Common Ground BannerOctober 2011
In This Issue
Training of Trainers
Trainer Conference
E-Track Update
Skill Building Learning Labs
Regional News
Taking Learning to the Next Level
Applause and Recognition
Trainer Tips
Youth Voice

Back Issues of Common Ground


Trainer Resources

Join Our Mailing List



To register, contact

Debra Sparrow


Presentation Skills

March 21-23, 2012

June 4-6, 2012


Curriculum Development

November 2-3, 2011

May 8-9, 2012


Culture & Diversity 

January 12-13/January 23-24, 2012

April 9-10/April 26-27, 2012


Transfer of Learning

December 1, 2011

March 14, 2012



Dec 14, 2011

June 22, 2012


Classroom Performance Systems (CPS)

as requested 



2012 OCWTP Trainer Conference


The 2012 OCWTP Trainer Conference will be held on March 12, 2012, at the Crowne Plaza Columbus North.  This year's theme is "Strengthening the Bridge from Training to Practice" and our Keynote presenters are Dr. Dale Curry (about Dr. Curry) and Dr. Anita Barbee (about Dr. Barbee)


Registration will start in January.  We hope to see you there!



E-Track Update


Trainer access to E-Track is just around the corner!  With E-Track you'll be able to:


  • See your scheduled trainings, including current registrants
  • Enter "blackout" dates when you're unavailable to train
  • View the list of learnings you're certified to train
  • View and update your contact information
  • View and print survey summary reports for your training sessions

Your E-Track welcome email and access instructions will arrive via Constant Contact-so make sure IHS has your current email address on file.


resourcesThe CAPMIS Toolkit, an online

compilation of resources and skill-building activities designed to support CAPMIS implementation, is available at 


A great way to keep informed about Ohio child welfare practice is the Public Children Services Organization's website:  Check out the link to Weekly Updates, as well as the link to their newsletter, HeartBeat.


The American Academy of Pediatrics website should be on every trainer's "favorites" list. Two helpful pages:


Multiplying Connections, a group of Philadelphia-based leaders in health and child welfare, has developed a new resource which outlines strategies for modeling trauma informed practices when providing training about trauma and its impact on children and families.  Walking the Walk


Skill Building Learning Lab

 If you are someone who is hoping to take your learnings to the next level OR if there is a new learning you have been wanting to write, this is your opportunity.  This skill building learning lab addresses trainer competencies: 660-02-001; 660-02-005 through 660-02-011; 660-03-004; 660-03-06 through 66-03-011; 660-05-001; and 660-05-004 through 660-05-008. 

The Skill Building Learning Lab, facilitated by Renee Resnick, is designed to help you enhance your learnings by using you and your colleagues as the experts.   Participants discuss issues and concerns related to learning development and design, share material with other each other, and provide feedback and suggestions.  Each participant also has the opportunity for a one-to-one coaching session.


The Go-to-Meeting format allows you to participate from anywhere you have Internet connection and access to a phone.


The lab is designed in three, two-hour sessions with time between to allow you to enhance your learning design by making additions and revisions identifed through lab sessions.  You will receive training credit.




November 29, 2011; 7-9pm

December 13, 2011; 7-9pm

coaching sessions as scheduled

January 5, 2012; 7-9pm


Please contact Debra: or 614-251-2223.  Registration is limited, so register now!


rtc map














Director Brian Wear announced that after 15 years with GCCS (eight of them at the ECORTC), Ms. Natalie Knowlton will be leaving.   Natalie will be missed and they wish her the best of luck in the next chapter of her life!


The 21st Annual Attachment Conference will take place at Oglebay Park's Wilson Lodge November 21-23, 2011, hosted by Jefferson County.  ECORTC is a long-time collaborative sponsor and has copies of the flyer if any trainer wishes to attend the conference.  For more information, please email ECORTC at: and mention Attachment Conference in the subject line of the email. 



NEORTC is pleased to welcome Joy Roderick to the staff at NEORTC. Joy has been employed as a direct services caseworker with Summit County Children Services since October, 2007.  Joy now will be working part-time evening and weekends staffing for the NEORTC Caregiver training.  Please extend her a warm welcome the next time you train at NEORTC.  

In response to an increased demand for daytime training hours for foster parents whose children are in school, NEORTC will be offering a Fall Training Blitz!  Caregivers with 24 hours of training credit will be offered daytime and nighttime hours on October 27 - 29, 2011.  Note:  This does not take the place of the NEORTC Foster Parent Conference, scheduled for May 10-12, 2012.



