The 2018 BESR Empowering Black Students to Thrive: Reclaiming Minds and Affirming Greatness Conference was an amazing success. You who attended engaged with the conference content, connected and shared with other attendees, and participated in group discussions that established a rich and honest learning environment focused on improving educational outcomes for Black students. Thank you for making the conference a huge success.
We are still reviewing conference and workshop evaluations, but the presenters received high ratings and glowing written comments.
Conference highlights include:
The student panel opened the conference. Their candor and assessment of the education system were important messages for us to hear. Caring and supportive educators, in addition to these students’ own self-determination, have enabled them to take full advantage of their education.
The Data Equity Walk exposed the systemic conditions that create barriers for Black students. As called out by Dr. Thelma Jackson, our education system is imbedded with institutional racism and BESR needs to take a lead in addressing this issue with key state leaders, departments and organizations. If you are interested in conducting a Data Equity Walk, review Ed Trust’s toolkit and check with me on using the poster boards from the conference.
Erin Jones and Dr. Johnny Lake provided keynote addresses acknowledging the racial conditions in our society and education system and demonstrated how we can set new narratives acknowledging the high intellectual capabilities of Black students.
Workshop presenters engaged attendees with thoughtful and action-oriented presentations on topics ranging from the genius of Black students to the opportunities for more Blacks in STEM related fields and careers. As an overall example of appreciation for the workshops, attendees in the cultivating Black leader workshop sought out evaluation forms to ensure we knew about the power of that presentation.
We will be adding PowerPoint slides from presentations over the next week as we gather them from presenters. If you are seeking an email list of attendees, contact me.
We welcome any additional comments on the structure, content and logistics of the conference. We will use that information in the debrief of the current conference and planning for our next conference. Please send your written comments to me.
There is much work still to be accomplished on behalf of Black students. As you reflect on what you learned and the emotions you experienced at the conference, Black students need you to act in creating systemic changes in our public education system. BESR is committed to stand with you in this work.
We look forward to seeing you at our next BESR meeting on January 19, 2019, 10:30 am – 3:00 pm, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Tukwila.