Our Capabilities


Newly Appointed "Family Ambassador" for the Department of Education, Frances Frost, to Discuss Ideas for Family Engagement (Monday, 11-12:15 p.m.): Attendees will hear from the U.S. Department of Education's first Family Ambassador, Frances Frost, and about what she hopes to achieve for family engagement efforts at the federal level. She will build her talk on the accomplishments already in place by the federal government and will share her own journey and insights she has gained through her work in the area of family engagement. She will hear from participants about their hopes for federal leadership for family engagement.

Featured Sessions at 2016 Families Learning Summit


PBS KIDS Family Creative Learning: Dual Generation Engagement with Media and Technology (11-12:15 p.m.)
Aaron Morris, PBS Kids
Tara Hardy, Detroit Public Television
PBS KIDS Family Creative Learning is a series of workshops that engage families in a dual-generation creative process utilizing PBS KIDS ScratchJr, a free creative coding app. This hands-on session will focus on the what, why, and how of the workshops and the digital tools being used as well as how others can jump in and join the fun!

Engaging the New American Family (11-12:15 p.m.)
Eugene C. Roehlkepartain, PhD, Vice President of Research and Development, Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN
Too much of today's conversation about families is about what's wrong with them: failures and problems, vulnerabilities and stresses, or whether certain types of families are better than others. While the challenges and changes are real, a strength-based approach to engaging and empowering families helps them to cope and thrive, even in the midst of challenges. Drawing on Search Institute's national research and on-the-ground partnerships, this presentation invites leaders to transform the narrative about families and family engagement to recognize the power of family relationships and the strengths of America's diverse families as vital partners for children's learning and success.


Ages and Stages of Reading Development: Help Parents Support Their Children (9:30-10:45 a.m.)
Christopher Lehman, The Educator Collaborative
Internationally recognized literacy expert, Christopher Lehman, Founding Director of The Educator Collaborative, will share concrete methods to best support families in understanding research-based reading milestones, grades K-8, and how families can assess and support children's reading in fun and understandable ways. NCFL's online Parent Guide to Reading and Standards will also be shared as a way to help families support their children in school and at home. By better understanding reading development, parents and families become even stronger partners for children.

Closing the Vocabulary Gap, with PNC Grow Up Great® (11-12:15 p.m.)
Jeanine Fahnestock, PNC, Grow Up Great + vocabulary partner organizations
Learning new words is critical for children's success in school and life. This session will provide practical tips and strategies to engage families, caregivers and community members in promoting language and vocabulary with young children. Included will be a panel of arts, culture and science organizations discussing topics related to programming that supports vocabulary building, like involving families and neighborhoods in development; creatively getting the word out; creating a sense of community among families; and supporting carryover of key messages into homes. Additionally, participants will engage in activities that can be easily implemented in their work and receive free, take-home resources.

The translocation of funds of knowledge: Innovations in theory, methods, and practices (11-12:15 p.m.)
Dr. Luis C. Moll, University of Arizona
This session provides an overview of the "funds of knowledge" approach to culture and education. Three aspects of this work are emphasized and a brief video of a household visit illustrates the dynamics of the approach. Attendees will learn how the approach has been elaborated, modified, or applied in four different cultural settings—Spain, South Africa, Uganda, and New Zealand.

Choosing Our Future: A Story of Opportunity in America (1:45-3 p.m.)
Dr. Irwin Kirsch, Educational Testing Service
Our nation is in the midst of a growing crisis of opportunity, one that has been developing over the past 40 years. Many of the discussions around this crisis focus on the increasing privilege of the top 1%. But, as some including Tom Edsall writing an opinion piece for the New York Times have correctly pointed out, not only is the top 1% pulling apart from the rest of us, but the top 20% is growing apart from those in the middle. As Edsall describes, this divergence is having a critical impact on the life outcomes of millions of Americans. Through our work we believe these outcomes are rooted in the changing distributions of opportunity. Attendees will develop a deeper understanding of the dynamics that are driving these disparities along with the rationale for why we must take action and how best to do so.

PNC Grow Up Great® Lesson Center: Free, Online Early Childhood Lesson Plans (1:45-3 p.m.)
Dr. Barbara Wasik, Temple University
Tiffany Allen, Barnes Foundation
Ann Caspari, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Stacey Sangtinette, Temple University
Ignite families and early childhood curriculum with inquiry-based learning in science and the arts, two of the STEAM principles. Interactively explore the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website, a free resource for early childhood educators and parents: pncgrowupgreat.com/lessoncenter. The theme based, inquiry rich lesson plans on the site are developmentally appropriate and based on a constructivist approach to learning. Children will discover ideas for themselves as they play, explore, and make sense of their world. Developed by nationally known science and arts experts, each lesson includes an objective, step-by-step instructions, background information, vocabulary, book list, and more. Expose your children to high-quality, cutting-edge science and the arts.


Ready To Learn: Supporting Early Science & Literacy Learning for Families (8:45-10 a.m.)
Dr. Pamela Johnson, Executive Director, Ready To Learn, CPB
David Lowenstein, Senior Director, Ready To Learn, PBS KIDS
Dr. Nell Duke, Professor, School of Education, University of Michigan
Sharon Darling, President and Founder, the National Center for Families Learning
CPB and PBS are expanding their Ready To Learn initiative to include early science and literacy learning with families from low-income communities. They will be joined by Dr. Nell Duke University of Michigan's School of Education, who will illustrate the importance of informational text in early learning, and Sharon Darling, NCFL, who will highlight opportunities for family engagement

View Full Schedule