*Please plan to depart after 1:30 PM on Monday if you are not participating in the action planning sessions or attend the Universal Studio excursion

**Plan to depart after 3:30 PM on Monday if you plan to participate in the action planning session

***Plan to depart Tuesday morning if you plan to join us for the Universal Studio excursion


understanding the agenda

A plated dinner is served during this session in the Harvest Terrace.

A plated dinner is served during this session in the Harvest Terrace.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2020 - 6:30 PM - 10:00 PM


Documentary Viewing

Vinoy Conference Room

  • Reviewing the issue of equity

  • Viewing of documentary

  • Group discussion of the implications that education has on the over-incarceration of minority youths

action planning Sessions i, ii, and iii

Key West (session I), Key Largo (session II), and Key Biscayne (session III)

  • Identification of the school’s or district’s goals

  • Gap analysis

  • Conference session alignment to gap analysis results

  • 9:30 PM - 10:00 PM movement to interactive action planning room to post preliminary outlines


saturday, february 15, 2020


buffet breakfast - 7:30 am - 8:50 am

*Saturday & Sunday, February 15th and 16th

Buffet Breakfast for all participants served poolside at the Falls Function Lawn (Inclement Weather location: High Velocity Restaurant). Please note that the plenary general session will take place in the hotel and begins promptly at 9:00 AM, so timely arrival to breakfast is essential.

*Monday breakfast on your own


saturday, february 15, 2020 - 9:00 am - 10:00 am

general session: plenary I - florida ballroom

a rivoting panel discussion with three leading voices in education




Dr. Monica George-Fields

Dr. Monica George-Fields

Mr. Alan Blankstein

Mr. Alan Blankstein

Dr. Steve Perry

Dr. Steve Perry

Dr. Pedro Noguera

Dr. Pedro Noguera


9:00 AM - 9:05 AM - General Welcome to the Conference

9:05 AM - 9:15 AM - Introductions of moderator and panelists

9:15 AM - 9:55 AM - Moderated Questions and Answers Period

9:55 AM - 10:00 AM - Closing Remarks


book signing - 10:05 am - 10:30 am

the keys foyer

All panelists’ books will be on sale during the book signing session in the Keys Foyer. The book signing session will end promptly at 10:30 AM so that the panelists can take a short break prior to beginning their next session. Please be respectful of the number of people on line to meet the panelists and get their book signed by keeping your signing and photo opportunity short. We thank you for your consideration in advance.


Saturday, February 15, 2020 - 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM

continue the plenary conversation by following a topic trail

Follow your favorite educational expert from the panel to a discussion about closing the achievement gap aligned to more concentrated areas of concern.

Trail I: Excellence Through Equity: Five Principles of Courageous Leadership to Guide Achievement for Every Student with mr. alan blankstein and dr. monica george-fields — Vinoy conference Room

While the movement for standards and accountability has largely succeeded in bringing greater attention to disparities in student achievement, surprisingly little attention has been given to what it takes to create conditions in schools that will make achievement for all students more likely. Missing from much of the policy debate related to achievement is how to place equity at the center of education reform, and how that, in turn, supports the most effective teaching in schools.

Excellence Through Equity: Five Principles of Courageous Leadership to Guide Achievement for Every Student will describe principles and practices that have proven effective in meeting the needs of a wide variety of learners, and how practitioners can avoid the zero-sum scenario which leads some to believe that we have to choose between the pursuit of excellence and equity.

trail II: Charter Schools Role In The Quest for Closing The Achievement Gap with dr steve perry - Marco Island Conference Room -

There is no denying that turning around struggling schools and providing families with school choice is a difficult task to achieve. One growing approach to address families’ desire to increase school choice is through the start-up and replication of charter schools. Although the original intent for authorizing charter schools was to develop partnerships between traditional public schools and public charter schools, strives to a complete collaboration have not been realized on a wide scale. With the growing desire to address student achievement and hear about all opportunities for students and families, Dr. Perry will represent the voice of charter schools during this very important conversation.

trail iii: The teacher’s Role in establishing equity and deeper learning in the classroom with dr. pedro noguera — Harbor Beach conference Room

While the movement for standards and accountability has largely succeeded in bringing greater attention to the issues surrounding student achievement (i.e. the fact that poor students, students of color, English language learners and students with special needs are consistently performing at lower levels), surprisingly little attention has been given to the strategies and conditions that are necessary to make achievement more likely. Missing from much of the policy debate related to achievement is how to support and cultivate effective teaching in schools and how to motivate and engage students. This presentation will describe strategies that have proven effective elsewhere at supporting teaching and learning for all types of students. It will also explore how schools can develop strategies to support teachers in their efforts to raise achievement

trail iv: using innovation to close the opportunity gap with dr. tony wagner, dr. karren dunkley —key west conference Room

