CUBE 2021 Annual Conference

Due to safety precautions and the need for physical distancing, registration for the 2021 CUBE Annual Conference was limited, and is now at full capacity. You can still register for our other in-person event, Equity Symposium West, October 22-24 in Oklahoma City. And don’t forget to save the date for the Equity Symposium East, January 22, 2022, in Washington, D.C.


Keynote Speaker

Headshot of Mae Jeminson

Dr. Mae Jemison

Engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut

Learn more about our keynote speaker.

CUBE has convened school board members from across the nation for the past 53 years to network and share the continually evolving strategies they are using to address the unique educational challenges that exist in our nation's urban centers. Content is curated specifically to provide you with the tools and support you need to effect change as an empowered, impactful urban school board member.

Safety Protocols and Requirements

Attention all CUBE Annual Conference attendees, speakers, guests, and sponsors, please read the safety requirements that all participants must follow in order to be admitted into the event. This includes proof of COVID vaccination or a negative test.


2021 CUBE Annual Conference Onsite Safety Requirements


Attendees will need to answer health screening questions and upload documents via the HealthShield system. 

Step 1: Text 'Hi' to 855.517.2441 or scan the QR code below and follow the prompts to answer 3 short health status questions or to upload your vaccination status or COVID test result.

Step 2: Visit the onsite Health Desk and show your green check mark from your phone.

Step 3: Collect your wristband for the day.

QR code for CUBE Annual Conference health screens and documents


Instructions for uploading documents


Instructions for health screening 


HealthSheild FAQs


To mitigate risk of infection during the in-person event, our safety team is planning a range of measures such as contactless registration, physical distancing, face coverings, regular cleaning, designated entrances and exits, and seating limitations in meeting rooms. Attendees will have the option to place a colored sticker on their badge to indicate their comfort level and preferences for interactions.

We will also promote good hygiene practices such as frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizer. In addition, the Atlanta Marriot Marquis has implemented a variety of new protocols and elevated practices. Read more about  there. 

Schedule and Sessions

7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Registration

11:15 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.     


State of Urban Education Luncheon
Steve Gallon III, Chair, Council of Urban Boards of Education and 四不像中特图 Board of Director
Sponsored by K-12 by Elior

2 – 3 p.m. Clinic Sessions 

3 – 3:15 p.m.

Coffee Break
Sponsored by T-Mobile

3:15 – 5:10 p.m.

CUBE Steering Committee Town Halls 
Sponsored by Ittner, Cordogan Clark, and Issues in Education

6 – 8 p.m.

Welcome Networking Event 
Sponsored by BuyBoard

Clinic Sessions 


 2 - 3 p.m.

Session Title



Protecting Students from Exploitation

Speakers: Erika Mitchell, Board Member, District 5, Atlanta Board of Education, Vice Chair Steering Committee Member, Council of Urban Boards of Education; Allison Ausband, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Experience Officer; Jennifer Swain, Executive Director youthSpark, Inc.; Dr. Terriyln Rivers-Cannon, Social Worker, Atlanta Public Schools, 2019 National School Social Worker; and John Fowler, Georgia Deputy Attorney General



Protecting students from exploitation requires a collective approach. School districts’ strategy for addressing and preventing this growing problem demands the creation of district policy and protocol, including training and awareness for in-school personnel, outside organizations, not-for-profits, faith-based groups, and governmental entities that respond to instances of exploitation. This session will focus on policy development, implementation of policy/protocol, and early warning signs that can identify at-risk minors.



Advancing Student Engagement, Cultural-Responsiveness and Educational Equity

Speakers: Dr. Sarah Johnson, CEO, Teaching Lab; Sheena Lights, Chief Program Officer, Teaching Lab; and Nadalee Williams, Director, District Design & Partnerships - Math, Taching Lab










Led by educators with deep knowledge of equitable teaching practices, this session will offer system leaders an opportunity to use a culturally-responsive teaching (CRT) lens to construct a vision for instructional equity and determine system-level strategies to ensure this vision lives in every classroom, and every school. More specifically, participants will:

1) Explore ways to integrate culturally-responsive teaching (CRT) methods into classroom practice through the use of high-quality instructional materials.

