Concurrent Sessions

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Link directly to Kati Haycock's opening plenary session presentation here;
the speech can be downloaded here.





This year, we were pleased to offer nearly 30 concurrent sessions, including presentations by four Dispelling the Myth Award winners that have produced strong academic performance in schools with significant proportions of low-income students or students of color.

Many of the presentations are now available for download. To find a specific presentation, click on the session name below. Sessions are listed alphabetically under the date and time block in which they occurred. If the presentation you seek is not yet available, please check back later, as we are uploading the presentations regularly.

THURSDAY, NOV. 8, 11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Finding the Right Fit: Successful preparation and hiring strategies
Not long ago, Sanger Unified School District ranked in the bottom 10 percent of California districts on student performance measures. But in recent years, it’s boasted some of the strongest performance gains among low-income students and students of color of any district in the state. A key component of Sanger’s improvement strategy is ensuring that the new teachers it hires are prepared to succeed in its schools. Learn how the district partnered with a teacher-preparation program and revamped hiring practices to improve the efficacy and retention of new teachers and, ultimately, raise student outcomes.
Rich Smith, deputy superintendent, and Matt Navo, area administrator, Sanger Unified School District, Sanger, Calif.

Getting It Done: Leading Academic Success in Unexpected Schools
The Education Trust has spent years learning real-world lessons from highly skilled educators who have a track record of improving achievement for all students and closing achievement gaps. In this session, the authors of the acclaimed book Getting It Done: Leading Academic Success in Unexpected Schools will share what they have learned about what highly successful school leaders do to make their schools places where poor children and children of color learn at high levels. Hear what these educators do differently under the same constraints faced by all school leaders.
Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence, and Christina Theokas, director of research, The Education Trust and co-authors of Getting It Done.

In the Middle of a Turnaround: What to expect when you’re improving**
Three years ago, teachers at Chandler Elementary and Gilliard Elementary regularly burst into tears; and at Gilliard, children were sometimes removed in handcuffs. Two years into these schools’ turnaround processes, all that has stopped. Neither school is performing as it should, but student achievement is rising and plans are solidly in place to keep improving. In this session, two highly accomplished school leaders will engage the audience in a discussion on the anatomy of change — where they started, where they are now, and where they’re going — and the leadership needed to sustain momentum. 
June Eressy, principal, Chandler Elementary School, Worcester, Mass., and former principal, University Park Campus School, 2005 Dispelling the Myth Award winner; and Debbie Bolden, principal, Dr. Robert Gilliard Elementary School, Mobile, Ala., and former assistant principal, George Hall Elementary School, 2008 Dispelling the Myth Award winner. Moderator: Marni Bromberg, research associate, The Education Trust.

Partnering to Expand College Access and Success
The Compact for Success, a partnership between Sweetwater Union High School District and nearby San Diego State University (SDSU), has more than doubled college enrollment numbers for the district’s predominantly Latino, largely low-income students. The Compact features college awareness activities, a rigorous curriculum designed jointly by Sweetwater teachers and SDSU faculty, and strong student supports.  Students who meet Compact benchmarks are guaranteed admission to SDSU and, once on campus, are given ongoing support to ensure they graduate. Hear what it takes to sustain a successful district/university partnership aimed at college access and success for all.
Lou Murillo, director, Compact for Success, San Diego State University, San Diego, Calif.; Maria Castilleja, executive director of curriculum and instruction, Sweetwater Union High School District, Chula Vista, Calif. Moderator: Rima Brusi, applied anthropologist, The Education Trust.

Reclaiming Dropouts in Baltimore
Consider these troubling statistics: Roughly 1 in 3 African-American and Latino youth fail to finish high school. Successfully pushing against this disturbing trend is Baltimore’s innovative dropout recovery effort. The Great Kids Come Back Campaign, launched in 2008, couples aggressive outreach to youth, their families, and the community with school placement tailored to student needs and interests. During 2010 and 2011, GKCB put more than 3,000 students into acceleration programs and on track to earn a standard high school diploma. Learn how they did it.
Lara Ohanian, coordinator, and Alisha Sparks, staff associate, Office of Enrollment, Choice, and Transfers, Baltimore City Public Schools, Md.

Shattering Literacy Barriers for Low-Income Students and English Learners
At Halle Hewetson, a large elementary school in Las Vegas, all the students are low income and 70 percent are English learners. Just six years ago, fewer than 20 percent of students met state reading standards, and only one student was proficient in writing. Today, this Dispelling the Myth Award winner’s innovative reading and writing strategies help nearly 80 percent of students meet state reading standards, and the school ranks among Nevada’s best in writing proficiency. Learn details about the literacy programs the school developed to meet students’ needs and to inspire them to become active readers and writers.
Lucille Keaton, principal, and Salvador Rosales, literacy specialist, Halle Hewetson Elementary School, Las Vegas, Nev., 2011 Dispelling the Myth Award winner.

