SSN Innovates: Expo – Agenda and Breakout Sessions

Expo – June 27, 2018


Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center

280 Broadway (Enter at 53A Chambers Street)

New York, NY 10007

At SSN, we believe that the solution is almost always “in the room.” The SSN Innovates Expo is SSN’s year-end event designed to bring together members and other leaders into one “room” to share solutions to big challenges.

This is your opportunity to learn about the many ways fellow network members are innovating to create transformative experiences for students, hear perspectives from outside experts on how we can increase our impact together, and share your own expertise to strengthen NYC’s education ecosystem.

Preview the agenda and descriptions of the breakout sessions below.

Tickets available at our Eventbrite; secure your spot by RSVPing now!


8:30 – 9AM

Breakfast and Welcome

9 – 10AM

Panel Discussion

The Power of Networks to Advance Student Outcomes: Perspectives Across Education

10 – 10:10AM



Member-Led Breakout Sessions, Block 1

Leading Change through a DEI Lens

Opportunity Network

Improving Student Engagement and Retention

Let’s Get Ready

Building Improvement Cultures: Two Case Studies

Center for Supportive Schools; ENACT

EHTP’s Racial Equity Statement: Garnering Input and Buy-in from Stakeholders

East Harlem Tutorial Program


Member-Led Breakout Sessions, Block 2

An Organization’s Journey Towards Culturally Responsive Capacity-Building

Ramapo for Children

Using Goal-Setting to Promote Positive Academic Behaviors and a Growth Mindset: Two Practitioners’ Stories

Good Shepherd; HEAF

So, You Want to Be Youth-Informed? Two Approaches to Elevating Youth Voice

Sadie Nash; iMentor




Working Groups: Leveraging the Network to Solve Shared Challenges

Topics and Facilitators for working groups below


Recognitions and Closing


Wendy Kopp, a panelist at our EXPO
Wendy Kopp

CEO & co-founder, Teach for All
Founder, Teach for America

Bob Hughes, a panelist for our EXPO
Bob Hughes

Director of K-12 Education, Gates Foundation

Dianne Morales, a panelist at our EXPO
Dianne Morales

CEO, Phipps Neighborhoods
Co-founder, South Bronx Rising Together
Advisory Board, Student Success Network

Moderated by:

Elizabeth Green of Chalkbeat moderates the panel at the SSN Innovates Expo 2018
Elizabeth Green

CEO, Chalkbeat

Breakout Sessions:

➔ Leading Change through a DEI Lens

Alisa France, SSN Innovates Fellow
Alisa France

Senior Program Coordinator, The Opportunity Network

Ailun Ku from Opportunity Network, presenter at SSN Innovates 2018 Expo
AiLun Ku

President & COO, The Opportunity Network

This session will cover The Opportunity Network’s work in moving toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization, and what/who inspired that work. The Opportunity Network team will share their lessons learned in mobilizing their staff and creating a vision through the 8 steps of Kotter’s “Leading Change” model. Participants will engage in a dialogue that will hopefully inspire them to become “change agents”, leading activities resulting in more inclusive and equitable practices in their respective organizations.

➔ EHTP’s Racial Equity Statement: Garnering Input and Buy-in from Stakeholders

Dawan Julien of EHTP presents at SSN Innovates Expo 2018
Dawan Julien

Managing Director, OST Programs

Susan Gonzowitz of EHTP presents at SSN Innovates Expo 2018
Susan Gonzowitz

Managing Director of Teacher Residency, EHTP

East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) will share their continuing journey to becoming an anti-racist organization and a replicable process through which they created a Racial Equity Statement, a statement that was crucial to aligning EHTP staff around why they do the work they do and why they lead with race. In this session, participants will learn how EHTP 1) identified key stakeholders and gained input and buy-in from each stakeholder; 2) created a truly transparent process; and 3) built a common language and vision to guide their collective work. Participants will have the opportunity to think what it might look like for their organization to begin a similar journey and will gain tools to help them along the way.

➔ Improving Student Engagement and Retention

Zoe, College Access Manager at Let’s Get Ready
Zoe Smolen

College Access Program Manager, Let’s Get Ready

Katie Bonner from Let's Get Ready presents at SSN Innovates Expo 2018
Katie Bonner

College Access Manager, Let’s Get Ready

In this session, Let’s Get Ready (LGR), a college access and persistence organization, will share two change ideas they used to improve student engagement and attendance in programming and the ultimate impact the ideas had on site culture. Participants will learn how LGR used the time before programming to hook students and boost engagement and how LGR staff used real-time attendance data to proactively maintain high levels of student engagement. Participants will have the opportunity to practice using real-time attendance data to drive improvement at their programs.

