2011 National Conference: Schedule

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Achieving the Mission: Proficiency for All Children
Delve deeper into the Efficacy Institute’s approach to improving instruction. It starts with district and school leaders building consensus on the mission of public education: academic proficiency (or higher) and strong character for all students. To support that mission takes the right mindset, the belief that effort, not innate ability, fuels development, and that all people can “get smart” by working hard. Turning that mindset into classroom practice requires a method of improvement, using data and feedback to drive effective teaching and learning.
Jeff Howard, president and founder of The Efficacy Institute, Waltham, Mass

Authentic Engagement: Parents, Communities, and Schools Closing Gaps Together
When parents and educators join forces, they can close achievement gaps. In high-poverty schools, engaging parents can often be a challenge; yet school leaders can foster real partnerships that inspire families to become part of the equation for higher achievement. This session explores parental engagement from two vantage points: school and community. Presenters include Ricardo Esparza, author of the new book, Breaking the Poverty Barrier, and former principal of Granger High School in Washington State, where graduation rates soared during his tenure — along with two leaders of community-based organizations working to build stronger parent, community and school partnerships.
Valerie Cuevas, director of external relations, The Education Trust–West; Ricardo LeBlanc Esparza, author and principal; Kaci Patterson, director of community engagement and advocacy, Families in Schools; and Rev. Sam Casey, executive director, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement.

Baltimore’s Innovative Approach to Reclaiming Dropouts
Consider the troubling statistics: Some 1 in 3 African-American and Latino young people fail to finish high school. Successfully pushing against this disturbing trend is an innovative dropout recovery effort in Baltimore that’s showing promise. The Great Kids Come Back Campaign couples aggressive outreach to young people, their families, and the community with school placement tailored to student needs and interests. In 2010, GKCB put 1,500 students into acceleration programs and on track to earn a standard high school diploma. Learn how they’re doing it.
Lara Ohanian, coordinator, Office of Enrollment, Choice, and Transfers, Baltimore City Public Schools.

Boosting District Performance When Your Budget Shrinks
Budget pressures are forcing tough choices in districts across the country. What’s more, district leaders have to navigate these choices while keeping their eye on the goal of lifting student achievement. Education Resource Strategies has found a way to help, with its new interactive exercise called “School Budget Hold ‘Em.” At this session, you’ll work with others to balance investments and cuts to reach your budget-reduction goal. Discover how viewing budget cuts through the lens of tradeoffs can uncover opportunities to transform education and create great schools at scale. 
Betty Hsu, principal partner,Education Resource Strategies, Watertown, Mass.; Karen Baroody, managing director, ERS.

Building An Effective Human Capital System
When it comes to managing the human resources of a district, the number of changes needed can easily overwhelm leaders.  What should district leaders tackle first?  Which reforms can they actually accomplish?  The District of Columbia Public Schools has wrestled with these questions and more in its attempts to overhaul the human capital systems and practices that had ill served students for generations.  Hear Jason Kamras share his experiences in helping revamp systems for the recruitment, selection, staffing, evaluation, and compensation of teachers, principals, and central office staff.
Jason Kamras, chief, Office of Human Capital of the District of Columbia Public Schools.

Clicking Toward College Diplomas: Web Tools for Student Success
The CSU Graduation Calculator is an interactive Web tool that helps students map their path toward college success. Jeff Gold, director of academic technology at California State University, will introduce session participants to this dynamic program, which is based on academic patterns that predict student odds of college graduation, also known as leading indicators. Gold also will demonstrate free online tools for students in middle grades through graduate study that offer academic advice and gauge college readiness. CSU, The Education Trust, and 19 other university systems are partners in the Access to Success initiative, an effort to halve the college-going and graduation rate gaps that divide low-income and minority students from their peers.
Jeff Gold, director of academic technology, California State University System.

