Frontier 2018











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Saturday, April 7th, 10am-3pm
26 Broadway (8th floor) NY, 10004

Frontier 2018 is a k-12 education conference that will leverage the expertise of NYC's education community to lead collective impact school reform. The lineup features experts across school leadership, ed-tech, community organizing, entrepreneurial education, and arts activism. Through a serious of roundtable discussions, talks and activities, attendees will explore how cross sector collaboration can implement holistic reforms in schools.



9:30am - Registration & Breakfast

10:00am - Student Performance

10:05am - Organizers' Welcome

10:10am - Opening Talk

10:20am -Collective Impact Talk

10:30am -Mapping Connections

11:00am - Roundtable Session 1

11:55am - Roundtable Session 2

12:45pm - Lunch

1:30pm - Community Commitments

2:00pm - Closing Remarks

2:15pm - Network & Mingle

3:00pm - Closeout 

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Rosario Orengo,  is in her 14th year teaching in New York City. For Ms. Orengo, the work of being an educator means creating a safe environment in which her students feel comfortable taking academic risks and sharing their own confusions and misunderstandings. She is currently a Social Studies teacher that focuses on conversation and discussion. She uses high-interest readings, such as Howard Zinn, and integrates connections to current events to motivate her students. Ms. Orengo deeply understands the importance of using the power of diversity to engage her students and explore issues of race, culture, and socio-economics in the classroom.


Shino Tanikawa, CECD2

Shino Tanikawa is a mother of two daughters and the Vice President of the Community Education District 2 (CECD2).  As a member of the CECD2, she has formed partnerships with Community Boards and elected officials, advocated for more seats in District 2 schools, increased parental engagement at the policy level and is currently working on a middle school integration plan. Shino is also the Executive Director of the NYC Soil & Water Conservation District, which works to promote sustainable ways of managing stormwater and urban soils through outreach, education and policy.

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Nicia Fullwood, B.E.L.A HS

Nicia Fullwood is the founding Head of School at an all-girls public charter school (Brooklyn Emerging Leaders Academy Charter School) in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. She's thrilled to be a part of a growing movement of schools specifically designed to create spaces where young women feel empowered. Prior to co-founding BELA, Nicia served as an Assistant Principal and founding Program Director for the Children's Aid Society Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program.


Dipti Desai, NYU

Dipti Desai is an Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Art and Education Programs at NYU. As a scholar and artist-educator, her work addresses the intersection between visual art, activism, and critical pedagogy. She has published widely in the area of critical multiculturalism, critical race theory in art education, contemporary art as a pedagogical site, and critical pedagogy. She is the co-editor of Social Justice and the Arts and her co-authored book, History as Art, Art as History: Contemporary Art and Social Studies Education, received an Honorable mention for Curriculum Practice Category by the American Education and Research Association (AERA).


Matthew Phifer, Henry St.

Matthew Phifer’s passion for social services began in 1999 at Binghamton University. Upon graduation, he joined the Henry Street Settlement as a Case Manager and was responsible for counseling youth and managing academic interventions. During his tenure at Henry Street, Matt worked as the coordinator for the Summer Youth Employment Program, Director of Adolescent Education Services, and eventually Director of Education Services where he oversaw Henry Street’s adolescent, early childhood and after-school elementary educational services for more than 2000 inner-city youth annually.  Matthew holds two BAs in Africana Studies and Sociology, as well as a Masters in Social Science with a concentration in Public Administration.

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Rama is an educator born in Senegal and reared in France. She received her Masters in Education policy and Leadership from The Ohio State University with a thesis that questioned the cultural relevancy of the Senegalese education system. She moved to New York City in 2012 to work in a progressive independent School where she was the assistant to the principal and the director of the Spanish Progam. International Comparative Education is amongst Rama's biggest interests and she plans to move abroad in 2018 to experience international schools from a non-western perspective.


