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2021 BUILD Virtual Conference: Reinvent Early Care & Education Quality Improvement to Advance Racial Equity

July 19 - 22

BUILD 2021 Conference Highly Rated by Participants

Beginning with the very first gathering in 2008, BUILD’s annual National Meeting has focused on helping state and local government leaders, advocates, educators, and providers put equitable, high-quality early childhood systems in place to help all young children thrive regardless of race, place, or family income.

BUILD 2021: Reinvent Early Care and Education Quality Improvement to Advance Racial Equity emphasized the importance of maintaining that focus, particularly in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, the cracks it exposed in our system of early child services, racial inequities it exacerbated, the economic downturn it brought, and the crippling effect it had on the field. The meeting stressed how these events have further heightened the need for policy leaders, providers, advocates, and families to work together to build new foundations for marginalized children, prenatal to age five, across early care and education, family support, maternal and child health, and other family-focused services.

But the meeting also highlighted a new way forward offered by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which provides significant federal funding for early childhood care and education. In small group learning and conference plenary sessions, participants were urged to seize the moment and take action to:

  • Rebuild child care and reinvent quality improvement strategies by including in discussions the voices of  families that have been marginalized and ensuring the growing number of multilingual, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous children are represented in program design, development, implementation, and monitoring. The closing plenary session with Anna Deavere Smith, based on Notes from the Field, her award winning play and HBO series, highlighted how family and community voice can help disrupt structural inequities rooted in racism and poverty by bringing history, context, and urgency to this work.
  • Maintain a well-compensated early childhood workforce that represents the racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity of young children, supported by effective and responsive professional development, quality coaching/mentoring, and increased access to higher education two-year and four-year higher education degree and certificate programs. The plenary session with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of the best-selling How to Be An Anti-Racist, underscored how, via racial justice research, practice, and policy, we must challenge and change the narratives that have marginalized early childhood educators and credentialing systems that have excluded providers and women of color.
  • Use federal relief and stimulus dollars to build a stable early care and education system, address workforce compensation and access issues, and continuously improve program quality and cross-sector connections in ways that are supportive of diverse US families and the national workforce. A panel of state and federal early childhood policy experts said the White House Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities and ARPA funding for early childhood must be leveraged to combat systemic barriers that prevent the targeting of resources and access to opportunity by marginalized children, families, communities, and providers.

The virtual conference drew 1200 participants from 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Almost half of attendees were Black, Latinx, Asian American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

Attendees rated all conference sessions at four stars or higher – the best yet for a BUILD conference.

The registration rate for the plenaries and learning sessions, July 20-July 22 is $450.

There is an add-on for the pre-conference sessions on July 19, the total rate for the conference  plus preconference is $475.  You must register for pre-conference sessions at the same time you register for the general conference.

This year’s conference will be presented on the Socio virtual conference platform that will allow you to:

  • Hang out with your team, old friends and new ones via video lounges that accommodate up to 13 people.
  • Connect directly with sponsors through both our sponsor and networking receptions.
  • Live chat with presenters during their sessions with additional opportunities for in-depth Q&A with some speakers in the video lounges.

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