National Conference

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

Register Now

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.

Rooms at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix have been sold out but NSLA has a few recommendations below. NSLA does not have a special conference rate at any of these locations and we highly recommend using your preferred search engine such as to find accommodations near the conference hotel that fit within your budget. NSLA has also found many opportunities for travel discounts.

Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix
2 E Jefferson St
Phoenix, AZ, 85004, USA
Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel
100 N 1st St
Phoenix, AZ, 85004, USA
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Phoenix Downtown – Ballpark
620 N 6th St
Phoenix, AZ, 85004, USA
(15 minute walk)

Conference Location

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

Tel: +1 602 252 1234

Discount Information
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Featured Speakers

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.

Dan Levi is executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Clear Channel Outdoor Americas. He leads the organization’s overall marketing strategy and execution in support of the company’s vision of enabling advertisers and brands to captivate audiences wherever they are.

Dan brings deep expertise in developing digital marketing strategies and has a proven track record of driving significant revenue growth, developing brands and creating opportunities for B2B and B2C marketing organizations. He joined CCOA from Levi Media Advisory, a consulting company he founded. Prior to launching his own firm, Levi was chief marketing officer at Captivate, and held senior-level digital marketing positions at companies including Zoom Media, Monster Worldwide, WWE and MTV.

Since 2008, Dan has focused on the intersection of digital media, technology and location-based marketing through involvement with the digital place-based advertising industry. He has helped the industry’s nascent embrace of ad tech, mobile and programmatic buying opportunities, building partnerships that bridge the gap between traditional “off-line” media and the digital and mobile ecosystem that drives today’s modern marketing and advertising businesses.

Dan has served as advisory board member of Digital Signage Association, chair of creative standards committee and member of the mobile integration committee for Digital Place-based Advertising Association, and member of technology innovations committee of Outdoor Advertising Association of America. He holds a BS in Marketing from Penn State University and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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.

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.

Kari Pardoe is an associate program officer at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation on the Advancing Afterschool and Youth Engagement portfolios. Previously she served as the director of The LEAGUE Michigan, a K-12 service-learning organization. Prior to that, she worked for the NBA Detroit Pistons and the WNBA Detroit Shock as manager of Community Relations and the Council of Michigan Foundations coordinating their youth philanthropy initiative, as well as working with community foundations. She has been involved with philanthropy in a variety of capacities for the past 23 years.

Kari received her bachelor’s degree in community and commercial recreation from Central Michigan University in 2003 and received her master’s degree in public administration with a nonprofit emphasis from Grand Valley State University in 2006. She served as a youth commissioner on the Michigan Community Service Commission for nine years and the America’s Service Commissions board of directors, a national organization which represents and promotes state service commissions across the United States. Kari also serves as treasurer for the Summit Academy School Board in Flat Rock, Michigan.

Aubrey White has devoted her career to helping young children grow as readers. She was a classroom teacher in Philadelphia for twelve years prior to joining Springboard. As a teacher, she experienced firsthand the positive impact of partnering with families and she is honored to continue that work on a larger scale. Aubrey attended Yale University and Penn State for her undergraduate work and completed her M.Ed at Chestnut Hill College. She retains active teaching and reading specialist certifications and she continues to hone her skills through professional development. As Chief Strategy Officer, Aubrey draws up on her past experience and expertise to advance the mission of Springboard. She lives in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia with her three children, with whom she happily shares her favorite read aloud book from the classroom: Shortcut by Donald Crews.

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.

This year’s youth speakers represent Dysart Community Center’s Teen Arts and Actions Program!

This session will be moderated by Mike Cassidy, a Positive Youth Development professional who specializes in designing and delivering teen programming focused on community engagement, academic and technical skill-building, and leadership. He has experience working in a wide range of settings with a diverse set of youth populations. His programming prioritizes youth autonomy, meaningful diversity, relationship building, and horizontal leadership models. He was formerly the Executive Director of Dysart Community Center in El Mirage, AZ where he founded and developed the Teen Arts and Action Program (TAAP), and he has served as a professional coach for several out-of-school time sites in Maricopa County through ASPIRE. He now serves as the Youth Services Administrator for the City of Surprise and advisor to the Surprise Youth Council.

Mike graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in History and an MA in Social Justice and Human Rights with focus on race and immigration. He has been engaged in local community organizing work for many years and has been invited to facilitate workshops and deliver lectures on various justice issues at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and elsewhere. He currently resides in Phoenix with his partner and two children.

