Expo 2019 Agenda

Expo – June 27, 2019


SUNY Global Center

116 E 55th Street 

New York, NY 10022

This year’s Expo will explore what it means to disrupt the status quo. Programming will feature a keyote, panel discussions, and breakout sessions where attendees will:

Examine deeply entrenched barriers to equitable outcomes;

Learn about strategies for changing broken systems;

Build on each others’ expertise to turn ideas to action.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from change makers of all kinds: leaders influencing systems and policy, practitioners innovating programs, and students driving improvement in their organizations.

Preview the agenda and descriptions of the breakout sessions below.

Tickets available at Eventbrite; secure your spot by RSVPing now! SSN Members: Reach out to lucy@ssn-nyc.org for a members-only promo code to waive the ticket fee.


8:30 – 9AM

Breakfast and Welcome

9 – 10AM


Advancing Racial Equity: The Role of the Nonprofit Sector


Member-Led Breakout Sessions, Block 1

Adults as Mirrors and Models: Building Adult SEL

Ramapo for Children

Elevating Youth Voice to Improve School Culture: Two Community Schools’ Intertwined Improvement Stories

Center for Supportive Schools, Urban Arts Partnership

Collaborative Approaches to Building Student SEL Skills: Partnership at Work


Institutionalizing SEL: Two Organizations’ Approaches

Phipps Neighborhoods, YMCA

11:45AM – 1PM

Member-Led Breakout Sessions, Block 2

Research + Role-play: Designing Student-Centered Curriculum

The Opportunity Network

Student Agency: Getting to the Root of What Matters

Center for Family Life, East Harlem Tutorial Program, Sadie Nash Leadership Project

Creative Approach to Adult SEL: Lulu and Leo’s Principles and Practices

The Lulu and Leo Fund

Youth-Adult Partnership in Action: Student-Led Improvement Projects

Students from SSN’s Elevating Youth Voice Program

Finding Their Why: Infusing Positive Youth Development Principles Into College Readiness Activities

Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow

1 – 1:45PM


1:55 – 3PM

Panel Discussion

Place-Based Systems Change: Removing Barriers to Equitable Outcomes

3:15 – 4:15PM

Action Groups: Unpacking the “Status Quo” & Our Path Forward

Equipped with practices from the network, strategies from systems change experts, and their own expertise, participants will join small groups to dig into pivotal student outcomes and barriers to reaching them, and contribute to the Network’s path forward

4:30 – 5:15PM

Recognitions and Closing

5:15 – 6:30PM

Happy Hour!


Abe Fernandez

VP, Collective Impact, Children’s Aid Society
Director, National Center for Community Schools

Rachael DeCruz

Vice President, Policy
Race Forward

Sheri Brady

Associate Director, Strategic Partnerships
Forum for Community Solutions at the Aspen Institute

Breakout Sessions:

➔Adults as Mirrors and Models: Targeting Adult SEL Competencies

Cecily Mitchell-Harper

Program Evaluation Associate, Ramapo for Children

Educators have a unique opportunity to help students build community, connect to their environments and develop important social-emotional and life skills. Too often however, adult’s social-emotional competencies are overwhelmed in educational settings – limiting their capacity to do this work (Jones, 2013). Ramapo’s professional development training supports participants to: (1) increase their capacity to recognize their own triggers and feelings in their work with young people and develop plans for managing their emotions, (2) engage young people in constructive problem solving by decoding behavior into feelings and offering alternatives, (3) create structures and routines for self-reflection, processing conflicts, goal setting and stress-management, (4) foster environments that promote positive and empathetic relationships between all members of the community.

➔ Elevating Youth Voice to Improve School Culture: Two Community Schools Share Their Intertwined Improvement Journeys

Lori-Ann Clementson

Community School Director, FDA III

Michael Jones

Community School Director, Facing History School | Urban Arts Partnership

Kristina Wylie

Assistant Principal, Facing History School

Building authentic youth and adult relationships in schools takes intentionality and space. Two NYC community schools, Frederick Douglass Academy III and Facing History School, collaborated to support students in temporary housing develop important SEL skills and increase attendance. In this session, the schools will share explicit practices for how they elevate youth voice to inform teacher practice, curriculum, and culture which resulted in increased student awareness around attendance from the entire school community, increased support and buy-in from staff and a stronger sense of belonging from students.

