What 2012 conference attendees had to say:

“Great ideas. Practical application - THANKS!”
— Assistant Principal
“This was exceptional. Great information clearly presented.”
— Advocate
"Perfect! Inspired me to tackle this in my schools!"
— District Supervisor

Conference Sessions

2013 concurrent sessions and presentations are available here:

We comb the nation for educators and advocates to lead our concurrent sessions—experts in their fields, who have track records of getting results for kids—and who bring strategies to share. Sessions are lively, data- and resource-packed, and ripe with opportunities to learn from and connect with colleagues from across the country.

Thursday, 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Building a Culture of High Expectations

Research and common sense tell us that having high expectations for students matters. But how can a school leader ensure that every adult in the building expects great things of students? Hear from two expert school leaders, each of whom led a school that was recognized with Ed Trust’s Dispelling the Myth Award, about what structures and practices they put in place to build the kind of school-wide culture that supports high achievement for all students.  A nationally respected researcher will help put their experience into perspective. Bring your questions.

Conrad Lopes, former principal, Jack Britt High School, Fayetteville, N.C., 2010 Dispelling the Myth Award winner; Von Sheppard, assistant superintendent, Boulder Valley School District, Boulder, Colo., and former principal, Dayton’s Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary School, St. Paul, Minn., 2005 Dispelling the Myth Award winner; and Brenda Turnbull, principal, Policy Studies Associates, Washington, D.C. Moderator: Christina Theokas, director of research, The Education Trust.

Current Affairs: Education policy and legislation update
Come hear two prominent education reporters, both with years of experience covering education policy and politics, discuss the lay of the land for education in Washington, D.C., and across the nation. What’s next for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and for states granted waivers? Where are the Common Core State Standards headed, and where do state efforts to improve teacher evaluation systems stand? Will the president and Congress work to make college more affordable? And what does all this mean for students of color and low-income students?

Alyson Klein, reporter, Education Week, Washington, D.C.; Nirvi Shah, education editor, Politico, Washington, D.C.; and Kate Tromble, director of legislative affairs, and Lynn Jennings, legislative affairs associate, The Education Trust.

Effectively Communicating About Educator Evaluation: Strategies and lessons learned

Districts around the country are adopting new, more rigorous teacher evaluation systems. These systems can improve teacher practice, but only if educators understand and buy into them. Hillsborough County Public Schools has been actively — and successfully — working to make that happen over the last few years. Hear from district staff about their intentional efforts to inform educators about the new system, enlist teachers and school leaders as partners in implementation, and listen and respond to questions and concerns. District staff will also share lessons learned about key strategies for a smooth transition.

David Steele, former Hillsborough County Public Schools chief information and technology officer, and Amanda Newman, mentor evaluator and teacher advisory committee member, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Tampa, Fla. Moderator: Sarah Almy, director of teacher quality, The Education Trust.

Ensuring Great School Leadership

For schools to get extraordinary results, they need great leaders who understand the job and can do it successfully. How can we ensure that every school — particularly every high-need school — has such a leader? Six districts around the country are engaging in a soup-to-nuts rethinking of recruiting, training, inducting, supporting, and evaluating school leaders to ensure effective leadership in their schools. Representatives of two of those districts will talk about the changes they’ve implemented and the lessons they’ve learned. (Sneak preview: Districts wield more power over principal preparation than they think.)

Douglas W. Anthony, acting chief of human resources, Prince George's County Public Schools, Upper Marlboro, Md.; Sheena Hardy, principal, Cherokee Lane Elementary School, Adelphi, Md.; Glenn Pethel, executive director of leadership development, Gwinnett County Public Schools, Suwanee, Ga.; and Eddie Maresh, principal, Creekland Middle School, Lawrenceville, Ga. Moderator: Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence, The Education Trust.

Getting to Graduation and Beyond

In New York State, only 58 percent of black and Latino high school students graduate on time; an even smaller percentage heads to college. But at Elmont Memorial High School in Nassau County, N.Y., where 9 in 10 students are black or Latino, 94 percent of students graduate in four years and nearly all are college bound. Learn how this large, comprehensive, public high school enrolls students in the most rigorous courses, catches up those who fall behind, and engages parents. Most important, learn how this Dispelling the Myth Award winner coordinates these efforts to ensure student success.

