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2022 Educare Learning Network Meeting

May 10-12, 2022

Reflect. Refresh. Reignite.

Over the past two years, Educare schools have continued to provide hope, connection and much needed support to their communities despite, and in response to, the immense challenges posed by the pandemic. Just as schools have shown up for their communities, so too are we showing up for each other at the 2022 Network Meeting. This three-day meeting will provide a virtual space to come together, care for and support each other’s well-being. We will collectively re-energize and inspire one another to approach our critical work on behalf of children and families with a renewed sense of spirit and balance.

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”
Coretta Scott King


  • Boards of directors, executive directors & school directors
  • Family support staff & supervisors
  • Funders & philanthropists
  • Local evaluation partners (LEPs) and national evaluation partners (NEPs)
  • Mentor teachers, coaches, curriculum & instruction managers, education coordinators
  • Parents & families
  • Program administrators
  • Teaching staff & other Educare staff
  • Invited guests

Event Details

Areas of focus for this year’s Network Meeting include, but are not limited to:

  • Topics that support the meeting theme of mental health and social/emotional well-being
  • Daily vulnerabilities and operational agility
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB): anti-bias education; race equity; education equity; social justice – how it affects our children outside of our schools
  • Elevating the field and ECE professionals
  • Impact of COVID-19: on Educare school operations; on mental health of children, families and staff; trauma-informed approaches with children, families and staff
  • Opportunity/need for higher pay for early childhood professionals nationwide
  • Services for children with special needs
  • Workforce development

Steering Committee

The Educare Learning Network Meeting is informed by the work of the Steering Committee, comprised of members of the Network and contributing partners, who work collaboratively with ELN backbone staff to design an engaging and inclusive annual meeting that is representative of the diverse needs of the Network and advances the Network’s learning and evolution. Membership from all roles within the Network – including parents – is encouraged. Steering Committee membership runs from the fall to late spring, and responsibilities include:

  • Guiding the direction of the theme/content
  • Speaker selection and session development
  • Elevating innovations in practice, policy and research to the broader Educare Learning Network
  • Informing planning by leveraging and utilizing learning group and work group participation
  • Engaging in monthly planning meetings
  • Promoting the Call for Proposal process and reviewing session proposals
  • Serving as a liaison between Educare schools and the Steering Committee to inform content and logistics planning
  • Serving as a meeting ambassador for first-time attendees and parents
  • Moderating or introducing sessions

We would like to thank the following individuals who volunteered to be part of the committee this year:

  • Mike Burke, Vice President, Buffett Early Childhood Fund
  • Nikki Burnett, Executive Director, Educare Springfield
  • Gisele Crawford, Research Specialist, FPG Child Development Institute, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Heidi Fogg, Mentor Teacher, Educare Springfield
  • Kelsey Horner, Learning and Development Specialist, Tulsa Educare
  • Portia Kennel, Senior Program Advisor, Buffett Early Childhood Fund
  • Rodney Lawrence, Family Support Supervisor, Educare Atlanta
  • Monique Lopez, Director of School Operations, Educare West DuPage
  • Larissa Moguel, Family Engagement Specialist, Educare Lincoln
  • Kelli Roehr, School Director, Educare Kansas City
  • LaDonna Stevens, Mentor Coach, Tulsa Educare at Celia Clinton
  • Colleen Walling, Lead Infant/Toddler Teacher, Tulsa Educare at MacArthur

Keynote Speakers

Live Plenary Broadcast: Tuesday, May 10 at 11:00 A.M. – 12:15 P.M. CT with Rhonda V. Magee

A leading thought and practice innovator of mindfulness-based social justice concepts and practices, Rhonda V. Magee, M.A., J.D., is a Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco. Magee has spent more than twenty years exploring the intersections of anti-racist education, social justice, and contemplative practices. She is the inaugural recipient of the Reed Smith Excellence in Wellbeing in Law Award (2022), awarded after an independent, national selection process by the Institute for Wellbeing in Law. A Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, she is a global/international Keynote speaker; mindfulness teacher and teacher trainer; practice innovator, storyteller, and thought leader on integrating Mindfulness into Higher Education, Law and Social Justice. She is a student of a range of Buddhist traditions and mindfulness masters, and is a lay teacher in the Peacemaker Order led by Upaya Zen Center founder Roshi Joan Halifax. She is a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, she has served as an advisor to a range of leading mindfulness-based professional development organizations, including the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness, the Brown Mindfulness Center, the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, and the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.  Rhonda’s award-winning book, The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness (Penguin RandomHouse TarcherPerigee: 2019; paperback edition 2021), was named one of the top ten books released for the year by the Greater Good Science Center, and received similar recognition by Psychology Today and the editors of

Live Plenary Broadcast: Thursday, May 12 at 1:00-2:15 P.M. CT with Dr. Jax ML Black

Dr. Jax ML Black, MA, MHA, PHD is The Big Joy Theory’s Joy Maximizer. She is a certified coach, experienced consultant, and dynamic speaker and leader.

Standing tall at 5’4”, Dr. Jax learned at an early age that defying expectations is not only possible, but necessary. She discovered the high jump in the third grade, and later became a three-time Division-1 All-American. After earning her MA, MHA, and PhD, she used her expertise and experience during her high jump career to coach others into their most authentic leadership presence by understanding who they really are and what lights them up—then maximizing that joy in their work. Instead of focusing on promotions or milestones, she encourages clients to operate today from their final, ultimate forms.

Jax also brings her joy to leaders through her partnerships with organizations that are committed to empowering the next generation of female leaders. Most recently, Dr. Black was one of 50 women who launched the inaugural Women In Entrepreneurship Program at DePaul University. She is also one of the inaugural faculty members of the Masters in Design Thinking at National Louis University focusing on women in entrepreneurship as well as a board member of the Women In Philanthropy at Indiana University and partner to The Axelson Center for Non-Profit Management at North Park University.

