NSBA Equity Symposium - January 27, 2024

The NSBA Equity Symposium provides a forum for school board members, public school advocates, and community leaders to examine and discuss the strategies, current trends, research, and best practices around equity in our nation’s public K-12 schools. Join your colleagues at NSBA’s Equity Symposium, January 27, 2024 in Washington, D.C.

Registration Fees

Registration Registration Deadline  Participating NATCON & CUBE Districts in Member State Associations
Participating NATCON & CUBE Districts in Non-Member State Associations  Non-Participating NATCON & CUBE Districts in Member State Associations  General 
Early  Before November 15  $250 $300 $350 $400
Standard  After
November 15
 $350 $400 $450 $500 

*Participating Member State Association Executive Directors receive a complimentary registration. For more information, contact info@nsba.org.

Schedule (as of 12/12/23)

Friday, Jan. 26

3 – 6 p.m.  Early Registration 

Saturday, Jan. 27

7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Registration 
7:30 – 9 a.m. Breakfast
9 – 10:15 a.m. Opening Keynote Presentation
10:30 – 11:45 a.m. Breakout Sessions 
Noon – 1:30 p.m. (Doors open at 11:45 a.m.)  Lunch and General Session
1:45 – 3 p.m. Breakout Sessions
3 – 3:15 p.m. Coffee Break
3:15– 5 p.m. Closing General Session
5:30 – 7 p.m. NSBA Equity Symposium and Advocacy Institute Joint Reception  


  • General Sessions

    9 – 10:15 a.m.

    You Are a 10!
    "You Are a 10!" is an empowering event by singer Alex Boyé, dedicated to positive self-image, resilience, and mental health. Alex's soulful performance weaves throughout the event, enhancing the transformative experience. Attendees will explore self-discovery, hear empowering stories, and leave with tools to navigate life's challenges. Alex's motivational messages help the audience to understand some of the experiences and challenges students are facing today, along with helping them to reconnect with their "Why" in their own journeys of supporting these students and their communities. Join Alex Boyé for a celebration of imperfection and self-love through the universal language of music.

    Alex Boyé, Performer and Mental Health Advocate

    Noon – 1:30 p.m.

    Black Voices in Today’s K-12 Classroom and Universal Insights for All
    Education, technology, and innovation are at the heart of The HistoryMakers' mission to effectively center Black voices and create an inviting space for those voices in today’s K-12 classroom.

    Central to The HistoryMakers' K-12 education focus is The HistoryMakers Digital Archive, a unique online archive of first-person accounts of African Americans across a variety of disciplines — the arts, business, civic engagement, education, entertainment, law, the media, medicine, STEM, the military, music, politics, religion, sports, and fashion and beauty. The archive is at the center of the Becoming a FutureMaker curriculum, designed to increase academic and creative skills by guiding students of all backgrounds to reflect on issues of leadership, adversity, contributions, achievement, and community in their lives and in the lives of the achievers documented in the archive.

    This session will focus on the work of The HistoryMakers to raise awareness of Black history in school curriculums and provide best practices and takeaways for all communities to learn from.

    Julieanna L. Richardson, Founder & Executive Director, The HistoryMakers

    3:15 – 5 p.m.

    Joint Council Stories from The Field Presentations: Advocating for Equitable Outcomes
    The promise of public education is for every child to succeed in school and life. To realize this promise, education leaders must actively advocate for every child to be given resources, supports, and interventions based on their needs. Presented in collaboration with NSBA’s National Black Council, National Hispanic Council, and American Indian and Alaskan Native Council, this session will feature national education experts and school board members from across the country sharing their personal journeys and inspirational stories to highlight the importance of equitable outcomes for each student in our communities. Presentations will focus on understanding the importance of intentionally including advocacy efforts in planning, promoting, and implementing educational equity initiatives.

    • NHC Session — Empowering Change: The Journey from Activism to Advocacy in Education
      In this inspiring presentation, we delve into the transformative path from being an activist to becoming an advocate in the educational sector. We explore how individuals' passion for student welfare can effectively leverage governance structures to enact meaningful and lasting change in educational outcomes.