John Capozzi, principal, and Caron Cox, chairperson of guidance, Elmont Memorial High School, Elmont, N.Y., 2005 Dispelling the Myth Award winner.

Increasing College and Career Readiness Through Collective Impact Initiatives

Too often, different organizations working toward the same end don’t coordinate their efforts, leading to some neighborhoods or schools receiving overlapping programs and supports while others get ignored entirely. How can schools, districts, and partner organizations make sure that their efforts and resources are aligned to support improvements in student achievement? Learn how the Road Map Project is bringing together advocates, educational institutions, funders, businesses, and the public to improve student outcomes in the greater Seattle region — and how you can apply those lessons in your own community.

Mary Jean Ryan, executive director, Community Center for Education Results, Seattle, Wash.; and Roxana Norouzi, education policy manager, OneAmerica, Seattle, Wash.

Sorting the Good From the Bad: Identifying resources aligned with the Common Core

Many resources today are tagged “Common Core-aligned.” But how can educators distinguish between old resources in shiny packages and truly rigorous materials that can help them deliver the Common Core? At this session, hear from leaders in Maryland and New York City about how they’ve used open-access rubrics to vet lesson and unit plans for Common Core alignment. Developed as part of an initiative between three states and Achieve, a nonprofit organization promoting college and career readiness, the EQuIP tools can help teachers familiarize themselves with the new standards.

Nancy Gannon, executive director, Office of Academic Quality, New York City Department of Education, New York, N.Y.; Judy Jenkins, director of curriculum, Maryland State Department of Education, Baltimore, Md.; and Alissa Peltzman, vice president, State Policy Implementation and Support, Achieve, Washington, D.

Using Data Collaboratively to Support Student Success

At Laurel Street Elementary, where more than 7 in 10 students are low-income and nearly 6 in 10 are Limited English Proficient, teachers know that their students don’t have a second to waste. So, working together, the school’s teachers track and analyze data to understand where their students are, where they need to be — and whether they are making enough progress to get there. Hear from three teachers at this 2012 Dispelling the Myth Award-winning school about how they come together around data to help every student excel.

Angel Chavarín, teacher, Rebecca Harris, teacher, and Alejandra Monroy, teacher, Laurel Street Elementary School, Compton, Calif., 2012 Dispelling the Myth Award winner. Moderator: Allison Horowitz, K-12 policy analyst, The Education Trust.

Thursday, 2:30-3:45 p.m.

Aligning Common Core and Educator Evaluations

Districts nationwide are hard at work transitioning to the Common Core State Standards and developing new, more rigorous educator evaluation systems. Yet too often, these lines of work operate within silos — or even conflict with one another. That’s not the case in Newark, N.J., where the district’s new teacher observation and evaluation rubrics were carefully designed to line up with the kinds of instruction necessary to teach the Common Core. Come learn from Newark’s successes — and challenges — in its efforts thus far to align expectations for teacher performance and student learning.

Caleb Perkins, special assistant to the superintendent, Newark Public Schools, Newark, N.J.  Moderator: Ross Wiener, vice president and executive director, The Aspen Institute Education and Society Program, Washington, D.C.

Coalition Building to Create Change: The ‘Colorado Way’

Coalition building is hard. But two voices — or 10 — are stronger than one. When education organizations coalesce despite differing agendas, they effect meaningful change for students. That’s exactly what groups in Colorado accomplished when they banded together in 2010. Following a successful initiative to revamp educator evaluations, the coalition recognized the power of its collective voice and is now tackling other education policy issues. Learn from coalition leaders about how their coalition came together, their strategic involvement with varying interest groups, their plans going forward, and lessons for groups in other states.

Bill Jaeger, vice president of early childhood initiatives, and Reilly Pharo, vice president of education initiatives, Colorado Children’s Campaign, Denver, Colo.; and Scott Laband, president, Colorado Succeeds, Denver, Colo. Moderator: Iris Maria Chávez, assistant field director, The Education Trust.

Helping High-Need Students Achieve at High Levels

How can schools help English learners and students with disabilities meet college- and career-ready standards? Come to this table talk with questions and ideas about how to help these groups of students succeed. Hear how expert educators with years of experience working with these student populations might approach the situations you face.