What’s the Latest on the Common Core Assessments?
By 2014-15, most states will be administering new assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. In anticipation, many educators are wondering: How will they be structured? What’s the timeframe for roll-out? What are the technology requirements? What information will they generate for educators? What about for parents and the public? Come get answers to these and other critical questions you may have from senior representatives of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers  and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. 
Laura Slover, senior vice president, Achieve on behalf of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers; and Joe Willhoft, executive director, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Moderator: Daria Hall, director of K-12 policy development, The Education Trust.


THURSDAY, NOV. 8, 3:00-4:30 p.m.

Advanced Placement: Expanding access and supporting success
Taking and passing advanced courses is a key way for high school students to prepare for college and careers. But many students — especially low-income students and students of color — face major barriers to these classes. The Mass Math + Science Initiative is working with schools across Massachusetts to eliminate these obstacles. Come hear how two schools in the initiative are expanding access to Advanced Placement courses for everyone, but especially for low-income students and students of color.  Learn about the changes these schools are making to support teachers and help students succeed in these rigorous courses.   
Morton Orlov II, president, Mass Math + Science Initiative, Mass Insight Education; Aimee Bronhard, department head of guidance, B.M.C. Durfee High School, Fall River, Mass.; and Maureen Binienda, principal, South Community High School, Worcester, Mass.

Developing Individual Learning Plans that Help All Students Succeed
Everyone is talking about “data-driven instruction,” but what does that really mean? Few schools exemplify how data can help improve student learning as well as Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary. Using their Student Academic Review process, staff at this Dispelling the Myth Award-winning school analyze individual student data to identify weaknesses and develop targeted interventions. Today, 100 percent of the school’s sixth-graders — virtually all of whom are African American and low income — meet or exceed state ELA standards. In this session, Bethune staff will demonstrate how they analyze student data to tailor supports to each child’s needs.
Mary Haynes-Smith, principal, Maxine H. Cager, literacy coach, Gwendolyn Dupree, math coach, Shavon Magee, fifth-grade teacher, and Tizona R. Watts, literacy coach, Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School, New Orleans, La., 2010 Dispelling the Myth Award winner.

From Distrust to Trust: Building community relationships that support academic improvement**
Years of low performance and chaos often lead parents and communities to distrust their schools and districts. This mistrust can escalate when districts impose staffing changes in schools, no matter how necessary such changes may be. Engage in a discussion with two principals who assumed leadership at schools that were once among the lowest performing in their states. Over time, these determined school leaders successfully won the trust and respect of local parents and community members, and, together with that support, led these Dispelling the Myth Award-winning schools in remarkable achievement gains.
Agnes Terri Tomlinson, principal, George Hall Elementary School, Mobile, Ala., 2009 Dispelling the Myth Award winner; and Von Sheppard, assistant superintendent, Boulder Valley School District, Colo., and former principal, Dayton’s Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary School, St. Paul, Minn., 2005 Dispelling the Myth Award winner. Moderator: Rima Brusi, applied anthropologist, The Education Trust.

Implementing Rigorous Teacher Evaluation Systems: Lessons learned
Across the nation, states and districts are developing more rigorous teacher evaluation systems with the goal of improving instruction and making smarter human resource decisions. Designing these systems is a complex task, but implementing them in a way that garners buy-in is just as challenging and just as critical. In this session, learn how two large districts at the forefront of this change involved their teachers, administrators, and communities in the roll out of new, more rigorous evaluation systems. Hear about the collaboration, communication, and training strategies they used to smooth the transition, as well as challenges encountered and lessons learned along the way.
David Steele, chief information and technology officer, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Fla.; and Garth Harries, assistant superintendent for portfolio and performance management, New Haven Public Schools, Conn. Moderator: Ross Wiener, vice president and executive director, Education and Society program, The Aspen Institute.

Learning from Alumni
Are our schools preparing students for the next phase in their lives?  Who better to ask than alumni? Two Dispelling the Myth Award-winning schools are doing just that. Come hear school staff explain how they stay in touch with former students, and what they’ve learned about where their alumni are successful and where they’re struggling. They’ll then discuss how the schools are using that information to continually improve and ensure that all students leave well prepared.
Daniel St. Louis, principal, University Park Campus School, Worcester, Mass., 2005 Dispelling the Myth Award winner; Ricci Hall, principal, Claremont Academy, Worcester, Mass., and former principal, University Park Campus School; Nicole Williams, Native American interpreter, and Heather Snow, media specialist, Calcedeaver Elementary School, Mount Vernon, Ala., 2011 Dispelling the Myth Award winner. Moderator: Christina Theokas, director of research, The Education Trust.