When information is ubiquitous and free, and when basic education is available to billions of people worldwide, only one set of skills can ensure this generation's economic future: the capacity for innovation. What must parents, teachers, mentors, and employers do to develop the capacities of many more young people to be the innovators that they want to be—and that we need them to become? What do the best schools and colleges do to teach the skills of innovation? In a talk based on his most recent books, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change The World, and Most Likely To Succeed, Tony Wagner addresses questions vital to the future of our country.


topic trail v: Developing Intentional Family and Community Partnerships that Support High Student Achievement— Sawgrass Conference Room

This session will focus on best practices for increasing family engagement by linking supports, innovative communication techniques, and student data to foster higher student achievement, enjoy overall academic success, develop greater confidence, and have a greater opportunity to successfully graduate from college. In addition, this session will review that latest theories and thinking about family and community engagement to ensure all participants are using timely approaches for improving home-school partnerships.

topic trail vi: examining and using data to assess and respond to achievement gaps between male and female students - west indies conference room

This session will focus on examining data and the gap between female and male academic achievements. Participants will also explore strategies and practices that address student confidence and empowerment to express thoughts and questions in class so that learning and access to curriculum is not impeded. Futher, facilitators will have participants assess their school’s and district’s practices as it aligns to gender achievement gap.

topic trail vii: how higher education institutions are responding to the ever-present achievement gap via admission protocols - key Biscayne conference room

Represntentatives from higher education institutions will discuss and review practices for developing strong admission packets for students attending struggling schools that have limited course choices. Further, participants will discuss the common struggles higher education staff members have commonly observed and suggestions for strategies to help students build resilience and fortitude. Participants will also have the opportunity to develop plans for immediately providing effective supports to students.

topic trail viiI: 2-day Implicit bias certification training with michael selkis - key largo conference room

This training session is based on the work of The National Training Institute on Race & Equity (NTIRE), which is a national training entity that assists individuals and organizations with understanding, identifying and managing the content, skills, and behavior needed to create diverse social and professional communities that are inclusive and equitable. Built on a unique combination of social science, the tenets of Martin Luther King Jr.’s version of the Beloved Community, and engaging and interactive training, this session uses non-judgmental, yet evidence-based approaches to shed light on difficult and sensitive topics to enhance interpersonal and inter-group relations.


saturday, february 15, 2020 - 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

topic trails continue with practitioners’ sessions

Complete your experience by following the topic to a practitioner’s session where all of the discussed theory is aligned to practical actions in schools, districts, and community-based organization.

Dr. Fidel Montero   Focused on Setting High Expectations that Lead to Student Achievement - Sawgrass Conference Room

Dr. Fidel Montero

Focused on Setting High Expectations that Lead to Student Achievement - Sawgrass Conference Room

Dr. Monica George-Fields   Focused on Generational Schools - Vinoy Conference Room

Dr. Monica George-Fields

Focused on Generational Schools - Vinoy Conference Room

Dr. Karren Dunkley   Focused on Overall Achievement Gaps in Our Schools - Key West Conference Room

Dr. Karren Dunkley

Focused on Overall Achievement Gaps in Our Schools - Key West Conference Room

Mr. Michael Selkis   Implicit Bias Certification - Key Largo Conference Room

Mr. Michael Selkis

Implicit Bias Certification - Key Largo Conference Room

… And Many More

(check back for updates as presenation proposals are approved)


an evening of fun and competition at the hotel - 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

(Cash Bar and Desserts for those participating in the evening of fun only)

· Spades Tournament: Key West conference room

· Dance Class: Key Biscayne conference room

· Games of Logic Tournament: Key Largo conference



Sunday, February 16th general session: Plenary II

voices of successful SCHOOL turnaround leaderS


dr. monica george-fields Representing the PreK-5th Grade (Elementary Turnaround)

two additional panelists will be announced soon - check back for regular updates


sunday, february 16, 2020 - 10:45 am - 3:15 pm

day-long learning series

Dr. Lisa Delpit

Dr. Lisa Delpit

Culturally Responsive Instruction

Dr. Lisa Delpit explores ways educators must be mindful that education aligns to the knowledge and skills that students already possess, while at the same time adding new knowledge and skills to that base. In addition, students must have access to teacher’s expert knowledge, while being helped to acknowledge their own expertness’ as well. Participants will grapple with the validity of popular teaching strategies for African-American students, while recognizing the value of the cultural strengths students bring to school.