2) Learn more about Teaching Lab’s Head, Heart, Habits, and Equity teacher professional learning model to accelerate student learning following the impact of COVID19.

3) Discuss implications of the backlash against a different CRT, or Critical Race Theory, and how leaders can still support educators to embrace culturally-responsive and evidence-based practices.

Participants also will learn how this model directly supports the equitable educational outcomes that DIRE outlines in its goals to dismantle systemic racism in education and will showcase actionable, concrete methodologies for achieving those goals. Participants will leave the session having gained a deeper understanding of strategies to integrate cultural responsiveness into the content areas, which system-level levers to pull to achieve their vision of educational equity, and CRT’s place in teacher practice as educators continue to navigate increasing restrictions on Critical Race Theory in classrooms.


Creating A Culture of Peace in All Educational Environments 
Sponsored by Aetna


  The need for youth behavioral health support is at an all-time high. Social-emotional learning (SEL) provides these resiliency tools for every child, regardless of background or socioeconomic status. School boards are instrumental in building programs that promote comprehensive trauma-informed education for every child in an accessible, equitable way. Learn how evidence-based research can improve student well-being and academic performance, and hear about what your fellow school districts and other experts are doing to create a safer learning environment.

The Proactive Governance Team: Effectively Customizing School Board-Superintendent Operating Procedures with the Equity Lens

Speakers: Dr. Samuel T. King, Director of Superintendent Search Services & Board Development, Georgia School Boards Association and Valarie Wilson, Executive Director, Georgia School Boards Association




Becoming a highly effective Board-Superintendent team (governance team) requires that both parties take the time and are intentional about defining roles and responsibilities melded with agreed-upon operating procedures. This process allows board members and the superintendent to create jointly a compact that clearly outlines how they will handle their specified duties. This session will highlight how the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) Board Development Department has begun to customize its work with governance teams to achieve this task. Segments will include:

  • Being Intentional About Equity
  • Knowing Your Governance Team-Individual Styles and Team Impact/Synergy
  • The Process of Developing Individual Governance Team Norms/Protocols
  • Enforcing Norms/Protocols Implementation

Town Halls 


 3:15 – 5:10 p.m.

Session Title



Town Hall 1  School Boards Leading the Charge for Social Justice and Addressing Critical Issues



Social justice in education refers to a commitment to challenging social, cultural, and economic inequalities imposed on individuals arising from any differential distribution of power, resources, and privilege. As policymakers and convenors of the community, educational leaders set the tone for social justice in schools. This panel will explore how school board members are taking the lead in demanding equity for each student and leading the vision for growth that comes from valuing student diversity.

Town Hall 2 — Driving Education & Shaping the Education Agenda Through Policymaking


  Policy permeates and dominates all aspects of school operations and presents the most powerful lever for the exercise of leadership. This panel will explore how effective school boards use policy to support the vision for student achievement and learning and for managing district resources wisely. Hear CUBE leaders share how their boards use policy to align action to “big picture” vision and lead others in the conversation around student outcomes.


7:30 - 9 a.m.

Networking Breakfast

7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.


10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

CUBE Community Service Event

9 - 10:15 a.m.

Morning Plenary
Brandon Fleming and students of the Harvard Debate Team
Sponsored by 四不像中特图C

Brandon’s book, , is available on Amazon. Bring your copy with you to Atlanta and Brandon will sign it after his session.    

10:15 - 10:30 a.m.

Coffee Break

Sponsored by T-Mobile

10:30 – 11:15 a.m.

Clinic Sessions

11:30 a.m. – 12:15  p.m.          

Clinic Sessions 

12:30 – 1:45 p.m.


CUBE Awards Luncheon
  • CUBE District Award Sponsored by eMed
  • Benjamin Elijah Mays Award Sponsored by NAF

2 – 2:45 p.m.