Listening to Students: What Latino youth can teach us
Discussions about the underachievement of Latino students seldom include the voices of Latino youth. Jason Irizarry, a professor at the University of Connecticut, conducted a multi-year study on the causes and effects of the achievement gap, engaging a group of Latino high school students as researchers. Learn how the policies and practices at these students’ school, as well as their teachers’ beliefs about Latinos, impacted the students’ academic experience. Hear Irizarry describe the students’ recommendations for how schools can create learning environments that empower students and encourage academic success.
Jason G. Irizarry, assistant professor of Multicultural Education, Neag School of Education; faculty associate, Institute for Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn.; and author of The Latinization of U.S. Schools: Successful Teaching and Learning in Shifting Cultural Contexts.

Making Sense of New Accountability Systems
Under the Obama administration’s ESEA Flexibility program, the majority of states have been granted waivers to revamp their accountability policies. Now educators, advocates, parents, and members of the public are challenged with making sense of these new, often complex systems. Education Trust staff will share findings from an analysis of state waiver policies, including potential strengths and pitfalls. You are invited to join them in a conversation about how these systems are working so far and the work ahead to ensure that accountability continues to serve as a powerful tool for raising achievement and closing gaps.
Iris Maria Chavez, assistant field director, and Daria Hall, director of K-12 policy development, The Education Trust.

Managing the Building to Ensure Academic Achievement: A clinic for school leaders**
Some say every decision a school leader makes needs to serve student achievement. If so, principals and other school leaders might have to rethink their endless to-do lists. When student achievement becomes paramount, how do the ordinary decisions principals make, from complying with district and state mandates to organizing school routines, need to change? Bring questions and school-specific issues to a round-table clinic with school leaders who have led great improvement in a large Dispelling the Myth Award-winning school.
Deb Gustafson, principal, and Jennie Black, assistant principal, Ware Elementary, Fort Riley, Kan., 2007 Dispelling the Myth Award winner. Moderator: Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence, The Education Trust.

Smart Budgeting in Tough Times
These days, all districts are being asked to do more with less. To help, Education Resource Strategies has developed the District Resource Allocation Modeler (DREAM), a free, Web-based tool that uses real data to explore the benefits of alternative resource allocation choices. DREAM incorporates data from all districts nationwide that enroll more than 10,000 students on such key cost drivers as teacher salaries, class sizes, and school schedules. Come learn how to use this state-of-the-art tool to understand the budgetary impacts of alternative choices. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop, tablet, or other Web-enabled device.
Kristan Singleton, tools and technologies manager, and Robert Daigneau, associate, Education Resource Strategies.

FRIDAY, NOV. 9, 9:45-11:00 a.m.

Election 2012: What does the outcome mean for education?
Come hear a former White House staffer and a former Senate staffer, both with years of experience in education policy and politics, discuss what the recent election outcome could mean for education. What’s next for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and for states granted waivers this year? How will the election impact the Common Core Standards, and state efforts to improve teacher evaluation systems? 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?
John Bailey, senior advisor, Whiteboard Advisors, Washington, D.C.; and Danica Petroshius, principal, Penn Hill Group, Washington, D.C. Moderator: Kate Tromble, director of legislative affairs, 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, 97 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.

Learning Denied: Fighting together for equitable access to effective teachers in Los Angeles
Parents and advocates in Los Angeles Unified have long known that the district’s low-income students and students of color aren’t getting fair access to effective teachers. A recent report by The Education Trust-West quantifies these inequities, showing that these students are more than twice as likely as their wealthier, white peers to be taught by less effective teachers. Learn how ETW’s findings are helping advocates’ efforts to revamp LAUSD’s teacher evaluation policies, and join the conversation about what it will take to make sure that evaluation results are used to ensure every child has great teachers.
Orville Jackson, senior research analyst, The Education Trust-West; and Felicia Jones, director of community engagement and advocacy, Families in Schools, Los Angeles, Calif. Moderator: Valerie Cuevas, director of external relations, The Education Trust-West.

Preparing More School Leaders to Get It Done!**
School leaders are crucial to improving children’s academic achievement — particularly children who live in poverty. This means that improving the principal corps is a critical lever for equity. It also means districts need to understand more clearly how to organize to help principals succeed. At this session, hear about two promising initiatives to recruit, train, assign, and support principals and assistant principals who understand how to organize and manage high-poverty schools so that all students succeed.
Steve Tozer, professor and director, Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago; and Douglas W. Anthony, director of human capital management for Prince George’s County Public Schools, Md., one of six districts that are part of the principal pipeline initiative funded by The Wallace Foundation. Moderator: Cheryl D. Fields, former managing editor, The Education Trust, and national communications co-director, the Community Learning Exchange.

