Common Ground Banner June 2015
2015 OCWTP Trainer Conference Wrap-Up
Thank you for making the OCWTP's 2015 Trainer Conference a success! Together, we learned the benefits of using technology in the classroom and strategies to incorporate it into our presentations. Thank you to our keynote speaker Steven Smith, Ph.D.and afternoon session presenters Nan Beeler and Christina Carter for their great workshops! Also, congratulations to Marla Himmenger, winner of an iPad mini, which she won for visiting the E-Track booth.


Weren't able to attend the conference? Had trouble choosing between afternoon workshops? Don't worry! Here are links to some of the workshop handouts:

From Knowledge to Skill Development, Nan Beeler

Strengthening Presentation Design to Enhance Learning, Christina Carter

Guess what! The OCWTP is offering several additional sessions of Strengthening Presentation Design to Increase Learning. Check out "Upcoming OCWTP Learning Opportunities for Trainers" for the all upcoming dates and times. 

Trainer Conference Take-Away: Poll Everywhere young-cellphone-man.jpg

Tanisha Knighton, OCWTP Trainer


As a new trainer I really wanted to try something new that would keep participants engaged in training. My workshops focus on Human Trafficking, which can be a very emotional topic. One of things Leslie Ahmadi, from IHS, and I agreed upon was that participants needed a non-threatening way to respond to questions. My original idea was to create questions using the Classroom Performance System (CPS). I was so excited that I incorporated these questions into my workshops from introduction and check in all the way through to the wrap up. Everything set up nicely, but there was one small problem...CPS is not compatible with Mac. Needless to say my first training with CPS was an epic fail. I tried hard to get it to work by reaching out to the local RTC, Mason at IHS, and CPS tech support but nothing worked.


The annual trainer conference in March discussed the use of Poll Everywhere as a free alternative to CPS, and it is Mac compatible. I set up a free account that day and have been sold on it ever since. Using Poll Everywhere is pretty easy. I was able to set up my survey questions in under half an hour. I then downloaded the PowerPoint to my computer and dropped the slides into the PPT presentation at the appropriate places. As a Mac user need the Poll Everywhere Presenters App (free in the app store) for slides to work. Overall, it is pretty easy and straightforward to use. The downsides of using Poll Everywhere are:

  1. You have to have a decent internet connection or the slides take forever to load.

  2. Participants have to bring their phone/tablet/laptop.

  3. Some people just don't like technology. 

For me Poll Everywhere has been a great addition to my training for both caseworkers and foster parents. A lot of participants have commented that they enjoyed the interactive nature of the training. Only one person expressed unhappiness happy with having to use her phone in class. Thanks OCWTP for bringing this option to my awareness!  

Changes to the CFSR Round Three:
What Does it Mean for the OCWTP?
The goal of the federal Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) is to help states improve child welfare services and achieve the national safety, permanency, and family and child well-being outcomes. The third round of CFSR runs from 2015 to 2018, with Ohio scheduled for 2017.

There have been several changes to the CFSR Round Three. Click here to learn about some of the changes and what they mean for the OCWTP.
NSDTA 2015 Professional Development Conference
Ascent to Excellence: Enhancing Performance at Any Altitude

Please visit the National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA) website for information regarding their annual conference in Denver. Consider submitting a nomination for one of the three awards and or scholarships to attend the conference. There will be between 20-25 scholarships available (approximately $30,000 available for registration and travel).  

  Applause and Recognition 
Kudos Katie Terry!


OCWTP trainer Katie Terry wrote an article that was accepted for publication in Christianity and Social Work. The article will be published late 2015 or early 2016. Way to go Katie! We can't wait to read your article!

Kudos Denise Goodman!

Dr. Denise Goodman is a co-award winner of the Child Advocate of the Year for the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), which will be presented to her on Saturday, August 1st at the NACAC Conference in Long Beach, California.

On May 28 and 29, Dr. Denise Goodman was invited to attend a White House Convening on Developmentally Appropriate Services for Children, Youth, and Young Adults in Foster Care.  With approximately 100 people in attendance, including ODJFS Office for Families and Children Deputy Director, Jennifer Justice, information was shared along with small group work on the different elements related to policy and practice development around normalcy and prudent parenting.  Denise reports that JooYeun Chang, Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau, has made a commitment to take these recommendations into consideration and will continue to seek guidance from those who participated in this convening.  

We are very proud that Denise was asked to be a member of this group. 

Kudos Ronna Johnson and family!

Ronna Johnson's son, Brandon Johnson, was featured in an Akron Beacon Journal article in May.  Congratulations on all of your accomplishments Brandon! Your OCWTP family can't wait to see what you do next!

Two Members of the OCWTP Family are Beginning a New Chapter

Congratulations Lois Tyler, IHS, and Jeanne Bennett, NEORTC, on your retirements! Thank you for your years of dedication and hard work. You'll be missed!

