2013 National Smart Start Conference
April 29 - May 2, 2013 | Joseph S. Koury Center, Greensboro, NC


We are excited about this year's Opening Keynote and Keynote Lecture speakers! Each of these dynamic authors will host a book signing immediately following their presentation. Books will be available for sale onsite through Barnes and Noble. And Barnes and Noble will generously donate 10% of all sales to The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc.

Opening Keynote:

Tuesday, April 30

Paul Tough, Author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
Paul Tough challenges our culture's belief that intelligence, endlessly measured by test scores, is the sole indicator of value in our education system. It's not. In How Children Succeed, he ushers in a tidal change in thinking and argues that non-cognitive skills - or, character - are better indicators of success: curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, self-control, and grit.

In this talk, Paul Tough will lay it bare: we believe that success comes from those who score highest on tests, from preschool to SATs. Yet evidence indicates that our story here might be dead wrong. The work of a new generation of researchers and educators points to the fact that the qualities that have a better shot at indicating lifelong success are "non cognitive" or what we might refer to as "personality traits" such as: curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, self-control, and grit. Using the tools of science, Tough will peel back the mysteries of character and traces the links between early childhood neurological development and environment. By showing how "nature" and "nurture" are intertwined.

A contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, Paul Tough is also the author of Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America, which focuses on the steps necessary to improve the lives and education of underserved children. Through the case study of the Harlem Children's Zone, Tough describes the inspiring struggle to establish a way to combat poverty that could be replicated nationwide. Tough has also contributed to This American Life and The New Yorker, where he has honed his focus upon education, poverty, parenting, and politics.

Keynote Lecture:

Wednesday, May 1, 10:30am

Diana Whitney, Appreciative Leadership: Focus on What Works to Build a Thriving Organization.
In the midst of the economic, social and environmental challenges facing us today there is a glimmer of hope. A social transformation is taking place in early childhood organizations worldwide. Leadership practices are moving from authoritarian to collaborative, from fear-based to strengths-based, and from talking at people to inquiry and dialogue "with" people.

A positive revolution in organizing and change is underway, offering new possibilities and practices for leadership, organization design and community building. Positive psychology posits that people flourish and perform at their best when engaged in positive communication and surrounded by positive emotions. Teams, departments and entire organizations thrive in a positive emotional environment. Strengths based research makes the case for human learning and development in areas of strength rather than weakness.

Drawing on years of experience and research, Diana Whitney defines leadership as a powerful relational process and offers five strategies for extraordinary performance.

Diana Whitney is a global social entrepreneur. She is founder and president of Corporation for Positive Change, a global consulting cooperative and of the Taos Institute, an international think tank dedicated to relational processes in business, education, families and communities. Her award winning books on Appreciative Leadership and Appreciative Inquiry, the revolutionary process she helped to develop, have been translated into over a dozen languages and are used as text books in business schools, universities and corporate learning centers around the world.

View the Keynote Presention
Cadmium Online Registration EventRebels.com