Supporting Teachers to Raise Student Achievement: What really works?
Today’s school principals have to be more than building managers; they must be teachers of teachers. Hear how the former principal of Graham Road Elementary and the current principal of Jack Britt High School, both Dispelling the Myth Award winners, help teachers succeed in the classroom. Find out what it takes to build teachers’ content knowledge and competency working with student data so they become leaders in their schools. Learn how to structure support so each administrator is able to provide the tools teachers need to advance student learning.
Molly Bensinger-Lacy, leadership coach and educational consultant, and former principal, Graham Road Elementary, Falls Church, Va., 2008 Dispelling the Myth Award winner; Kate O’Donnell, instructional coach, Stratford Landing Elementary, Alexandria, Va., and former resource teacher, Graham Road Elementary; Denise Shellcrosslee Garison, principal, and Suzanne Sell, Integrated System Technology Academy director, Jack Britt High School, Fayetteville, N.C., 2010 Dispelling the Myth Award winner. Moderator: Sarah Almy, director of teacher quality, The Education Trust.

Teaching the Common Core: 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, NOV. 9, 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Building Background Knowledge: Why does it matter and how do you do it?
How would you decipher the headline “Lake cancels regatta due to water levels” if you had never heard the term “regatta”? Our ability to comprehend text depends largely on what we already know. But many of our students, especially children from low-income families, enter school lacking critical knowledge and vocabulary, gaps that often are not addressed by current instructional practices. In this session, hear why we must prioritize building students’ background knowledge. Then, learn 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; and Judy Lefante, Core Knowledge teacher, P.S. 124 Osmond A Church, New York, N.Y., 2007 Dispelling the Myth Award winner. Moderator: Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence, The Education Trust.

Forging School and Community Connections to Help All Students Succeed*
Young people struggling inside and outside the classroom often find support hard to come by. Communities in Schools is working to change that by connecting students to community resources equipped to address academic and nonacademic needs, and ensuring that those resources are accessible, coordinated, and accountable. The goal: to align and deliver needed help to students so they can focus on learning. Come hear critical insights into this work, and discuss how you might apply its lessons to your community.
Gary Chapman, executive vice president, national network, Communities In Schools; and Elyssa Linares, project director, and Deside Mora, site coordinator, Communities In Schools of Miami, Inc., Fla.

Involving Parents in Schools: A clinic for educators
Research demonstrates that kids do better in school when parents are involved in their education. But how do we define involvement? And what can schools do to promote it? Share your questions, concerns, and insights at a round-table clinic with Ricardo Leblanc-Esparza, who led a high school where more than 80 percent of students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch, and 100 percent of parents and guardians attended student-led parent-teacher conferences.
Ricardo Leblanc-Esparza, principal, W. Verne McKinney Elementary School, Hillsboro, Ore.; former principal, Granger High School, Granger, Wash.; and co-author with Kym Leblanc-Esparza of Strengthening the Connection Between School & Home. Moderator: Rima Brusi, applied anthropologist, The Education Trust.

Keeping Strong Teachers in Schools that Need Them Most
Time and again, research has shown that teachers are the single most important school-based factor affecting student achievement. But a new report by TNTP reveals that few of today’s schools are making a concerted effort to retain their most effective teachers. In this session, TNTP will present its recent research, which underscores the importance of retaining our strongest teachers — particularly at struggling schools. TNTP will also  discuss low-cost, high-impact strategies for keeping strong teachers, which school and district leaders can implement immediately.
Dan Weisberg, executive vice president and general counsel, TNTP.

Making Math Add Up to Student Success
The award-winning “Do the Math” program is transforming developmental math instruction at several community colleges throughout the country. Using technology that lets students work independently while freeing teachers to provide individualized supports, the program is showing impressive results, in some cases increasing pass rates by 50 percent. John Squires, the program’s architect, is now working with rural, urban, and suburban high schools to implement similar blended learning programs to expand dual enrollment opportunities and help students who struggle in math. Learn what it takes to create and implement math courses that put high school or college students at the heart of the equation. 
John Squires, mathematics department head, Chattanooga State Community College, Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Debra S. Weiss, mathematics teacher, Red Bank High School, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Promoting College Success with College Results Online
In their search for the right college, high school students usually focus on what school they’re most likely to get into and assume they will graduate from whatever institution they select. In reality, students have a better shot at graduating from some institutions than others. So how can students better gauge where they’re most likely to succeed? College Results Online! CRO is designed to let students, parents, and school counselors compare similar colleges according to how well they perform at graduating different groups of students. Come see how this free, interactive Web tool can help your students choose schools that are right for them.
Mary Nguyen, higher education research and policy analyst, The Education Trust.


  *Courtesy of the MetLife Foundation
**Courtesy of The Wallace Foundation


Stay tuned for more!

Click here to see a list of concurrent sessions from the 2011 National Conference, and here to view presentations offered during the 2011 concurrent sessions.