Carol Anne Spreen, NYU

Dr. Spreen is the Chair of Education Studies and an Associate Professor of International Education at NYU. Her research centers on the influences of globalization and corporate privatization on teaching and learning. Dr. Spreen’s research has been published in a variety of leading peer-reviewed academic journals and over the last two decades, she has served as a researcher for School Redesign Network (SRN), National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools and Teaching (NCREST), Center for Research and Evaluation on Standards and Student Testing (CRESST), and North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL). Internationally, she’s worked with educational development organizations, and assisted schools, districts, universities and educational ministries on various reform innovations.

Kyle Liao, Educate LLC

Kyle is the Director of Community Growth at Educate LLC and coaches educators in NYC schools to innovate teaching and learning through technology. He leads community initiatives such as the Innovative Teaching Co-op, a monthly meet-up of educators held in Edtech spaces around NYC and an online community. He seeks strategic partnerships with community stakeholders to improve educational outcomes for students through collaboration and dialogue. Before he joined Educate LLC, Kyle taught Middle School English for 5 years. He is honored to work with the great teachers of NYC and is a proud product of the NYC public school system.

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Taylor McGraw, The Bell

Taylor McGraw is the co-founder and editor of The Bell, a not-for-profit education media platform dedicated to elevating the voices of students. He produces and hosts The Bell’s “Hearts & Minds” podcast, which debuted in 2017 with a series on school segregation in New York City. Prior to launching The Bell, he spent five years teaching at charter schools in Harlem and Bushwick, experiences that shaped his desire to uplift marginalized voices. He lives in Brooklyn and teaches writing part time at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, a competitive college prep program for low-income high school students.


Raquel Rios, Consulting

Dr. Raquel Ríos has worked nationally across the US and internationally in Spain, the United Arab Emirates and Puerto Rico as a professional development specialist & instructional designer. Her research and areas of interest are language, critical literacy, equity and human consciousness. She holds a PhD in Educational Leadership from Touro University International, a MS in Elementary Education from Lehman College and a BS in Secondary Foreign Language Education from New York University. Currently, she is an Instructional Designer at New Teacher Center, a national resource on mentoring and coaching for teacher effectiveness located in Santa Cruz, California. 


Alejandro Crawford, Acceleration Group

Alejandro Crawford builds platforms, partnerships and strategies that unleash innovative capacity for companies and communities. As managing director of Acceleration Group, he enables executives, investors, governments, universities and NGOs to catalyze bottom-up innovation and harness “acceleration moments. As CEO of RebelBase, an online platform that expands access to entrepreneurship, Alejandro enables innovators to prove their concepts, garner resources, and scale impact and returns  for sustainable growth.


Tom Gold, NFTE

Thomas Gold, PhD. is VP for Research at Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), where he is heading the organization's efforts to identify and measure the skills, beliefs and attitudes that form a students’ entrepreneurial mindset. Prior to NFTE, Tom was the Director of Strategic Initiatives at an education think tank at New York University and held leadership positions in the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s New York City Department of Education. Tom received his PhD. in Political Science from the New School for Social Research and received a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research in Bologna Italy.


Ocynthia Williams is the Co-Director of the Harlem Renaissance Education Pipeline (HREP) Cradle to Career Collective Impact Partnership, a longtime parent advocate, and founding member of the New York City Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ). She is a published author, and have been featured in documentaries focused on parent engagement and organizing


Roundtable Topics

School Integration as a Way to Dismantle Racism
Shino Tanikawa will address school integration in NYC and the racist structures embedded in our education system that keep our schools segregated. Participants will discuss elements of school integration, what school integration means to them, why we cannot continue the public school system as it currently exists and what we have to do individually to begin desegregating and integrating our public schools.

Artistic Activism as a Pedagogy of Possibility
Dipti Desai will discuss artistic activism as a site of pedagogical possibility. Artistic activists not only ask critical questions, critique and comment on the pressing social, political, economic issues of our times, but also design aesthetic interventions to enact social change. In this roundtable participants will explore how their work as educators in collaboration with their students aligns with artistic activism.

