Ready4K has been really inspired by the work of our diverse partners, who are constantly innovating to improve service to families. So we decided to host this free webinar to highlight great work happening in a state with many families we serve: Michigan. Whether you’re located in Michigan or not, the speakers have insights to share that we know will benefit every family engagement professional.
Speakers dive into the new approaches and practical strategies that Vibrant Futures (formerly Camp Fire West Michigan 4C), the Kalamazoo RESA early education department, and Great Start AMA are using to achieve their mandates.
Topics we explore include:
- Re-envisioning family engagement to empower all families, using strengths based strategies
- Getting concrete resources into Michigan families’ hands
- Activating parents as education partners
- Continuing to help children achieve learning goals
Chief Executive Officer, Vibrant Futures
Chana Edmond-Verley believes in the power of agency, intelligence of systems, and wisdom of community. She brings to the forefront in early care and education (ECE) a focus on scalable, sustainable research-driven solutions that leverage human potential, and achieve results. Leading the ECE impact portfolio for a local foundation for over 10 years, her work and writings have been featured in National Public Radio (NPR), Journal of the Economics of Education Review, Council of Michigan Foundations, Education Week, PBS, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, and Harvard University’s Achievement Gap Initiative. She led the development, assessment and research of the Baby Scholars body of work and its multi-agency collaborative for 10 years, along with the viral Strive 4 Five Challenge and Campaign adopted in more than 1100 schools across the nation.
Administrator for Early Intervention and Special Services, Kalamazoo RESA
Jen Sova is the Administrator of Early Intervention and Special Services for Kalamazoo RESA. She has been in the role since 2017 and prior to that served as a speech-language pathologist and program coordinator for Grand Rapids Public Schools. Kalamazoo RESA provides educational programming and services to Kalamazoo County for children from birth through age 26. In her role, Jen works to serve all children and families through a mixed service delivery model, providing tiered supports and technical assistance in early childhood programming. Jen holds an MA in Speech-Language Pathology from Western Michigan University and an Educational Leadership certificate from Grand Valley State University. Jen has a passion for language and literacy development in young children and works to partner with agencies in Kalamazoo County to better serve children and families.
Great Start Collaborative Coordinator, Alpena Montmorency Alcona ESD
I grew up in Cincinnati Ohio, moved to England at the age of 8, and have lived in Northern Michigan from the age of 14, for nearly 30 years. I have two teenage daughters — one has Kabuki Syndrome and puts all of my parent-support tools to the test…daily! I received my Bachelor of Arts in Family Life Education (B.A., FLE) from Spring Arbor University in 2002, and quickly began practice as a Family Life Educator for the next 10 years — mostly as an at-risk/ runaway/ homeless youth-caseworker for a Community Action Agency. I worked for 2 years in Poverty Reduction (Communication Across Barriers model), then an intensive in-home Family Specialist for Protective Services, and several years in the Kindergarten and Preschool classrooms. I have been in my current position as the Great Start Collaborative Coordinator since 2016. It is truly an honor to support children & families!