Thanks to our amazing attendees and presenters, and generous sponsors and vendors, the Schools That Can 2019 National Forum was a smash success! There is no more urgent or necessary time to explore Culturally-Relevant Real-World Learning than now, when the world is changing rapidly and schools are forging ahead in their work to give students hands-on opportunities that are applicable to their lives, identities, and post-secondary pathways. We left feeling invigorated by all the exceptional educators and leaders creating change in their classrooms, and excited about the actionable changes needed in schools across the country.

Read below for a recap of some of our favorite Forum moments…including a few that happened pre-Forum! Our Schools That Can Newark Executive Director, Erin Sweeney, had an awesome piece published by Chalkbeat Newark, and we loved this quote especially:

“Our current generation of young people is the most diverse in history. Culturally relevant, real-world learning empowers them to be effective decision-makers, designers, inventors, and communicators. It allows them to see how subjects like trigonometry and chemistry are important to their future careers and to their communities.”

We kicked off the Forum on April 30 with greetings from our hosts, STC Newark Executive Director Erin, and STC Newark Manager of School programs, Tiffany…

Before diving into crucial conversations about cultural relevance, we opened with a meditation and a powerful student-led activity about the day’s theme…

We continued into the day with thought-provoking sessions and workshops. Seeing these rooms so full of engaged conversation, laughter, and big ideas thrilled us.

 After lunch, we we were treated to an incredible modern dance number titled “Flourish”, inspired by Schools That Can’s mission of reimagining education through real-world learning and performed by ~mignolo dance~

To close out the day, Dominique Lee, CEO and founder of BRICK Education Network, delivered a keynote that gave us chills (check out more about it with this TAPinto Newark article)…

“It is not enough to teach students two plus two. It is not enough to equip them with repeatable facts in their heads that will not let them unlock their limitless potential,” Lee said. “We must tap into who they are. They must learn from themselves. They must see themselves. We must see them.”

One of our favorite things about the 2019 Forum? The student performances and artwork. These young people are so talented and we loved witnessing their brilliance.

On day 2, we enjoyed a special Luncheon, where we celebrated the 2019 RFK Urban Education Award and Leaders That Can Award winners. Read more about these extraordinary individuals and community contributors here!

Thank you so much for joining us in driving forward this crucial work! Stay tuned for a full album of photos on Facebook, and please make sure to follow along as we continue our pursuit of culturally-relevant, hands-on real-world learning.


(Photo credits: Day 1 photos credited to Fred Stucker; Day 2 photos credited to Amanda Brown)