Dr. Chris Emdin

Dr. Chris Emdin

Rethinking STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)

Dr. Christopher Emdin explores participation and engagement in STEM fields and the ways that the education culture tracks students out of success in these disciplines. He uncovers reasons for youth disinterest in school and the STEM disciplines and how we can look for new educational approaches that foster participation and engagement in STEM without sacrificing rigor and content. This speech discusses what it takes to be a scientist; how educators, parents, and the general public can hone those skills in youth; and why we have no choice but to re-focus on creating a new STEM generation.

Dr. Gilda Ochoa

Dr. Gilda Ochoa

Lessons About Diversity for Higher Education

Dr. Gilda Ochoa will provide participants the opportunity to discuss and learn about the connections about the relationships between race, class, gender, and education. During the session, participants will be encouraged to challenge the roots of oppression at our schools, in our nation and in the world. Gilda has presented at the Courageous Conversations conference where she discussed the achievement gap for Latino/a students and the impact the gap has had on the Latino community and society.

Dr. Bernard Gassaway

Dr. Bernard Gassaway

Students with Disabilities and The Achievement Gap: The Issue with Over Classification

Dr. Bernard Gassaway will address the issues with special education, particularly as it relates to young men of color. Dr. Gassaway will engage participants in conversations about their current practices aligned to effective student support and the necessity to push past stereotypes about youn men of color that ultimately leads to identification of special needs. In addition, participants will discuss the connections between special education and incarceration and poverty.



sunday, february 16, 2020 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm

awards dinner ceremony - florida ballroom


During the 2020 REACH(c) Awards Dinner, the President and CEO and chief architect of the New York State Education Department's Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness (DTSDE) will recognize awardees of several categories aligned to excellent practices inspired and guided by the DTSDE rubric. We are encouraging school districts to nominate superintendents, school leaders, and teachers who fulfill the expectations within the following categories:

Superintendent(s): Fostering strategies that create whole district reform leading to actions that create equitable learning opportunities and success for all students (SOP 1.2);

  • Statement of Practice 1.2: The district leadership has a comprehensive and explicit theory of action about school culture that communicates high expectations for addressing the needs of all constituents.

 Principal(s): Fostering a vision and well-known understanding that students' who are cared for and understood as individuals have greater opportunities to excel academically; thereby, making the connections between socio-emotional and academic health inextricably connected (SOPs 2.2 and 5.2): 

  • Statement of Practice 2.2: The school leader ensures that the school community shares the Specific, Measurable, Ambitious, Results-oriented, and Timely (SMART) goals/mission and long-term vision inclusive of core values that address the priorities outlined in the School Comprehensive Educational Plan (SCEP).

  • Statement of Practice 5.2: The school leader establishes overarching systems and understandings of how to support and sustain student social and emotional developmental health and academic success.

Teacher(s): Fostering environments of high levels of intellectual safety and student risk taking that leads to high expectations and increased academic achievement (Statement of Practice 4.4):

  • Statement of Practice 4.4:  Teachers and students work together to implement a program/plan to create a learning environment that is responsive to students’ varied experiences and tailored to the strengths and needs of all students.

Student: The studnt has accomplished unsurmountable achievements by moving beyond bstacles and hardships that cause academic and social struggles.

  • Crystal Stairs Award: This year, REACH Educational Solutions will be honoring a student who despite incredible odds has managed to attain high levels of academic achievement.


monday, february 17, 2020 - 8:30 am - 11:45 am

Revisiting, Reflecting and Reimagining: Gender-Based Conversations

Ms. Susan L. Taylor

Ms. Susan L. Taylor

Rotating Groups for Female Educators:

Group I—Session A: Susan L. Taylor— Vinoy

Group II—Session B: Judge Lauren Lake—Key West


The Courage to Change in a Shifting World Order

Disorder and disruption are impacting us personally, professionally, and politically as a malignant misalignment of values pulls us further apart and into troubled, uncharted waters. We must demand radical change from our leaders. If we want peace, prosperity, and a less stress-filled life for ourselves, our families, and our communities, we must be flexible and adapt to change. Change is inevitable. Change for the better is possible, but only if it takes root in each of us first. We have to be and bring the change we want to see. We are both human and divine in that we have the power to create the world we want to inhabit. In this presentation, speaker Susan L. Taylor urges audiences to be willing to vacate entrenched positions and outmoded habits that don't serve us well in order to build a new framework of high expectations and bring forth a new world guided by creative cooperation, compassion, and justice. This can only happen if we truly understand that we are all in this together

Judge Lauren Lake

Judge Lauren Lake

Disussing the Impact of Education on Our Youth and the Resilience Necessary to Address Their Needs

Multifaceted television personality, Lauren Lake, is a certified Renaissance woman who doesn’t just talk the talk when it comes to life, love, law and living. She simultaneously balances a diverse career as a licensed attorney, television host, relationship expert, life coach and motivational speaker. As the judge on the highly anticipated nationally syndicated daytime show, "Paternity Court," slated to debut Fall 2013, the sharp-witted, opinionated Lake will help litigants resolve legal issues involving paternity by rendering incisive judgments using DNA evidence. A spot-on blend of feisty and fair, her dynamic yet down-to-earth persona will undoubtedly resonate with audiences.

Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Rotating Groups for Male Educators:

Group I—Session A:  Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad—Grand Cayman & Puerto Rico

Group II—Session B: Roland Martin—  St. Thomas & West Indies

Khalil Gibran Muhammad is a professor of History, Race and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. He is the former Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research division of the New York Public Library and one of the world’s leading research facilities dedicated to the global black experience. Khalil holds a doctorate in US history from Rutgers University and is a former associate professor at Indiana University.

He is the author of "The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America", which won the 2011 John Hope Franklin Best Book award in American Studies. He is a contributing author of a 2014 National Research Council study, "The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences" (National Academies Press), and recent co-editor of a special issue, “Constructing the Carceral State,” of the Journal of American History (June 2015). His research focuses on racial criminalization in modern U.S. Histor

Mr. Roland Martin

Mr. Roland Martin

Over the course of a journalistic career that has seen him interview multiple U.S. presidents to the top athletes and entertainers in Hollywood, Roland S. Martin is a journalist who has always maintained a clear sense of his calling in this world.

Martin is the host and managing editor of TV One’s NewsOne Now, the first daily morning news program in history to focus on news and analysis of politics, entertainment, sports, and culture from an explicitly African American perspective. NewsOne Now starts weekdays via its radio platform at 7AM/ET, airing on Radio One network stations in select U.S. Markets and then transitions to TV One at 9AM/ET.

He is the author of three books: Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith; Speak, Brother! A Black Man’s View of America; and The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as originally reported by Roland S. Martin.


monday, february 17, 2020 - 12 Noon - 1:30 PM

call-to-action luncheon - florida ballroom

Mr. Hill Harper

Mr. Hill Harper

Hill Harper will deliver the conference’s call-to-action keynote focused on The Importance of Education, especially as it pertains to students of color and those on the low-end of the achievement gap. Hill Harper graduated from Bella Vista High School in 1984. He then graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1988. In 1992 Harper graduated with a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School. In addition, he also received his Master of Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. During his years at Harvard, he was a full-time member of Boston's Black Folks Theater Company, one of the oldest and most acclaimed black theater troupes in the country. While a student at Harvard, Harper befriended Barack Obama. Harper and Obama met on the basketball court and became good friends during their first year as law students.

Although Harper earned three Ivy League degrees, he decided to pursue acting and moved to Los Angeles. He has received several honorary degrees, including honorary doctorates from both Westfield State College and Howard University.

Harper's first roles in television began in 1993, in a recurring role on the Fox series Married... with Children while also making his film debut in the short film Confessions of a Dog. He had his first acting role in a feature film with Spike Lee's Get on the Bus, which cast him as a UCLA film student riding a bus to the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. Harper played coroner-turned-crime scene investigator Sheldon Hawkes on the CBS crime drama CSI: NY for nine seasons. In February 2013 it was announced that CSI: NY would be ending and Harper would be joining the cast of Covert Affairs as a series regular. Since 2017, Harper has been starring in the TV show The Good Doctor.

Harper is the author of several books: Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny, was published in 2006, Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny, was published in 2008; The Conversation: How (Black) Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships, was published in 2010. His books, The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in Its Place and The Wiley Boys were both published in 2011. And his book, Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope, and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Ones was published in 2013.

On February 22, 2016 the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law announced that Harper would be their National Spokesman.

monday, february 17, 2020 - 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

pulling it all together action planning

For all teams who utilized the action planning room, we will have one last 90-minute session to assist with wrapping up all of the thoughts from the weekend so that staff members are able to implement the improvement plans immediately upon returning to the school or district. This sessions gives participants the opportunity to synthesize their learning and planning throughout the conference experience.

universal studios.jpg

monday, february 17, 2020 - 4:30 pm - 9:30 pm

conference trip to Universal Studios

universal rollercoaster.jpg

Join us to a post-conference trip to Universal Studios. You’ve worked hard and now it is time to relax and enjoy Orlando. Hop on an air-conditioned charter bus with the REACH staff and go to Universal Studio to have a blast! Reserve your spot on the reservation site.