NCSC17 Pre-conference Logo - PreK and Charter Schools

Sunday, June 11 from 12 – 5:30 p.m.
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington, D.C.

The National Alliance and the First Five Years Fund are excited to announce the first national convening of the charter school community to discuss Pre-K. Meet with policy experts and Pre-K charter school leaders to learn how charter schools can be a part of expanding Pre-K education. Join us in Washington for answers to your top questions, including:

  • What funding streams are available for charter schools to provide Pre-K?
  • How can our schools ensure high-quality Pre-K programming?
  • What are charter schools that already provide Pre-K doing and how can we learn from their experiences?
  • What are the other barriers and opportunities that exist?

The pre-conference registration rate is $25. New registrants will receive a $150 discount off registration for the 2017 National Charter Schools Conference.


Lunch & Plenary

Learn from a Leader
Washington, D.C. is a national leader in both public Pre-K and charter schools. Jennifer Niles, a longtime leader in the charter school community and Deputy Mayor for Education, will share insights on how charter schools can help our youngest students get off to a strong start to lifelong learning. This luncheon session will provide “food for thought” as well as practical ideas how charter schools can establish and maintain high quality pre-kindergarten programs.

Jennifer Niles, Deputy Mayor for Education, Washington, D.C.
Amy Wilkins, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Policy Content

The State of Pre-K Charter School Policy: Where Are We?
Under the Every Student Succeeds Act there are incentives for states to provide Pre-K in public schools. And in recent years, though some states have expanded access to Pre-K programs, improving quality has been absent from many efforts. This session will explore what is currently allowed at the state and federal level for Pre-K charter schools, what parameters and restrictions exist, and what policy barriers charter school leaders face when trying to open high-quality Pre-K charter schools.

Moderator: Christina Samuels, Education Week
Panelists: Sara Mead, Bellwether Education; Dr. Rolf Grafwallner, Council of Chief State School Officers; and Holly Reid, New Orleans Recovery School District.

Where Do We Go From Here? Expanding Pre-K Charter Opportunities at the State and Federal Level

Building upon our discussion of the current state of Pre-K charter policy, this panel will discuss policy shifts on the horizon – as well as big ideas to consider – that could have a tangible impact on early childhood education nationwide. Topics include: changing the bipartisan context for early childhood education and how to leverage that to expand access to quality, funding and regulatory barriers and opportunities for Pre-K charter schools, and what early childhood education and choice might look like with the new Administration and Congress.
Moderator: Sarah Rittling, First Five Years Fund 
Panelists: Chrisanne Gayl, Trust for Learning; Jordan Hynes, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; and Allie Kimmel, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Practitioner Content

Pre-K: What to Teach, How to Teach and How to Know it’s Working
Economists argue that effective early childhood education is an investment with one of the highest returns that we can make in our children. Studies show that early learning can avoid special education, grade retention and remediation if implemented effectively. Leaders and researchers will discuss evidence-based approaches to early childhood education curriculum, best practices in professional development, and evaluation techniques to improve, strengthen, and scale your Pre-K charter program.

Moderator: Tom Toch, Georgetown University
Panelists: Anne Malone and Jamie Miles, AppleTree Early Learning PCS; and Anna Hickman, Ingenuity Prep - Washington, DC. 

A View from the Field: Lessons Learned in DC, TN, and NY
When it comes to innovation, replication, and facilities challenges, there’s no reason to re-invent the wheel when others have already paved the way. Come learn from Pre-K operators and practitioners in DC, TN, and NY and find out how they are creating K-12 partnerships and vertical integration, replicating successful models, solving facilities challenges, and encouraging community engagement. Panelists will also discuss lessons learned, including what not to do.

Moderator: Conor Williams, New America Foundation
Panelists: Jack McCarthy, AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation; Stacie Kossoy, KIPP DC; and Chris Hines, Crescent City Schools.