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SESSION 1 (9:30-10:20am)

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Baruti K. Kafele

Session Link


One of the most important questions one can ask oneself regarding equity is, "What is equity and does equity abound in my classroom?" It's an important consideration for each and every classroom teacher; particularly in today’s climate. In this empowering, highly engaging session, Principal Kafele will lead a discussion on what equity is and what it should look like in today’s climate when implemented with fidelity in the classroom.


Principal Baruti Kafele, a highly regarded urban educator in New Jersey for more than 20 years, has distinguished himself as a master teacher and a transformational school leader. As an elementary school teacher in East Orange, NJ, in addition to being named the East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, Principal Kafele was a finalist for New Jersey State Teacher of the Year and a recipient of the New Jersey Education Association Award of Excellence.


As a middle and high school principal, Principal Kafele led the transformation of four New Jersey urban schools, including "The Mighty" Newark Tech—which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to national recognition, and which was recognized three times by U.S. News and World Report as one of America's best high schools.

One of the most sought-after school leadership experts and education speakers in America, Principal Kafele is impacting America’s schools! He has delivered over two thousand conference and program keynotes, professional development workshops, parenting seminars and student assemblies over his 34 years of public speaking. An expert in the area of “attitude transformation,” Principal Kafele is the leading authority on providing effective classroom and school leadership strategies toward closing what he coined, the "Attitude Gap.”  In addition to writing several professional articles for popular education journals, he has authored eleven books, including his six ASCD best sellers - Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School & in Life, Closing the Attitude Gap, The Teacher 50, Is My School a Better School BECAUSE I Lead It?, The Principal 50 and The Assistant Principal 50. His next book – The Equity and Social Justice Education 50 will be released in May, 2021.


Principal Kafele is the recipient of more than 150 educational, professional, and community awards, including the prestigious Milken National Educator Award and the National Alliance of Black School Educators Hall of Fame Award. He was inducted into the East Orange, New Jersey Hall of Fame, and the City of Dickinson, Texas proclaimed February 8, 1998 Baruti Kafele Day.

The “Equity Mindset” Educator During These Times

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Challenging Your Skill Set


This discussion will address the needs of neurodiverse students online learning from the perspective of user interface design, to better help educators design online components that meet the needs of these students. 


To come.

Katie Gatto

Session Link

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Ife Damon

Using Community-Based Learning to Raise the Child and the Village


Traditional approaches to teaching and learning just aren’t cutting it for a diverse range of learners in the 21st Century. Many students are disengaged in the classroom and not seeing the connection between content and the “real world.” Education needs to shift in a manner that works for all children, not just some, and community-based learning can address that need! Community-based learning is an instructional approach that uses standards as skills to help students learn about and improve their communities. When community-based learning is implemented, instruction is student-centered, equitable, experiential, rigorous, and collaborative. Students not only collaborate with teachers and peers, but they also collaborate with industry experts and other individuals in the community. Attendees of this conversation will analyze and discuss key elements and benefits of community-based learning and walk away with strategies on how to bring this highly effective instructional approach back to their in-person and virtual classrooms!


I am a mother, educator, student, trainer, coach, motivational speaker, activist and advocate. ​My mission is to help educators help students help their communities by collaborating with individuals, groups, and institutions to develop strategies for implementing community-based learning activities into the curriculum.

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Lisa Mechaley +  Victoria Garufi

Reflecting on 2020. What does Sustainability mean now? Moving Forward in Education


There is a sea change happening in K-12 education toward schools that genuinely engage all students in learning that addresses our global future in the areas of equity, social justice, and sustainability. CELF is supporting teachers as they reframe and reflect upon their teaching practice to ensure that our next generation is prepared with the systems-thinking mindset they’ll need to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.


Lisa Mechaley collaborates with other education staff on the design, implementation and delivery of professional development programs. Prior to joining CELF, Lisa spent more than fifteen years teaching middle school science, served as education director for the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, worked as a staff developer through Bank Street College, and developed and conducted environmental programs for Hudson Valley conservation and educational organizations.


As Director of Education, Vicky Garufi is responsible for guiding CELF’s educator team in the planning and implementing all professional development programs. Prior to joining CELF, Vicky spent 12 years at the Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak (CURB) in Yonkers. There she designed, implemented and oversaw all K-12 environmental education programs focused on the Hudson River. She provided outreach to connect school districts, community groups and Hudson River organizations to develop partnerships with CURB.

Session Link

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Joy Nolan

CRSE Workshop: Building Cultural Competence (Your Own or Your Students)


Culturally responsive-sustaining education (CRSE) is build on a foundation of 3 pillars first named by Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings: academic success, cultural competence, and critical consciousness. This workshop will focus on cultural competence. What are the components of this broad and nuanced capacity? What inner work do we need to undertake? What are the implications for our connections to colleagues, students, and families? How can we develop a game plan for developing/teaching/coaching cultural competence?


Joy Nolan is the Director of Mastery Collaborative (MC), a community of New York City public schools program that uses culturally responsive-sustaining and competency-based shifts. Student-centered approaches are the inspiration for and the engine of the MC learning community. Educators in this community push each other with toward teaching moves and school cultures that work best for young people—and to change or replace what’s not working.

