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2024 Educare Learning Network Meeting

May 1-3, 2024
Sioux City, Iowa

Honoring, Healing, Harmonizing: A Uniquely Woven Future

The 2024 Educare Learning Network Meeting will be hosted in partnership with Educare Winnebago

The Educare Learning Network meeting provides a forum in which Network members share, problem-solve and receive technical assistance and support regarding issues of program and policy development, implementation and continuous improvement of the Educare Model. The Network meeting also provides an opportunity to reflect on the successes and challenges of the work. As a platform for policy and systems change, the Network Meeting also offers an opportunity to define, discuss and address critical issues facing the early childhood field and identify partnerships that best leverage state and local investments for young children in disinvested communities.  

Registration Deadline: Friday, April 5, 2024

Register Now

What is the Network Meeting?

Our annual Network Meeting is a collaborative event that brings together representatives from each Educare school, parents/caregivers, researchers, public- and private-sector partners and other key contributors in the early childhood field. Each meeting includes: 

  • A plenary session which features program, research and policy experts from the early childhood and related fields as our keynote speaker 
  • Concurrent sessions (including data dialogues) led by Network members and partners that focus on relevant issues or core features of the Educare model  
  • Sessions for work groups and committees to convene  

Historically, in-person Network Meetings are hosted yearly with the meeting location rotating between Educare schools. 


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

For more information, please reach out to

Event Details

Areas of Focus

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

  1. Lifting Family Voices Through Advocacy, Activism & Leadership (i.e., engaging families as partners and leaders, family and parent/caregiver activism, engaging fathers as part of engaging the whole family, anti-bias/anti-racist approaches to family engagement, support for staff who aren’t sure how to engage with families, etc.)
  2. Building School Culture, Climate & Community (i.e., as a strategy for staff retention and rebuilding the early childhood education workforce, recruitment, morale, onboarding, performance management, change management, innovations in hiring requirements and practices, etc.)
  3. Native American and Tribal Influence on Early Childhood Education (i.e., Winnebago Educare staff or tribal members share info on Winnebago culture and early childhood education)
  4. Trauma-Informed Care & Healing-Centered Engagement for Educare Families, Staff & Communities (i.e., historical trauma, mental health, social-emotional well-being, impact of staff well-being on children and families, impact of children and family well-being on staff, using reflective practices to support staff, etc.)
  5. Sustainability (i.e., program operational functions including fundraising and philanthropy, strategic planning and visioning, finance/budgeting, workforce recruitment and retention, human resources, etc.)

Steering Committee

The Educare Network Meeting is informed by the Network Meeting Steering Committee, which is comprised of members of the Network and contributing partners, who work collaboratively with the Educare National Coordinating Office 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/caregivers, is encouraged. Steering Committee membership runs from the fall to late spring. 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 Network
  • Informing planning by leveraging and utilizing learning group and work group participation
  • Engaging in monthly planning meetings
  • Promoting the Call for Proposals 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/caregivers
  • Moderating or introducing sessions

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

  • Sarah Baird, Educare Omaha and Winnebago, Assistant Project Director/LEP
  • Andrew Bourassa, Educare Central Maine, Coach/Supervisor/Special Projects
  • Nikki Burnett, Educare Springfield, Executive Director
  • Tatjyana Elmore, Educare Atlanta, School Director
  • Heidi Fogg, Educare Springfield, Mentor Teacher
  • Gladys Haynes, Buffett Early Childhood Fund, Director Nebraska Early Learning Initiatives
  • Dana Hilbert, Tulsa Educare, Curriculum & Inclusion Coordinator
  • Keri LaPointe, Educare Winnebago, Head Start Director
  • Amy LaPointe Houghton, Educare Winnebago, Education Director
  • Peggy LaRose, Educare Winnebago, Director
  • Erica Palmer, Educare Central Maine, Education Manager
  • Jane Pirnat, Educare Omaha Indian Hill, Mentor Teacher Supervisor
  • Donna Quiroz, Educare Chicago, Family Engagement Supervisor
  • Natasha Roberts, Educare Seattle, Executive Director
  • Kelli Roehr, Educare Kansas City, School Director
  • Cheryse Singleton-Nobles, Educare Chicago, Parent
  • Jamie Steel, Educare Tulsa at MacArthur, Assistant Director
  • LaDonna Stevens, Educare Tulsa at Celia Clinton, Mentor Coach
  • Ealasha Vaughner, Educare Denver, Manager, Policy & Advocacy
  • Colleen Walling, Educare Tulsa at MacArthur, Lead Infant/Toddler Teacher
  • Serenity Weeden-Umelo, Educare Tulsa at Kendall-Whittier, Family Engagement Coordinator


Registration deadline: Friday, April 5, 2024

To distinguish who is responsible for attendee expenses, we’ve segmented the audience into two registration types. Each type is defined below. If you have any questions about which category applies to you, please contact your school leadership team or contact the planning team at

Expenses-paid Attendees: 

  • 3 staff members per Educare school
  • *1 parent/caregiver (NOTE: if a parent/caregiver is unable to attend, the registration slot is not transferrable to another staff member)
  • 1 Network Meeting Steering Committee member per Educare school
  • 2 speakers per approved Learn Shop session
  • 1 facilitator / co-facilitator from the Network per learning group

*Additional parent/caregiver participation and compensation guidance can be found here.