Delivering on the Common Core
The road from the state capitol to the classroom is littered with good ideas. How can we prevent history from repeating itself when it comes to the Common Core? One answer is careful attention to the delivery chain — the set of actors, and the relationships among them, through which activities are implemented. Participants will explore the delivery chain in action as it relates to one critical piece of the Common Core —professional development — and will identify ways to improve the delivery chain from their perspective so that educators receive the professional development that they need and deserve.
Kathy Cox, chief executive offier, and Nick Rodriguez, program director, U.S. Education Delivery Institute; and Alissa Peltzman, director, state leadership and policy development, Achieve, Inc., Washington, D.C.

Districts, Communities Partner to Boost Teacher Effectiveness: A Case Study
Since the 1960s, research has shown the value of positive, respectful, and communicative school-home relationships. Indeed, the quality of student-teacher and parent-teacher connection can influence children’s engagement and academic success — or their disaffection and failure. Armed with this knowledge, some school districts, parents, and community groups have developed fresh approaches for working together to improve student achievement. That means moving beyond parent bake sales to parental awareness of teacher effectiveness policies and programs affecting their children. This session will explore the journey to productive collaboration among stakeholders in our schools.
Decker Ngongang, director of community engagement and organizing, Communities for Teaching Excellence; Melissa Erickson, president, Hillsborough Parent Teacher Association, Tracye Brown, director of communications, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Hillsborough, Fla.

Driving State-Level Reform: California and Michigan
On the surface, Michigan (Rustbelt Capital) and California (Golden State) look like vastly different places. Dig into education reform, though, and they have much in common. Both face crises of budget and leadership, along with some of the most troubling achievement gaps in the country. Yet both states have storied traditions of civil rights activism, which present both challenges and opportunities. Hear how Ed Trust–West and Ed Trust–Midwest are spearheading efforts to improve educational equity in these two large and diverse states. Learn how these organizations promote state and local reforms aimed at closing gaps.
Amber Arellano, executive director, The Education Trust–Midwest; and Arun Ramanathan, executive director, The Education Trust–West.

Filling Skill Gaps Through Pre-Teaching*
Many of our students walk into the classroom missing critical knowledge and skills. What can teachers do to cope with these deficits as they seek to move swiftly through the curriculum? Pre-teach. This powerful yet practical tool was perfected by educators at one Northern Virginia school, a past recipient of Education Trust’s Dispelling the Myth Award. Join two veteran educators in this interactive workshop as they share successful pre-teaching tactics that help students master course content, and reduce the need for remediation. 
Aileen Flaherty, assistant principal, Westbriar Elementary, Vienna, Va.; and Kate O’Donnell, instructional coach, Stratford Landing Elementary, Alexandria, Va.

First Steps in Tennessee: A New Pathway for Evaluating Teachers
An early winner of Race to the Top is implementing a new system to evaluate teachers, the Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model.  TEAM will more accurately gauge teacher performance and help teachers improve instruction. In designing the classroom observations for TEAM, the Tennessee Department of Education built on TAP’s Teaching Standards. Learn how the Education Department, with support from TAP’s parent organization, the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, trained and certified thousands of evaluators last summer. Find out how this far-reaching reform is playing out in one of the state’s biggest districts.
Sara Heyburn, education policy advisor, Office of the Governor of Tennessee; James McIntyre, Jr., superintendent, Knox County Schools; Kristan Van Hook, senior vice president, National Institute for Excellence in Teaching

For-Profit or Not? How To Guide Students
Enrollment is surging at for-profit college companies, increasing 236 percent between 1998 and 2009. For-profits often aim their flashy advertisements and direct marketing at low-income students and students of color. What do you need to know about this ballooning college sector to help guide your students’ decisions? Education Trust analyst Mamie Lynch, lead author of "Subprime Opportunity: The Unfulfilled Promise of For-Profit Colleges and Universities," will highlight the myths and facts teachers and counselors need to know about for-profits.
Mamie Lynch, higher education research and policy analyst, The Education Trust.

