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Sep 17, 2019 |
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This guest blog post is authored by Tracy Noles, Senior Director of Literacy and Family Learning Services at the National Center for Families Learning.



Fall is just around the corner. Along with shorter days, college football, and world class horse racing comes another event that I look forward to each year—the Families Learning Conference, presented by the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL).

Excitement, passion, learning, innovation, and homecoming! These are all words to describe my NCFL Conference experiences over the last 15 years. There is nothing quite like the synergy of convening a group of professionals dedicated to improving opportunities and outcomes for families. From national experts to local practitioners, there is something for everyone at the Families Learning Conference. As a former adult educator and family literacy program coordinator, the Conference afforded me the ability to learn new instructional strategies, recruitment and retention tactics, and practical program implementation tips while also providing me with policy and advocacy updates and larger insights into the field.

Along with increased knowledge, the Families Learning Conference offers top-notch featured speakers who inspire, motivate, and challenge each of us to go farther for the families we serve. The special events provide a fun and energizing space to network. I have developed lifelong relationships with other attendees who share the same joys, challenges, and opportunities as I do.

The highlight of the Conference for me is learning from families whose lives have been impacted by NCFL’s learning models. I have learned alongside them and they have inspired me to continue to do my best work.

As a current NCFL team member, I look forward to celebrating NCFL’s 30th anniversary at Conference this year! What a fantastic way to honor our families and each other as we come together to toast the past and celebrate the future. I hope to see you there! 

REGISTER TODAY!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As the Senior Director of Literacy and Family Learning Services, Tracy Noles provides training and technical assistance and subject matter expertise for NCFL’s two-generation educational initiatives. She also provides project leadership for National Literacy Directory and Statewide Safety Net Initiatives, serves on the NCFL Family Learning team, and develops and administers Adult Education professional development trainings.

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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