Editorial Staff


Kelley Gruber, Susan Yingling

We would love to hear from you!  Send your submissions to


Please submit articles electronically and provide citations when needed.  Common Ground staff reserve the right to condense and edit submitted articles.  


Welcome to the first edition of the Constant Contact version of Common Ground.  We hope you enjoy the new look and increased interactivity.  As always, we welcome your feedback and contributions to this newsletter, published in February, July, and October.

IHS Trainer Development Staff


Beth Ann Rodriguez and Kelley Gruber  


The OCWTP is constantly assessing the environment and listening to its constituents in an effort to maintain its viability and value to Ohio's child welfare system. This assessment provides us a map for growth and development. Trainers must also be aware of the needs and trends in the child welfare system in order to respond to them, thereby maintaining their value to the system.


In 2010 the OCWTP Needs Assessment Work Team collected data from PCSAs through focus groups and consolidated their findings in the  2010 Targeted Data Collection Report.  Following are some highlights from the report:


Caseworkers who participated in focus groups or completed surveys commented on the need for:

  • more in-depth training for seasoned staff
  • increased application opportunities in classroom training
  • supervisory-specific training regarding transfer of learning and motivating and empowering staff

Participating caseworkers also had these comments regarding caregiver training:

  • After initial training, they need in-depth training with less theory, and more "hands on" information.
  • Caregivers don't need another 6 hour overview... They need specific strategies about what to do...
  • Provide an overview and then build on it through a series of more in-depth trainings.
  • Give caregivers specific strategies they can use...

Based on the information in the 2010 Targeted Data Collection Report, our constituents are telling us that we need to increase the level of depth and specificity of our learning activities. In reviewing almost 2,000 workshops in the OCWTP menu of offerings, the gap identified by our constituents is apparent. While the number of "overview" or introductory learning activities is quite large, we have few workshops that address application and skill.


Overview/introductory learning activities typically address the awareness (first) level, as do our standardized trainings which include Core, Preservice, and Fundamentals of Fostering.   Many existing specialized and related workshops cover a broad range of information and don't address any one topic too deeply. If you have been with the OCWTP long enough, you've heard us refer to these broad-based workshops as going "a mile wide and an inch deep." These types of workshops are necessary in a competency-based training system. However, awareness and knowledge without understanding, application, and skill will not promote best practice.    


The second level of learning in a competency-based system is knowledge and understanding. Many of the current specialized and related learning activities offer knowledge, defined as "a body of concepts, principles, and factual information about a topic."*   Learning and repeating facts is an example of knowledge. But to be able to use the knowledge, participants have to develop understanding. The development of understanding cannot happen through a 20-minute lecture. Participants must be given time to draw parallels between the learning content and their personal experiences, as well as challenge their preconceived beliefs and attitudes, to promote an openness to considering other perspectives.   They must simultaneously develop personal capacities for self-awareness and critical thinking.


The application learning level answers the question, "Now that I understand all this, how should I use it?"   Application activities define and describe, often in considerable detail, how the new learning should be implemented within the day-to-day activities of the job. It also includes a variety of on-the-job and field-based learning activities that help the learner clearly define how to use newly acquired learning, describe the appropriate steps in completing job tasks, and articulate the skills they must yet develop to effectively perform each job activity.


Skill development is the fourth level of learning and is highly dependent on practice, coaching, feedback, technical assistance, and support. These activities typically take place on the job but must also be addressed by the training system. In order to move toward skill development, trainers need to develop learning activities that have a very narrow focus, and really drill down to help the participant
understand the concepts, apply them to their job tasks, and begin to develop skills.
In order for OCWTP to continue to be viable and meet learning needs, it is vital for trainers to develop more learnings focused on application and skill. Steps to take:
  • Select one or two ares to focus your expertise, areas in which you have received professional education and/or training and experience.  Continue to develop your knowledge, understanding, and skill in that area and keep up with changes by reading professional literature and research on the subject matter. 
  • Assess the level of depth of your workshops.  Determine what you can do to take that learning activity to the next level of learning, then take it there.
  • Consult with RTCs and IHS as you work on updates to your workshop to ensure you are moving in the right direction.