 From the Classroom to the Main Office: Turning Great Teachers into Principals
(The Wallace Foundation, sponsor)
Research suggests that principals should serve as “teachers of teachers.” One way principals fulfill that role is through coaching and mentoring teachers to become school leaders. But the move from managing a classroom to overseeing a school brings different demands. To succeed in that new role, leaders must set a school-wide vision, shape budgets, set schedules, and hold colleagues accountable. Hear principals from Dispelling the Myth award-winning schools and their successors discuss how they think about developing teachers into school leaders who can sustain and enhance a culture of success.
Denise Garison and Conrad Lopes, current and previous principals, Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville, N.C., 2010 winner of the Dispelling the Myth award; Ricci Hall and June Eressy, current and previous principals, University Park Campus School, Worcester, Mass., 2005 winner of the Dispelling the Myth award.

Getting It Done: Leading Academic Success in Unexpected Schools (Table talk)
Come chat with Karin Chenoweth and Christina Theokas about what it takes to lead high achievement and rapidly improving high-poverty and high-minority schools. Ask them questions about their findings from their brand-new book, Getting It Done: Leading Academic Success in Unexpected Schools (Harvard Education Press; October, 2011). Share your own experiences of how school leaders can foster the belief in their staff and students that all children can learn. Tell how you or your principal demonstrates the courage to do things differently to make it happen.
Karin Chenoweth, senior writer-in-residence, Christina Theokas, director of research, The Education Trust.

How School Counselors Can Ensure College and Career Readiness
Improving our education system takes everyone, including one often overlooked group of professionals: school counselors. Yet they can play a critical role in furthering student learning. Hear how school counselors are using school data to focus their work as leaders and advocates dedicated to ensuring that every student graduates ready for success in both college and career. The results? More rigorous  graduation requirements, lower rates of ninth-grade failure, higher PSAT participation, and fewer Algebra I failures. Find out more about bringing these results to your school at this don’t-miss session.
Jerry Dyar, counselor, Mary Walker High School, Springdale, Wash.;  Jim MacGregor, K-8 school counselor, Celebration, Fla. Kathy Smallwood, counselor, Grand Bay Middle School Mobile, Ala.

How Teachers Can Transform Their Profession
Figuring out ways to effectively advocate for school change can daunt even the most seasoned educator. Teach Plus, a Boston-based nonprofit that works to improve outcomes for urban children through teacher development, aims to ensure that teachers have a meaningful voice in education reform around the country. Learn how the organization is helping educators fight for policies that will serve students better and retain top teachers. Best of all, gain ideas for how you, too, can become an advocate.
Maria Fenwick, executive director Boston and Tamala Boyd, executive director Memphis, Teach Plus, Boston, Mass.

How the Right Instruction Helps Students With Disabilities Soar
Educators often struggle to help students with learning disabilities master grade-level work. With 30 to 40 percent of their students on IEPs, Cottonwood Elementary in Coalgate, Okla., consistently helps students with disabilities meet or surpass that state’s grade-level standards.  Across the border in Brownsville, Texas, former Dispelling the Myth Award winner Morningside Elementary has closed the gap between its students with disabilities and their peers. Hear how these two schools ensure that students with disabilities thrive academically.
Presenters TBA.

Increasing Student Access to Challenging Coursework
How many low-income students and students of color are taking advanced courses in your district’s schools? Faced with disproportionally low numbers of these students in higher level courses, Federal Way Public Schools in Washington state decided to give all students the same chance to push themselves academically and prepare for college. The district’s Academic Acceleration Initiative automatically enrolls qualified students in Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or Cambridge courses. Learn about the implementation of this bold program to close gaps in access to advanced academic classes.
Robert Neu, superintendent and Joshua Garcia, assistant superintendent, Federal Way Public Schools, Federal Way, Wash.

Launching a Turnaround: The View From Inside
(The Wallace Foundation, sponsor)
Despite all the talk about “school turnaround,” the body of knowledge about the subject is remarkably scant. Indeed, few people know what a turnaround looks like from the inside. It takes leading an entire staff through profound changes in culture, curriculum, instruction, time management, and resource allocation. This session will feature principals from different regions of the country who are working to transform troubled schools into success stories. They will share the ups and downs that accompany this dramatic change.
June Eressy, principal, Chandler Elementary School in Worcester, Mass., and former principal of University Park Campus School, a 2005 winner of the Dispelling the Myth award; and Terri Tomlinson, principal, George Hall Elementary School, Mobile, Ala., a 2009 winner of the Dispelling the Myth award.