Teri Brecheen, executive director, Literacy Office of Instruction, Oklahoma State Department of Education, Oklahoma City, Okla., and former superintendent, Cottonwood Public School District, Coalgate, Okla.; and Angel Chavarín, teacher, Rebecca Harris, teacher, and Alejandra Monroy, teacher, Laurel Street Elementary School, Compton, Calif., 2012 Dispelling the Myth Award winner. Moderators: Carrie Hahnel, director of policy and research, The Education Trust-West; and Allison Horowitz, K-12 policy analyst, The Education Trust.

Linked Learning: Readying students for college and career

Hear how Linked Learning — a teaching and learning approach that integrates a college and career-aligned curriculum, student supports, and work-based learning experiences — can impact students’ future opportunities. Drawing on their recent study of Linked Learning high schools and districts, Ed Trust-West staff will discuss the conditions necessary to support effective program and system implementation. In addition, hear from the principal and a graduate of a high-performing Linked Learning school about practices that contribute to student success and from another national advocacy organization about policies influencing the Linked Learning movement nationwide.

Jeannette LaFors, director of equity initiatives, and Tameka McGlawn, senior practice associate, Linked Learning, The Education Trust-West; Charmaine Mercer, vice president of policy, Alliance for Excellent Education, Washington, D.C.; Cheryl Hibbeln, principal, the Digital Media and Design Academy at Kearny High School, San Diego, Calif.; and Sou Fang, graduate, the Construction and Technology Academy at Kearny High School, San Diego, Calif.

Talking About Turnaround

There’s a lot of talk about “school turnaround” these days, but what does a turnaround really look like on the ground? Come talk with two leaders who, together, tackled one of the lowest performing schools in Kansas in 2001 and, within a few years, made it one of the state’s top-performing schools, a status it retains years later. Two of our most popular presenters are back to share lessons learned and their experiences as school leaders, and to help you think through leading improvement in instruction, school culture, and expectations in your schools and districts.

Deb Gustafson, principal, and Jennifer Black, assistant principal, Ware Elementary, Fort Riley, Kan., 2007 Dispelling the Myth Award winner.

Teaching the Common Core in Secondary School: What does it look like? What will it take?

The Common Core Standards place greater demands on students than ever before — more sophisticated writing, deeper questioning, and more diverse reading, to name a few.  What does powerful instruction designed to get all students to these standards look like?  And what can secondary schools do to promote such instruction?  Come learn from one Dispelling the Myth Award-winning school that’s tackling these issues head on.  Leaders from University Park Campus School will model Common Core-aligned instruction and share the tools they’re using to support teachers and students in meeting the new expectations.

Daniel St. Louis
, principal, University Park Campus School, Worcester, Mass., 2005 Dispelling the Myth Award winner; and Ricci Hall, principal, Claremont Academy, Worcester, Mass., and former principal, University Park Campus School.

Friday, 9:45-11:00 a.m.

Legislation or Litigation? Using the courts as a tool for education reform
Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV

Whether to address longstanding systemic failures or respond to newer injustices, advocates have frequently turned to the courts to ensure equitable access to quality education. But how do you know when to take your issue to court instead of the statehouse? Hear from those involved with two recent cases — one on teacher effectiveness and quality and one on school funding — about why they chose court action, how court cases can create change, how communities can engage in the process, and the potential benefits and pitfalls associated with legal action.

David Hinojosa, southwest regional counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, San Antonio, Texas; Aurelio Montemayor, senior education associate, Intercultural Development Research Association, San Antonio, Texas; and Marcellus McRae, partner, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Los Angeles, Calif. Moderator: John C. Brittain, professor of law, David A. Clarke School of Law, University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.

No Longer Missing From AP: Boosting enrollment in advanced courses
Part I, Part II

Because Advanced Placement (AP) courses prime students for college-level expectations, the Federal Way Public School District committed to increasing AP access and success for all its students — including low-income students and students of color. And the district honored its pledge: In one year, Federal Way raised AP enrollment among 11th and 12th-grade students of color from 35 percent to 61 percent. Hear how the district achieved this change, major challenges, and efforts to refine and improve its approach. Ed Trust’s Christina Theokas will share national data that contextualizes Federal Way’s work.

Robert Neu, superintendent, and Vince Blauser, executive director of secondary education, Federal Way Public Schools, Federal Way, Wash.; and Christina Theokas, director of research, The Education Trust.