*descriptions of the levels of learning taken from Rycus and Hughes, Levels of Learning: A Framework for Oganizing Inservice Training.




 Congratulations to Anthony President for being selected as the 2011 NEORTC Trainer of the Year! In the classroom, Anthony is known for his friendly, down-to-earth, engaging personality. He has excellent presentation skills and has incorporated evidence-based practice into his trainings. Anthony trains both staff and foster parents and has developed a number of workshops on topics such as Fatherhood, Youth Culture, Client Engagement, Ethics, and much more. Anthony received his award from NEORTC at their annual Fall Retreat on Friday, October 21, 2011. 


Congratulations to Judy Rycus, co-founder of the Institute for Human Services.  Judy was recently recognized by both the Ukrainian Ministry of Children, Youth, and Sport  and the Kiev Oblast (region) for her contributions to child welfare in Ukraine.  An event was held in her honor complete with a Furchet (a buffet-style reception), national music, and a meet and greet with leaders and trainers who have benefited from Judy's efforts.




Use the chart below to assist you in choosing methodologies that will help your learners achieve the identified learning objectives.






Level I: Awareness



Presentation and use of audiovisual aids



Gives a broad overview of the topic and stimulates interest



Experiential exercises 




Raises awareness and helps learners recognize what they have yet to learn


Level II: Knowledge/



Guided group discussion 



Identifies and fills gaps in learners' knowledge,  exercising their critical thinking skills 


Directly challenging learners' thinking


Exercises their critical thinking skills



Experiential exercises






Helps them apply their learning to a variety of problems and circumstances,  promoting self-awareness


Level III:


 to the Job


Experiential exercises 




Allows them to demonstrate applying the concepts to practice 



On-the-job learning activities such as coaching and supervised practice



Provides opportunity to practice applying the skills on the job, adjusting behavior based on feedback


Level IV:

Skill Development





On-the-job learning activities such as practice, coaching, feedback, technical assistance, and support 


Provides considerable practice in a variety of settings and situations, with frequent constructive coaching and feedback 




 Rycus and Hughes, Levels of Learning:

A Framework for Organizing Inservice Training



 Charlotte Osterman 


Since 2008, the OCWTP has given focused attention to youth engagement, recognizing the value and importance of participation by those who have experienced the system we are trying to impact.  We began by making youth engagement the theme of the 2008 Trainer Conference, then formed a group to map out incorporation of alumni activities into the OCWTP.  Several RTCs participated by piloting alumni activities.  


At this point, the basic structure of the OCWTP Alumni Engagement program is in place so we thought it would be a good time to let you know a little more about our efforts.


Charlotte Osterman leads a committee of approximately eight to ten people representing IHS, RTCs, and community partners and has worked hard to develop a strong partnership with the O.H.I.O. Youth Advisory Board.  In addition, we recently established an OCWTP Alumni Advisory Committee comprised of approximately eight to ten foster care alumni from each of the eight RTCs.  Because of the complexities of our system, we have had to limit our involvement to those who are ages 18 years and older. 


The Advisory Committee helps inform the process for alumni engagement within our training system.  For example, members are helping to build the infrastructure of the program by consulting on the development of forms, brochures, and processes for identifying and engaging alumni who can participate in various defined roles.


A statewide calendar that highlights youth/alumni-focused training events is being developed and it is exciting to see all the alumni activity.  Several RTCs are modeling alumni engagement in training.  In particular, NEORTC and SWORTC are really making an effort to include youth panels and youth as guest speakers.  Participating RTCs report enhanced learning for caregivers and workers who hear from youth panels regarding their experiences in foster care.  Ideas are generated on how to make the foster care placement a more positive and fulfilling experience for youth.   


The OCWTP is also collaborating with the National Resource Center for Youth Development to provide training for Ohio caseworkers and caregivers on engaging foster youth in creating their permanency and independent living plans.  This initiative creates an opportunity for co-training teams of social work professionals and foster care alumni.


In addition to training, alumni are recruited as authors, consultants, curriculum reviewers, and guest speakers/panelists. We look for natural opportunities to engage alumni within our training system.  As we hear about talent, we pursue, and identify a specific role for the alumnus to fill.  Referrals can come from foster caregivers, caseworkers, collaborative partners, the County/State Youth Advisory Boards, and in some cases, self-referrals from alumni. 


If you are interested in learning more about the Alumni Engagement program, please contact Charlotte at