What baggage are students bringing to school and how can we help them unpack it? Hear directly from students about the issues they are facing today — such as school safety, suicide, depression, drug and alcohol use and abuse — and the impact these problems have on them in the school setting. Learn from Ohio school public relations professionals and other stake holders in education about the strategies being used in schools and communities to support student well-being, safety and mental health.


9 a.m.
Registration and coffee
9:30 a.m.
Welcome and introductions
9:45 a.m.
Grant Us Hope
Diane Egbers, founder and board chair, and Dr. Keith Kline, executive director, Grant Us Hope
After losing her 15 year-old-son, Grant, to suicide, Diane Egbers founded a Cincinnati-based nonprofit bearing his name. Grant Us Hope focuses on teen suicide prevention by providing a platform for teens, parents and families to engage in pro-mental health conversations, activities and solutions. Hear how Grant Us Hope can help you create a culture of prevention in your district.
10:45 a.m.
11 a.m.
Hope Squad panel discussion
Grant Us Hope is the Ohio sponsor for Hope Squad, a school-based, peer-to-peer student program with a three-year curriculum emphasizing suicide prevention fundamentals, self-care and anti-bullying. The program empowers students to be the ears and eyes of a school as they watch out for youth in distress. A panel of Hope Squad students will share their insights on the suicide prevention issues they are facing in schools today.
12 p.m.
Lunch (provided)
1 p.m.
We are Firebirds, We are Kettering
Valerie Dupler, J.E. Prass Elementary School principal, Kettering City; and Mary Beth Thaman, director, Kettering Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department
The Kettering City School District (KCSD) implemented positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) districtwide to encourage positive school environments that are more effective for achieving academic and social goals. Based on this success, Partners for Healthy Youth (PFHY) — a partnership between the city of Kettering and KCSD focused on addressing the needs and issues facing local youth and families — worked with school personnel to develop a community-based initiative known as We Are Kettering, which mirrors the district’s PBIS model. Learn how KCSD and PFHY are working together in this unique partnership.
2 p.m.
Turning negatives into positives
A panel of school PR pros from across the state will share how they turned negative incidents in their districts into positive opportunities.
3 p.m.