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National Allies Summit 2015

November 9-10
Hilton Omaha


Sunday, November 8

7:00-9:00 pm     

Whine and Cheese Reception (Hotel Lobby)

Join us for a chance to raise a glass, say hello, and complain about having to travel on the weekend.


Monday, November 9

7:00 am



8:00 am

Breakfast and Consultation Time (Ballrooms A)    

Breakfast Session

Lessons from the Learning Table on Great Teaching and Learning (St. Nicholas A)

Join the Build Initiative and the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes as they discuss what they learned from the first year of their project focused on state policy to promote effective teaching that improves children’s learning.  Learn about how your state can join the second cohort of the Learning Table to launch soon.


9:00 am

Welcome and Opening Plenary (Ballrooms C)

Lisa Klein, Alliance for Early Success
Pete Festersen, Omaha City Council


The Alliance at Age 10: Reflecting on the Past, Celebrating the Present and Looking to the Future

In 2005, ten organizations gathered at an Educare Center in Omaha to mark the first meeting of the Birth to Five Policy Alliance.   Today, the Partner Summit includes partners from more than 60 state, national, and funding organizations who come together to network, learn, and work together to improve outcomes for young children and families.  We reflect on where we have been, and where we are going, with the wild patience that has brought us this far.


Susie Buffett, Buffett Early Childhood Fund

Joan Lombardi, Founding Chair of the Birth to Five Policy Alliance

Jack Shonkoff, Harvard Center on the Developing Child

Moderator: Michael Burke, Buffett Early Childhood Fund


10:30 am 



11:00 am

Breakout Sessions

Advocating for Innovation Around CCDBG Implementation (St Nicholas B)

States are deep into the process of designing and implementing the new policy requirements under the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Reauthorization Act of 2014. The expanded focus to promote child development and support the economic stability of low-income working families offers many opportunities, but states are struggling with the costs of implementation, limited federal and state resources, and a tight implementation timeline. Hear how state advocates are managing these challenges, and learn about Alliance resources to support state advocates and policy makers to maximize opportunities in the new law.


Helen Blank and Karen Schulman, NWLC

Christine Johnson-Staub, CLASP

Shannon Cotsoradis, Kansas Action for Children

Betty Holcomb, Center for Children’s Initiatives

Cynthia Rice, Advocates for Children of New Jersey

Charlotte Brantley, Clayton Early Learning




KANSAS CCDBG Infographic

Implementing the Child Care and Development Block Grant: A Guide for States

Colorado’s Two-Gen Approach to Subsidized Child Care Reform

Supporting Parents of Young Children  (Washington City)
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is conducting a study to inform a national framework for strengthening the capacity of parents of young children from birth to age 8.  The resulting report will serve as a “roadmap” for the future of parenting and family support policies, practices, and research in this country.  As a member of the committee, Dr. Iruka will summarize information that has been publicly shared at these meetings, followed by an in-depth discussion and feedback session facilitated by Ms. Kennel about what this information may mean for state and local policies and practices, as well as research.
Portia Kennel, Buffett Early Childhood Fund (invited)
Iheoma Iruka, Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska
Strategic Storytelling: Framing for More Effective Advocacy (St Nicholas A)
The only way to know if your advocacy story is effective is to test it—and the results can be surprising! This interactive workshop will introduce participants to Strategic Frame Analysis®, an evidence-based communications practice developed by the FrameWorks Institute. Participants will explore research that reveals the gaps between how advocates and average Americans understand early childhood development, disparities, and related issues. They will practice using rigorously tested tools and strategies that bridge those gaps and boost public support for policy solutions. 
Jennifer Nichols, FrameWorks Institute


Strategic Storytelling

Prosperity Value Card

Resilience Scale Metaphor Card

Brain Architecture Metaphor Card

12:15 pm

Lunch and Consultation Time (Ballroom A)


Lunch Sessions

Alliance for Early Success Investor Lunch (Herndon)

Investors will provide expertise and input based on work they are leading, and share ideas about how we can collectively have the greatest impact on advocacy and state policies that improve the lives of vulnerable young children. (Invitation Only)
Are You On the Map?  (St Nicholas A)
A new interactive mapping tool from New America is helping policymakers, advocates, and innovators see how their states and localities compare across the country with a new tool called Atlas.  See data of customized searches that draw from three New America projects: a 50-State Scan of Birth-through-Third-Grade Policies, a map of localities that are Integrating Technology in Early Literacy, and a map-based view of site-based reports on early and elementary education published this year. 
Laura Bornfreund and Lisa Guernsey, New America

1:30 pm

Breakout sessions
Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce (St. Nicholas B)
The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report on the early childhood workforce includes 13 ambitious recommendations for unifying and advancing the profession.  Learn more about the report, and how NAEYC will be working to define the early childhood profession in the coming years.  Join the conversation about the role of state and national advocates in turning these recommendations into reality.
Rhian Evans Allvin, Marica Cox Mitchell, and Alison Lutton, NAEYC
Albert Wat, Alliance for Early Success

NAEYC Professional Development System Indicators Advancing the ProfessionTransforming the Workforce

State-based Philanthropy for Early Childhood Policy and Advocacy (Washington City)
Savvy foundations understand the value of supporting education and building awareness that informs innovation, implementation, and investment in policies to sustain and expand effective programs.  However, many philanthropists are hesitant to invest in policy advocacy because they do not understand the legal limitations. Frontera Strategy will share a five-step process for how to engage foundations in supporting early childhood advocacy, based on their successful model and track record in Texas. 
Jennifer Esterline and Jason Sabo, Frontera Strategy

Alliance Summit Philanthropy Project FAQ 


Cultivating Business Champions (St. Nicholas A)

Business leaders are some of our most effective champions in building momentum to advance early childhood policy.  Come hear how Nebraska established a statewide Early Childhood Business Roundtable that has been dedicated to raising awareness about the early childhood years.  Learn about this unique partnership between business and advocacy, including tools to engage business partners as champions, and examples of how they work together in a conservative political environment.  Be ready to share ideas from your states and experiences.

