Presenters Abstracts and Workshop Information

Dr. Brian Donnelly

UC Davis C-STEM Center/Davis Joint Unified School District

“Using Innovative computing and robotics programs to close the achievement gap in math and science education”

This workshop will highlight the work of the UC Davis School of Engineering’s K-14 Outreach Center for Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM) and its ongoing efforts to broaden participation of K-12 students who are typically underrepresented in computing and related science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The workshop will highlight the work of multiple middle and high school programs in the Sacramento region where diverse student populations are exploring new ways to learn math, develop computational literacy, and discover new STEM career possibilities through engaging experiences with C++ programming and robotics.

Mr. Eric Vega

Ethnic Studies Department, CSU Sacramento
American Civil Liberties Union, Sacramento and Yolo County Chapters

ACLU Know Your Rights Education Agenda!

The American Civil Liberties Union addresses various legal issues in the area of public education. It is committed to the principle that students, parents and advocates should be familiar with their rights in dealing with education institutions. Providing “Know Your Rights” materials and other self-empowerment tools increases “Educational Equity” and decreases the “School to Prison Pipeline.” With more information, all parties of the education community can help prevent pervasive substandard conditions, bias and push-out policies that lead to incarceration.

Mrs. Kindra Montgomery-Block

Director of Training & Community Relations, UC Davis School of Education CRESS Center

“Permission to Drop Out?” Solving the Dropout Crisis with Summer Time, Social Justice, and an Advanced Community Schools Effort

Last year, nearly 80,000 students dropped out of California schools. The time is now to meet students where they are at and focus on something that matters to them. The SCUSD Summer of Service initiative engaged 500+ transitioning 8th grade students of color in investing into their own community while reconnecting to the meaningfulness of school. Participants in this workshop will learn about closing the achievement gap among students of color by investing in non-traditional student engagement projects that increase opportunities for students to serve though social justice. Participants will walk away with core learnings on the design, planning, implementation, and evaluation strategies used in the Summer of Service project. Participants will leave with a deep understanding of how social justice youth development and service learning are necessary and effective tools to address the dropout crisis for students.

Mr. Samuel Nunez

Executive Director, Fathers and Families of San Joaquin

Healing the Hood; Changing the Odds

The presentation will apply race and gender as a filter to better understand the root causes and develop solutions for boys and men of color. Participants will learn practical ways that organizations and communities can build a stronger multicultural youth movement to promote youth empowerment and social change focused on reducing societal violence by effectively incorporating boys and young men into the community building process

Mr. Ijeoma Ononuju

Poet-Mentor Educator, Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS)

From Incarceration to Graduation: The Resiliency of Achievement

The presentation is based on creating a more culturally diverse pedagogy in the classroom to create a more equitable environment for students to learn in. It will address how equity can be obtained in the classroom by focusing on collective empowerment and collective learning. The presenter will also show how collective learning has the potential to close the achievement gap in California by providing students a platform to capitalize on their own individual talents and skills en route to increasing literacy.   

Mr. Darryl White

Former Teacher, Principal, CEO of the Sacramento Independent Learning Center Corporation

Zero Tolerance In Schools Ensures the School To Prison Pipeline

Presenter will share the progress of a district-wide “Zero Tolerance Study” and its role as a component in the “School to Prison Pipeline.”  Participants will gain an understanding of zero tolerance policies relative to suspension, expulsion, and grading along with the related impact on students and communities.  Participants will also participate in interactive vignettes designed to demonstrate the subjective and capricious nature of suspension and expulsion that school administrators face in making fair and equitable decisions based on tough zero tolerance policies.  Finally, participants will gain an understanding as to why suspensions and expulsions impact students of color so negatively; thereby putting them into the School to Prison Pipeline in alarming numbers.

Ms. Addie Ellis

Consultant, St. Mary’s College and Drexel University

Unheard and Unseen:  Working with students experiencing homelessness

There are over 1.5 million children that can be classified as homeless each year in the United States; 20% live in California.  The numbers are expected to increase due to the slow economic recovery and continued foreclosures. Identifying students experiencing homelessness can be a challenge.  The impact on skill development varies according to grade level, length of homelessness, and previous skill acquisition. The children that make up the homeless demographic are amongst the neediest of students in the educational system and provide an ever-increasing challenge to educators.  This interactive presentation discusses strategies for educating the new faces of homelessness. 

