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Bridging District Equity Gaps: Collaborating with BIPOC Solution Providers for Change

Wednesday, December 6, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EST

Building blocks that spell "equity"

Presented by Stephane Manuel, Founder and CEO, TrueFiktion; Marcela Andrés, President and CEO, designEDengagement, PBC; Dr. Nathan L. Fisher, Superintendent, Roselle Public Schools (NJ); Dr. Alexandra Merritt Johnson, Senior Inclusive Innovation Researcher, Digital Promise Global; and Sherenna Bates, Project Director, R&D Partnerships, Digital Promise Global

Sponsored by Digital Promise Center for Inclusive Innovation

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In a rapidly evolving educational landscape, the imperative to address equity gaps within school districts is more pressing than ever. This edWebinar examines the Learning Salons model developed by Digital Promise’s Center for Inclusive Innovation and offers valuable research findings and key insights.

Designed to foster collaboration between BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) edtech solution providers and school districts, Learning Salons address pressing challenges and provide a platform to discover equity-centered solutions. These Salons have empowered school districts to broaden their perspectives to address the needs of historically and systematically excluded learners through a rapid-cycle approach anchored in each district’s problem of practice, in an environment that prioritizes collaboration with the purpose of discovering innovative, effective, student-centered systems, programs, and practices.

This recorded edWebinar is of interest to K-12 teachers, librarians, school and district leaders, and education technology leaders.

Stephane Manuel

About the Presenters

Stephane Manuel is the founder of TrueFiktion, an education company that uses comics to teach about the history of marginalized groups. He focuses on developing high-quality social studies content from a culturally responsive lens. His love for learning and people development started in the U.S. Army, where he designed learning experiences to ensure soldiers’ success in combat. TrueFiktion provides supplemental social studies and history content for middle and high schools. They help schools increase student engagement with culturally responsive comics, workbooks, and professional development on using comics to teach cultural history lessons. They partner with schools and districts to co-create locally relevant comics and workbooks.

Marcela Andrés

Marcela Andrés, a visionary architect, believes in the transformative power of collaboration among families, educators, and communities to empower students. As the CEO of designEDengagement, she leads successful initiatives nationwide, cultivating program strategies, organizational excellence, relationships, and evaluations. Notably, she pioneers innovative family engagement programs. designEDengagement, PBC (DE) is an education consulting firm where the heart of their vision is ensuring that all students have their families, educators, and community members at the table supporting their hopes and dreams. The national consulting firm collaborates with leaders to drive culturally responsive program strategy, support the improvement of organizational excellence, assist in cultivating meaningful relationships, and comprehensively evaluate desired impact.

Nathan Fisher

Dr. Nathan L. Fisher, Superintendent of Schools in Roselle Public Schools, boasts a distinguished three-decade career in public education. Beginning as a Math Teacher, he ascended to the roles of Vice Principal, Principal, and now Superintendent. As the former principal of the 2020 National School of Character, the “Kindergarten Success Academy,” Dr. Fisher is recognized for his implementation of character education and Social-Emotional Learning initiatives. Holding degrees from Montclair State University, Kean University, and Nova Southeastern University, he combines academic prowess with practical leadership. Dr. Fisher has earned numerous accolades, including the Phi Delta Kappa Citation Award and the Roselle Chamber of Commerce Principal of the Year. An adjunct professor at Kean University, he mentors in the New Jersey Leaders to Leaders program and serves as a national speaker on educational leadership topics. Recent roles on the League of Innovative Schools Advisory Board and the New Jersey Alliance for Social-Emotional and Character Development showcase his commitment to educational innovation. Beyond his professional achievements, Dr. Fisher values his roles as a husband, father of four, and grandfather of ten.

Alexandra Merritt Johnson

Dr. Alexandra Merritt Johnson is a Senior Inclusive Innovation Researcher at Digital Promise with over ten years of experience leading research and evaluation projects that center equity. Her educational background is in developmental psychology with a focus on positive development of youth from historically and systematically excluded communities. Her recent work has spanned topics such as equity in education R&D processes, critical consciousness development, racial identity development across various contexts, and culturally responsive teaching. Her methodological training and expertise center on transformational research practices that are mutually beneficial, participatory, culturally responsive, and contextualized to meet the needs of stakeholders.

Sherenna Bates

Sherenna Bates serves as Project Director of R&D Partnerships at Digital Promise. Her extensive experience in K-12 public school system leadership and expertise in driving equity-focused initiatives informs her work in designing opportunities for collaboration between BIPOC edtech solution providers, developers, and districts to address challenges and discover equity-centered solutions. In her previous role as Director of Mentoring Services at Kansas City Public Schools, she pioneered the development and implementation of a portfolio of mentoring programs across 32 campuses. Instrumental in volunteer management, she partnered with nonprofit, for-profit, and civic organizations citywide to achieve diverse programming, including postsecondary preparation, exploration of career pathways, STEM, and academic and social-emotional support and resources. Sherenna earned a Master of Arts in education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Bachelor of Science in organizational communication from the University of Central Missouri.

Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the Inclusive Innovation to Transform Education community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

Digital Promise Center for Inclusive InnovationDigital Promise’s Center for Inclusive Innovation reimagines education research and development (R&D) by resourcing the creative ingenuity of communities working in partnership with school districts to create equitable powerful learning opportunities for students furthest from opportunity. The foundation for Inclusive Innovation is anchored in a set of core tenets that embody an equity-centered approach to research and development. The tenets define how we deliberately support teams in co-constructing an inclusive R&D culture that enables equitable leadership and contribution.

Digital Promise Center for Inclusive Innovation


Wednesday, December 6, 2023
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EST
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