Non-expenses-paid Attendees:

  • Any Educare school staff beyond the 3 staff and 1 parent/caregiver allotment
  • Local Evaluation Partners (the registration fee below will be applicable to sites that register more than one LEP)
  • National Evaluation Partners
  • Funders, philanthropists, boards of directors, guests
  • Approved Learn Shop speakers beyond the 2 expenses-paid speakers

Registration Fee

Educare Schools: In addition to the expenses paid slots, schools are permitted to bring up to 2 additional staff at the expense of the school. The registration fee of $350 per attendee will be assessed and invoiced to schools/organizations after the conference has been completed.

Local Evaluation Partners: A registration fee of $350 per attendee will be invoiced to schools/organizations that bring more than one LEP per school.

National Evaluation Partners, Educare Board of Directors, Funders & Philanthropic Guests: The registration fee does not apply to these invited guests of the Network.

For assistance, contact

Register Now

Venue and Accommodations

All Network Meeting registrants will be responsible for booking their own hotel accommodations. Expenses paid attendees will not be charged for your room nights; the card on file will be used to cover incidents and to secure your room. We have rooming blocks reserved at 2 local hotels within walking distance of the Sioux City Convention Center. Note that hotel reservations are first-come, first-served; the NCO is not holding rooms at hotels on behalf of school teams.

The deadline to book at both hotels is April 5, 2024.

Courtyard by Marriott Sioux City Downtown / Convention Center (901 4th St, Sioux City, IA 51101, 712.292.2600)

  • The Courtyard by Marriott is sold out; please proceed with booking at the Avid below. 
  • Hotel is attached to the Convention Center (meeting location)
  • Room rate: $99-$109 plus tax per night

If you are an expenses-paid registrant, you can complete your reservation by entering a credit card to hold the room. The credit card on file will not be charged room and tax.

Avid Sioux City – Downtown (101 Court St, Sioux City, IA 51101, 712.522.3640)

If you are an expenses-paid registrant, you can complete your reservation by selecting the reserve without card option.

The deadline to book at both hotels is Friday, April 5, 2024.

Expenses-paid attendees: The Educare NCO will cover the cost for the room rate plus tax for up to 3 nights, unless otherwise offered (April 30-May 2). Confirmation emails will come directly from the hotel after booking. If additional hotel nights are needed for full participation in the meeting, please let us know at the time of registration.

Non-expenses-paid attendees: The cost of the room plus tax will not be covered by the Educare NCO. Confirmation emails will come directly from the hotel after booking.

Please reach out to us at for accommodations support.


Airport Shuttle Services

There are limited flights to the local Sioux City, IA airport (Sioux Gateway Airport). Attendees should consider traveling through Omaha, NE (Eppley Airfield). The NCO will coordinate shuttle services from the Omaha airport to Network Meeting hotels in Sioux City, IA at designated times on April 29, 30 and May 3.

You can find information about shuttle services from/to Omaha’s Eppley Airfield here.

The NCO will not provide coordinated shuttle services from/to Sioux Gateway Airport.

Air Travel

Expenses-paid attendees: The NCO will reimburse those designated as expenses-paid attendees for airfare expenses plus the cost of one checked bag. Airfare arrangements must be completed through each individual organization at least 30 days before the travel date. All flights must be booked in economy class. Please keep all receipts on file for reimbursement after the event concludes. Airfares greater than $600 must be approved before purchase by contacting

Non-expenses-paid attendees: Air travel costs will not be reimbursed.

Ground Travel

Expenses-paid attendees: The Educare NCO will reimburse expenses-paid attendees if they travel to Sioux City by car or train. There will be a mileage reimbursement of $0.67 per mile, up to $600. Parking expenses at Network Meeting hotels are also an eligible expense and receipts should be included with mileage reimbursement. For participants traveling by train, fares greater than $600 must be approved before purchase by contacting

Non-expenses-paid attendees: Ground travel costs will not be reimbursed.

Local Transportation

The NCO will not cover the cost of any local transportation.

Taxis and rideshares to/from local airports to/from the hotels will vary depending on the time of day and distance.

  • For a full list of ground transportation options from Sioux Gateway Airport, visit their website.
  • For a full list of ground transportation options from the Omaha International Airport, visit their website.


The 2024 Network Meeting will be an in-person experience.

The schedule-at-a-glance is available here.

