"Shining Stars: Charting the Future of Today's Children," a day-long conference for those who instruct preschoolers with and without disabilities in educational, home, and daycare settings, will be held July 13, at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center in Roanoke, and July 15, at the Holiday Inn (Interstate 64 and Broad Street) in Richmond.

The conference will assist early childhood educators; early intervention specialists; Head Start, Title I, and Even Start providers; childcare providers; and families across the state.

"The conference will present attendees with plenty of opportunities to share information across programs and disciplines," said Phyllis Mondak, technical assistant for the Virginia Department of Education. "The activities were specifically designed to be helpful to all segments of professionals who work with children from infancy to primary school age."

Featured speakers will be Camille Catlett of the FPG Child Development Institute, who will discuss teacher preparation in collaboration across systems and sensitivity to cultural and linguistic diversity, and Ingrid Crepeau, master artist with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts. Breakout sessions will address such topics as transition, assessment, literacy, behavior, inclusive/collaborative programs, and family involvement.

An outreach effort directed by Continuing and Professional Education, part of Outreach and International Affairs at Virginia Tech, the conference is spearheaded by Virginia's Division of Special Education and Instructional Services as part of a priority project of the U.S. Department of Education. Sponsors include the Virginia Department of Education, the Partnership for People with Disabilities, Child Development Resources, and the Virginia Department of Education Training and Technical Assistance Centers. PEATC, Parent Resource Centers, Together We Can, Project Hope, and Infant-Toddler Connection of Virginia will be exhibiting at both locations.

Registration for the conference, which includes a $35 fee that covers lunch and conference materials, should be submitted by June 30, and can be completed online at http://www.conted.vt.edu/shiningstars/index.html. For additional information, contact Elizabeth Schroder at (540) 231-3144 or eschrode@vt.edu, or Jane Todd at (540) 231-2014 or janetodd@vt.edu.