Deadline for submissions is May 8, 2020!

Innovate. Transform.

There is a pressing need in today’s world for innovation and transformation to serve the needs of all learners. As students bring increasingly diverse and intense needs to general and special education settings, traditional approaches and methods of collaboration are no longer sufficient to meet student needs. The current educational system fails many of our students. Many schools do not prepare students with the skills needed for the jobs the 21st century economy. In a hyper-connected world way we care for and educate our children needs to change. Many of the challenges facing today’s child-serving agencies have been met with outdated practices that leave children marginalized.

It is time to put Kids First!

When children come first, all children have what they need to succeed. Children are doing the best they can in the environments they have been given. When we prepare children for their future, we teach them how to learn, equipping them with the skills necessary for a lifelong journey of discovery, the ability to think critically and to problem-solve effectively. Trauma has a devastating impact on learning, behavior, and quality of life yet, schools are challenged to find ways to mitigate the effects of trauma so children can heal and thrive. We need to empower child-serving individuals to prioritize flexibility in responding to the needs of the child and addressing each child holistically. Equipping our providers with the skills they need to individualize their approach to meet the needs of our diverse learners’ benefits everyone. Recruiting and retaining talented professionals is paramount to the success of our students.

So how do we respond?

The 2020 Kids First National Conference focuses on providing attendees with the skills, strategies, and structures needed to foster innovation and transformation in how we educate our children. Kids First will explore ways to collaborate across sectors to support all learners, including those from diverse and high-need backgrounds. Improving our practices through transformation and innovation ensures all learners can succeed.

Attendees will learn how to transform the culture of their programs to prioritize mental health issues, equity, cultural competency, and the recruitment and retention of professionals that embrace the growth mindset to innovate learning experiences for every child. The 2020 Kids First National Conference brings together professionals across disciplines to learn from and collaborate with each other and to identify innovative solutions to educational challenges.

Additionally, sessions that focus on culturally and linguistically responsive practices will be offered, providing attendees with opportunities to learn about innovative and transformative practices to support English learners and their families.

 Kids First seeks to transform the way America cares for educates its children.

Conference Theme Categories:

Social-Emotional Learning
Cultural Competency
Mental Health/Behavior
Brain Literacy/Neuroscience
Recruitment and Retention
Transformative Culture
Instructional Practices for Non-Traditional Learners
English Language Learners/Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Practices
ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)

Proposals for the 2020 Kids First National Conference should focus on innovative ways to transform the ways we engage children in developing the critical skills necessary for a successful life. Workshops will focus on how we can collaborate across disciplines and sectors to provide our youth with relevant and authentic experiences that support the whole child, their families and communities. Identification of recruitment and retention strategies for creative, talented professionals to engage in this work will enable us to meet the needs of every child. The 2020 Kids First National Conference proposals should provide innovative approaches, strategies, and interventions that will transform our programs to the benefit of all children.

Selection Process

Review of proposal submissions will be completed by our advisory committee in a blind, peer-review process. 

Presenter Agreement:

By applying to be a presenter, you are making a commitment to attend the conference if selected to present. All accepted presenters are required to register and pay a discounted registration rate of $199 to cover materials, supplies, and other fixed costs. We are unable to pay honoraria or expenses to breakout session presenters.

Your reduced registration rate allows you to participate fully in all conference sessions including keynote, breakout, and featured speaker sessions. NOTE: Up to two presenters from a group presentation may qualify for the $199 discounted registration rate. Additional presenters pay standard registration fees.

You will be notified by June 1 of your acceptance. Presenters who receive an acceptance but fail to register within 30 days will forfeit their acceptance and your slot will be given to another presenter.

The 2020 Kids First National Conference is presented by The Children’s Guild Alliance in collaboration with the Towson University Department of Special Education.