Pete Festersen, Nebraska’s Early Childhood Business Roundtable

Becky Veak, First Five Nebraska  



Nebraska Early Childhood Business Roundtable website

Member Responsibilities

Nebraska Talent PipelineThe Disconnect

2:45 pm 


3:15 pm

Changing Lives—From Birth Onwards (Ballroom C)

Samuel J. Meisels, Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska
New research is contributing to how we develop and evaluate models of intervention.  Hear about the impact of multiple risk factors on young children’s development, differences in how parents speak to and interact with their children, and the effects of poverty on children’s brain growth.  Learn how the Buffett Early Childhood Institute is linking research to practice and policy in order to narrow the achievement gap and improve children’s success in life.
4:30 pm


5:15 pm 

Shuttles leaves the hotel for Kaneko

5:30 pm 

Tenth Anniversary Celebration

Join us Monday evening at Kaneko, a unique open space celebrating design, ideas, performance and innovation. Kaneko is located in three turn-of-the-century warehouses in the lively Old Market District of Omaha. Have fun and help us celebrate ten years of working together as an alliance of state, national, and funding partners.
Hosted by the Buffett Early Childhood Fund

Tuesday, November 10

7:30 am 

Breakfast and Consultation Time

8:45 am

Depart for Site Visits (Hotel Lobby)

Indian Hill Educare
Learning Community Center of North Omaha
Project Harmony

10:30 am

Busses return to the hotel

10:45 am 

Breakout Sessions 

States’ Progress in Promoting Young Children’s Social-Emotional Growth and Mental Health (Cozzens)

Regulating behavior, developing positive relationships, and managing difficult feelings are some of the emotional and social skills children need to succeed in school and in life.  Hear the results of a 50-state survey of state Medicaid policies to pay for mental health services, and learn how the state of Maine is making policies that promote young children’s social-emotional growth a priority. 
Sheila Smith, National Center for Children in Poverty
Rita Furlow, Maine Children’s Alliance
Margie Wallen, Ounce of Prevention Fund

Key topics for Early Childhood Mental Health Medicaid Survey The Maine Growth Council Social-Emotional Development Survey LD118 Committee Letter

Advocating for Quality Pre-kindergarten (Washington City)

Reports about pre-kindergarten programs continue to add fuel to the debate about the lasting benefits of early education. In this session, research experts and advocates will discuss how to interpret the most recent reports, what they say about program quality and what it looks like, what the findings mean for advocacy efforts, and how advocates can leverage findings from those reports and other studies to promote investments in quality.


Ellen Frede and Jennifer Brooks, Gates Foundation

Mindy Binderman, GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students 

John Bebow, Center for Michigan



2015 Evaluation of the Tennessee Voluntary Prekindergarten Program
Utah’s Social Impact Bond for Preschool

Priority 2015: Majority of Americans Want Big Investment in Young Children (Hill)

For the third year in a row, a bipartisan national poll conducted by the First Five Years Fund demonstrates overwhelming support for investments in children birth through 5.  Hear the polling results in detail, including how key demographics of voters feel about the issue.  There will be a great discussion on how you can use the results in the coming year. 


Kris Perry, Sarah Rittling and Charlie Joughin, First Five Years Fund

Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT

Ceil Zalkind, Advocate for the Children of New Jersey



12:00 pm

Lunch and Consultations (Ballroom A)           

       Lunch Session

Lessons from the Ready States Initiative (Hill)

Hear lessons learned from four states that have been working together on strategies related to their work to promote linkage policies that connect the early years to the early grades. Learn about “policy opportunity moments” that were critical to moving the work forward.  Come to talk about what you are doing and implications for your states.


Rhode Island KIDS COUNT

Early Edge California

Oregon Children’s Institute

Massachusetts Strategies for Children


12:45 pm

Closing the Achievement Gap:  The Superintendents’ Early Childhood Plan in Omaha (Ballroom A)

Mark Evans, Superintendent, Omaha Public Schools

Jim Sutfin, Superintendent, Millard Public Schools

Ilka Oberst, Principal, Liberty Elementary, Omaha Public Schools

Heidi Penke, Principal, Sandoz Elementary, Millard Public Schools

Stephen B. Jackson, Douglas County Health Department

Moderator: Christine Maxwell, Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska


The Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska and 11 metro Omaha school superintendents have launched a ground-breaking partnership to end achievement gaps between less advantaged and more advantaged children by starting at birth and continuing through Grade 3.  Mandated by the Nebraska legislature and funded through an early childhood levy, the initiative focuses on elementary school sites as “hubs” to connect young children and families with high-quality, comprehensive, and continuous early childhood education and services.  Key components include birth – age 3 home visiting; intensive preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds; aligned Kindergarten through third grade; and sustained family partnerships.  Participating superintendents, principals, and family-community engagement leaders will discuss the promise of this collaborative birth through third grade approach and identify levers for sustainability and replication.


2:15 pm


Learn and Connect

The State of Birth Through Eight – Meet our allies in your state.

Go Deeper – In our online Resource Centers you’ll find the latest resources and reporting on specific policy areas.

The Latest – See what’s happening across the country in early childhood at the state level.