      Devin Del Palacio, Co-Founder Insight Strategies LLC

    • NBC Session — Empowering the Future: Amplifying Youth Voice
      Embark on a journey with Kawanza Billy, a seasoned youth and community engagement advocate. Kawanza will share her inspiring transition from a civic-minded youth to an adult ally for youth voice. This session will explore the crucial role of ‘youth voice and choice’ in shaping educational experiences and policies. Kawanza will discuss her hands-on experiences in fostering environments where young people are not only heard but are active decision-makers. Attendees will gain insights into practical approaches for elevating student voices. This talk is a call to action for educators, school board members, and leaders to collaborate with youth.

      Kawanza Billy, Social Impact Consultant

    • AIAN Session — Empowering Native Voices: Representation on School Boards for Stronger Communities
      Join us for an insightful and engaging workshop focusing on the critical significance of American Indian representation within school board roles. This session will delve into the profound impact that Native school board members can have on shaping educational policies and fostering positive outcomes for Indigenous students. Through interactive discussions and activities, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the unique perspectives these representatives bring to the table, fostering more inclusive and culturally responsive education systems.

      Desiree Fowler, Board Member, Page Unified School District (AZ)

    Read Speaker Bios

  • Breakout Sessions

    10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

    Student Well-Being for All: An Equity-Centered Approach to Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
    Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is an evidence-based approach to supporting students’ mental well-being and academic success. SEL programs and practices for all students — across developmental stages — are particularly critical now as our nation is grappling with a youth mental health crisis. Though many school districts across the country have started to add SEL programs in their schools, many such programs have been found to lack cultural relevance and fail to address the needs of students from marginalized communities. Addressing this challenge requires school districts to implement a system-wide and equity-centered approach to SEL. This workshop will describe what SEL is and why it is an important ingredient in schools’ efforts to promote student well-being and academic success. The workshop will then provide critical considerations for school boards to ensure that their district’s SEL approaches are systemic — aligned across K-12 grades and meet the needs of all students.

    Dr. Shai Fuxman — Principal Research Scientist, Education Development Center
    Dr. Richard Fournier — Senior Project Director, Education Development Center

    Creating Schools Where Transgender and Non-Binary Students Thrive
    Do you believe that transgender and non-binary students should have all they need to thrive in school? Do you use your voice and role to move forward best practices supporting these populations — or want to? This session is for you! Research has shown that having at least one supportive adult can save a transgender child’s life, and with over 500 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in over 40 states in 2023, our students need us more than ever. They need us to be educated, be able to affirm their identities, include them in curriculum, and disrupt pushback when it comes. Based on the framework “Educate-Affirm-Include-Disrupt” from the book The Advocate Educator’s Handbook: Creating Schools Where Transgender and Non-Binary Students Thrive (Jossey-Bass), participants will dig into the current policy landscape, take a self-assessment, collaborate with peers on relevant scenarios and create an action plan.

    Vanessa Ford — Author, Educator, Advocate
    Rebecca Kling— Author and Co-Founder, Better World Collaborative

    Systems Don’t Change Until People Do
    Baltimore City Public Schools is on a journey to achieve racial equity by implementing a Racial Equity policy adopted by the Board of School Commissioners in June 2019. The policy unapologetically calls for an interrogation of systems and structures that perpetuate inequities and calls for each staff member to create new ones by utilizing an equity lens in every aspect of their work. This session will engage participants in an examination of the process used to move the organization from the concept of a racial equity policy to its adoption, and plan for implementation. The learning space will be designed for those individuals new to leading equity work, as well as those who are seasoned practitioners.

    Dr. Tracey L. Durant — Executive Director, Equity, Baltimore City Public Schools (MD)
    Chitamawe Daka Mulwanda — Director, Equity, Baltimore City Public Schools (MD)

    The Curious Case of Matthew Anychild
    In this session, we explore how using various data sources can become a roadmap for creating pathways to equity for under-resourced students. As districts pour most of their resources into curriculum and academics, they often miss opportunities to address situations that help to support wellness and, more importantly, belongingness. School districts often perform functions related to student success but in ways that promote silos, thus limiting the impact of service delivery for under-resourced students.

