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Oct 10, 2021 |
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NCFL staffer, Jessica Boren

NCFL's conference planning team is working to build a great virtual event, and we're so excited to connect with attendees this October 25-27. In this blog post, NCFL staffer Jessica Boren shares what makes the Families Learning Conference so special and what she’s looking forward to this year. Join Jessica and the rest of NCFL's team at the Families Learning Conference! View registration options here.

Even before I was hired at the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL), I had heard about the annual Families Learning Conference. I was told that NCFL always brought great guest speakers and that the general sessions were always inspiring. I had high expectations going into my first conference years ago and I was not disappointed.

Not only does NCFL bring guest speakers who are extremely knowledgeable in their area, but NCFL also brings parents who have been impacted by its programming throughout the 32 years of its existence. I was truly touched to hear about how NCFL and communities around the country have helped parents to achieve their goals.

This year I’m looking forward to hearing from Monday Opening Session speaker Liz Cedillo-Pereira, chief of Equity and Inclusion for the City of Dallas, who will help attendees see how municipalities (and their partners) can advance equity, inclusion, and immigrant integration, particularly for families and children.

I’m also excited to hear from two parents who have participated in NCFL place-based programming, Adebusola Azeez from Kids U in Dallas during Monday’s Opening Session and Valerie Johnson from Crown Point Community School FACE Program, New Mexico during Tuesday morning’s General Session.

Attending the conference in the past helped renew my energy to continue to do my best to help families. I came back to work with many ideas—from icebreakers to use with parents to techniques and best practices in program design and implementation. Each session I attended was significant to my work.

This year, I am eager to learn from others how this pandemic has changed their families and programming. What should we change when implementing new programs? What are the immediate needs of our families and students? What is relevant now that wasn’t before?

I think we are all craving more knowledge and human reconnection. I hope anyone who works in family engagement, family literacy, education, evaluation, and program implementation takes the time to attend NCFL’s conference! It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.


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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