Eastern Michigan's Bright Futures Presents:

3rd Annual Youth Development Conference

Please join Eastern Michigan University's Bright Futures and The Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, for our third annual Ideas to Action conference! We invite leaders, practitioners, researchers, and stakeholders to learn about the most recent Social Emotional Learning (SEL) research and discuss how to best bring these practices into the educational community.


We will have SCECHS available to those who wish to earn them.


Download a free copy of “Preparing Youth to Thrive: Promising Practices for Social & Emotional Learning” by clicking here and scrolling down to the bottom of the page to "Download now". Print versions will also be available at the conference for $10.


Register now!

Click here for single tickets

For group sales, please contact Scott Teasdale at steasdal@emich.edu


Want to start following the movement now?

What’s your idea of a “brave space” in the classroom, work space, at home?

Share them with us on the Bright Futures Facebook page here.

Use the hashtags #:   #bravespaces, #SocialEmotionalLearning, #truEMU,

#Ypsilanti, #EMUBF


Are you unable to attend the Conference but would still like to support the work of Bright Futures?
Click here to make a much appreciated donation.

Eastern Michigan University's Bright Futures Second Annual Youth Development Conference took place on Tuesday, June 28th, 2016.

Ideas to Action: Social Emotional Learning in Educational Leadership


Participants had an opportunity to collectively discuss the latest research around Social Emotional Learning and Positive Youth Development research and practice.  During the afternoon “un-conference” sessions,  topics were generated by participants in order to share best practices, new ideas, and to support one another in moving our youth programs forward.


The 2016 conference was a collaboration between EMU Bright Futures and the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality. The Weikart Center empowers education and human service leaders to adapt, implement, and scale best-in-class, research validated quality improvement systems to advance child and youth development.


The morning Research Exhibition featured presentations from the David P. Weikart Center.




Description of the SEL Standards – “The SEL Challenge found 32 standards and 58 practice indicators in the six SEL domains: Emotion Management, Empathy, Teamwork, Responsibility, Problem Solving and Initiative, along with 10 practice indicators for the Curriculum Features. This workshop will introduce you to the standards as a resource for improving your practice.”

Presenter: Kiley Bednar


Background of the Challenge and Assessment – “How do we know we are making progress in SEL?: This workshop will present background information on the SEL Challenge and the pathway that led to the Staff Rating of Youth Skills measure.”

Presenter: Gina McGovern


Panel Discussion: Charles Smith (Weikart Center Executive Director), Russ Olwell (Director of  Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities), and Will Spotts (Bright Futures Site Coordinator at Washtenaw International Middle Academy): – Panelists discussed the state of the field in SEL (Current Research); The Policy Context (creating a low stakes environment at all system levels – is it possible?); and ESSA – does this represent a door opening in terms of multiple measures of success in instructional environments?



Keynote Speaker: Karen Pittman


Karen has made a career of starting organizations and initiatives that promote youth development – including the Forum for Youth Investment, which she co-founded in 1998 and currently resides as President and CEO.


A sociologist and recognized leader in youth development, Karen started her career at the Urban Institute, conducting studies on social services for children and families. She later moved to the Children’s Defense Fund, launching its adolescent pregnancy prevention initiatives and helping to create its adolescent policy agenda.


In 1995 Karen joined the Clinton administration as director of the President's Crime Prevention Council, where she worked with 13 cabinet secretaries to create a coordinated prevention agenda. From there she moved to the executive team of the International Youth Foundation (IYF), charged with helping the organization strengthen its program content and develop an evaluation strategy.


Karen has written three books and dozens of articles on youth issues, including as a regular columnist in the youth development newspaper, Youth Today. She is also a respected public speaker and has served on numerous boards and panels. She currently sits on the America’s Promise Board of Trustees and YouthBuild USA. Karen has been honored with the National Commission for African American Education Augustus F. Hawkins Service Award (2002), the American Youth Policy Forum Decade of Service Award for Sustained Visionary Leadership in Advancing Youth Policy (2003) and the Healthy Teen Network Spirit of Service Award (2007), and in 2009 was recognized in The NonProfit Times' Power & Influence Top 50



"Incorporating deliberate practices that embed SEL content in our afterschool program experiences has energized our staff while supporting youth in becoming independent, thoughtful, empathic, reflective, engaged, and skilled leaders and team-members.   In fact, SEL has made us all better learners, teammates, and citizens, adults and students alike."
-Dr. Lynn Malinoff, Director, Bright Futures

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203 Boone Hall

Ypsilanti, MI 48197


(734) 487-0372

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