    Matthew Anychild represents many children growing up in school districts nationwide. He faces every day as it comes and doesn’t worry about tomorrow because he knows the outcome is rarely good. Matthew has very few resources and very little hope. He’s afraid to dream about what could be for his life because all evidence points to a complicated future. A social autopsy of Matthew’s life indicates multiple missed opportunities where schools could have intervened to produce a better outcome. The session will reveal how effective schools could be if we took a human-centered approach to attend to student differences, maximize fairness, and increase the sense of belonging for all children in our care.

    Dr. Marsha Herron — Director of Student and Organizational Success, Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA)

    Empowering Change: Revolutionizing Schools, Districts, and Communities Through Equity and Innovation
    The "Empowering Change" workshop is an interactive and dynamic session designed for educators, administrators, and community leaders committed to bringing transformative change in their educational environments. This workshop focuses on implementing equity and innovation to revolutionize schools, districts, and communities. Participants will engage in discussions and activities highlighting the importance of equity in education, ensuring every student has access to quality learning experiences. The workshop also explores cutting-edge practices in technology and contemporary teaching methodologies. Attendees will learn to integrate these innovations to create more inclusive, adaptable, and forward-thinking educational settings. With a blend of theoretical frameworks, case studies, and hands-on exercises, "Empowering Change" offers practical tools and strategies for participants to apply in their contexts. The workshop facilitates a collaborative space for sharing ideas, challenges, and successes, fostering a community of like-minded professionals dedicated to shaping the future of education. Attendees will leave with a clear action plan to implement these transformative concepts in their schools and communities, driving positive and lasting change.

    Principal Amen Rahh, Founder of Knowlej

    1:45 – 3 p.m.

    Be a Champion for Change in Challenging Times
    With the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn affirmative action and continued attacks against diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education, students and educators across the country will be negatively impacted for years to come. At this critical juncture in history, the work toward equity for historically underserved students must continue, especially at a local level. In this presentation, Stacy Bernal will share timely and relevant information about anti-DEI efforts and ways to counter these measures in our homes, communities, and states. Drawing on the history of civil rights and correlating to present-day policies, Stacy will empower attendees to challenge the status quo, check their own biases, and become stewards of positive change.

    Stacy Bernal — DEI Manager, Utah Jazz and School Board Member, Ogden School District (UT)

    Channeling the Force: Artificial Intelligence, K12 Education, and the Future of Learning
    The impending revolution in artificial intelligence (AI) is largely unseen in our giant educational landscapes. With projections indicating rapid transformations in the next half-decade due to AI advancements, it is imperative to question, “Are all students in your districts being equipped to actively participate in this evolving new world?” This session will engage participants in deep conversations around the dire necessity of providing equitable access to advanced STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education for traditionally underserved and underrepresented youth. Such access can mean the difference between active participation in the AI-powered future or being inadvertently marginalized. Participants will leave with actionable steps to bridge prevalent opportunity gaps. This enlightening dialogue is an invitation to join us in this mission — forging a path toward educational equity in the era of AI.

    Dr. Darryl Adams — VP Partnership Development, Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS)
    Dr. Jill Gildea — Superintendent of Schools, Park City School District (UT)

    Finding and (Re) Calibrating Your DEI Compass
    Board members are tasked with promoting policies and practices that guide the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work of their school districts. A clear and unbiased understanding of equity and inclusion as it pertains to each individual is required to achieve impactful and effective DEI policies and practices. Everyone has an inner compass that directly results from personal life experiences and will unequivocally point to the “why” behind the commitment to DEI practices. This workshop provides an opportunity to unpack the underlying forces that compel individual participants to work to develop equitable and inclusive school systems and to sustain them through challenging times. Participants will be challenged to create a personal DEI mission statement. They also will explore how implicit bias may be impacting equitable policymaking decisions. Through this process, participants will have the tools to reorient their work with a newly calibrated inner compass so that they can be more effective and resilient while doing this important work.

