Senior Officials to Participate in Institute for National Family and Community Engagement Conference in Chicago

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Brenda Girton-Mitchell, director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and Khalilah Harris, deputy director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans will participate in the 2015 National Family and Community Engagement Conference in Chicago on Tuesday, June 23.

Girton-Mitchell will facilitate a workshop at 10:45 a.m. CST, titled “Together for Tomorrow: Connecting the Dots from Community Partnerships to Families and Schools.” The workshop will highlight promising practices in family and community engagement. Together for Tomorrow is an initiative that spotlights and fosters partnerships among schools, families, national service programs, and community-based organizations in order to help turn around low-performing schools.

At 12:15 p.m. CST, Harris will keynote the lunch plenary. Her remarks will focus on the Initiative’s work to broadly raise awareness about promising practices in family engagement, particularly around accessing high quality early childhood education and partnering to ensure students are college and career ready. In addition, Harris will discuss the Department’s efforts around family and community engagement, and the vital role that families and communities play in cultivating a love of learning in students.

Following the lunch plenary, at 2 p.m. CST, Harris will moderate a panel and listening session on educational equity and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The panel will focus on the Department’s family engagement framework strategies to empower families as partners and the need to replace ESEA with a bill that that upholds the promise of equitable opportunity for children all across the nation. Girton-Mitchell also will participate in the panel discussion and listening session.

The conference, hosted by the Institute for Educational Leadership, begins today and runs through Wednesday, June 24. It will examine how schools and communities can partner to improve student achievement and create environments where students can flourish and develop academically and socially.