➔ Developing a Culture of Improvement

Altagracia Montilla of Center for Supportive Schools presents at the SSN Innovates Expo 2018
Altagracia Montilla

Community School Director, Center for Supportive Schools

Joie, Manager of Programs Outreach & Engagement at ENACT
Joie Golomb

Programs Outreach & Engagement Manager, ENACT, Inc.

What does it mean to be a part of a “learning organization?” What does it take to build belonging, alignment and effective collaboration towards continuous improvement within an organization? In this interactive workshop, participants will explore stages of improvement culture development, reflect on their team’s progress in achieving an improvement culture, and develop strategies for building and sustaining an improvement culture at their organization.

➔ Leaning In: An Organization’s Journey Towards Culturally Responsive Capacity Building

Albert Kim of Ramapo for Children presents at the SSN Innovates Expo 2018
Albert Kim

Deputy Director, Ramapo Training, Ramapo for Children

Evelyn Alvarez of Ramapo for Children presents at the SSN Innovates Expo 2018
Evelyn Alvarez

Trainer/Coach, Ramapo Training Programs, Ramapo for Children

How can we meaningfully engage in SEL work while simultaneously acknowledging its limitations regarding matters of racism and privilege? This workshop explores the journey of an emerging anti-racist organization immersed in a process of: 1) strengthening relationships via multi-level participation in honest and difficult conversations about institutional racism; 2) establishing a historical analysis and developing common language to identify and undo patterns of systemic racism; and 3) incorporating anti-racists organizational policies and practices.

➔ Goal-setting to promote positive academic behaviors and growth mindset development: Two practitioners’ stories

Krystal Bostick of HEAF presents at the SSN Innovates Expo 2018
Krystal Bostick

Director of Youth Development and Counseling, HEAF

Bill Mitchell of HEAF presents at SSN Innovates Expo 2018
Bill Mitchell

Director of Programs, HEAF

Krystal Melendez of Good Shepherd Services presents at SSN Innovates Expo 2018
Krystal Melendez

Internship & Career Coordinator, Lincoln YABC, Good Shepherd Services

Caroline Cooke of Good Shepherd Services presents at SSN Innovates Expo 2018
Caroline Cooke

Program Analyst, Supportive Housing, Good Shepherd Services

In the Fall of 2017, SSN organizations joined “Collab”orative problem-solving groups to target specific SEL competencies using research-based methods. Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF) and Good Shepherd Services joined the Goal-Setting Collab to plan and try new ways of supporting their students in building academic behaviors and growth mindsets. In this session, participants will learn about the targeted change ideas practitioners from HEAF and Good Shepherd tried and their lessons learned. Participants will have the opportunity to experiences some of the practices and will be able to think about how the practices could be implemented in their programs.

➔ So, you want to be youth informed?

Nariman Heikal from iMentor presents at the SSN Innovates Expo 2018
Nariman Heikal

Senior Program Manager, iMentor

Morgan Little of Sadie Nash Leadership Project presents at SSN Innovates Expo 2018
Morgan Little

Director of Programs, Sadie Nash Leadership Project

Youth are often talked about, not with. We think it’s time to change that. Come find out how members such as iMentor and SNLP are building structures for youth to engage in meaningful discussion and decision making, and walk away with a better understanding of how to lead this work at your organization.

Lunch Discussion Topics:


How can higher ed institutions and nonprofits partner to support college persistence?

Ruth Genn (Bottom Line)
Cass Conrad (CUNY)

Beyond the SSN Innovates Fellowship, what structures/supports can help drive continuous improvement at your organizations?

Jason Wolfe (YMCA)

How do we bring Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Emotional Learning work together in schools and in nonprofits?

Dawan Julien (East Harlem Tutorial Program)

How can schools and nonprofits create internship and work-based learning opportunities for students?

Joe Carrano (The Knowledge House)

How can schools and nonprofits engage families throughout middle and high school?

Jhodessa Reimer (Center for Family Life)

How can we create stronger school/nonprofit partnerships?

Erin O’Leary (Center for Supportive Schools), Kim Cambridge (New Visions for Public Schools)

What structures or practices can nonprofits and schools use to elevate youth voice in decision making?

Laurie Dien, Danielle Pulliam (The Pinkerton Foundation)

How can we change the culture of teaching to be inclusive of a positive youth development model?

Steve Asbury (Brooklyn College Community Partnership)

How do we deepen collaboration among network members and across the sector?

Margaret Crotty (Partnership with Children), John MacIntosh (Seachange Capital Partners)

Lucy Herz

Lucy began working with Sue Lehmann and in 2013, had the opportunity to “officially” launch SSN with Sue and 15 extraordinary nonprofit leaders. Lucy’s excitement for Student Success Network’s mission is rooted in her belief that so much more can be accomplished working together than by working alone. Lucy currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband (Joe) and very cute dog (Maggie).

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