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May 16, 2017 |
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It probably comes as no surprise that professional development helps you improve your work. Getting away from your daily routine and learning what others in your field are doing can renew your enthusiasm and arm you with fresh ideas. But convincing your boss to let you go can be hard. There are budget constraints to consider and there are many conferences for the education industry. How do you choose which one to attend? This year the Families Learning Conference will be held in Tucson, Arizona, from October 9-11. Here are five reasons attending will increase your success as a literacy professional. 1. Choose from among 100+ concurrent sessions of robust content [caption id="attachment_10034" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Attendees at 2016 Families Learning Summit Attendees at 2016 Families Learning Summit[/caption] Past attendees of the Families Learning Conference have cited our wide range of sessions as the number one reason to attend our conference. Find sessions on early childhood education, adult education, family literacy, family engagement, libraries, digital resources, and policy and federal funding. Target your professional development by following a strand (or track) of sessions such as early childhood education, adult education, and Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. 2. Save 20% off an already reasonable registration rate with early bird pricing Between now and July 15, save 20% and register for only $399. Registration includes two and a half days of professional development sessions, keynote speakers, a dinner banquet Monday evening, brunch Wednesday morning, exclusive Screenagers film viewing and discussion with the co-producer, and so much more! Many of our past attendees factor our conference into their organization's budget using district or school-based funding, ESSA (including Title I, Migrant, Indian Education, etc.) funds, or funding through community agencies. On July 16, the registration price increases to $500. Save while you can, but also know that even if you miss the early bird deadline, you are still registering for a rate lower than many other conferences. 3. Expand your professional learning network while renewing your spirit [caption id="attachment_10036" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Networking at the Families Learning Conference Enjoy the evening tequila toast and other networking opportunities during the Families Learning Conference[/caption] Located at the foothills of the beautiful Sonoran Desert, this year’s Families Learning Conference takes place at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa. You’ll enjoy sharing ideas with your peers while participating in the resort’s unique daily rituals. Begin your morning at sunrise with the sounds of a Native American flute playing and the smell of burning sage during the Mitakuye Oyasin (Mee-tah-kay Awe-sin) Morning Ritual. After a full day of absorbing strategies and ideas for your work, end the afternoon with a complimentary tequila toast -- a different type served each evening. 4. Hear stories of inspiration from keynote speakers The Families Learning Conference is known for featuring keynote speakers who are engaging, entertaining, and inspirational. 2017’s lineup will not disappoint. Hear a gripping story of perseverance, resilience, and optimism from J.R. Martinez, U.S. veteran turned public speaker and author. Be inspired by Billy Mills, the only American to ever have won Olympic gold in the 10,000 meters and member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe. 5. Refresh your mind and body at JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa Okay, this last one may be more for you than to convince your boss! As an attendee, not only will you receive high quality professional development, but you’ll also be able to reward your hard work with a relaxing and invigorating stay at a luxurious resort. [caption id="attachment_10035" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Marriott Resort JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa offers many amenities[/caption] Hike or bike desert trails accessible directly from hotel property. Feel like a kid while enjoying the hotel’s water slide and lazy river. Soak in the rays while lounging by the reflection pools. [caption id="attachment_10038" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Screenagers Exclusive viewing of the film Screenagers and discussion on Tuesday, October 10[/caption] Tuesday evening, attendees will enjoy food truck cuisine while viewing an exclusive screening of the Screenagers film and taking part in a discussion—under the stars and in the desert, no less! For anyone wrestling over screen time debates, this event will provide some much needed information and reflection. Studies indicate that time away from work leads to better job performance and productivity. With a low rate of $194/night (plus $1/night resort fee) available three days before and after the Families Learning Conference, make a vacation out of your trip! With a conference this good, your boss will likely want to come along too! Visit to register for the Families Learning Conference 2017 and to book your stay at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa.  


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NCFL Partners

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Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $50 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.

Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.

Read more about Toyota's commitment to communities

William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

NCFL received its very first donation in 1989 from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to promote and implement family literacy programming, first in Kentucky and North Carolina and later nationwide. The Kenan Family Literacy Model in part laid the groundwork for 30 years of subsequent family literacy and family learning programming developed by NCFL.

Kenan has continued to support NCFL’s place-based family literacy programs since our inception. Most recently, it has invested in our organization’s Sharon Darling Innovation Fund, which will launch emerging ideas and programmatic evolutions in the multigenerational learning space.

Learn more about the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to guide potential students and volunteers to literacy services, community education programs, and testing centers in their communities.

The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.

Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.

Learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation

PNC Grow Up Great

PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.

PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994, most recently in Louisville, Kentucky, to support Say & Play with Words, our pre-Kindergarten vocabulary-building initiative.

NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.

Learn more about PNC Grow Up Great

U.S. Department of Education

Initiated through the U.S. Department of Education in 2018, the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) program provides 12 grantees and 13 states with five-year, $5 million grants to promote and implement systemic evidenced-based family engagement strategies. NCFL was selected to lead SFECs in two states, Arizona and Nebraska, and is a primary partner for two other SFECs in Kentucky and Maryland/Pennsylvania. 

The SFECs work to support family engagement through state- and local-level agencies while providing both professional development to school districts and direct services to families related to children’s academic outcomes and overall well-being.

Learn more about the U.S. Department of Education

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

NCFL was named a recipient of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s "Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge," which seeks to elevate diverse voices in order to broaden the conversation about the issues inhibiting economic mobility and generate deeper awareness along with actionable understanding. NCFL will develop and launch a podcast series that will highlight the remarkable stories of low-income, diverse families across the U.S. who have improved their communities through Family Service Learning.

Foundation Website