Supporting Educators for Success in Turnaround Schools

Districts around the country struggle to help educators succeed in chronically low-performing schools. Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), a Chicago nonprofit organization, began as a residency program focused on training new teachers to catalyze improvement in these settings. Knowing that continuous supports for teachers are also critical for school improvement, AUSL developed a comprehensive school turnaround model that it has implemented in over 20 Chicago Public Schools. Come learn how AUSL trains new teachers, on-boards new staff, and supports all teachers in its schools, leading to dramatic learning gains for students.  

Jennifer L. Husbands, director, AUSL Institute, Academy for Urban School Leadership, Chicago, Ill.; and Terri Gierke, manager, Chicago Teacher Residency, Academy for Urban School Leadership, Chicago, Ill.

Teaching the Common Core in Elementary School: What does it look like? What will it take?

Most students at Arkansas’ De Queen Elementary School come from low-income families who do not speak English at home. Many are the children of recent immigrants lured to the small community by work in its poultry plants. While some say the Common Core State Standards are “too hard” for these kids, teachers at this Dispelling the Myth Award-winning school are embracing the new, more rigorous standards. Come hear lessons learned in their efforts to develop curricula, select materials, and educate parents about big changes in the work their children bring home.

Terriann Phillips, principal, Gayla Morphew, instructional facilitator for literacy, and Maribeth Revels, instructional facilitator for math, De Queen Elementary School, De Queen, Ark., 2012 Dispelling the Myth Award winner.  Moderator: Natasha Ushomirsky, senior K-12 data and policy analyst, The Education Trust.

What’s the Latest From Smarter Balanced?

The Smarter Balanced assessments will be administered in multiple states starting next school year.  These assessments, developed by a consortium of states, are intended to align with the Common Core State Standards and will represent a big change for teachers and students. Come hear the latest about Smarter Balanced from a senior representative. Bring your questions about assessment design, technology requirements, accessibility and accommodations, cost, time frames, achievement level descriptors, and more to this highly interactive session.

Joe Willhoft, executive director, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Olympia, Wash. Moderator: Daria Hall, director of K-12 policy development, The Education Trust.

Where Does All the Time Go?

Demands on principals have never been higher — they’re expected to be instructional leaders, evaluate and support teachers, and make sure the building runs smoothly. How can one person balance all of these roles? Talk about your own experiences juggling responsibilities with Molly Bensinger-Lacy, former principal of Dispelling the Myth Award-winning school Graham Road Elementary, and current principal coach. Get suggestions and share your own strategies for successfully balancing demands and managing time.

Molly Bensinger-Lacy, leadership coach and educational consultant, and former principal, Graham Road Elementary School, Falls Church, Va., 2008 Dispelling the Myth Award winner. Moderator: Marni Bromberg, research associate, The Education Trust.

Working Together to End Unjust Policies and Practices: Reforming Baltimore school discipline

In 2004, Baltimore City Public Schools racked up over 26,000 out-of-school suspensions. By 2010, that number had dropped by about 60 percent — and it continues to fall.  But this didn’t happen by accident. Learn how local advocacy organizations and the district have worked in close partnership to identify and frame the problem, revise the district’s code of conduct, develop community buy-in and political will for new policies, and train educators on alternative disciplinary practices. Hear from representatives of the partnership about how they’ve transformed Baltimore’s approach to discipline.

Karen Webber-Ndour, executive director, Office of Student Support and Safety, Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore, Md.; Jane Sundius, director of education and youth development, Open Society Institute-Baltimore, Baltimore, Md.; and Bebe Verdery, director, Education Reform Project, ACLU-MD, Baltimore, Md. Moderator: Kate Tromble, director of legislative affairs, The Education Trust.

Friday, 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Building Background Knowledge: Why does it matter and how do you do it?
Part I, Part II

Common Core State Standards require all students to engage with complex text and think critically about problems at a level that few were expected to reach in the past. How can schools help their students meet such rigorous standards? In this session, learn why the new standards require that we systematically build students’ background knowledge — and why this is critically important for students from low-income families. Then hear how one Dispelling the Myth Award-winning school makes building background knowledge the core of its instruction — with terrific results.

Ruth Wattenberg, trustee board member, Core Knowledge Foundation, Washington, D.C.; and Melissa Mitchell, facilitator/writing support teacher, George Hall Elementary School, Mobile, Ala., 2009 Dispelling the Myth Award winner. Moderator: Natasha Ushomirsky, senior policy and data analyst, The Education Trust.

