Summer Changes Everything™ in Phoenix, Arizona

Summer Changes Everything™ 2017

Summer Changes Everything™, a national conference devoted entirely to summer learning and afterschool, will be held in Phoenix, Arizona from October 23-25, 2017.

Research confirms summer as one of the most inequitable times of the year for millions of young people in America and this year’s theme, We’ve Got the Power!, captures the critical work underway to change that.

We’ve Got the Power! calls upon our collective will and the leadership of legions of educators, community members and corporate leaders to step up, speak out and stand in the gap for our nation’s children. We can’t wait to see you at Summer Changes Everything™!

At this year’s conference, you’ll have the opportunity to join workshops focused on four strands:

  • Effective Learning Approaches
  • Systems Building
  • Program Planning
  • Policy & Advocacy

Reserve your spot today!

Conference Hotel and Travel

Summer Changes Everything™ will be held at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix in in Phoenix, Arizona. Located in the center of the cosmopolitan city, this year’s conference is conveniently located just across the street from the Phoenix Convention Center and within walking distance to many popular attractions.

NSLA has secured a special group rate at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix for conference attendees at $209/night +tax. NSLA has also found many opportunities for travel discounts.

Conference Location

Hyatt Regency Phoenix
122 N 2nd Street
Phoenix, AZ, 85004, USA

Tel: +1 602 252 1234

Featured Speakers

Reggie Love, Vice President - Transatlantic Energy Group

Reginald Love currently serves as Vice President at the Transatlantic Energy Group and has been an equity partner since 2012.

Prior to joining Transatlantic, Mr. Love served in the Executive Office of the President as personal aide to President Obama from 2007-2011, where he was responsible for assisting with the coordination and completion of the President’s daily schedule as well as coordinating with other offices to set up long and medium range planning. Mr. Love moved to the District of Columbia in 2006 to work for then Senator Obama after short stints in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers.

Mr. Love graduated from Duke University in 2004, majoring in Political Science and Public Policy and minoring in History. He was also captain of Duke’s Men’s Basketball team and started for the Football team, which he led in receiving for three seasons. Mr. Love received an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the author of New York Times Best Seller, Power Forward, My Presidential Education, which is a collection of stories and principles learned during his journey working for President Obama and being a captain for the all-time most winning NCAA coach, Mike Krzyzewski.

Mr. Love serves on the boards of Providence Day School, Organizing for Action and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems.

Jennifer McCombs, Senior Policy Researcher and Director, Behavioral and Policy Sciences Department - RAND Corporation

Jennifer McCombs is a senior policy researcher and director of the Behavioral and Policy Science Department at the RAND Corporation, and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her education research focuses on evaluating the extent to which public policies and programs improve outcomes for at-risk students.

Over the course of her career, she has studied how to improve teacher effectiveness (through professional development, teacher training, and incentives); whether literacy coaching improves student reading outcomes; the development of systems for out-of-school-time programs; the implementation and impact of test-based promotion policies; and the effects of federal accountability policies on schools, classrooms, and students. McCombs currently co-leads a five-district randomized controlled trial examining the effectiveness of voluntary summer learning programs for low-income elementary youth. Her studies combine implementation and outcome data to provide practitioners and policymakers guidance on how to improve programs and promote student outcomes. She earned her Ph.D. in public policy from The George Washington University.

Margaret McKenna, Former President of the Walmart Foundation and Member of the Massachusetts Board of Education

As NSLA’s Chairman of the Board, Margaret McKenna provides crucial leadership for the organization and its advocacy, fundraising, community outreach efforts and awareness campaign: Smarter Summers, Brighter Futures.

McKenna began her career as a civil rights attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. Later in her career, she served as the deputy counsel in the White House, as undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education, and led the education transition team for President Clinton.

McKenna’s experience in higher education includes serving as vice president of Radcliffe College and as president of Lesley University for 22 years. She also served as a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University. During her tenure at Lesley, the college grew from 2,000 to more than 10,000 students, from a college to a university, and from a small regional college to a nationally recognized leader in teacher education.

