On November 1st and 2nd we had our two-day, virtual Birth to 12th Grade Water Cooler Conference – Building a System of Belonging and Community Power: Transformation Rooted in Racial Equity!
This action-packed conference brought together many dedicated early childhood and K-12 stakeholders from across California. Together, we explored how we center equity and community voice in policy and budget investments that result in a transformative and racially just birth to 12th-grade system for California’s children and families.
Catalyst California would also like to thank you for your continued support in the fight for educational equity to help all of California’s youngest learners thrive. Check out some highlights from this incredible event.
“For almost every district we have record funding...One of the challenges is because a lot of these districts aren’t in a place where they feel like they have resources, they are not doing investments at a time when we have real problems with teacher recruitment, real problems with retention...and students have higher levels of needs because of all the compounding impacts of the pandemic,” said Christian Griffith, Chief Consultant of the Assembly Budget Committee, during our Budget Landscape discussion.
“We need to focus on diversifying our workforce employees. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but it’s the best thing for all kids,” said Edgar Zazueta, Executive Director of the Association of California School Administrators.
“We on the outside need to provide what is necessary for families, to convene people, to provide research or data if they need it, and we need to respect and believe families in what they say they need,” said Keisha Nzewi, a Board Member of the Mount Diablo Unified School District.
“If you really want to get an idea of what people think of your system, go talk to the families that the system has pushed out and see what they say. Get the street-level data and be a good listener. Look at them with a strengths-based lens,” said Michael McCormick, Superintendent of the Val Verde Unified School District.
During our panel on student, family, and community-led healing and thriving, Alma Cervantes, Regional Education Equity Director of Building Healthy Communities – Monterey County, said, “Families need to be at the center of the co-creation and co-development process to build shared power.”
Review the Agenda
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Welcome & Opening Keynote
John Kim, President & CEO, Catalyst California
Vickie Ramos Harris, Director of Educational Equity, Catalyst California
A Budget Landscape for the Birth to 12th Grade System
Christian Griffith, Chief Consultant, California State Assembly Budget Committee
The State of Education: Where are we now?
Moderator: Vickie Ramos Harris
- Max Arias, Executive Director, SEIU Local 99
- Linda Asato, Executive Director, California Child Care Resource & Referral Network
- Toby Boyd, President, California Teachers Association
- Najla Gomez Rodriguez, Capacity Building Director, Californians For Justice
- Edgar Zazueta, Executive Director, Association of California School Administrators
Reflections on the B-12 Landscape
- Sarah Neville-Morgan, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department of Education
Student, Family, and Community-Led Healing and Thriving
Moderator: Elena Fernandez, Chief Program Officer, St. John’s Well Child & Family Clinic
- Liza Bray, Executive Director, Partners for Children South LA
- Alma Cervantes, Regional Education Equity Director, Building Healthy Communities-Monterey County
- Kamal Kaur, Center Director, Just Plane Kids
- Jessica Ramos, Student, UC Berkeley
Kim Johnson, Director, California Department of Social Services
Closing Remarks and Next Steps
Manuel Fierro, Associate Director of Early Childhood Policy, Catalyst California
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Day Son, Senior Manager of Educational Equity, Catalyst California
Dr. Lupe Jaime-Mileham, Deputy Director, Child Care and Development Division, California Department of Social Services
Designing Quality Whole Child Systems Rooted in Equity and Community Power
Moderator: Brenda Aguilera, Director of Community Transformation, Para Los Niños
- Mayra Alvarez, President, The Children’s Partnership
- Keisha Nzewi, Co-Founder, Black Californians Unified for ECE
- Jackie Thu-Huong Wong, Executive Director, First 5 California
- Noemi Valdes, Director of Early Childhood Education, Oxnard School District
Featured Keynote: A Vision of Rebuilding a Racially Just, Equitable World
Moderator: Kirsten Roman, Youth Leader Alumna, InnerCity Struggle
Nic Stone, Author, Dear Martin
Centering Equity in K-12 Systems
Moderator: Dr. Anya Hurwitz, Executive Director, Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL)
- Miguel Dominguez, Director of Youth and Education Policy, Community Coalition
- Dr. Jesse Levin, Principal Research Economist, American Institutes for Research
- Michael McCormick, Superintendent, Val Verde Unified School District
- Assemblymember Dr. Akilah Weber, California State Assembly District 79
Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, State Board President, California State Board of Education
Closing Remarks, Evaluation, and Next Steps
Jessenia Reyes, Associate Director of K-12 Policy, Catalyst California
Relive the conference by checking out our Birth to 12th Grade Water Cooler Conference playlist on YouTube and check out additional resources from the event below. We look forward to seeing you at next year's conference!
- SEAL Case Studies
- Californians Together and the Center for Equity for English Learners
- Evaluation of Los Angeles Unified School District’s Student Equity Needs Index (2021)
- Resources related to Districts’ Use of Weighted Student Funding Systems to Increase School Autonomy and Equity: Findings from a National Study (2019)