July 2011 Alliance National Meeting and Peer Advocate Roundtable

National Meeting and Peer Advocate Roundtable
July 18-19, 2011
Hilton Suites Chicago/Magnificent Mile
198 East Delaware Place
Chicago, IL  60611

Meeting Purpose: To bring together Alliance national grantees and state-level leaders to advance leadership, research and advocacy strategies to improve state policies and increase investments in high-quality early childhood development services for at-risk infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their families.

Meeting Objectives

  • Celebrate successes and accomplishments, identify challenges, and share learning coming out of the 2011 legislative sessions
  • Provide opportunities for state advocates and national organizations to exchange innovative policy ideas and advocacy strategies
  • Strengthen and accelerate relationships and partnerships in and across states, among national organizations, and among state and national organizations
  • Promote new learning from research and practice and translate it into implications for policy
  • Understand and share common birth to five policy priorities in and across states
  • Advance the work of the Alliance's Issue Groups in person


Monday , July 18, 2011

1:00-1:15pm Welcome and Opening

Lisa Klein, Executive Director, Birth to Five Policy Alliance

Ann Kirwan, Ounce of Prevention Fund

1:15-2:30pm Working Together in a Tough Year:  Protecting Early Childhood Investments in Quality and Planning for the Future

Facilitator: Brandy Lawrence, Ounce of Prevention

Panelists: Swati Adarkar, OR; Judy Reidt-Parker, ME; Shannon Cotsoradis, KS; Judy Samelson, MI; Molly Munger, CA; Miriam Rollin, Fight Crime:  Invest in Kids; Karen Ponder, Smart Start's NTAC; Hope Cooper, Child Trends

Facilitated discussion featuring representatives from states and national organizations who will share examples of effective and innovative policy and advocacy strategies, and national-state collaboration to protect and advance early childhood investments at the state level.

2:30-4:00pm Working in Partnership:  State-State, State-National and National-National Matching Sessions - Part 1

Participants will meet with peers in small groups to strategize, tackle challenging issues and collaborate. (Note: Participants were notified of their matches and room assignments ahead of the meeting. This is the first of two matching sessions.)

4:00-5:30pm Issue Group Meetings: Participants will attend one of the following concurrent sessions:

  • Quality Access

    Facilitators:  Danielle Ewen, Center for Law and Social Policy and Helen Blank, National Women's Law Center

    This session will focus on strategies for improving both quality and access as they impact low-income children’s development. Participants will discuss issues such as linking quality and access in a challenging economic environment; framing access to child care assistance as a school readiness issue; and exploring what we’ve learned from states’ experiences with QRIS.
  • Infant Toddler

    Facilitators:  Barbara Gebhard, ZERO TO THREE and Karen Yarbrough, Ounce of Prevention Fund

    Jack Shonkoff from the Center on the Developing Child will present the latest research behind executive function in very young children and its importance for the later development of language, literacy, and math skills. Will include a  discussion about implications for policy, advocacy, and communications strategies.
  • Newly Elected Leaders

    Facilitators:  Steffanie Clothier, NCSL and Amanda Szekely, National Governors’ Association

    With so many new state policymakers in place this year, Alliance grantees at the national and state level have used a variety of strategies to educate and advocate for early childhood.  This session will focus on sharing effective and not-so-effective strategies with newly elected leaders and new leadership and implications for future efforts.
  • Linkages to K-12

    Facilitators:  Elizabeth Burke-Bryant and Cathie Walsh, Rhode Island Kids Count

    Brief presentations will jumpstart a conversation among participants about successes and challenges in building linkages across early childhood and K-12.  Participants will share lessons learned from their work in building effective linkages across the early childhood and K-12 system, with specific attention to the policy and systems issues that were identified as high priorities by Issue Group members: early childhood data systems, alignment of standards, transitions, workforce, and child assessment systems.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Ann Kirwan, Ounce of Prevention Fund

8:40-10:15am Language for Reading:  Lessons from the Crib for the Classroom

Speaker: Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Professor in the Department of Psychology at Temple University and Director of the Infant Language Laboratory

Children’s emotional and language experiences during the first three years of life determine their early communication and language development, which set the stage for healthy cognitive development and efficient learning of early literacy, math and self-regulation skills. Yet, research suggests that for many children, particularly those facing multiple risk factors including poverty, their environments are not structured to maximize language and literacy development. Dr. Hirsh-Pasek will share six principles of language learning that can be used to communicate how early language development starting in infancy is critical for children to become good communicators, eager learners and strong readers, ultimately impacting children’s success in school.

A discussion of policy implications and communication strategies to build the case for early childhood policies that foster strong literacy skills will follow the plenary.

10:30am-12:30pm States - Nationals Concurrent Sessions

  • States:  Communications Workshop

    Facilitators: Rich Neimand, Neimand Collaborative; Cornelia Grumman, First Five Years Fund; Erin Campbell Boltz and Maura Zehr, Spitfire Strategies

    The Neimand Collaborative, Spitfire Strategies and the First Five Years Fund will lead an interactive workshop tailored to support states in their communications and advocacy strategies. The workshop will include an overview of key themes from Spitfire’s scan of state media coverage and communications efforts, a primer on effective messaging for early childhood in this conservative fiscal and political climate, tools that states can adapt for use, small group work, and feedback for states from communications experts on how to most effectively reach new audiences to influence policymakers.
  • Nationals:  National Grantee Meeting

    Grantees will engage in conversations about advocacy, policy and research. Spitfire Strategies will share findings about messaging access to quality.

1:30-2:45pm Federal Initiatives and Implications for States

Introduction: Jessie Rasmussen, President, Buffett Early Childhood Fund
Speaker: Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to President Obama for Education, White House Domestic Policy Council

This session will provide up-to-the minute information and analysis of top federal initiatives with state implications including the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, Home Visiting, reauthorization efforts, and the impact of the Congressional budget debates on early childhood.

3:00-4:00pm Working in Partnership:  State-State, State-National and National-National Matching Sessions - Part 2

Participants will meet with peers in small groups to strategize, tackle challenging issues and collaborate. (Note: Participants were notified of their matches and room assignments ahead of the meeting.)