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May 16, 2017 |

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 familieslearning.org/conference 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

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 $35 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 and NCFL

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