Clinic Sessions 

 2:45 – 3 p.m.

Coffee Break

Sponsored by T-Mobile

3 – 4 p.m. 


General Session Keynote

Dr. Mae Jemison

Sponsored by Lifetouch

4:15 – 5:30 p.m.

 Clinic Sessions 

 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Council Awards Networking Event

Sponsored by US Army


Clinic Sessions 


 10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Session Title



The Intersection Where Culturally Competent and Trauma-Informed Schools Meet

Speaker: Dr. Melissa Sadin, Executive Director, Ducks & Lions: Trauma Sensitive Resources LLC and Director of Special Services, Unity Charter School



More than half of all students in any school have experienced some type of childhood trauma. Nationally, more than half of our students are students of color. Educators need to be prepared to meet their students where they are. Culturally competent educators are trauma-informed educators. You cannot have one without the other. Join me for this engaging and entertaining workshop that will identify the intersection where culturally competent AND trauma-informed schools meet. Specific strategies for building resilient school communities will be shared.

For the Kulture: Creating an Inclusive Environment Where Students Find Their Voice

Speakers: Dr. Jaclyn Walker, Program Specialist, Portsmouth Public Schools; Dr. Velvet Smith, Program Specialist, Portsmouth Public Schools; and The Honorable LaKeesha "Klu" Atkinson, Vice Chair, Portsmouth School Board



This workshop focuses on the societal and environmental issues and childhood trauma that teachers/administrators/school board members in urban school districts face on a daily basis. It also showcases an understanding of how to effectively engage students in urban classrooms and beyond through culturally responsive educational practices (academic, character education, and therapy). This workshop introduces specific strategies and research-based practices to effectively engage all students using an applied studies theory of practice that creates resiliency. It also highlights how the community, including community leaders, local and state politicians, and small businesses, can successfully implement a school-based intervention.


Montgomery County Public Schools Antiracist System Audit

Speakers: Brenda Wolff, Board of Education President, Montgomery County Public Schools and Dr. Monifa B. McKnight, Interim Superintendent, Montgomery County Public Schools
















This session focuses on the Antiracist System Audit that is being implemented in Maryland's Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS ). The district has been engaged in work around race and equity for decades. There have been numerous research-based studies conducted in MCPS that have implications on race and equity within the district. The Antiracist System Audit will evaluate what we have already learned and implemented from this work so that we can take strategic action in taking the next right steps to ensure we are meeting the needs of all of our students through a systematic and holistic way. It is taking what we have already learned and revisiting the implications and implementation of policy and strategic planning measures to guide the district on its values of improving learning and the social-emotional experience for all students.

The outcomes/objectives of this session:

  • Review the district’s timeline of equity work leading up to the Antiracist System Audit.
  • Review the vision and the need for an Antiracist System Audit in MCPS with a focus on the pandemic and the resulting impact on both teaching and learning.
  • Identify the key components of the Antiracist System Audit.
  • Share and discuss the collaboration, coordination, and communication strategies used in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the Antiracist System Audit.
  • Discuss the partnership and collaboration between the Board of Education and the district in implementing the Antiracist System Audit.
  • Discuss key considerations in implementing an Antiracist System Audit in a diverse community to ensure the needs of all students and stakeholders are met in a post-pandemic world.
  • Discuss the implications of the Antiracist System Audit on the post-pandemic educational experiences of staff, students, and the community.
  • Share initial data findings, current state, and next steps of the Antiracist System Audit.

Utilizing Communications to Drive Equity

Speakers: Tauheedah Baker-Jones, Chief Equity and Social Justice Officer, Atlanta Public Schools







This workshop will walk participants through the key elements of the DNA Equity Communications Framework and provide them with the tools needed to develop a robust equity-centered district messaging strategy that embeds equity into the DNA of organizational culture.
Participants will:

  • Learn how to leverage the power of mass communications to shift district culture toward a focus on equity.
  • Discover how to develop an effective messaging strategy that ensures that every stakeholder, internal and external, is on the same page concerning the organization’s racial equity-focused goals and objectives.
  • Understand how to leverage communications as a tool to garner buy-in, neutralize resistance, and transform mindsets and beliefs around racial equity.
  • Learn to leverage communications as a means of dealing with equity challenges in real-time and how to respond and pivot in the moment.
  • Gain an understanding of DNA Equity Communications Framework levers for organizational transformation.

