Access to Justice through Innovation and Collaboration

New Directions and Emerging Opportunities: Exploring Cutting-Edge Developments Moving Us Closer to Our Goal of Justice for All

The legal needs of our communities far exceed the legal resources currently available — especially for those unable to afford to hire a private attorney. Many exciting efforts are underway to address this problem in Massachusetts and across the country. One thing is clear: we will need creative approaches and consistent collaboration to make a real and lasting impact on the systemic inequities that render legal help inaccessible for so many. Join us as we step back to assess this panorama, look to the horizon, and then work together to brainstorm solutions.

Our expert panelists will use their unique perspectives and experiences to take on questions related to:

  • Bringing a whole person approach to the user experience in court
  • Fostering better and broader collaboration within and beyond the courts
  • Harnessing technology to better serve clients and communities
  • Using research, evaluation, and data to assess impact and improve processes
  • Exploring New Models for Representation and Advocacy
  • Preliminary findings and Recommendations from the Justice for All Grant

In addition to a wide range of participants including private attorneys, legal service providers, court personnel, thought leaders, social services organizations, and community groups, we are proud to be welcoming Katherine Alteneder of the Self-Represented Litigation Network, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants, and Judge Dina Fein, First Justice, Housing Court Department, Western Division and Special Advisor to the Trial Court for Access to Justice Initiatives, as featured speakers.

Date: Monday, November 20, 2017
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location: MCLE, 10 Winter Place, Boston, MA 02108

Conference Materials:

Conference Agenda

Keynote Address:
Kathrine Alteneder, Self-Represented Litigation Network
How Design Thinking Can Optimize Pro Bono Engagement in the 100% Access to Justice Ecosystem
SRLN brief — Design Thinking

Bringing a Holistic Approach to the Court User Experience:

Exploring New Models for Advocacy and Representation:

Improving Outcomes Through Evidence-Based Research:

Better and Broader Collaboration Within and Beyond the Courts:

Family Resource Center Materials:

2016 “Building Positive School Climates” Conference

MA Appleseed hosted its third “Building Positive School Climates” conference on April 11th, 2016 at Clark University in Worcester. The conference drew a diverse audience of over 200 people from across the state to discuss implementation of the new school discipline law and learn about alternatives to exclusionary zero tolerance policies. Remarks from high-ranking state leaders such as Chief Justice of the Juvenile Courts Amy Nechtem and Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester signaled a significant, multi-sector state-level commitment to school discipline reform, and poignant remarks from Worcester youth inspired many in the audience to consider incorporating Restorative Practices into their work. Overall, participants left feeling encouraged by some of the progress being made in the area of school discipline reform, and equipped with new networks and tools to help them continue this difficult but important work going forward.

Conference materials:

Conference Agenda
Speaker Bios
Presentation Abstracts

Keynote Address:
The Power of Mindsets: Creating a Positive School Climate
Dr. Robert Brooks

Plenary Presentation Materials:
School Discipline in Massachusetts: A Look at the 2015 Data
Rob Curtin, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Youth Perspectives on School Discipline
Carlos Rojas, Rebecca Holland, and Fania Joseph, Youth on Board
The Safe and Supportive Schools Framework
Susan Cole, Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative

Breakout Session Materials:
Deconstructing the School-to-Prison Pipeline: School-Court Collaborations
Honorable Jay D. Blitzman, Middlesex Juvenile Court
Community Schools and Wraparound Zones: Creating a Safe and Supportive Context for Student Success, Wraparound Coordinators, Worcester Public Schools; Dr. Claire Crane and Omar Longus, Center for Community Schools at Salem State University

Keep Kids in Class: Building Positive School Climates

MA Appleseed hosted its 3rd annual conference on May 2, 2014. A diverse audience of educators, advocates, state agencies, and community service providers attended! The conference sparked much discussion about strategies we can employ now to cultivate positive school climates as a reality for all of our children!

The keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Brooks, gave an engaging and galvanizing presentation about the power of mindsets. Using the notion of the “charismatic adult,” Dr. Brooks explained what it means to have a positive mindset and how mindsets impact teachers, students, and the overall school climate.

