Family Engagement Conference Brings National Experts to Reno: WCSD welcomes more than 1,400 participants from around the globe

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For Immediate Release

Reno, NV


Contact: Victoria Campbell





              Carmen Drummond, IEL

              202.822.8405 x163




Family Engagement Conference Brings National Experts to Reno


WCSD welcomes more than 1,400 participants from around the globe



IEL logo Reno, NV (July 9, 2019) – The Washoe County School District (WCSD) is proud to welcome the Institute for Educational Leadership’s National Family and Community Engagement Conference to Reno this week. The National Family and Community Engagement Conference is an annual IEL event that focuses on the critical role that family and community engagement play in academic success. This year’s conference will revolve around the importance of building and expanding partnerships between families, schools, and community agencies.


“Family engagement is such a crucial part of our mission as educators, because it enables our teachers and staff members to work in tandem with families to help students succeed,” said WCSD Interim Superintendent Dr. Kristen McNeill. “This is about providing equitable access to resources, supports, and tools that enhance academic success and help our families. When families and school staff members work together, we can build mutual understanding that helps empower our racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse families.”


“IEL is proud to bring the National Family and Community Engagement Conference to Reno this year, as we celebrate and learn from local systemic family and community engagement efforts,” said IEL president Dr. Johan E. Uvin. “At IEL, we believe that this systemic work is crucial to achieving true educational equity. We’re thrilled to be shining a light on new case studies we’ll be releasing this week.”


“This is a system-wide approach to raising student achievement and providing support our students and families need,” said WCSD Board President Katy Simon Holland. “It’s an important partnership that plays a critical role in the future of our students. We look forward to welcoming our colleagues from around the world at this conference as we continue to hone our practices and learn from one another.”


The three-day conference will feature learning opportunities for educators, families, and representatives of community groups from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and will also welcome international guests from several countries around the world. More than 1,400 attendees are expected at the conference which begins Wednesday, July 10 and continues through Friday, July 11 at the Peppermill Resort Hotel in Reno. Participants will also have several opportunities to visit educational sites throughout Northern Nevada, including Stewart Indian School, The Children’s Cabinet, Donner Memorial State Park, and the Downtown Reno Library.


“We are honored to host our colleagues in family engagement from every state in the nation as well as several international countries to learn about our practices in WCSD,” said D’Lisa Crain, WCSD Family-School Partnerships Administrator. “We have a long history in our district of improving our engagement practices over several decades and are proud to showcase the work of our teachers, support staff, community partners and schools."


Media Availability


What: Nationally renowned education experts and local students, parents, and education leaders converge to learn best practices around family and community engagement in education


Details: Members of the media are invited to attend conference plenary sessions and learn more about the work taking place nationally around family engagement in schools.


Plenary session subjects and times are listed below. Full details are available online.


  • Engaging Families: A Sure Bet! Wednesday July 10 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • The Washoe County Story Thursday, July 11 9:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m. 
  • Family Engagement and Educational Equity Thursday, July 11 12:15 p.m.-1:45 p.m.
  • Building Relationships & Trust through Home Visiting Friday, July 12 10:45 a.m.- noon


Who: Plenary sessions feature national education experts and local students, parents, and education leaders, including:


  • Dr. Karen Mapp, Senior Lecturer on Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Manny Lamarre, Managing Director & Founder, The Ladder Institute
  • Sandra Quiroz, Executive Director, Tu Casa Latina
  • Dr. Salwa Zaki, Director of Professional Learning, Washoe County Public Schools
  • Mark Warren, Professor of Public Policy & Public Affairs, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Natasha Capers, Parent Organizer & Coordinator, NYC Coalition for Educational Justice
  • Veronica Palmer, Co-founder & CEO, RISE Colorado


Where: Peppermill Resort Hotel, Tuscany Room

            2707 S. Virginia St.



Media representatives interested in seeing Washoe Country’s nationally recognized family and community engagement work in action may also attend a local site visit on Wednesday, July 9. To coordinate site visit attendance, please contact Victoria Campbell at 775.772.2907.


About the Institute for Educational Leadership: Founded in 1964, the Institute for Educational Leadership’s mission is to partner with under-resourced communities to equip leaders to better prepare children, youth, adults, and families for postsecondary education and training, rewarding careers, and civic and community engagement. For more information about the Institute for Educational Leadership, visit:



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