Clinic Sessions 


11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Session Title


Working From the Inside Out: Cultivating Antiracism Through Mindfulness

Speaker: Dr. Timothy J. Steinhauer, Superintendent of Schools, Mt. Lebanon School District





Mindfulness is a pathway to explore deeply embedded structural racism in our schools. Still, this journey can only begin when we start exploring and understanding our own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Identifying and dismantling racism is a process that requires deliberate strategies and actions. Mindful practices allow for openness and awareness of our thoughts and ideas without judgment. Self-awareness raises the potential to courageously and purposely begin the journey toward understanding, kindness, and racial justice. Mindful practices can prepare fertile grounds for cultivating understanding and reconciliation. Objectives and Outcomes: Learn mindful practices that support openness to your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Learn mindful practices to slow down the time between stimulus and response. Understand how mindful practices can assist with racial justice efforts.

Why Instructional Systems Dampen Life Chances for Black and Brown Students

Speaker: Michael Toth, Founder and CEO, Learning Sciences International




Does race and family income determine a child’s life chances? Too often, students of color and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds stay disadvantaged as they move through schools built on legacy instructional systems that deny them academic rigor and student agency. In this breakout session, Michael D. Toth — founder and CEO of Learning Sciences International, multi-award-winning education author, and leader of LSI’s Applied Research Center — will reveal the invisible and inequitable instructional systems at the root of every district. Participants will learn the key systems that can shift schools from low-rigor, low-agency classrooms to authentic, culturally responsive, empowering learning environments where every student thrives.

A Collaborative Focus on Trauma-Informed Schools: A Community Approach

Speakers: Taneesha Thomas, M.Ed., Co-Founder/ CEO, Focused Minds Education Group and Sandra Lake, Ed.S., STEAM Coordinator, Technology Coach, and Arts Integration Liaison, Brumby Elementary School

  In this session, we’ll explore the importance of understanding and addressing trauma and what makes a school system trauma-informed. We’ll start by defining how trauma can and does impair learning for students in your district and what research tells us about resilience-building strategies that can help. Your district may already be more trauma-informed than you know. Through a real-world example of one local school seeing success, we’ll focus on the importance of involving the community and give practical examples for programs, planning, and funding efforts that help build resilience and increase learning. Now is a critical time to explore whether this collaborative community approach can work for your district.

Safe Return to In-Person Learning — Yes, We Did That!

Speaker: Dr. Shavonna Holman, Board of Education President, Omaha Public Schools. Steering Committee Member, Council of Urban Boards of Education


This presentation will highlight Omaha Public School’s plans and procedures supporting our safe and responsible return to in-person learning during the pandemic as well as plans for this school year. With equity serving as the nexus of our strategic plan, ensuring that all our children receive the education they need and, most importantly, deserve is our priority.



Clinic Sessions 


2 – 2:45 p.m.

Session Titles



What is your story?

Speaker: Alysia Dempsey, Founder, Inspires LLC








This is a simple interactive diversity and inclusion exercise that enables participants to share their unique stories and celebrate the stories of others. Everyone has a unique story. Both young and old, we all have experiences that shape who we are today and who we will become tomorrow. We all share qualities that can unite us and enable us to have empathy and compassion for all. There is beauty in our diversity. Let’s celebrate each other's stories and encourage one another. By working together, we can bring hope back into our communities. When a child is taught empathy, they can have empathy for others and their stories. When a child is taught peace, they can seek to resolve conflict by way of peace. When a child is taught compassion, they can have compassion for all regardless of race or religion. When a child is taught love, they can have love for all and make a difference in the world around them. When a child is taught respect, they can have respect for themselves and others. Let’s inspire our communities and the world to plant seeds of empathy, peace, compassion, love, and respect. We will all enjoy the harvest.