Fostering Communities of Educators for Greater Impact
Kyle Liao will lead a discussion around educator communities, why they are important, pitfalls and challenges of these communities, and the future of what educators can build when they work together. We will look at several types of educator communities including the Edcamp “unconference” model, online communities like #NYCSchoolsTech, #NYCEDU, and others. Kyle Liao, an instructional technology coach at Educate LLC, has built and supported several educator communities and movements including Startup Weekend EDU, Google Teacher's Lounge, and is currently a lead organizer for the Innovative Teaching Co-op, a monthly meet-up for NYC area teachers.

The Myths and Realities of Progressive Education and Global Citizenship Curricula in the U.S
Rama Ndiaye will address the extent to which schools engage in progressive education to prepare students for global citizenship. Participants will explore the definition of progressive education and the meaning of cultivating a global mindset in students. Guiding questions include: 1. To what extent do schools follow their mission statements regarding progressive education and global curricula? 2. How easily can public and charter schools follow a progressive and global mission when they are restricted by prescribed standards? and 3. How do we help ALL schools implement more progressive and global elements into their curricula?


One School's Journey: Empowering Young Women to Become Partners in Teaching & Learning
Nicia Fullwood, along with two of her students, will discuss major wins, pitfalls, and compromises as adults and students, at BELA, work collaboratively to co-create the school's culture and classroom learning experiences. In this roundtable, participants will explore the benefits of democratic schools and classrooms, institutional structures that impede co-creation, and emerging promising practices.

Non-Profit Alliances, The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of its Parts
Matthew Phifer will discuss the implications of nonprofits (specifically settlement houses) using their geo-spatial proximity and programmatic alignments to leverage their impact collectively, rather than compete to outperform each other. Participants will review how changing neighborhoods influence agency decision-making, funding priorities shift with economic trends and academic research, and why authentic partnerships with common interests are crucial. By exploring two initiatives, the Lower East Side Employment Network (LESEN), and the Lower East Side Youth Opportunity Hub, those in attendance will discuss the advantages and implicit challenges of collective impact.  

The Key Ingredient: How to Change Policy Through Storytelling
Taylor McGraw, an educator, activist and media entrepreneur who is amplifying students' voices through his projects The Bell and Teens Take Charge, will explain how to use stories to get the attention of policymakers. In this interactive roundtable discussion, participants will learn how to combine personal narratives and data into compelling arguments for education reform; articulate how specific DOE policies drive racial, socioeconomic, and academic segregation in NYC schools; and craft persuasive arguments for integration.

Youth Entrepreneurship: Democratizing the Path to Building a Better World
Alejandro Crawford will address the need to make entrepreneurship more accessible to ambitious young people. This need is vital not only because success in today’s economy demands that professionals be able to articulate their own ideas and attempt to bring them into being, but also because the future lies outside a small circle of people confirming each other’s ideas. Young people have what it takes to give us breathable air, health care that heals, coastlines that don’t disappear, and food that isn’t poison, but they need access to the tools to make their ideas real. This discussion will focus on the practical steps we can take to create a world where entrepreneurship is woven into the lives of more young people, and on the multiple benefits of creating such a world.

Building Socially Just Schools: A Radical Reform Proposal
Carol Anne Spreen will address how there has been ample changes within the field of education in the past two decades, but little worthwhile transformation. Instead of rethinking education for a new age and to meet the complex social, cultural and environmental challenges of life in the 21st century, schools have witnessed the intensification of worn out managerial approaches to schooling. The field of education has devoted such energy to developing a sophisticated knowledge of change management, top-down planning, standardized assessment, and accountability-based leadership. In this roundtable, participants will re-examine the purpose of education and explore alternatives to education that are not controlled by high stakes standardized testing, commercial curricula, market forces, or the agenda of venture philanthropists or dis-interested governments.  

Developing Innovative and Entrepreneurial Mindsets in Youth? 
Tom Gold will address the challenge of making today’s youth ready for the 21st century economy. Research on employment and workforce development suggests that to be successful in the 21st century economy youth need to learn how to be critical thinkers, collaborators and smart risk takers. Modern education systems, though, are not teaching these skills classes consistently. Schools are further hampered by their traditional approach to teaching and learning and their emphasis on test based accountability. This presentation will address these issues and explore how entrepreneurship education can address these challenges.

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A Special Thanks to our Sponsors:

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