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Highlights from Mom Congress 2012

Melissa Taylor

You know who’s going to solve the world’s problems?




Mom Congress 2012 proves that mom advocates make education better for our children. Not only are the delegates for 2012 incredible, the presentations in the last few days were, too.


Mom Congress Rock Star Ideas

Editorial Director, Ana Connery, opened the conference with the 2012 themes –-

1. Parent-teacher connection

2. Global connectedness. 

Connery recently interviewed Mrs. Obama who said that she or the President always attended every conference for their children. Her takeaway? If the Pres can do it, (and one could argue he’s quite busy) we all can!



Ellen Pritchard-Dodge of Kimochis, Toys with Feelings Inside, taught us about their different temperament characters. When the spotlight is on the character, not the child, it’s easier to connect. As a world we need to communicate with each other and Kimochi’s is a place to start. In fact, Kimochi is more than a toy; it’s a tool and a school wide curriculum that impressed us all.

Ellen “I see massive changes in kids that have had the Kimochis. Kids are friendlier, patient, polite, . . . conflicts are resolved more quickly.”


ASCD Healthy Schools

Sean Slade Healthy Schools Communities ASCD Director emphasized the importance of professional development then added, “If you want to go somewhere quickly you go on you own; but if you want to go far, you take someone with you. . . . If you want something sustainable [in education] you take partners with you.”


Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan

 The best part of Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan’s speech was when he used mentioned Mom Congress delegate initiatives – like Beth Schroeder Buonsante’s Zumba nights, Liberty Naud’s mobile science lab in California, Lisa Hilgenfeldt’s FuelMySchool program matching needs with resources, and Andi Hildenbrand’s hands-on science lab.



Schools worldwide use the PISA assessment in which Finland did exceptionally well. Anu Partanen journalist author from Finland shared some of her research on what works in her country and the differences between Finland and the U.S. For example, teacher training is emphasized and teachers are given autonomy to do what they do. If there are problems, teachers are sent for more training. 


Model UN

The Model United Nations program, says Director of Education, Amy Ruggiero, increases global competence with four goals.

  1. Investigate the world.
  2. Recognize diverse perspectives.
  3. Communicate ideas with a diverse audience.
  4. Take action on what kids have learned


Save the Children

Mark Shriver of Save the Children got straight to the point when he said, “It’s not sexy to talk about poor kids in America; it’s sexy to talk about poor kids in Africa. But, when 1 in 4 kids in this country live in poverty, look in the mirror and say stop fooling yourself, nothing is going to change unless you get fired up. Delegate, Ilina Ewen loved Mark Shriver because he spoke to the causes she's most passionate about."

Shriver recommended . . .

1. Get mobilized.

2. Get political action efforts behind you.

3. Get 5 - 10 friends to go with you if you want to have an impact.



Shockingly, only 1 in 5 kids have access to a park said Darell Hammond of KaBOOM! Which translates to 15 million kids. As a non-profit, they have gotten good at raising money for their work. KaBOOM'S Susan Comfort gave us her best tips to raising money. The key to raising money is you have to ask (not write a letter, email, FB or Twitter). You can say something like this: "I’m passionate about ______________________ , will you give _____________________ ?"


Shot @ Life

Shot@Life wants every child to get a chance to live a healthy, long life by preventing illnesses with vaccines. Delegates were touched by the Shot@Life ambassador stories. Julie Bergin summarized it saying, "Shot@life touched my heart... you donate $20, get a cool t-shirt and a baby gets to LIVE! Awesome!"

Lori Harding added, "The personal passion the stories brought to their cause." 

"I loved Shot@Life because it reminds us how much we take vaccines and the safety they provide our families for granted," gushed Martha Edwards.


Stay tuned for more from Mom Congress 2012 highlights on Thursday's blog post.