When actions like the attack on the U.S. Capitol happen (view CPA's full statement), they inevitably affect our workplaces, schools, and communities. The Commonwealth Prevention Alliance (CPA) encourages honest dialogue, realizing it’s important to acknowledge the pain of this moment.

As Prevention Professionals, we have the ability and responsibility to create safe spaces for discussions that respect the diversity, views, and beliefs of everyone. How we respond to these events, in our communities, schools, and workplaces has the potential to create positive rippling effects for the future of our youth and for the future of our country.

This session was held on February 24th, 2021, and can now be viewed by clicking the "Watch Session Now" button below.

Session Title 

"Brave Conversations in Classrooms and Communities"


Discussing current events as well as topics such as race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. can be a daunting task, particularly when engaging with children of various experiences. This session will highlight some recommended ideas for navigating these conversations. Additionally, the presenters will highlight the importance of maintaining a positive and safe space for both adults and students. Finally, the importance of self-care will be described to showcase the value of ensuring one is psychologically and emotionally well prior to and following tough conversations.



About the Speakers

Nikole Y. Hollins-Sims, Ed.D., is an educational consultant for the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN)-Harrisburg Office. She currently serves as the co-statewide lead for the Behavior initiative, as well as an active member of the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) initiative. In addition, she is the statewide lead for equitable practices in partnership with the office of safe schools for the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Dr. Hollins-Sims is also involved in the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) with a focus on increasing the graduation rates of students with disabilities. Finally, Dr. Hollins-Sims is a Pennsylvania certified school psychologist with a specific interest in social justice.  She has also conducted research around caregivers of children of incarcerated parents and their motivation to engage in family-school partnerships.

Dana Milakovic, serves as the Mental Health/Alcohol and Other Drug Specialist with the Office for Safe Schools for the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). She is a mental health and trauma specialist with experience in school mental health, community mental health, pediatric neuropsychology, school administration and school psychology. In her current role, she is focused on strengthening schools by applying neuropsychological research to mental health integration in schools, trauma-sensitive schools, school climate, substance use disorders and improving mental health services for children across Pennsylvania. Prior to her work at PDE, Milakovic spent over 15 years working on behalf of children with special needs as a community mental health evaluator, school psychologist and administrator.