Leveraging Digital Tools in Your Classroom
Struggle to effectively work technology into the K-6 curriculum? Learn how two high-performing schools use technology to engage students and advance learning. Teachers from Alabama’s George Hall Elementary School, a past winner of the Dispelling the Myth award, will show how they bridge student gaps in background knowledge using interactive whiteboards. Over in rural Oklahoma, Cottonwood Elementary achieves proficiency at higher rates than the state with help from the Classroom Performance System (CPS).  Hear how teachers use this interactive tool to provide immediate feedback and promote learning for students.
Tammy Daniel, reading teacher, Cottonwood Elementary School, Coalgate, Okla.; Olivia Ellis, computer lab teacher, George Hall Elementary School, Mobile, Ala.

Making Math Add up to Student Success 
The award-winning “Do the Math” teaching model can boost mathematics achievement at the college level. Praised by President Barack Obama and highlighted by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the model was developed by John Squires, head of the mathematics department at Chattanooga State Community College. Do the Math yields impressive results, increasing the pass rate for a pre-college math course at a Tennessee community college by more than 50 percent. Let Squires show you how to combine coaching and interactive labs to create a course that puts students at the heart of the equation.
John Squires, head of the math department, Chattanooga State Community College.

New Research from Gates on Measuring Effective Teaching
School districts, statehouses, and the media are abuzz with conversations about “effective teaching.” But what does effective teaching look like and how can we measure it? The Measures of Effective Teaching Project, a large-scale research study, is attempting to answer these questions. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and involving 3,000 teacher volunteers, the project is testing such measures as videotaped teacher observations, student surveys, and student performance on different assessments. Hear about the project’s early findings from a participating teacher and one of the project’s lead researchers.
Presenters TBA.

On the Federal Front: Views from Capitol Hill and the Education Department  
2001 iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act laid bare the damaging achievement gaps among America’s students. A much-needed update of the law is stalled in Congress, so Education Sec. Arne Duncan has begun awarding requirement waivers to states in exchange for reform efforts. Meanwhile, federal and state budget constraints threaten all education funding, and the approaching presidential election is raising the political stakes. So, what does this confluence of policy and politics mean for educators, districts, and students? Hear members of this bipartisan panel share their thoughts.
Presenters TBA.

Parental Engagement: What does it mean? How can it be promoted?
There’s plenty of research and conversation about the role of parental engagement in the improvement of educational outcomes. But what does “engagement” mean? What are the challenges schools and parents face as they try to forge a relationship? And how can school personnel and advocates best promote meaningful, useful connections between schools and the communities they serve? The Education Trust has recently developed a bilingual blog directed at parents and families and those who work with them. Come share your insights, questions, and experiences with our blogger, Rima Brusi, and with other advocates and practitioners.
Rima Brusi, applied anthropologist, The Education Trust.

Partnering With Teachers to Change School Culture
(The Wallace Foundation, sponsor)
Research tells us that many teachers at low-performing schools have lost confidence that they can make a real difference in the academic achievement of their students. With the right leadership, despair can turn into hope and learning can soar. Hear from school leaders who shifted the culture in their schools from low to high expectations, with significant improvements in student achievement. To effect that transformation, they worked with teachers to deepen professional practice and strengthen classroom instruction. Find out how.
Barbara Adderley, former principal, M. Hall Stanton Elementary School in Philadelphia, a 2006 winner of the Dispelling the Myth award; Debbie Bolden, principal at Dr. Robert W. Gilliard Elementary School in Mobile, Ala., and former assistant principal of 2009 DTM winner, George Hall Elementary.

