Skip to content

It's a wrap! Thanks for joining us at our second annual Birth to 12th Grade Water Cooler Conference!


We’re so happy you were able to join us at our second annual Birth to Twelfth Grade Water Cooler Conference in Sacramento!

This two-day conference brought together many dedicated early childhood and K-12 stakeholders from across the state. Together, we were able to vet ideas for policy and practice to build a shared equity agenda that supports all of California’s children and families now and into the future.

We also launched our DRAFT DLL Policy Platform, developed in conjunction with Early Edge California, that will build on the gubernatorial administration’s interest in early learning and care to bring a focus on dual language learners (DLLs) as a key component of building a high-quality system in California. Your input is needed, so please review and send your feedback to or by November 4, 2019!

Advancement Project California thanks you for your continued support and for joining us in the fight for educational equity in our beloved Golden State. Now, check out the highlights from this tremendous event.


Camille Maben, Executive Director of First 5 California, welcomed attendees to the second annual Birth to Twelfth Grade Water Cooler Conference and shared stories about the importance of the event.

Advancement Project California Executive Director John Kim introduced our first panel of the day, An Opportunity to Realize Full and Fair Funding in California in 2020—Schools & Communities First.

John Kim, Executive Director of Advancement Project California – “It’s really important for us as a state to radically look backward and deal with ghosts from the past so we can be unlocked in terms of finding out who we are as a state.”

Kim Patillo Brownson of First 5 LA spoke about the need for systems from birth to twelfth to work together to support children.

“For 20 years, students I’ve worked with have picked resources & school funding as one of their number one priorities. They say they aspire to be doctors, but they have to imagine dissecting frogs because their schools can’t afford the equipment.” – Taryn Ishida, Executive Director of Californians for Justice

Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, representing the 7th California Assembly District, made a surprise appearance at the Water Cooler Conference and spoke about the importance of Early Care and Education.

Kris Perry, Deputy Secretary, California Health and Human Services Agency and Senior Advisor, Governor on Implementation of Early Childhood Development Initiatives, shared the vision for the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care.

We ended our first day of panels by hearing from those directly impacted by education policies: the students.

Jessenia Reyes, Advancement Project California’s Manager of Educational Equity, gave closing remarks.

At the end of day one, we presented our Educator of the Year award to Giannina Pérez, Senior Policy Advisor for Early Childhood, Office of the Governor.


State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond opened the second day of the conference by providing an overview of his vision rooted within a racial equity and economic justice lens.

Sujie Shin, Deputy Executive Director of California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, gave insight on the policies, resources, and infrastructure needed to bring greater equity in the public education system that yields real change for students.

Ben Chida, a Senior Policy Advisor in the office of Governor Gavin Newsom, identified the challenges and opportunities to bring cohesion across the system to ensure we are meeting the needs of students and families.

Jacky Guerrero, Manager for Equity in Community Investments at Advancement Project California – “We can’t get the outcomes we want if we’re not putting parents and students at the center of the issues.”

Ditas Katague, the Director of California Complete Count Census 2020, gave an updated on the 2020 Census and said, “The core of what we need to do is remove all barriers for people to respond. Where can they go safely and talk to a trusted messenger in their language to fill it out?”

“Policymaking is about being in the right place at the right time with the right people. It’s about being in collaboration and building coalitions.” – Advancement Project California’s Director of Government Relations Khydeeja Alam Javid.

Arron Jiron, Associate Program Director of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, hosted our final panel of the day looking at the political landscape for 2020 and key issues that will be elevated by state education leaders.

Celia Jaffe, President of the California State Parent Teacher Association, reflected on a historic year in early learning and education investments.

Vickie Ramos Harris, Advancement Project California’s Director of Education Equity, closed out the conference by reminding attendees that, “Now is the time to be bold. The stars have aligned, and it’s time to take advantage of this pivotal moment.”

Stay tuned for upcoming notices with PowerPoint presentations, videos of our fantastic panels, and a “Save the Date” for our Spring 2020 Water Cooler Conference!