Empowering Students With College Results Online

Students are barraged with so much information about colleges they can easily forget one of the most critical questions: How likely are they to actually graduate from a given college? Learn how College Results Online (CRO), a free web tool, can help students find the college where they’re most likely to succeed. Also see how the College Decision Road Map, a user guide to CRO, teaches students the key questions to ask when researching colleges. These tools can help students in your schools and communities choose the best college for them.

Mary Nguyen Barry, higher education research and policy analyst, The Education Trust.

Improving Teacher Practice Through Observation and Support

“I taught in the city for four years,” says a teacher at Elmont Memorial High, a large, comprehensive secondary school just outside of New York City. “But until I came here, I had never taught a lesson.” Learn how Elmont, where 9 in 10 students are black or Latino, uses its teacher observation system to continuously improve teacher practice, with outstanding results for kids. Hear how the school developed a culture in which the purpose of observations is to help all teachers deliver the best possible classroom instruction.

John Capozzi, principal, Elmont Memorial High School, Elmont, N.Y., 2005 Dispelling the Myth Award winner.

It Can Be Done, It’s Being Done, and Here’s How

Some schools help all their students learn to high levels, but how? Author Karin Chenoweth will take you on a tour of successful schools with significant populations of students of color and students who live in poverty. The schools are varied — they are large and small, urban and rural — but they all share certain practices that allow ordinary people to get extraordinary results. She will give examples of how they focus on what students need to learn, collaborate on how to teach it, and build a culture and climate of respect.

Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence, The Education Trust. Karin is the author of It’s Being Done, How It’s Being Done, and, together with Ed Trust’s director of research Christina Theokas, the co-author of Getting It Done, all published by Harvard Education Press.

‘Mission Possible’: Attracting the strongest teachers to the highest need schools

Schools where students are furthest behind need our strongest teachers the most. But many districts struggle to attract and retain effective teachers in their most challenging schools. Find out how Guilford County Public Schools’ “Mission Possible” initiative has encouraged more highly effective teachers to teach and stay in its highest need schools. Learn about the challenges and successes in Guilford’s endeavor and — most importantly — the result of their efforts on student learning.

Amy Holcombe, executive director of talent development, Guilford County Schools, Greensboro, N.C.; and Jessica Branch, teacher leader, and Donna Martin, Mission Possible specialist, Montlieu Elementary School, Guilford County Schools, High Point, N.C. Moderator: Sarah Almy, director of teacher quality, The Education Trust.

The Role of Authorizers in Ensuring Charter School Quality

Charter school quality varies greatly. How can we promote those schools that are doing well and weed out those doing poorly? Charter school authorizers, which approve and oversee these schools, are an often-overlooked part of the answer. Come hear from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers about the importance of — and specific policy recommendations for — holding both charter schools and authorizers accountable. Then learn how The Education Trust-Midwest is advocating for stronger authorizer accountability in Michigan, where state leaders have historically been more focused on charter expansion than charter quality.

Alex Medler, vice president of policy and advocacy, National Association of Charter School Authorizers, Chicago, Ill.; and Amber Arellano, executive director, and Sarah Winchell Lenhoff, director of policy and research, The Education Trust-Midwest. Moderator: Peter Groff, board member, The Education Trust.

What’s the Latest From PARCC?

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) assessments will be administered in multiple states starting next school year. These assessments, developed by a consortium of states, are intended to align with the Common Core State Standards and will represent a big change for teachers and students. Come hear the latest about PARCC from a senior representative. Bring your questions about assessment design, technology requirements, accessibility and accommodations, cost, time frames, performance level descriptors, and more to this highly interactive session.

Margaret Horn, vice president, state leadership and policy development, Achieve, Washington, D.C., on behalf of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. Moderator: Daria Hall, director of K-12 policy development, The Education Trust.

And if you're interested in seeing what we offered last year, please take a look at our 2012 program, here.

Got Questions?


2013 Concurrent Sessions and Presentations

2012 Conference Highlights

The Education Trust promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels—pre-kindergarten through college. Our goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people—especially those from low-income families or who are black, Latino, or American Indian—to lives on the margins of the American mainstream.