Focus on Children Conference

The 40th annual Focus on Children Conference is scheduled for Saturday, February 3rd, 2024. More info coming soon!

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Making the Ideal Real: Get Ready for the Future of Early Childhood Education

Presented by Marica Cox Mitchell and Elisa Huss-Hage 

The “child care” crisis is receiving significant media and political attention. Experts across multiple fields are weighing in and presenting their solutions to address this crisis. But what is the ideal system and who defines this ideal? This futuristic session will identify components of the ideal early childhood education system, discuss the mindset shifts needed to transform “child care”, and identify ways to make the ideal more real. Join us to get ready for the future of early childhood education. 

 Marica Cox Mitchell

Marica Cox Mitchell is Vice President, Early Childhood for the Bainum Family Foundation. She leads the foundation’s efforts to support the healthy growth and development of young children and the well-being of their families through work in two primary areas: practice/direct service and policy/advocacy. The foundation’s work prioritizes five aspects of Early Childhood: early learning, mental health and well-being, health (including prenatal and perinatal), family economic security and housing stability.

 Before joining the foundation in 2019, Cox Mitchell worked for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), where she most recently served as Deputy Executive Director, Early Learning Systems. In this role, she led a portfolio encompassing public policy and advocacy, accreditations of early learning programs, higher education accreditation and the Power to the Profession initiative. Previously, she was Senior Director, NAEYC Accreditation for Higher Education Programs. She also worked for the District’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education from 2009 to 2012 — serving as Director, School Preparedness Division and Supervisor, Professional Development Unit. She began her career as an early childhood educator — working in various early learning settings as well as with young children birth through age 8.


Elisa Huss-Hage

Elisa Huss-Hage is the Director of Early Childhood for HOPE Toledo, a non-profit in Toledo, Ohio working to support and ensure high-quality education, from preschool to postsecondary, for every young person in the city of Toledo. In her role, she leads and guides the early childhood initiative, which includes supporting HOPE Toledo’s 20 comprehensive, community-based partner providers as they strive to provide the highest quality education to the young children and families they serve.

Huss-Hage joined HOPE Toledo after 25 years at Owens Community College as a faculty member in the Department of Teacher Education and Human Services. During these years, she dedicated significant time to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and their higher education work to establish and maintain teacher preparation standards for the field of early childhood education. She is currently serving on NAEYC’s Higher Education Commission.  Huss-Hage also served on the NAEYC Governing Board (2016-2020), serving as Chair of their Early Learning Systems Committee which was responsible for the development of the Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education position statement.

Elisa and her husband, Chuck, as “Just Kiddin’ Around…” have performed interactive musical concerts for young children and families for 30+ years, including local, state, and national events and conferences. 

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Info Coming Soon!
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Info Coming Soon!
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Info Coming Soon!
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  • Canvas Information

    Canvas will be used for workshop handouts, announcements, etc.

    Canvas Instructions - Your username is your full SID# and your default password is the first 8 characters of your last name (for short last names, repeat from the beginning until you reach eight). Please note that you may not see the class in Canvas until closer to the start date.

    • Log in to Canvas
      Username: your full ctcLink ID number (EMPLID)
      Password: your ctcLink password (you create this when activating your ctcLink account)

    • Visit the my ctcLink account page to activate your account or change your password.
      Select “Activate Your Account” to activate your ctcLink account and set up your password.
      Select “Password Help” then “Reset Password” if you have forgotten your password. 

    •  Take the Canvas 101 tutorial course for a quick introduction to Canvas.

    • Contact eLearning at or call 360.752.8555 if you need help.

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