Leveraging Federal Funds to Achieve Academic Goals


Speakers: Donald Jolly II, Superintendent, Warrensville Heights City School District; Dr. Tamea R. Carver, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, Warrensville Heights City School District; Dr. Richard Reynolds, Director of Student Wellness and Innovation, Warrensville Heights City School District; Roxann Lozar, Primary Academic Coordinator, Warrensville Heights City; and Kenya Hunt, Director of Human Resources, Warrensville Heights City





Located in the inner ring of Cleveland, Warrensville Heights City School District serves approximately 1,750 scholars. Over the past six years, we have worked relentlessly to ensure that our scholars have access to high-quality instruction and that the needs of our community are met. That committed work moved our district from an F on the state report card to a C, with an A in scholar growth. Due to the interruption in learning over the past school year caused by the pandemic, our continued focus on scholar acceleration remains forefront in our planning and work. In this session, participants will learn about our innovative use of federal funds to maximize Tier 1 and Tier 2 instructional supports and how we monitor and hold ourselves accountable so that every scholar reaches end-of-year growth targets and district achievement goals. This session also will showcase our work with scholar and family wellness and how we work with families while enrolled in the district and post-graduation. Session Objectives:

  • Learn how to leverage federal funds to achieve academic goals.
  • Learn how we are capitalizing on the strengths of our teachers and using evidence-based practices to accelerate student achievement.
  • Learn how we are monitoring the growth of scholars during the school year and how we determine if they are maintaining an appropriate level of improvement related to end-of-year outcomes for success.
Walking the Talk: Using your Strategic Plans and Superintendent Evaluations to Demonstrate Accountability

Speakers: Nikkie Whaley, Board Support Specialist & Equity Lead, Arizona School Boards Association and Julie Bacon, Leadership Development Specialist, Arizona School Boards Association


Districts are beginning to look at their system and identify ways to progress equity. While there are many ways to do this, accountability is essential to successful follow-through. In this session, we will share tips and strategies to support boards in their efforts to demonstrate their commitment to this work. Objectives include: 

  • Embedding equity into your strategic plan.
  • Including equity measures in your superintendent evaluation; includes examples from Arizona’s new superintendent evaluation tool.
  • Communicating progress and demonstrating accountability.

Accelerating the Learning and Success of Underserved Populations, Birth through Grade 12

Speaker: Dr. Craig Witherspoon, Superintendent, Richland County School District One

  Raising expectations is the stated goal of many school districts. But what does that look like in action? During this session, you will learn how Richland County School District One is taking strategic actions to accelerate the learning and success of all students while keeping a watchful eye on those from underserved populations, in particular.



Clinic Sessions 


4:15 – 5:30 p.m.

Session Title   Description
4:15 – 4:45 p.m.    
Improving Equity & Engagement: Creating Culture Through Governance Technology

Sponsored by BoardDocs








If knowledge is power, access to information is the key to unlocking that potential power for your board. The digital divide can be felt through limited access to local democratic processes, including school boards. To enable an active and engaged citizenry that represents your whole community, boards can leverage technology to ensure information equity for the entire population. Harnessing the power of digital information can improve your governance culture by providing board members with equitable access. It also drives community inclusion by improving transparency. As a result, the board can leverage this engagement to make more informed decisions and ultimately improve support. Sharing information and making the process more visible can also encourage potential new board members from underrepresented populations. Join the conversation as we explore these and other connections between technology and governance and share insightful takeaways to improve access to information in your district.

