Innovating Local Systems to Impact Statewide Change
Participants will gain insights for working with vulnerable families and practice tools to design for system change. Learn how communities of concentrated high need can increase enrollment of children with high needs in high quality early learning programs through various strategies to improve system effectiveness at the community level. This session will be interactive, using group discussion and mixed media.

Leah Pouw & Renee Terick | Illinois Action for Children
Thursday | 8:00 a.m. — 10:00 a.m.

Early Childhood Education Doesn’t End with Pre-K
This session will explore what it would take to have a true birth-3rd grade education continuum of learning. Using the findings from focus groups with elementary school principals in five cities, we will discuss principals’ understanding of and perspectives on early childhood education and consider how local, state, and federal policy need to change to better support connections between birth-to-five early childhood programs and improve the quality of learning and developmental opportunities in the K-3rd grades.

Laura Bornfreund | Early Education Initiative
Thursday | 3:30 p.m. — 5:30 p.m.

CCDBG Reauthorization: One Year Later
The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) went into effect Nov. 2014. The reauthorized CCDBG includes several key provisions that will significantly improve child care safety, quality, and access. ECEC has partnered with Exchange Magazine to gather and analyze feedback that will support and inform the field’s understanding of CCDBG’s initial implementation and implications. Come and hear our findings on CCDBG’s promise and challenges.

Rachel Demma | Early Care and Education Consortium
Friday | 8:00 a.m. — 10:00 a.m.

Prepping for the Kindergarten Transition
This presentation is a review of best practices in transitioning children from early childhood education programs into kindergarten. By providing a summary of best practices to decision makers, early childhood program leaders, and school district administrators, the goal is to strengthen the bridge between early childhood education and elementary education.

Christine Nicpon | Latino Policy Forum
Friday | 10:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and its Impact on ECE
This session will explore the recent enactment of the ESSA which reauthorizes the major federal law governing K-12 public education. Several provisions in the ESSA create opportunities to improve ECE for low-income children. Participants will discuss the grant program to support a mixed delivery system and its implications for children, families, providers, teachers, leaders, states, and local school districts.

Celia Sims | KinderCare
Friday | 2:00 p.m. — 4:00 p.m.

Whole Leadership: Building a Framework
In this interactive session utilizing a “World Café” style conversation, participants will engage with one another to deeply explore aspects of the 2016 Leadership Connections conference theme – Whole Leadership. The topics of leadership essentials, administrative leadership, and pedagogical leadership will be discussed. Outcomes of the workshop will be synthesized to contribute to the development of a Whole Leadership framework. Join us to be part of this groundbreaking work.

Michael Able | McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership
Saturday | 8:00 a.m. — 10:00 a.m.

Is 2% too Few…. Is 5% too Many? Getting Men into ECE
Is there room for me here? Recruiting, retaining, and valuing men in ECE programs has proven to be one of the greatest challenges to our field’s quest for an anti-bias, anti-discrimination, multi-cultural system of early childhood education. two male early educators explore this critical equity issue. Discuss the current status of men in ECE and what we can all do together to move forward!

Mark Obuchowski | INCCRRA
John Roope | Chaddock Caregivers Connections
Saturday | 10:15 a.m. — 12:15 p.m.