Preparing All Students for College and Career Readiness
Learn the “nuts” and “bolts” of getting all your students college- and career-ready from one of the country’s leading experts, Linda Murray.  As superintendent of San Jose Unified School District, she earned a reputation as a trailblazer for her work to ensure that all students, from all backgrounds, graduated college- and career-ready. Now, as superintendent-in-residence at The Education Trust–West, she has developed a series of comprehensive tools that help districts across California prepare all students for college and career success. These tools, with insights from the SJUSD story, are detailed in her new book Diploma Matters: A Field Guide for College and Career Readiness.  
Linda Murray, superintendent-in-residence, The Education Trust—West.

Reaching for the Next Level: Sustaining School Improvement 
Too many schools raise test scores only to see them erode because leaders haven’t built the kind of culture that supports high student achievement. Not at Ware Elementary. Learn how the school's leaders helped transform their school from being among the first Kansas schools put “on improvement” to one of the state’s top schools (and 2007 winner of the Dispelling the Myth Award). Hear how they partner with teachers and students to build a “culture of committed caring,” where academic achievement is a given.
Deb Gustafson, principal, and Jennie Black, assistant principal, Ware Elementary School, Fort Riley, Kan.

Seizing the Opportunity of NCLB Waivers (Table talk)
With the Obama Administration’s new  waiver plan for the No Child Left Behind Act, states have a chance to put in place strong policy to raise achievement and close gaps. In exchange for meaningful action on college- and career-ready standards and assessments, statewide accountability systems, and honest teacher evaluation, the administration will waive some of the most outdated and counterproductive parts of NCLB. Come learn from Ed Trust staff about this waiver process, and what educators and advocates should push for to ensure that their state makes good on the promise of equity.
Sarah Almy, director of teacher quality, and Daria Hall, director of K-12 policy development, The Education Trust, Washington, D.C.

Strategic Staffing: Matching Top Educators with High-Need Schools
(The Wallace Foundation, sponsor) 
Research shows the caliber of school leaders and staff has a huge effect on student achievement. But too often, struggling students are denied the strong teachers and leaders they need. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district is disrupting this pattern and generating real results. Its Strategic Staffing Initiative transforms low-performing schools by recruiting proven principals, building leadership teams, removing poorly performing teachers, and providing bonus incentives. Come hear what the district is learning from its three-year experience with the initiative and how those lessons are informing the deployment of its leadership and staff.
Ann Clark, chief academic officer, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Charlotte, N.C.

Streamlining Your Students’ College Search with College Results Online
College Results Online (CRO) is a free interactive Web tool designed by The Education Trust to help students, parents, and school counselors make informed college choices. Also an invaluable tool for policymakers and researchers, CRO provides users an opportunity to compare facts on institutions of higher learning nationwide. Select nearly any college in the U.S. and contrast its graduation rate with that of similar institutions serving similar groups of students. View rates by student race, ethnicity, and gender to sharpen decision-making. Meet CRO’s architects and learn what this tool can do for you and your students.
Mamie Lynch, higher education research and policy analyst, The Education Trust.

Student Success — From the Starting Gate to the Finish Line
(MetLife Foundation, sponsor)
New community college students say they’re motivated and academically prepared to succeed in college. Most sincerely believe they will complete their degree. So why do as many as half of our entering students drop out before they've barely begun? Hear from students themselves about how they experience their transition to college. Learn about findings from the Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE) and Starting Right focus groups. See how colleges are partnering with local high schools to help students make the transition to college — and succeed.
Arleen Arnsbarger, project manager, Initiative on Student Success, Center for Community College Student Engagement, College of Education, The University of Texas at Austin.

Sustaining Improvement When Leadership Changes
(The Wallace Foundation, sponsor)
Research demonstrates that a change of leadership can quickly unravel hard-won improvements. That’s why good principals think about what will happen to their schools once they move on. How will the culture be maintained and improvement sustained? Current and former principals of Dispelling the Myth award-winner Imperial High School will talk about how they handled the transition. A director at the New York Leadership Academy will join them to put their experience into the larger context of what the research says about the nature of leadership and the critical role of a good transition.
Lisa Tabarez, superintendent, Roger Ruvalcaba, principal, Imperial High School, Imperial Valley, Calif.; and Kathy Nadurak, executive vice president of programs, New York Leadership Academy, New York, N.Y.