Ashley Cruz Cabrera, 17 years old

“I have been a member of the Teen Arts and Actions Program (TAAP) for the last couple of years. I am a senior at Dysart High School who has been an eight-time Distinguished Demon as well as a Varsity member of the Sports Medicine team. I am involved in multiple programs to further my career in the medical field. I am raised by hard-working parents who molded me into an individual who aspires for success, not only for myself, but for my peers as well. I try and challenge myself every day in order to grow as an individual as well as a role model by encouraging others to try hard and speaking out about problems that arise that many might ignore.”

Jesus De Los Angeles, 16 years old

“My name is Jesus De Los Angeles and I am 16 years old. I’ve been a member of TAAP and the community center for about a year now. I like to live and enjoy life in the moment. I like being in TAAP because it gives me a place to express myself.”

Alex Mejia, 15 years old

“I have been a TAAP member for almost two years now. I am a teenager that has spent more time at the Dysart Community Center (DCC) than at my own home. DCC is home. I have been coming to DCC since I was 9 and I have gotten to know the staff very well. I feel great that I can relate to the kids that come for the afterschool program today. I feel like I was once in their shoes.”

Giovanni Puente, 17 years old

“I’ve been part of the Dysart Community Center since I was 6 years old. I’ve been volunteering nearly everyday for about four years now. In addition to volunteering at DCC’s afterschool program, I am a member of TAAP where we focus on creating video projects about topics that are important to us youth.”

Keo Chea-Young, Ed.D. is committed to helping young children across the country read early and well. To this end, she has dedicated her career to program and curriculum development,developing and facilitating professional learning for teachers, and coaching teachers to improve instruction in both school and out-of-school settings. Prior to joining Springboard Collaborative, she consulted for two literacy organizations in Philadelphia and has instructed part-time at Arcadia University. She holds a master’s degree in language and literacy and a reading specialist certification from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a doctorate in Reading, Writing, Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Her favorite childhood book was Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel, a book she continues to enjoy with her two young daughters.

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.

Ken McFarlane is a West Philadelphia documentary & portrait photographer, working from the vantage point of resident observer reflecting his local community as a member; offering the viewer a range of vision from within.

He has over 15 years’ experience in commercial, editorial, documentary photography and filmmaking. His current body of work focuses on producing visual and audio histories of Philadelphia in the present as a means of documentation for future generations. He strives to magnify the inherent agency within every subject to control their own image. He is committed to utilizing photography as a medium to preserve collective memory while encouraging future generations to remember, re-examine and realize their own potential.

Ken and his son, Marcus, participated in Springboard Summer for two consecutive years.

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.

In addition, Marlyn serves as the co-chair of New York Life’s Latino Employee Resource Group. Since 2007, Marlyn has provided leadership to promote the Foundation’s mission and strategic direction and is responsible for developing and managing the Foundation’s national education grants portfolio. The Foundation’s educational enhancement grantmaking supports high quality out-of-school time programs that help middle school students make a successful transition to high school.

Previously, Marlyn was the first Program Officer for the Clark Foundation, a private family foundation based in New York. In addition, she served as Assistant Program Officer at JP Morgan Private Bank’s Philanthropic Services department, and before that, worked for the New York Community Trust, the largest community foundation in the country. Before her career in philanthropy Marlyn worked as a policy analyst for several nonprofit organizations in Washington, DC and in New York City.

Marlyn graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science from Fordham University and a Masters in Public Administration from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. She serves on the steering committee of the New York City Youth Funders Group and has served on the Grantmakers for Education Out-of-School Time Funder’s Network and on the board of Philanthropy New York. In 2016, Marlyn was awarded the Pioneer Award for Outstanding Contributions to K-12 Education by City & State Reports. Marlyn lives in New York City with her husband René Santiago and their two daughters.

Pritay has over 10 years of experience supporting Head Start and Early Head Start programs as an administrator, and most recently added to her background experience by focusing on developing and coordinating Family and Community Engagement efforts. She brings this experience and knowledge to enhance her current work on a national scale, supporting increased access to quality school-age Afterschool and Summer Learning opportunities. Pritay has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services from National-Louis 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. Two PHAs will share experiences working with school districts, public institutions and nonprofit organizations to provide summer and educational programs for resident children and families.

Terri Clark, Arizona Literacy Director, Read On Arizona
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:

1. Expand Access

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

2. 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.



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 $575
Onsite Rate – Tier 4
October 13 – Onsite
1-Day Conference Registration $395

Register Today

Pre-Conference Training Institute

The pre-conference sessions are sold out, but if you are interested in learning more about NSLA’s trainings and technical supports, click here to connect with our program staff.


Best Buy Geek SquadCarson-Dellosa Publishing GroupEverFiiHeart MediaKids Read NowmyONNew York Life FoundationThe Wallace FoundationWrite Brain BooksYOUTH Today

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