Sustained and aligned early childhood programs, birth through third grade (B-3), have the potential to be an educational game-changer. To support this work, the Illinois Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (OECD), the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and the Center for the Study of Education Policy (CSEP), is pleased to announce an opportunity for community and school leaders to participate in the Illinois Birth Through Third Grade (B-3) Continuity Conference.

Illinois B3 Continuity Conference

June 14-15, 2017

Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center

Normal, IL

The Illinois Birth-to-Third (B3) Continuity Project is hosting its third annual conference. The B3 Conference is open to school districts and community leaders working towards birth-to-third grade alignment strategies in their community. Communities are encouraged to come as teams with representatives from early childhood, K-12 schools, and the broader community. Entities holding Preschool Expansion Grants and Preschool for All Expansion Grants should be included within applying communities. Examples of potential team representatives are included below.

Interested communities should apply to participate in the conference. Preference will be given to existing Preschool Expansion Communities and communities that include on their team both a high-level district administrator with decision-making authority (e.g., superintendent or assistant superintendent) and an early childhood administrator from either the school district or subgrantee community-based organization.

Application timeline

  • Application materials are due Friday, May 5, 2017
  • Accepted conference participants will be notified by Friday, May 12, 2017
  • Agenda and conference updates will be posted to the conference website

Conference Themes

This conference is collaboratively planned by CSEP, ISBE, and OECD to build the capacity of early childhood and elementary education staff to provide informed leadership about research-based practices to develop an effective system of supports and services for children birth through third grade.

  1. Expand knowledge of developmentally appropriate educational practices across the birth through third grade continuum with a focus on sustainable and cost-effective implementation that involves leveraging resources among schools and the community to build a continuum of high-quality early learning environments.
  2. Enhance their understanding of the structures, practices and supports needed to increase alignment within and across communities and school districts to best support children and families, including family engagement that continues into the early grades, supported transitions, data-driven improvement, joint professional development, curriculum and instruction, assessments, comprehensive services and community partnerships.
  3. Identify technical assistance needs and resources to enhance their community’s capacity and to prepare and support children and families from birth through third grade.
  4. Learn from national experts and colleagues in an inclusive and dynamic forum to network, share information and build skills.

Conference Costs

There are no fees for attending the conference, but participants are responsible for their own up-front travel costs and meals (no meals are provided by the conference). A block of rooms at discounted rates has been reserved at the Hyatt, Marriott, and Hampton hotels in Bloomington. Participants will need to book and pay for room on their own; however, for existing Expansion Communities hotel costs are eligible for reimbursement after receipts and appropriate, provided forms are handed in. Additional hotel information will be provided to those accepted to participate.

Team Stakeholder Examples

Districts or communities are encouraged to bring a team of 2-5 stakeholders to the conference. Communities that are working with multiple districts may bring a team composed of educators and community members representing the community work as a whole. Examples of appropriate team members include: superintendent/assistant superintendent, school board member, elementary principal, kindergarten and PreK-teachers, child care center directors, Head Start director, Early Childhood coordinator, Community Schools Resource Coordinator, Innovation Zone Coordinator, Before/After School partners, community-based partner(s), municipal staff, United Way staff.

Application Questions?

Contact one of the Illinois B3 Continuity co-directors: Pam Reilly ( or Ashley Long (