importance of early childhood investments.





8:00 a.m.       Registration (Commons Building)   
9:00 a.m. Welcome
9:30 a.m.


Keynote – Choosing Hope: Moving Forward from Life’s Darkest Hours, Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, Classes 4 Classes (Mt. Washington Room)
10:20 a.m. Book Signing, Break, and Transition to Morning Workshops
11:00 a.m. Morning Workshop Offerings
  • Wonderful Words: Making Vocabulary Come Alive in the Classroom
  • Providence Talks!
  • Starting Strong
  • Engaging Individuals and Communities
  • Let’s Hear it from the Kids
  • Childhood Exposure to Violence and Trauma: Strategies for Working with Students Who Have Been Exposed
  • Building MoMEntum: Digital Literacy in the Primary Grade
  • Food Pantries Can Feed Children’s Bodies and Minds
12:00 p.m. Transition to Lunch (Commons Building)
12:15 p.m. Lunch (Mt. Madison Room)
1:00 p.m. Keynote – Building Launch Pads for Lifelong Success, Steven Rowe, Maine Community Foundation (Mt. Washington Room)
1:45 p.m. Book Signing, Networking, Raffles, Transition to Afternoon Workshops
2:30 p.m. Afternoon Workshop Offerings
  • Building Kinder Communities
  • Trauma and Pain-Based Behavior
  • Talk With Me Baby
  • Making Stone Soup: A Collaborative Approach to Developing a Community Center
  • Connecting Children to Nature Through Children’s Books
  • Building Strong Foundations: Literacy Development Strategies for Our Youngest Learners
  • Literacy and Math – The Perfect Combination
  • How Can We Ensure that Children Who Struggle in Learning to Read and Write Gain the Skills for a Literate Future?
3:30 p.m. Conference Ends

Get in Touch

You may also contact us by phone at 850.562.5300 or by mail at:
Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy
516 North Adams Street • Tallahassee, Florida 32301