Meals provided at the meeting:

  • Wednesday, May 1: Breakfast, lunch & refreshments at the evening reception
  • Thursday, May 2: Breakfast, lunch & refreshments at the Educare Winnebago Open House
  • Friday, May 3: Breakfast

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

The 2024 Educare Network Meeting will offer CEUs for participation in the following sessions at this year’s event:

  • Keynote Plenary Session: Matika Wilbur (70 minutes = 0.1 CEUs)
  • Project 562 Curriculum Workshop with Matika Wilbur (120 minutes = 0.2 CEUs)
  • Data Dialogue Sessions (75 minutes = 0.4 CEUs)

Total CEUs earned for completing all three sessions: 0.4 CEUs 

To receive credit, you must participate in the entirety of the session and complete the end-of-session evaluation. The Educare National Coordinating Office will issues CEUs throughout the month of May in the form of certificates via email. Please be patient as we process your certificate.

Need help or have a question? Please contact


Network Meeting: Creating an Inclusive Community

  • Handicap-accessible meeting location and transportation
  • Designated nursing and medical necessities space at the Convention Center
  • Gender-neutral bathroom at the Convention Center
  • Contributing to a fragrance-free event
    • Scents and chemical products may exacerbate the symptoms of a person’s medical condition; please refrain from wearing colognes, perfumes or other scented or chemical products to the event (including attire exposed to smoke)
  • Inclusive meal selections to accommodate dietary needs
  • Support for requests for reasonable accommodations including ASL, language interpretation, captioning, audio enhancements, etc.

Please email us at with requests or questions.

Call for Proposals

General Information

** The call for proposals is now closed. Status notifications will be sent to submitting groups mid-March. ** 

The Educare Network aims to provide the highest-quality learning experiences and content at the annual Network Meeting. Our call for proposals process offers an opportunity for Network members to share their most impactful and innovative work, creating a collective and engaging experience for all attendees.

As we capture and share innovations at Educare schools, we recognize the need to ground ourselves in one definition of what “innovation” means so we can better see how it might look in action. With input from Network members, we created the following definition. Please note that we acknowledge innovation as a constant work in progress; therefore, the below will remain a working definition that can be revised as our needs and priorities change across the Network. 

  • At the Educare Network, we define innovation as intentional, solution-focused creative problem-solving that fills an untapped need or addresses a challenge or question (whether new or ongoing). 

For additional context and examples of innovation, please see the full document on EducareShare

Important Dates

  • Open call: January 18, 2024
  • Deadline to submit proposal: February 20, 2024
  • Decisions made by: mid-March 2024 (notifications will be sent to all submitting groups)

Speaker Information

  • The Network will cover the cost of airfare and hotel (3 nights) for two Educare school staff, local evaluation partners or parents/caregivers per session. Speakers that do not fit this category are not eligible for travel reimbursement.
  • Prior to submitting a proposal, obtain permission from your supervisor for travel to and attendance at the meeting should your proposal be accepted.
  • Teams are encouraged to limit the number of total speakers to 3-4. To reduce travel costs for Educare schools, please consider Network members who are already attending the meeting as potential speakers for sessions.
  • Speakers must commit to presenting live during the scheduled meeting dates of May 1-3, 2024. The exact presentation time will be confirmed after the proposals are accepted. There are no virtual presentation options; all speakers must be in-person.
  • All speakers must participate in a planning meeting with the meeting organizing team to review logistics, content and field questions.

Submitting Your Proposal

The submission process utilizes an abstract management website powered by Cvent. The submitting author will create a username and password for the website, upload speaker bios/headshots and answer the proposal questions for the speaking team. 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.

To view the questions and information requested during the submission process, please click here (for reference only).

Bios & Headshots: We request that all speakers provide bios and headshots at the time of submission to streamline the process. Information provided during the proposal submission will be used for the agenda and mobile app content for the session.

Selection & Criteria Requirements

The Network Meeting Steering Committee, members of the Educare Practice Advisory Committee Work Group (EPACWG), Sustainability Work Group (SWG) and National Coordinating Office (NCO) staff will collaborate to review and score proposals, and will use the following criteria as the framework for selecting proposals that:

  • Provide relevant and innovative content; preference given to presentations that align with the meeting theme or areas of focus
  • Focus on inter-disciplinary, innovative and/or field-advancing practice, and creative/unique collaborations, problem-solving and partnerships
  • Align with one or more of the Educare Network member requirements
  • Engage attendees in the learning and discovery process by actively facilitating attendee engagement during the live 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)
  • Promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) within the context of the presentation and broader early childhood education field; view the DEIB Collection on EducareShare for tools and reference
  • Provide multiple strategies that expand thinking and can be applied to practice
  • Include representation of parent/caregiver voice and in speaking roles when possible.

Applicants should consider all constituent groups as session attendees when anticipating their audience, as all sessions will be open to the entire meeting audience unless otherwise specified.

To create space for all voices to be shared at the Network Meeting, we will limit the number of proposals approved per school/organization.

Learn Shop Format

Length: 60 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.

Commitment to 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 with whom they partner. 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

Speakers should also incorporate accessibility best practices as relevant when preparing and delivering their presentations and session materials. We encourage teams to review the below resources:

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