While leading the Walmart Foundation from 2007 – 2011, McKenna created a strategy that emphasized hunger relief, education, and the economic empowerment of women. During her term, the foundation provided more than $900 million in grants annually.

McKenna is an author, speaker, and expert on issues of educational access, women’s economic empowerment, hunger, and social change leadership. She has served on five corporate boards and dozens of non-profit boards and is the recipient of 10 Honorary Degrees. She serves as the vice chair of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Board and sits on the commonwealth’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Gigi Antoni, Director of Learning and Enrichment - The Wallace Foundation

Giselle (Gigi) Antoni joined The Wallace Foundation in June 2017 as director of learning and enrichment. She leads the team responsible for the strategy and implementation of the foundation’s work in areas including social and emotional learning, summer learning and after-school system building.

Before joining Wallace, Antoni served for 21 years as president and CEO of Big Thought, a nonprofit that focuses on closing the opportunity gap for children living in poverty in Dallas. She led the organization to deepen its impact and expand its services, so that today Big Thought serves 130,000 of Dallas’s most marginalized young people year-round, with school and community-based programming during the school day, after school and over the summer. Antoni also led in-depth, city wide research and planning processes that increased the breadth of arts and out-of-school-time programming in Dallas, as well as children’s and teens’ access to these programs.

Antoni is a graduate of the Drama Studio London at Berkeley and studied theater at Stephen F. Austin State University and social work at the University of Texas at Arlington. She is the co-author of Collaboration & Sustainability in Arts Education and has written numerous op-eds, essays and white papers.

In 2011, President Barak Obama named Antoni a Champion of Change for Arts Education.

Alejandro Gac-Artigas, Founder and Chief Executive Officer - Springboard Collaborative

Alejandro Gac-Artigas is a 1st grade teacher turned entrepreneur. His passion for education—ignited when his family immigrated to the U.S. seeking educational opportunity—led him to the classroom. His frustration with a system disserving his students led him to found Springboard in 2011. Alejandro was since honored as ‘one of the world’s best emerging social innovators’ by Echoing Green, a leading impact investor that selected 20 startups from 3,500 global applicants. He was also named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 and recognized as one of two national recipients of the Claneil Emerging Leaders Fund.

Alejandro is an alumnus of Teach for America and McKinsey & Company. He holds a BA with high honors from Harvard University and an MS in Urban Ed from the University of Pennsylvania. His favorite childhood book is The Little Prince—it continues to inspire him today.

David Park, Executive Vice President of Communications and Strategy - Learning Heroes

David Park brings more than 20 years of experience in communications, partnerships, community engagement, and resource development to his role of Executive Vice President, Strategy & Communications at Learning Heroes.

Prior to Learning Heroes, David spent seven years at America’s Promise, an alliance of 350+ national organizations working to improve the lives of young people by connecting them with resources essential for success. As Vice President of Mission Advancement for America’s Promise, David was part of a core senior leadership team that developed and implemented the GradNation campaign to increase the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020. Specifically, David managed the GradNation communications strategy and helped drive implementation in communities throughout the nation. He was also the primary liaison for business, foundation and non-profit partnerships.

David’s vast experience in communications includes launching and leading Park & Associates, a boutique public relations firm specializing in social sector communications, and holding senior level positions at multi-national communications agencies, including Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and Porter Novelli International. David has written blogs and columns for The Huffington Post, TIME and Roll Call; has been interviewed by MSNBC, PBS, and several local television and radio affiliates; and taught graduate level communications courses at Georgetown University.

Featured Workshops

Planning and Operating High-Quality Programs: Insights and Tools from the National Summer Learning Project

How do summer planning processes and operations ultimately influence whether kids experience a “good day” or “bad day” at our programs? RAND will highlight findings and recommendations from a new operational guide to be released this fall, which synthesizes over five years of on the ground research from the Wallace Foundation’s National Summer Learning Project. Participants will have an opportunity to interact with related planning tools to be released this spring as a part of the Foundation’s Summer Planning Toolkit website.