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“What is the purpose of our classrooms?“ “How closely aligned is our practice with our vision?”  “In what ways can the unintended consequences of our decisions contribute to systemic inequities that marginalize underperforming students?” Let’s realign our practice to our visions and create classrooms that are more effective for all of the learners in front of us!


Tim Comer is an Assistant Principal in Queens, NY.  A committed school leader, he is deeply interested in designing systems that promote excellence and equity.  Tim is also a husband, a father, and a martial artist.

Phil is in his 12th year as a teacher, and began at Hudson High School of Learning Technologies in 2013.  He is a co-founder of EDxEDNYC.  Phil is the husband of a beautiful wife, father to an awesome baby and has an indisputably handsome dog.

Phil Linder
+ Tim Comer

Session Link

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Dr. Marla A. Sole + Adamary Cruz Martinez

Empowering Students to Create New Stories by Disrupting the Narrative


Before students even enter your class, past negative experiences have created narratives that could dampen their enthusiasm and limit their belief about what they can achieve. Women and minorities, in fields that are not diverse, might erroneously believe that ability is innate. In this conversation, we will explore how you can disrupt these internal narratives to help make students more persistent, resilient problem solvers. How will you actively dispel negative stereotypes, guide students to adopt a growth mindset, and add joy to your classes? Go beyond altering the curriculum. Students educational paths can be altered by envisioning and communicating options for their future. Expand the vision of what your students can do, remove obstacles, and open doors. As a teacher, you have the power to transform students’ lives, use your influence to its fullest potential. 


Dr. Marla A. Sole, Associate Professor of Mathematics, holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from New York University. Her current areas of research examine the connection between pedagogical practices and educational policies and has implications for curriculum developers, educators, and those who play a role in setting educational policies. Dr. Sole won the 2018 Provost’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship in recognition of her exceptional and impactful scholarly achievement.

Adamary Cruz Martinez is a student in her first year of college at Guttman Community College, the City University of New York.  She is majoring in Human Services and is working towards earning the credentials to work as a social worker once she finishes school.

Session Link

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No-Harm Assessment & Grading


Mastery teaching moves can make assessment and grading more clear, useful, & equitable. Let's talk about how to take the stress off, and increase support for learners.


As a part of the Mastery Collaborative team, Meg helps support a community of 70+ schools implementing culturally responsive-sustaining and mastery-based practices. This year, she launched the MC's first Elementary Cohort. Meg is a Brooklyn-based reader, yogi, iced-coffee devotee and dog-mom.

Meg Stentz

Session Link

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Melda Yildiz + Belinha De Abreu

Session Link

Algorithmic Social Justice through Media Literacy Education


This session investigates the role of Algorithmic Bias/ Injustice integrating new technologies (i.e. Global Positioning System (GPS) in developing global competencies, geospatial intelligence, and computational thinking skills; offers creative strategies and possibilities integrating new technologies in teacher education programs. We will share our participatory action research (PAR) project which explores wide range of meanings participants associated with experiential activities; the impact of new technologies in developing multicultural and multilingual apps that promotes transdisciplinary curriculum; the ways in which participants integrate geospatial and computational thinking skills into their learning; and how they gain alternative points of view on global issues and renewed interest and commitment to community service.


Melda N. Yildiz is a global scholar, teacher educator, instructional designer, and author. Yildiz teaches in the College of Arts and Sciences at NYIT. Melda served as a Fulbright Scholar in Turkmenistan (2009) and Azerbaijan (2016) teaching and conducting research integrating media education in P16 classrooms. Yildiz co-authored, published, and presented on topics including STEM education, media & information literacy, instructional technology, multicultural and global education. She received Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Math & Science and Instructional Technology and an M.S. from Southern Connecticut State University in Instructional Technology. She majored in Teaching English as a Foreign Language at Bogazici
University, in Turkey.

Belinha S. De Abreu, PhD., is a global media literacy educator. She served as an International Expert to the Forum on Media & Information Literacy for UNESCO's Communication & Information Section.  Her research interests include media and information literacy education, educational technology, global perspectives, critical thinking, privacy & big data, young adults, and teacher training. Dr. De Abreu is the President of the International Council for Media Literacy (IC4ML)  formerly known as the National Telemedia Council, and is the founder of the International Media Literacy Research Symposium which has been held in the USA and Portugal. 


Dr. De Abreu’s work has been featured in Cable in the Classroom, Civic Media Project, and various other publications. She is the author of Teaching Media Literacy (ALA: Neal-Schuman, 2019),  Mobile Learning through Digital Media Literacy (Peter Lang, 2017), author/co-editor of the International Handbook of Media Literacy Education (Routledge, 2017), Global Media Literacy in a Digital Age (Peter Lang, 2016), Media Literacy Education in Action: Theoretical and Pedagogical Perspectives (Routledge, 2014), and the author of Media Literacy, Social Networking and the Web 2.0 World for the K–12 Educator (Peter Lang, 2011). 

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