The following two presentations provided a national context for a discussion of school climate and school discipline. Kate Upatham, an attorney with the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), spoke on the federal school discipline guidance, and Dan Losen, from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, presented the most recent OCR school discipline data.

The educators’ panel was the conference highlight! Sara Burd of the Reading Public Schools and Ricci Hall of Worcester Public Schools inspired educators, advocates, and community partners alike when they shared their concrete and practical experiences working with teachers, students, parents, and community members on a daily basis to improve school climates. Anne Gilligan of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provided an overview and moderated the panel discussion.

The breakout sessions covered topics ranging from principles of culturally responsive practice to implementing the new school discipline law (Chapter 222).

Conference Materials:

Conference Agenda

Keynote Address:
The Power of Mindsets: Creating a Positive School Climate, Dr. Robert Brooks

Supplemental Materials from Understanding and Managing Children’s Classroom Behavior: Creating Sustainable, Resilient Schools (2007) by Sam Goldstein, Ph.D. and Robert Brooks, Ph.D. published by John Wiley & Sons

Developing the Mindset of Effective Students

Developing the Mindset of Effective Teachers

Zero Tolerance” in Schools: How Effective Is it? Dr. Robert Brooks

School Discipline and Data Presentations:

OCR and DoJ’s joint January 2014 Dear Colleague Letter on Race and Discipline

OCR’s Civil Rights Data Collection webpage

The U.S. Department of Education Discipline Guidance Package
Federal School Discipline Data, Daniel J. Losen, UCLA, The Civil Rights Project

Breakout Session Presentations and Handouts:

How to Use Data Well and Recognize the Disparate Impact Based on Race, Gender and Disability, Daniel J. Losen, UCLA, The Civil Rights Project

Implementing the New School Discipline Law: Chapter 222 of the Acts of 2012, Deborah Dorfman, Center for Public Representation

Not Present, Not Accounted For: Trauma, Learning, and School Discipline; How to Create Buy-in for Change,Jennifer Davis Carey, Worcester Education Collaborative

Crisis in School Suspensions, By Jennifer Carey Davis and Mary Jo Marion Farrell

Focusing on Suspensions, By Jennifer Davis Carey

Additional Resources:

Keep Kids in Class: Alternatives to School Discipline by MA Appleseed

Keep Kids in Class: Perspectives on School Based Referrals by MA Appleseed

Parent Guide to School Discipline by MA Appleseed

MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: 2012-13 Student Discipline Data Report (DISTRICT)

Chapter 222 of the Acts of 2012, An Act Relative To Student Access To Educational Services and Exclusion from School

Arrested Futures

Targeted Interventions: Meeting the Needs of Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

MA Appleseed hosted its second annual conference on November 15, 2012. A diverse audience of policy advocates, legislators, state agencies, service providers, and educators attended. The keynote speaker, Christina Murphy, Director of Policy for the National Center on Family Homelessness, spoke on youth homelessness, provided national statistics, and spoke to the urgent needs of homeless youth. Edwin Darden, Director of Education Law and Policy at national Appleseed, presented a synopsis of the findings of recent our policy brief on unaccompanied homeless youth. The conference included a panel discussion addressing the unique vulnerabilities related to education, health, housing, and social justice. The breakout sessions covered topics ranging from appropriate methodologies to count this highly mobile yet invisible population to the importance of wraparound services. The conference created an excellent platform to discuss areas ripe for positive change and potential advocacy strategies to create meaningful improvement in the lives of these children.

Conference Materials

Conference Agenda

Download agenda

Invisible Faces on Facebook

Visit page

Report from the National Center on Family Homelessness: America’s Youngest Outcasts

Download report

MA Appleseed Policy Brief: Unaccompanied, Unidentified, and Uncounted: Developing Strategies to Meet the Needs of America’s Homeless Youth

Download policy brief

Presentation from breakout session #1: Creating a Comprehensive Definition of Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Download presentation

Presentation and supplemental materials from breakout session #2: Identifying Unaccompanied Homeless Youth: Deriving Data from an Accurate Count

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Download supplemental materials

Presentation from breakout session #4: Comprehensive Programs and the Importance of a Wrap-Around Approach

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