➔Collaborative Approaches to Building Student SEL Skills: Partnership at Work

Greg Cox

Chief Operations Officer, ENACT, Inc.

This didactic and participatory workshop will focus on the benefits of unique organizations partnering in order to deliver well rounded, whole-child support to students in New York City. Participants will learn how ENACT implements distinct creative approaches and drama therapy methods within Zone 126 focus schools to teach vital social and emotional skills. Tiered student support delivery, school community engagement, and the successes and challenges of partnership will be discussed to give participants an inside look into collaborative SEL programming. Individual reflection and group discussion will be used alongside participatory activities to encourage participants to share information within the room and consider how to utilize collaboration within their organizations.

➔ Institutionalizing SEL: Two Organizations’ Approaches

Khari Freeman

Senior Director, Schools and Community Education, Phipps Neighborhoods

Lauren Barr, Esq.

Vice President, Youth and Community Development, YMCA of Greater New York

We all know Social-emotional learning is important.  But where does an organization that wants to take a strategic, coordinated approach to building SEL into the culture of their organization, start?  In this session, we will hear from two organizations that have taken different paths discuss what they’ve done, what they’ve learned, and where they’re going next.

➔ Research + Role Play: Designing Student-Centered SEL Curriculum

Meshay Long

Curriculum and Student Events Assistant, The Opportunity Network

Stephanie Nudelman

Internships Assistant, The Opportunity Network

How and when should we survey our students to discover how they like to learn? How can we adapt our curriculum to leverage our staff’s strengths to meet students’ needs? Do games belong in the classroom? Come learn and talk about research, roleplay, and student-centered pedagogy at our workshop! Some roleplay gaming required; superhero capes optional.

➔ Student Agency: Getting to the Root of What Matters

Julie Brockway

Director, Center for Family Life

Ja’Dell Davis

Advisor, Sadie Nash Leadership Project

Mel Jackman

Managing Director, OST, East Harlem Tutorial Program

We hear the term agency a lot – what does it mean, really?? How can we foster environments in schools and programs that encourage students to practice and lean in to their sense of agency? What would it look like for adults to share ownership of programs and organizations so that young people can be agents of change? This panel explores student agency from the adult and youth perspective and considers why agency is so important, what it really looks like, and how adults make space for it.  

➔ A Creative Approach to Adult SEL

Stephanie Krieger

Senior Director of Programs, Lulu & Leo Fund

Debra Disbrow

Creative Coach, Lulu & Leo Fund

As a leader in your organization, how can you develop your own social-emotional skills to foster it in youth? The Lulu & Leo Fund has an answer: 10 Principles of Creativity. This innovative philosophy teaches adults (and youth!) how to tangibly embed SEL in everyday life. In this session you will learn how the 10 Principles can give your staff and students a common positive language to use as process praise and how to employ a Creative Growth mindset that can help you and your staff develop creative confidence.

➔ Finding Their Why: Infusing Positive Youth Development into College Readiness Activities

Robin Blanc

College Access Director, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow

Shayaun Pakizegi

CAP Counselor, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow

In this workshop, we will discuss how Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow used backwards planning to develop an SEL-informed college access workshop for our population of out-of-school youth. Participants will learn about the role that positive youth development plays in supporting students’ college going across academically diverse populations, and will explore how backwards design of curriculum can support effective planning. This session will include structured time for participants to workshop youth development oriented college readiness activities.

➔ Youth-Adult Partnership in Action: Student-Led Improvement Projects

Organizations all over strive to create true partnerships with the youth in their programs. Last year, various Network organizations elected to enroll both staff and students into the Elevating Youth Voice program, which gave young people the tools and vocabulary to share their ideas and opinions, and offered space for adults to listen and collaborate with them. In this session, participants will learn about the journey students led to implement their ideas, side by side with their adult partners.

Sooah Rho

Sooah is passionate about the power of young people to change their communities. She focuses on identifying ways SSN can continue to grow and cultivate an inclusive network that elevates the most important voices in education: practitioner and youth. Prior to joining SSN, Sooah was a high school English teacher in Oakland, CA where she was awarded Teacher of the Year by Oakland Unified Charter Schools 2016.

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