Dr. Black has written two books with her husband and business partner Tomer Yogev, with a third, The Joy Manifesto, coming out later this year.

Call for Proposals

General Information

**Update as of 3/7/22: The call for session proposals is now closed.** 

The call for proposals process offers an opportunity for experts from within the Network to present at our virtual meeting to create a collective and engaging experience for all attendees.

We are eager to support you during the submission process. Please email your questions to us at

Important Dates

  • Open Call: January 28 – March 4, 2022
  • Deadline to submit proposal: March 4, 2022 at 7:00 P.M. CT
  • Decisions made by: March 2022 (notifications will be sent to all submitting groups)

Submitting Your Proposal

The submission process utilizes an abstract management website powered by Cvent. The submitting author will create a username for the website, upload speaker bios/headshots and answer the proposal questions for the speaking team. In addition, the website allows you to save your progress and return to the website to complete/edit your proposal up until the deadline. You will receive a confirmation email after submitting your proposal.

For reference, view the questions and information requested during the submission process.

Bios & Headshots

We request that all speakers provide bios and headshots at the time of submission. Information provided during the proposal process will be used to create the agenda and website content for the session.

Selection & Criteria Requirements

The Network Meeting Steering Committee, Educare Practice Advisory Committee Work Group (EPACWG) and ELN backbone staff will collaborate to review and score proposals and will use the following criteria as the framework for selecting proposals:

  • The session provides relevant and innovative content. Preference is given to presentations that align with the meeting theme or topic areas.
  • The session is focused on inter-disciplinary, innovative and/or field-advancing practice, and creative/unique collaborations, problem-solving and partnerships.
  • The session’s content aligns with one or more of the Educare Learning Network member requirements.
  • The session engages attendees in the learning and discovery process by actively facilitating attendee engagement during the live and virtual components of the meeting. Presenters are expected to provide perspective and insight on critical issues facing the field through dialogue, storytelling, case studies, lessons learned, etc. refer to the session formats below for more details.
  • Accepted proposals will include examples of how attendees will be engaged throughout the session.
  • The session’s content and presenters promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) within the context of the presentation and broader early childhood education field.
  • Participants are provided multiple strategies that expand thinking and can be applied to practice.

Session Formats

Sessions at the virtual Network Meeting will be blended to provide both live streamed sessions and on-demand learning opportunities.

On-Demand (5-20 minutes)

Pre-recorded presentation on key issues/questions facing the field. On-demand recordings can also focus on sharing a single resource, strategy or innovation.

In an effort to make recordings more accessible, English and Spanish closed captioning and written transcripts in both English and Spanish are required for all recordings. The meeting organizer will provide technical assistance to all teams in need of support.

Speakers recording on-demand content have two options:

  1. Record with us: Speakers will record with a professional production company in April. The production company will handle all transcripts and captioning details.
  2. Record on your own and submit for captioning/transcript services: Teams selecting this option are required to submit final recordings to the meeting organizer in April for captioning and transcript services. Details on file type/transfer method will be provided at the time of acceptance.

Teams are strongly encouraged to record virtually with our production partners to further professionalize and ensure quality for the on-demand recordings offered at the meeting.

Learn Shop (45 minutes)

Explore topics of common interest using innovative, thought-provoking content blended with audience participation. Presenters act as content leaders, presenting short content segments and then leading engaging activities, group discussion and participant reflection on how to apply knowledge to practice. Virtual participants will engage via verbal and non-verbal strategies, including live chat, polling, Q&A and breakout groups. Successful proposals will clearly state the attendee engagement strategies (verbal & non-verbal) used in the session.

  • Zoom: We will utilize Zoom to facilitate all live Learn Shop sessions. Speakers will be asked to join a planning meeting organizing team to ensure each aspect of your session is correct (i.e., polling, breakouts, all speakers have links, etc.)

Affinity Groups / Networking Session (30-45 minutes)

Do you have a topic or specific group of colleagues you’d like to engage in the discussion? Host an affinity group or networking session in virtual roundtables.

These sessions are designed to provide coordinated networking opportunities for attendees looking to continue engagement with their peers. We encourage topics that are both relevant to the Network Meeting theme/focus areas and topics that are unrelated (i.e., travel, leisure, food). Please be specific in your proposal and include multiple guiding questions for discussion.

Help Me Decide

Submit your presentation idea and work with the meeting organizer on determining the best format for your session.


Speaker & Session Requirements

  • We encourage a three-speaker maximum. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • All speakers must register for the meeting.
  • All speakers must participate in a planning meeting with the meeting organizing team to review logistics, content and field questions.
  • All speakers must provide a headshot and a brief 1-paragraph professional biography.
  • Speakers sharing in live sessions must commit to presenting during the scheduled meeting dates (May 10-12, 2022 between 11:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. CT). Exact presentation time will be confirmed closer to the meeting date.
  • There are no registration limits for virtual sessions.
  • All sessions will be open to the entire meeting audience.

Commitment to Using Inclusive Language

We encourage speakers to consider the narratives and modes of thinking that they would like to amplify about the individuals, families and communities they partner with in their work. We encourage presenters to view each component of their presentation as an opportunity to demonstrate respect for individuals, families and communities to help eliminate implicit biases related to gender identity, sexual orientation, race, disability, mental health, age or religion.

We recognize that language is evolving and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging commitments are a lifelong journey. We invite discussion, reflection and feedback in preparation for, during and after the Network Meeting. Please email your comments and questions to the planning team.