Dr. Edgar Lampkin,

Director of English Learner Services, Yolo County Office of Education

Education for Social Justice

There is a disproportionate number of youth of color in the juvenile justice system. In addition, a disproportionate number of youth of color are in the higher educational systems. Education and access to it is affected when you grow up in poverty, are a person of color, or do not fit into the picture of mainstream society. Many factors impact and affect the ability of youth of color to obtain a socially just education. These factors are directly tied to different forms of oppression, driven by our biases and belief systems. In order for us to liberate and deconstruct our biases and institutionalized forms of “isms,” we must first be able to name them, see how they manifest themselves, and engage in critical dialogue and consciousness so that we can then begin to take action and start the liberation process. Education for Social Justice is a curriculum that gives audiences an opportunity to do just that. Regardless of who you are, you are either a part of the “Target” or “Non-Target” when it comes to oppression. Becoming conscious about this and understanding how you can be an ally against oppressions is a way to work towards a more socially just society. This session will give you an introduction to the theory, an opportunity to experience some activities, and help you begin to engage in doing the work needed to create a more socially just society.

Mrs. Rebecca Maggie Escobedo-Steele

Community Consultant, 7th Generation Warriors

Reclaiming the Path of Broken Dreams /Positive Practices In Juvenile Hall

This interactive presentation will describe the impact of grassroots professionals collaborating with probation administrators to create a movement for positive change within facilities. Examples of real-time projects in Sacramento County that have produced positive results will be shared. This type of unique violence intervention is intended to improve the culture of youth facilities by working with the staff and the residents to promote a more positive atmosphere and interactions. Other innovations including specialized units, reduction of residents’ numbers in units, and implementing multi-cultural programs, will also be discussed.

Ms. Penny Osterhoudt

Vallejo City Unified School District

In Need of A New Future

Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSECs) are in need of a new future. Girls forced into prostitution are deprived of equity and education and are often incarcerated for crimes of which they have no control. This presentation will examine the issues of choice, myths and misconceptions, and cultural stereotypes. The reality of what CSECs face will be illustrated with an emphasis on the psychological trauma. Specific risk factors and counter measures will be explored. Specific elements that are unique to CSECs will be discussed with suggestions for ways to effectively work with CSECs given.

Mr. Robert Phillips

Senior Fellow, Movement Strategy Center

Changing Places: How Improving Health for Boys of Color Will Improve Communities

There is a raft of literature on how neighborhoods influence our health and life chances.  These findings have been firmly acknowledged by the number of race and equity advocates, researchers and community organizers that are taking the view that place matters when it comes to achieving health equity. By the same token, however, race matters too—a lot—when it comes to achieving health equity, educational equity or economic equity. Race like place is an overarching consideration that affects where and how we all live. Race continues to fracture our society, compounding disadvantage and perpetuating it across generations. The structures of race—many of them rooted in discriminatory policies and practices of earlier eras—pose the most difficult barriers to equitable opportunity and a healthy, prosperous future for the United States. An effective agenda to improve the health, educational and criminal justice outcomes of all must consider both race and place, authentically and forthrightly.

Ms. Panna Putnam

Project Director, Safe Schools Healthy Students Initiative, Yolo County Office of Education and Yolo County Juvenile Detention Facility

Successful Transitions: A Pilot Program

The Yolo County Office’s Safe Schools Healthy Students Initiative and the Yolo County Juvenile Detention Facility has developed a unique program which will prepare incarcerated youth for a successful transition into the community upon their release. Offering transitional support services to a population that is transient was challenging but the willingness to “think outside the box” and a commitment to serving ALL students at the facility (Yolo County, other counties, and federal government placed youth) helped to create a pilot program that was well received by the students, the Juvenile Detention Facility staff, and federal funding agencies of the Safe School Healthy Students Initiative.

Mr. Dan Sackheim

California Department of Education

Asset-based Positive Behavioral Interventions, Resiliency and Cultural Competency

This workshop presents specific asset-based behavioral interventions to support resiliency and youth development. It is specifically and repeatedly framed in the context and language of resiliency research, joined with a framework of cultural competency. Recognizing and acknowledging that there is an achievement gap and disproportionate minority involvement in disciplinary actions is important, but not enough! “Zero tolerance” should commit us to culturally informed interventions to support successful development – not punishment, with suspensions/expulsions only as a last resort. Some people study dropout statistics. The presenter looks at what students are dropping away from, how the system pushes students out of school, and what a comprehensive understanding of their situations, as perceived through their eyes and ears, and in the context of their lives, can support effective learning and any needed unlearning. Educators and the specialists who support their efforts need specific knowledge, skills and abilities to support, and to stop creating, at-risk students. These abilities need to be infused into comprehensive efforts to support academic, social and emotional development, leading students eventually to successful adult lives.