ESSER Funds and How They Can Help Create Equity in the Classroom

Sponsored by ABM

Speakers: Dan Dowell, Vice President, ABM and Brad Gregory, Comptroller Colquitt County Schools

  Several reports note that the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds released in 2009 did little, fundamentally, to benefit schools in the long term. ABM has designed a program that invests Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds in a manner to positively impact a district’s general fund for over a decade. This new cash flow can be used to promote equitable spending in the classroom, teacher salaries, or whatever your general fund may need. Join us as we host an open, informative discussion.
4:15 – 5:15 p.m.    
Digital Inclusion: District-Led Solutions to Solve the Homework Gap 

Sponsored by Kajeet




  Students continue to lack high-quality home broadband connections for remote learning and homework. This digital divide in education — commonly referred to as the “Homework Gap” — greatly disadvantages students and exacerbates learning gaps. Learn from three local school board members about locally led school-business partnerships that are solving the homework gap. Hear about new federal funding to fully reimburse schools for high-speed wireless solutions and school bus Wi-Fi.  Whether online, hybrid, after school, before school, or even on the bus to a sporting event, learn about federally funded solutions to ensure that every student has access to learn anytime, anywhere.  
 5 – 5:30 p.m.    
Real Talk: Solutions to The Digital Divide 

Sponsored by T-Mobile









The digital divide is a new illiteracy that compromises student achievement and overall well-being. Understanding the gravity of the challenge is essential to identifying a solution and creating a plan. This session will outline critical statistics, unpack impact stories of technology and connectivity, and review tactical steps for moving the needle on the digital divide. Come to the session and walk away with the real story behind the digital divide, tools, tips, data, and programs. Learn how T-Mobile’s Project 10Million is working to eradicate the divide. Effective solutions bring about robust and sustainable change.

Learn How the Competition is Recruiting Your Students

Sponsored by Caissa





  Traditional public schools are facing challenges due to increased competition for students, whether from charters, private schools, homeschools, and now, due to Covid-19, virtual schools. This presentation will train you to compete effectively to grow your student body. You will learn strategies and techniques that your competition uses to recruit your students, methodologies to level the playing field, tips to help traditional public schools get students, and advice on making a complying ask. Competition is inevitable, but with different techniques, we can give you a competitive edge.



7:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.  Registration
7:30 - 9:00 a.m.  Networking Breakfast 
9:15 - 10:15 a.m.  Clinic Sessions
10:15 - 10:30 a.m.  Coffee Break
10:30 a.m. - 11:45 p.m.  District Workshops
12 - 2 p.m.

Closing Luncheon and CUBE Steering Committee Town Hall 


Clinic Sessions 


9:15 - 10:15 a.m.

Session Title    Description

The Politics of Education: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and a District's Journey Toward Excellence

Speakers: Larry Lawrence, Board President, Dolton West School District; Andrea M. Johnson, Board Member, Dolton West School District; Kevin J. Nohelty, Ed.D., Superintendent, Dolton West Elementary School District 148; and Dr. Sonya Whitaker, Deputy Superintendent of Schools, Dolton West School District


This presentation has two distinct objectives. First, you will become familiar with education-based political hot topics and the impact of the information shared on your work as a school board member or district leader. The goal is to ensure that you are better equipped to achieve the goals that you have (or are considering developing) to provide all students with equitable access to a quality education regardless of their race, sexual orientation, or ability levels. Secondly, during this session, school district leaders and school board members from Illinois' Dolton West School District 148 will lead a conversation designed to assist you in identifying equity-based leadership strategies that can be implemented at the board, district, and classroom levels.





I Count Too: Affirming Students Who Look, Love, Learn, and Live Differently

Speaker: Dr. Michael Williams, Student Transition Counselor, North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice


This workshop encourages participants to recognize, respect, and affirm all learners. Participants are introduced to the "L" students who look, learn, love, and live differently. The workshop also addresses assessing school climate, recognizing and remediating biased behaviors, and developing an action plan to create a more inclusive environment. The session encourages the elevation of humanity over the celebration of diversity. The consequences of inaction are highlighted to include Title IX implications. As a result of attending this session, participants will be able to: Identify and Assist the "L" students in their school who look, love, learn, and live differently; Administer, Analyze, and Assess the results of a school climate survey; Recognize and Remediate various forms of biased behavior in their school; Develop a Strategic Plan for Inclusion.

