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Oct 10, 2018 |
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They came from 45 states, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Colombia. From September 24-26, 2018, over 700 education professionals descended upon Fort Lauderdale for the 2018 Families Learning Conference. The shared goal? Helping families get out of poverty through education solutions. This multi-sector convening brought together educators, social service providers, librarians, policymakers, and funders with the focus of sharing resources, strategies, and tools to use in communities and with families everywhere.

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The Conference kicked off with an energetic keynote by Dr. Sharroky Hollie, who shared how cultural responsiveness can be used to increase family engagement, address inequities, and give outrageous love to those we serve.

On Monday, attendees enjoyed coffee and sweet treats with GED Testing Service®’s CEO Randy Trask, who fielded questions pertaining to adult education and the GED®, both from the audience and on Twitter. Later, the PNC Grow Up Great® Welcome Reception featured resources in early childhood education by PNC partners, in addition to beautiful ocean views. Monday ended on the topic of digital skills with Google, when attendees got a sneak peek of CS First and Applied Digital Skills--both explored in greater detail Tuesday.

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Tuesday began with a powerful, somber keynote by Stanley Holder, who spoke about the challenges of building the Acoma education system for Native Americans; about healing the wounds of the community; and how family and early childhood learning are keys to establishing a generational pattern and expectation of success.

NCFL’s signature Conference event, the Banquet Celebration, included an inspiring keynote by Brad Meltzer, best-selling author and television host, who stressed that ordinary people can make an extraordinary impact on many lives without even knowing it. He reminded the audience to say Thank You to those who have helped us along the way, and through everyday actions, pay it forward and leave a legacy of impact on others.

Wednesday didn’t fail to send off attendees fully galvanized. The morning began with their choosing between two in-depth, thought-provoking sessions, “Creating More Inclusive Spaces: Our Roles as Institutional Actors” and “Moving From ‘Surviving to Thriving’: Trauma Attuned Transformation Using the Nurtured Heart Approach©,” both of which took aim at uncomfortable, but necessary, topics. “Creating More Inclusive Spaces” addressed institutional racism and how we can become aware of and move past implicit bias in our interactions and work with others.

“Moving from ‘Surviving to Thriving’” explored a technique to help teachers who work with students suffering from complex trauma. Attendees learned methods to de-escalate situations and help students to identify triggers and employ strategies to calm themselves.

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The Conference ended with brunch and a closing keynote by Tom Vander Ark, who spoke on the topic of how artificial intelligence is shaping our world, and the emerging literacies and skills students need to hone to succeed in our future economy.

NCFL President and Founder, Sharon Darling closed the Conference with the announcement that our 2019 Conference, and 30th anniversary celebration, will be held in Louisville, Kentucky November 4-6, 2019. Two lucky winners had their names drawn for free registrations to attend.

By now, the passionate, tireless attendees we shared three days with have gone home to their schools and programs. We hope they will share what they gained from the 2018 Families Learning Conference with those around them, amplifying the benefit to families and communities.

Did you attend #NCFL18? Please share your favorite moments in the comments below!


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NCFL Partners

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Toyota Family Learning Program

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

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 reach the 35.7 million adults ages 18-64 who do not have a high school diploma by guiding them to better-paying, more stable jobs.

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®.

Go to Dollar General Literacy Foundation's website

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 to advance early literacy and learning resources for vulnerable families. Current efforts supported by PNC include a collaborative initiative in two at-risk Detroit communities that engages families to support vocabulary development for children under age 5.

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.

PNC Grow Up Great

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

NCFL has partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation since January 2016. The Foundation is currently supporting a dynamic two-generation family engagement initiative that expands NCFL's Family Learning model into select Head Start programs nationwide. NCFL's model presents an innovative way to support Head Start programs in meeting outcomes aligned with the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework.

Visit the Foundation website

Better World Books

Better World Books selected NCFL as its domestic literacy partner in 2005 and has raised more than $1 million to support NCFL’s work and donated more than $15 million to support literacy and education efforts worldwide. Better World Books is a triple-bottom-line online bookstore, working equally for people, planet and profit. Each book purchased powers literacy across the world.

Better World Books’ support of NCFL has provided books and workshops to families after Hurricane Katrina, donated large book donations to literacy programs and families nationwide and fueled innovative family literacy and learning programs and resources in libraries, schools and community-based organizations. In addition to their work for literacy and education, Better World Books diverts books from landfills and offers carbon-balanced shipping.

Better World Books

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

In 2013, NCFL began a partnership with the Gates Foundation to ensure that our network of students, teachers, and families thrive among recent shifts in standards-based education. NCFL will leverage the unique strengths of our award-winning Wonderopolis® platform to build upon the growing teacher network that uses the resource for core daily instruction and as a basis for professional growth.

Foundation Website

Goodling Institute

NCFL has partnered with the Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University since 2001, working collaboratively to further research, professional development, and policy efforts for family literacy and intergenerational learning.

The work of this partnership includes, but is not limited to, a strong research strand at NCFL's national annual convening, the Families Learning Summit; advocacy for family literacy and learning to further support for and inclusion of family-focused education in new and ongoing legislation; and dissemination of the latest research, resources, information, and professional development opportunities for literacy and learning practitioners and advocates, including the Certificate in Family Literacy provided by the Goodling Institute.

Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University