Day 1
Thursday, May 4

8:00 AM

Registration & Breakfast

9:00 – 10:30 AM

Opening Plenary

10:45 – 12:15 PM

Concurrent Session 1

Presenting Organization: Northwest Education Access

“If they [teachers] really had an expectation, they would’ve helped a little more… I don’t know, sometimes I even thought it was a racist thing.” Nearly 14,000 youth in Pierce County are disconnected from school and/or work. When addressing the individual and systemic barriers that lead to disengagement, system leaders typically overlook insights from youth themselves. In this workshop, presenters will share findings from the Creating Pathways for Change report. This cross-sector project was conducted by Northwest Education Access, Community Center for Education Results, and the University of Washington, School of Social Work. We will highlight key themes including youth recommendations on how to create equitable learning environments that help them succeed. We will discuss white supremacy culture norms and uncover how they play a role in student disengagement. In small groups, participants will engage in discussion to uncover how white supremacy culture shows up in their school and their roles and brainstorm ways to do better for our students.

Presenting Organization: Imagine Justice

Peace Point is leading the development of a strategic plan for youth violence reduction. It is driven by community-based research and the lived experiences of those most impacted by violence. This session will be an opportunity for attendees to hear from some of the organizers behind Peace Point, and to preview and respond to the first draft of the Peace Point strategic plan for reducing and preventing youth violence in Pierce County.

Presenting Organization: Washington Charter Schools

This session will highlight strategies employed by Rainier Prep and Summit Olympus to help students and families prepare for and navigate post-secondary options. Rainier Prep ensures that academic growth, student agency, and navigating post-secondary pathways mutually reinforce one another, while 100% of Summit Olympus’s inaugural graduating class were accepted to four-year colleges. We will discuss how the schools utilize existing programs with mentoring and community engagement. We will also surface lessons for state-level policy change.

Presenting Organization: College Success Foundation

College Success Foundation (CSF) recently completed a 3-year study on the efficacy of CSF’s coaching model and approach. Research Triangle Institute (RTI) the external evaluator published a Promising Practices report that outlines what factors contribute to effective coaching for students, and what students say matters to them (in terms of college supports). During this session we will share the results of the study to help other practitioners in our field learn more about what students have said matter to them when providing coaching and supports in college.

11:00 – 12:00 PM

Presenting Organization: Washington Student Achievement Council

Big changes are coming this fall for 2024-2025 financial aid applications! In this session we will discuss the FAFSA Simplification Act, best practices in implementing changes, and how to communicate changes to partners, students, and their families. We will also share free resources to support you as you help students take their next steps towards education after high school.

Presenting Organization: Chief Leschi School District

In the fall of 2020, Chief Leschi Schools launched a completely new Career and Technical Education program. Students have embraced the new opportunities, and our graduation rates increased dramatically. Learn what strategies were used to build this success.

12:30 – 2:30 PM

Lunch Keynote Plenary | Liz Dozier

2:45 – 3:45 PM

Concurrent Session 2

Presenting Organization: University of Washington-Tacoma

This session addresses the undocumented student landscape in Washington State higher ed and focuses on UWT’s Undocu Initiatives to support the success of students whose university experiences are largely impacted by socioeconomic inequities related to immigration status and unequal access to high-impact practices and professional development opportunities. We’ll share information and incorporate active discussion to connect and strategize ways to promote a sense of safety, belonging, and thriving for these students while pursuing their degrees.

Presenting Organization: Impact Public Schools

The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative by the New York Times Magazine that aims to reframe American history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of our national narrative. In this session, we will explore the themes and ideas of the 1619 Project and how they can be effectively taught to 5th graders. We will engage in a variety of teaching strategies that are appropriate for 5th graders, including group discussions, interactive activities, and multimedia presentations. We will also explore ways to connect the themes of the 1619 Project to the broader curriculum, including history, social studies, and language arts.

Presenting Organization: Washington State University-Everett

Join WSU Everett, a regional campus of a major research university, for a discussion on the creation of equitable and accessible on-ramps to education at a traditional institution. The discussion will focus on how the university is responding to today’s educational challenges and addressing structural causes of inequality by focusing on historically systemic barriers. WSU Everett will share how the university is becoming more culturally conscious, financially accessible, and transforming the mindset of exclusivity is excellence to equitability is excellence. The session will cover solutions such as strategic advising, intentional recruitment, personalizing student experiences and creating a welcoming and inclusive environment rather than an exclusive, academically elite space.