Tapping the Potential of Turnaround Partners
As educators across the country grapple with the challenges of turning around persistently low-performing schools, the practice of turnaround partnerships is gaining traction. But what exactly is a turnaround partner? What should administrators be looking for when they select partners? And how should they build these relationships to advance school improvement? Come get answers to these questions and more from Mass Insight Education, a pioneer in turnaround work. Also hear directly from members of one turnaround partnership that’s yielding early results in Baltimore.
Tanya Green, principal, Friendship Preparatory Academy at Calverton; and Christopher Maher, deputy chief academic officer, Friendship Public Charter Schools, Baltimore, Md.

A Turnaround Story: Strategic Staffing at Charlotte’s Devonshire Elementary
Devonshire Elementary used to rank among the lowest performing schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district. In 2008, the school was identified for the district’s Strategic Staffing Initiative, an effort to turn around low-performing schools through recruiting proven principals, building leadership teams, removing poor-performing teachers, and providing bonus incentives. Three years and a lot of hard work later, achievement at this high-poverty, high-minority school is soaring, with 93 percent of low-income fifth-graders meeting state math standards last year. Come hear how strategic staffing helped turn Devonshire around.
Suzanne Gimenez, principal, and Tai-Rai Richardson, teacher, Devonshire Elementary School, Charlotte, N.C.

Using Data to Shape Instruction that Lifts Student Achievement *
New Orleans’ Bethune Elementary serves a community struggling with poverty and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Yet this Dispelling the Myth Award winner outperforms the state and ranks among the top 10 percent of schools nationwide on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Fueling these results is the school’s Student Academic Review, during which school administrators and instructional leaders meet with each teacher to review student achievement data, identify problems, and devise targeted solutions. In this interactive workshop, watch as Bethune staffers engage in a model SAR, then conduct one of your own with support and feedback.
Mary Haynes-Smith, principal; Gwendolyn Dupree, math coach; Tizona Watts, literacy coach; Leslie Garibaldi, district curriculum specialist; and Debra Dean, district literacy and PBS specialist, Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary, New Orleans, La.

What Common Core Standards Mean for You
How do the Common Core Standards for K-12 English/language arts differ from your state standards? For starters, this new generation of literacy standards puts an emphasis on complex text and the integration of literacy skills and content into core courses. Take part in activities that unpack the Common Core Standards and help identify the features that distinguish them from state standards. Hear how the two assessment consortia plan to assess the new standards. And learn about some ways you can translate the Common Core Standards into everyday coursework.
Eleanor Dougherty, owner and consultant, EDThink LLC; Jennifer Frentress, principal, Tyler Elementary School, Washington, D.C.

What Students Can Teach English-Language Teachers
The chorus of views on teaching English as a second language has many voices. Educators talk about the diversity of students; researchers compose studies about effective strategies for teaching them. This session presents the often-overlooked voice of students. Their invaluable perspective can help elementary and middle school teachers hone their ELL/ESL instruction. Come watch and respond to a new video of students in grades three to eight as they field essential questions about learning English as a second language: What’s easy, what’s hard, and what helps?
Betty Smallwood, director, Center for Applied Linguistics Solutions, PK-12 ELL Education.

What We Say, What They Hear: Education Reformers and Conservatives
The new challenge for the movement to improve education is how to continue to expand opportunity and close achievement gaps — amid growing political divides, a dismal economy, and pressure to trim the national debt. Meanwhile, concerns about long-term unemployment are keeping education on the nation’s agenda. How can reformers engage Tea Partiers and other conservative Republicans? Ed Trust is attempting to do just that, starting with a round of public-opinion research. Come hear the findings, discuss the implications, and join the conversation about advancing the gap-closing agenda across party lines.
Amy Wilkins, vice president for government affairs and communications, The Education Trust.

*These are two-hour workshops.