Ann Stone
, Senior Research and Evaluation Officer, The Wallace Foundation


Jennifer McCombs
, Senior Policy Researcher and Director, Behavioral and Policy Sciences Department, RAND Corporation
Hillary Oravec, Senior Consultant, The Learning Agenda
James Doyle, Coordinator of Out of School Time, Pittsburgh Public Schools
Arianna Wilson, Program Manager, Office of Expanded Learning Time, Boston Public Schools
Chris Smith, President and Executive Director, Boston Afterschool and Beyond

Excellence Awards – How DO They Do It?

Each year, the National Summer Learning Association completes a rigorous, competitive screening process to identify the best in comprehensive summer learning programs across the country. Join us as these award-winning programs discuss the keys to their success in an interactive panel format

2017 Excellence in Summer Learning Award Winner:
Camp Good Sam

2017 Founder’s Award Winners:
SummerBoost Camp

Quality Matters! Using the Summer Learning Program Quality Intervention for System-Wide Summer Program Quality

Summer programs around the country provide innovative, educational, and enriching experiences for young people. But how do you assess the quality of these programs? How do program designers, policymakers and program administrators at all levels build quality assessment into general program policies, requirements and practices? In this session early adopters of the Summer Learning Program Quality Intervention and other experts will lead a discussion on how programs, districts, and states build program quality evaluation into their summer efforts. Participants should expect to learn from a variety of examples and participate in a lively, engaging discussion. Participants will leave with knowledge about pursuing the first steps in developing a quality improvement system for summer programs in their communities.

Rachel Gwaltney, Director of Policy and Partnerships, National Summer Learning Association
Laenne K. Thompson, Senior Manager, Field Services Systems, David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality

Advocating to Preserve our Programs

Significant political change in Washington, DC has brought new opportunities and challenges to the out-of-school time field, making strong advocacy efforts are imperative. During this session, discover how to design an advocacy strategy to strengthen support for your summer learning programs.

Alexis Steines, Director of Field Outreach, Afterschool Alliance
Andrea Szegedy-Maszak, Field Outreach Coordinator, Afterschool Alliance

Summer Partnerships for Early School Success for Children in Public Housing

Partnerships are key to providing enhanced summer learning opportunities for children living in public housing. Three PHAs will share experiences working school districts, public institutions and nonprofit organizations to provide summer and educational programs for resident children and families.

Alicia Maldonado, Senior Consultant, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
Amy Jacobson, Housing and Redevelopment Manager, City of Chandler Housing Authority
Zona Pacheco, Supportive Services Coordinator, City of Phoenix Housing Department

Exhibitors and Sponsors

Exhibit or become a sponsor at Summer Changes Everything™!

Summer Changes Everything™ provides the opportunity to showcase your products and services to more than 700 program managers, administrators, youth workers, teachers, school district leaders, researchers and policy makers from across the country.

Join the National Summer Learning Association in Phoenix, October 23 – 25, 2017 for the opportunity to:

Expand Access

Promote your products and services to key decision makers in the out-of-school time field

Build Awareness

Network with participants during the two-day conference
Click here to become an exhibitor or contact Ryan Berlin at to learn more about sponsorship opportunities.

Click here to view the Exhibit Floor-Plan.

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Pre-Conference Training Institute
Monday, October 23
Training Title Pricing
Morning Pre-Conference Training
Summer Starts in September: Your Ultimate Planning Guide
Afternoon Pre-Conference Training
Summer Starts in September Special Topics: Youth and Family Engagement Strategies
Both Pre-Conference Trainings* $395

*Lunch will be included for those who attend both Pre-Conference Trainings

2-Day Conference Registration
Tuesday, October 24 and Wednesday, October 25
Training Title Pricing
Early Bird $475
Summer Rate – Tier 2 $525
Regular Rate – Tier 3
NOW – October 12
Onsite Rate – Tier 4
October 13 – Onsite
1-Day Conference Registration $395