3:00 – 4:30 PM

Presenting Organization: Foundation for Tacoma Students

This session will convene the Campaign Free Aid Learning Cohort to reflect upon the promising strategies, barriers, learnings, and data from year 1 of Campaign Free Aid, as we work together to meet our goal of a 5% increase in financial aid completion across Pierce County. We will hear from bright-spot partners who have led successful strategies, dive into our data, share resources, and plan for the 2023-24 FAFSA/WASFA season. All partners, both current champions and anyone interested in financial aid completion are welcome.

Presenting Organization: Pierce County Juvenile Court

Pierce County Juvenile Court is addressing a system failing Black youth and creating changes to ensure that each child has experiences to enhance their well-being and prepare them for adulthood. Hear from a mentor with lived experiences, a young person who has successfully completed probation, and Probation Counselor within the Juvenile Court System. Engage in a conversation about the importance of a family and team model, to address system inequities and reduce harm to Black youth.

Presenting Organization: Northwest Education Access

There is a trend of disengagement across the country following the disruption that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused for our students. This panel will give educators and community leaders the opportunity to hear directly from our young people about their experiences and why they disengaged from high school or postsecondary education and what has led them to reengage in their chosen pathway.

4:00 – 5:00 PM

Presenting Organization: Rise to Resilience

This session is designed to support participants’ understanding of what ableism is, how it shows up in our lives, and how to challenge ableism in our practices.

Presenting Organization: Tacoma Community College & Tacoma Public Schools


The graduation rate of TPS students has increased to 90.2%, however, many of these graduates do not persist to college. This session will provide a case study on the partnership between TCC and TPS in enhancing the transition students experience from high school to college. The session will highlight collaboration between TCC staff and TPS staff and ways to mitigate student challenges, especially for first-generation and BIPOC students. We encourage attendees to be prepared to discuss how their organizations can continuously improve partnerships to increase student success.

Presenting Organization: United Way of Pierce County

In 2022, United Way of Pierce County and the City of Tacoma piloted a guaranteed basic income research program that gifted $500 a month for 13 months to 110 Tacomans. Join program leadership and participants to discover how public and private partnerships can be leveraged for innovation and how a no-strings-attached cash investment made directly to community can stimulate household financial, physical, and mental wellness as well as the resilience of an entire community.

5:00 – 7:00 PM

Reception Celebration

Day 2
Friday, May 5

8:00 – 9:30 AM

Opening Keynote Plenary | Senator Yasmin Trudeau

9:45 – 11:15 AM

Concurrent Session 3

Presenting Organization: University of Washington-Tacoma

There are large equity gaps in degree completion and post-graduation outcomes for students who are first in their family to complete college. Using a case study from Tacoma Completes, participants will learn about principles of design thinking, their connection to social justice, and methods to authentically engage economically marginalized students and systems stakeholders in designing solutions. Participants will also explore how they could apply principles and methods at their own organizations.

Presenting Organization: Vibrant Schools & Black Collective

A collaborative panel presentation and discussion by leading Black community-based organizational leaders who actively advocate for improving and sustaining equitable services for Black students throughout the state of Washington. Highlights will include data points indicating Black students’ low levels of proficiency in academic achievement despite the rise in graduation rates.

11:30 – 12:30 PM

Presenting Organization: Tacoma Public Schools

This session will be an opportunity to see how two teachers have used equity principles to center equity and antiracism in the classroom. The focus will be on how they continue to transform classroom practice and curriculum to have students reflect and empower themselves to be social agents of change in their community. The teachers utilize backwards design and the equity principles to interweave content, provide context and critique how science has been historically taught to bring in multiple perspectives that combat the single-story narrative that often gets presented in the education system.

Presenting Organization: University of Washington-Tacoma

Join this interactive session to explore how developing a sense of purpose can improve student success and promote equity in post-graduation outcomes. Drawing on recent research and the Tacoma Completes “Student Voice” study of college non-completers, we’ll examine how purpose serves as a powerful motivator for students, and how it can be fostered through high impact practices. We’ll also discuss college-level initiatives and brainstorm strategies for helping students at all levels discover their “why”.

12:45 – 2:30 PM

Lunch Plenary & Closing Award Ceremony