    Dr. Martha Brackeen-Harris — MBH Equity Associates, Connecticut School Boards Association (CABE)
    Elizabeth Parada — DEI Consultant, Parada Consulting LLC, Connecticut School Boards Association (CABE)

    I Count Too: Affirming Students Who Look, Love, Learn, and Live Differently
    This seminar will equip participants with the tools needed to make every space in their school a safe place for all students. The pandemic exacerbated social isolation, which has existed within our academic environments since their inception. Schools that embrace the differences of their students and create a culture of acceptance and belonging for every student in every seat in the school have fewer incidents of violence, greater academic achievement, and increased student engagement opportunities. This session will help participants identify, affirm, and embrace students who look, love, learn, and live differently. Participants will become acquainted with practices utilized in school districts across the country, which have transformed those environments into collaborative communities of belonging. Additionally, participants will assess the cultural climate of their school district, determine the strengths and challenges, and create an action plan for improvement. We also will explore biases that exist within the school culture and identify remediation tools to address them. Participants will be engaged in case studies, role-playing, and other activities to engage them in the session.

    Dr. Michael T. Williams — Education Consultant, Juvenile Justice Education Services

    Justice and Advocacy Stewardship: A Sustainable, Student-Led Equity Practices Model
    In 2020, the Creighton School District, located in the urban heart of east-central Phoenix, began a journey toward recognizing, respecting, and responding to the identities of all marginalized individuals within the community and creating barrier-free pathways to learning and opportunity for all. This work resulted in Justice and Advocacy Stewardship, which has become a sustainable, student-led, systemic intergenerational model for equity practices that amplify student voice, empower staff, and promote excellence in governance districtwide. During this session, participants will explore Justice and Advocacy Stewardship as they learn specific strategies, including building an equity scorecard, using a Student Outcomes Focused Governance approach, developing interdependent equity teams, and empowering equity leaders at all levels, especially students. These strategies are all designed to engage the governing board, administrators, teachers, staff, students, families, and community members in unified efforts to identify and eliminate internal oppressive systems and ensure access to learning, opportunity, and success.

    Dr. Eric J. Dueppen — Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Creighton School District (AZ)
    Sophia Carrillo-Dahl — President of the Governing Board, Creighton School District (AZ)
    Wade Antonio Colwell — Equity Consultant and Professional Developer

Event Information

  • Cancellation Policy

    Request for refunds of the conference registration fee (minus a $75 service fee) can be honored only if made in writing to NSBA at info@nsba.org by Friday, December 22, 2023. No refunds will be honored after that time.

    Please feel free to email us at info@nsba.org with any questions you may have regarding your Equity Symposium registration.
  • Safety Protocols & Requirements

    Proof of vaccination status or a negative test result is not required to attend NSBA events. Attendees who are not vaccinated are asked to take an at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen test before traveling to the event and should not attend if they test positive or have COVID-19 symptoms. NSBA does not require proof of these measures but encourages attendees to act responsibly and with consideration for the health and safety of others. Mask wearing is not required.
  • Hotel Information

    Headquarter Hotel: Marriott Marquis Washington, DC
    901 Massachusetts Ave NW
    Washington, DC 20001

    You must be registered for the conference before you can reserve housing in the NSBA hotel block. NSBA has negotiated a special rate for conference attendees. Booking information will be provided in the registration confirmation email. All reservations should be made before Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024. Room availability and conference rates cannot be guaranteed after this date.
  • Travel & Getting Around

    Taxicabs & Ride Sharing
    Taxicabs and Ride Sharing, such as Uber and Lyft offer transportation services to passengers arriving to and departing from the airport. Download the ride sharing app of your choice and book in advance to ensure availability. Approximate rates for taxicabs and ridesharing from the nearest airports can be found below.

    • From Reagan National Airport to downtown, fares are approximately $25.00.
    • From Dulles National Airport, fares are approximately $65.00.
    • From Baltimore Washington International Airport, fares are approximately $79.00

    DC Metro System
    DC Metro System serves the District of Columbia and surrounding areas.

    Hotel Parking
    Valet parking is available at the Marriott Marquis DC hotel at $65 per day.

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