On Friday, May 19th we had our 9th Annual SAYS Summit College Day at UC Davis from 8am-8pm. We filled the UC Davis Pavilion with 850 middle and high school students and 100 educators from every corner of Sacramento, Woodland, Davis, Stockton, the Bay Area, and even a few schools way up north. The summit primarily serves young people from the highest-poverty schools in our region and over 65% of these children will be the first in their family to attend college.
To organize an event of this caliber takes multiple stakeholders and a tremendous number of people all working together to move high-risk students onto pathways of higher education.
I am humbled that we achieved our goal on Friday. The space revivified with hope and healing, information and inspiration. The opening SAYS griot, teach-in, and a special performance by Ebony Lewis raised the roof (literally and figuratively). The words of encouragement from AVC Walter Robinson and SAYS staff framed the gathering. Subsequently, we were all mesmerized by the keynote address given by Dr. Cesar Cruz and we fully engaged with Denisha Bland's #rethinkhighschool youth session (in partnership with the national XQ super school project). The professional development with Professor Shawn Ginwright and Farima Pour-Khorshid embodied the art, science, and soul of transformative learning. The teachers and administrators showed up fully and the room radiated. Our workshop presenters for the youth were equally powerful. They were carefully selected and did not disappoint (click here for a testimonial: vimeo.com/218555634 and see the attached program).
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SAYS has recruited, trained and retained educators of color who partner with classroom teachers to close the achievement, opportunity, and cultural gaps all-too-prevalent in our nation’s schools. The social impact of our work has been recognized by The American Educational Research Association, Teachers for Social Justice Award, National Public Radio, and The Sacramento Bee, among many others.
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May we continue to lift as we climb…