Trauma (In)sensitive Schools: When Schools Are the Threat Against Students

Speaker: Dr. Sherell A. McArthur, Professor of Education, University of Georgia and CEO and Wellness & Life Coach, Beyond Life Coaching


Noted legal scholar and author Patricia Williams has argued that racism is more than just physical pain; racism robs Black and Brown people of their humanity and dignity and leaves personal, psychological, and spiritual injuries. This panel will examine how schools function as spaces of Black and Brown suffering. With regularity, school districts' spokespersons portray racist incidents as isolated events, the work of culturally insensitive but "good" teachers. These responses never acknowledge how racism is systemic and structural or how racism is maintained by violence. This presentation will address how school officials continue to misdiagnose the spirit murdering happening in their schools and how the trauma of racism is not discussed in relation to Black and Brown students’ social and emotional learning.



Innovative Action and Equity-Driven Processes for Student Success

Speakers: Dr. Darin Brawley, Superintendent, Compton Unified School District Michele Dawson, Senior Director of Technology and Innovation, Compton Unified School District



  Superintendent Brawley shares how Compton Unified School District (CUSD) has eliminated the opportunity gap for students in the area of technology by focusing on STEAM initiatives with partners such as Digital Promise, Apple, Verizon, Boeing, Microsoft, and Google. Dr. Brawley is committed to continuous improvement in relation to the core mission of education. CUSD is building a pipeline of PreK-12 students who are prepared for STEAM majors and career opportunities. You will learn how CUSD pivoted and created a virtual STEM program during the COVID-19 pandemic, engage in an equity-driven process to build a STEAM culture, develop STEAM learning pathways for engagement, and raise parents’ awareness through community events. Participants will be exposed to CUSD’s core beliefs and countering implicit bias that shapes the need for equitable STEAM pathways. Participants will walk away with a deeper understanding of the impact of lower proportions of African American, Latino, and female students proficient in math and science, compared to their peers, and how that affects their opportunities to pursue higher education in these fields. CUSD’s Senior Director of Technology and Innovation, Michele Dawson, will discuss student engagement with an interactive AR/VR experience of STEAM pathways and parent engagement in community STEAM events. Participants will experience how early and consistent exposure to STEM education creates college and career opportunities for students of color. Participants will leave with models and ideas that can be implemented immediately in schools.

District-Sized Workshop by Student Population     10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

Sponsored by Amplify

  • 15,000 and fewer
  • 15,001 - 40,000
  • 40,001 - 80,000
  • 80,001 or more

Closing Luncheon and CUBE Steering Committee Town Hall  12 – 2 p.m. (Doors open at 11:45 a.m.)

Can Boards Harness the Economic Power of our Education System to Empower our Community?


  The U.S. public education system is its own economy. In 2016-17, total expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools in the United States amounted to $739 billion, or $14,439 per public school student enrolled in the fall. Whether contracts for busing, food catering, cleaning services and supplies, professional development, school supplies, landscaping, building maintenance and construction, and education technology, wealth is being created in our school systems. CUBE leaders will exchange perspectives on how boards can lead the way in keeping dollars circulating in the local community when identifying vendors and business partners.


CUBE Community Service Project (in Conjunction with Project UFirst)

Friday, September 17, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Since its inception in 2014, U First has shared over 1 million hygiene Love Bags across 25 States and even all the way to Paris, France.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, U First has served over 100,000 hygiene “Love Bags” to Atlanta’s most vulnerable men, women and children, including those in our local homeless shelters and those living without walls.  

Through the U First Kidz program, UFirst provides hygiene items to Care Closets for students in the Atlanta Public Schools who receive free or reduced lunch. These items are inexpensive, but to a homeless person, or a child living in poverty, they’re an important step on the path toward dignity.


For more information or to find out ways to become involved or show support, please . 


nsba cares logo hands shaking in heart shape          UFirst logo helping the homeless with love


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