A message from Lois to trainers and friends:

I have decided to retire from OCWTP mid-August. This has not been an easy decision, but I feel the time is right to move on to the next stage of my life!  I've  been very fortunate to work with the OCWTP from very early in its development and to have the honor of working with the stellar group of trainers who are committed to serving Ohio's children and families through our training system. I have learned so much from you through the years and made wonderful friends.  I cannot thank you enough for your dedication to the OCWTP. I've had a rewarding and fulfilling career and look forward to see what opportunities/adventures present themselves.  -Lois 


A message from NEORTC staff and Jeanne:


NEORTC bids a fond farewell to Jeanne Bennett and wishes her the best in her retirement. Jeanne has been with the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program for 14 years. Jeanne plans on taking the summer off, reading, spending time with her husband and exploring her next steps. She may do some adult protective training for Ohio Human Services. Or she may check out the Clinique counter at her local Macy's. She thinks it might be nice to do something that makes people smile and feel good about themselves. Continuing her teaching career at Kent State University is also an option.


Jeanne says "It's been a pleasure to be associated with this program and all the individuals who are part of it. I have enjoyed making sure we have the best training possible". Jeanne also sends a big thank you to her staff for being the best team. 

Trainer Tips

Editing Your E-Track Person Record


Have you moved? Changed your email or phone number? Did you know you can easily edit your person record in E-Track by submitting a request to IHS.


Use this link or click the "Facilitator Edit Web Form" link at the top of every page in your person record. As always, feel free to contact your E-Track team with questions or for help using E-Track: or 614-437-2516. 

Managing Technology in Your Classroom
Jodie Hembree, NEORTC Training Coordinator

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the field of child welfare training. The OCWTP has welcomed the use of technology in training by developing SACWIS Labs as part of Core and Assessor workshops whereby trainees can access SACWIS directly from their agency-distributed devices, such as IPads, or from devices provided by the Regional Training Centers.  Because more county agencies are providing portable devices for their workers and supervisors, the Regional Training Centers are seeing an increase in the number of staff who are bringing these devices into the training room.  Please keep in mind that trainees should not be using their devices in the training for conducting personal SACWIS work; they should not be disruptive with their use of technology. This kind of activity can be distracting to you as well as the other trainees. If you see this occurring in your training please notify RTC staff immediately so it can be addressed at that time.  

Trainers can also check with trainees to determine if they are using their devices for note taking purposes, which is acceptable.   


Going Almost Paperless in an OCWTP Digital World:
4 Tips from an RTC

Brian Wear, ECORTC Director


Computers were supposed to make paper obsolete, but if you look at a typical Regional Training Center in Ohio, paper reams are ordered by the tons! In fact, over the past 10 years, trainee handouts have become larger AND larger because we copy PPTs handouts, and because trainers, in their energetic excitement to share everything, often include the kitchen sink in the handout packets. A few years ago at the Trainer Conference, a new method of creating PPT presentations was introduced. This method was designed to decrease "walls of words", and use simple images or phrases to convey concepts. This could dramatically increase the number of PPT slides. In fact, the presenters suggested that a 3-hour workshop may have about 75-100 slides! Seriously, a good idea for training screens, but for handouts---not so good! So, we suggest that you either make handouts of critical content, or an outline of content that is covered in the PPT. This would be more useful to participants, and should decrease the number of pages of handouts.


So, going paperless is one of my 2015 New Year's Resolutions for ECORTC and home. I am constantly looking for ways to NOT print.Click here to read "Brian's 4 tips" for going almost paperless.

From Around the OCWTP
The Latest News, Updates, and Announcements
  • The OCWTP has updated the Trainer Competencies. Just like for staff and caregivers, the competencies are statements of the knowledge and skills needed to perform the job.
Resources for OCWTP Trainers
Several times a day I receive emails that contain helpful and relevant information for our OCWTP trainers and coaches. The link below is the first resource for what I hope will be an ever-growing library of tools. Check out the resources tagged NEW! to see what's been added this month.
Check out Resources for OCWTP Trainers.
Do you have a resource you'd like to share with others? Send it to Laura Hughes and it'll be included in the next Common Ground.
How to Use Typography to Improve Your E-Learning - Don't let the title fool you. This is an interesting read on using typography to improve websites and e-learning, but 95% of it is applicable to PowerPoint and Word publications.

Upcoming OCWTP Learning Opportunities for Trainersupcomingworkshops

So You Want to be an OCWTP Trainer (9am - 1pm)

  • August 31, 2015 - CORTC
  • January 8, 2016 - TBD
  • May 6, 2016 - CORTC

Stand Up and Take Charge of the Learning Environment (9am - 4pm)

  • August 10-11, 2015 - TBD
  • October 21-22, 2015 - CORTC
  • December 8-9, 2015 - CORTC
  • February 10-11, 2016 - CORTC
  • April 11-12, 2016 - CORTC
  • June 8-9, 2016 - CORTC
Curriculum Development Training of Trainers (9am - 4pm)
  • August 25-26, 2015 - CORTC
  • November 2-3, 2015 - TBD
  • March 14-15, 2016 - CORTC
  • May 9-10, 2016 - CORTC
Strengthening Presentation Design to Enhance Learning (7pm - 9pm)
  • September 15 & 22, 2015 - Go to Training
  • January 20 & 27, 2016 -  Go to Training
  • May 10 &17, 2016 - Go to Training
Culture and Diversity Training of Trainers (self-directed process with an OCWTP staff member)


For more information or to register contact Debra Sparrow.
If you have suggestions for articles or feedback on the Common Ground we'd love to hear from you!