Saturday March 20th Conference Day

9:00 AM - 10:25 AM

Keynote Speaker

Opening Remarks

Erica Maxwell

Associate Superintendent of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the Arizona Department of Education

The Healing and Transformative Academic Power of Humanizing Education and Ethnic Studies

Dr. Curtis Acosta

Founder and Executive Director, Acosta Educational Partnership, Assistant Professor, Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies, University of Arizona

How do we continue to survive, thrive, and strive for liberation in an era of hateful rhetoric, anti-intellectualism, and a global health crisis? How can ethnic studies and humanizing educational practices create a paradigm shift in education that simultaneously produces excellent academic outcomes, while transforming the lives of youth, their families, and community? 

10:25 AM - 10:30 AM


10:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Breakout Session 1

Exploration of Toxic Stress & Trauma in Relation to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Tammy Zuccala and Ms. Gloria McGinty Med.

A discussion & exploration of toxic stress & trauma. A child’s exposure to traumatic events overwhelms their ability to cope with what they have experienced or witnessed. We shift our focus from “what’s wrong with you?” to What happened to you?”

  • To understand different types of normal and toxic stress and the effects on development and behavior.

  • To define trauma and discuss the connections between risky behaviors, copying mechanisms, and unresolved trauma.

  • To define vicarious traumatization and learn practical strategies for support.

  • To introduce resilience

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Disparities in Special Education

Dr. Latrice Gettings

Many issues face our schools today, including the over-representation of particular subgroups in special education. This session will examine and review some of the trends across our nation's schools and discuss specific areas that are more commonly disproportionate, including social-emotional behavior and academics. The goal is to allow school leaders to share their experiences and leave with tools shared with their staff to make their identification processes more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.


Secondly, the session will review the maltreatment of individuals with disabilities before the laws enacted, such as IDEA and OCR. We will discuss the progress made and how the rules have helped build a more tolerant and equitable society for individuals with disabilities.


Conclusively, discussions surrounding the English Language Learners in special education and the issues facing this population will be covered. Strategies on creating a fair evaluation process, welcoming atmosphere for families, how to better involve and empower parents throughout their child's educational journey.


Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will identify the inequalities of particular subgroups.

  • Participants will be able to understand better historical special education events surrounding diversity/equity/inclusion and the laws that support students with disabilities.

  • Participants will be able to learn strategies and tools to disseminate to their school districts on how to implement equitable practices when identifying students for special education.

Racing for Change: Understanding the History of Race and Systemic Oppression

Dr. Jeff McGee

“Unity doesn’t mean uniformity, Unity starts with relationship!” – Dr. Jeff McGee


We all have always exhibited genuine concern over establishing a healthy culture in our schools and institutions. However, during these tumultuous times, leaders are finally waking up to understanding that not all of their staff, students, and families feel valued, respected, and safe due to inequities rooted in systemic racism.


During this session, we will discuss the history of systemic racism, terms such as white supremacy, white privilege, historical trauma and why inequities still exist and are perpetuated every day within schools and communities, and more. We will explore the concept of loop learning and how utilizing triple-loop learning can open help us to become more critical thinkers and learners. Finally, we will explore a 5-step model to help us build collaboration across races.


After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify three different levels of learning and how it impacts their worldview and bias

  • Develop a deeper understanding of systemic racism and other determinants that cause inequities in schools and organizations. 

  • Understand a model for cross-cultural collaboration to engage communities

The Embodied Groove: Culture’s Imprint On Physicality And Identity

Súle Greg Wilson, M.A.

What does ones body tell?  How we were raised, our life experiences, and how we feel about ourselves have molded our bodies—our resilience, stamina,  flexibility, our sense of “self”.  How that comes about is both Nature and Nurture: inherited body structure and tendencies, cultural training, and “mileage".  The question is: “Are we aware?  Do we know how we “wear” our bodies?”  Do we know what we “say” to others? In this experiential session, we will gain insight into how culture, revealed through—broadly defined—as African and European movements, helps develop our musculature, body awareness, and sense of self.


How?  Through practiced examples of culture-based, folkloric posture and movement, we will approximate the kinetic aesthetics of a given group, allowing us to “walk a mile in their shoes”.  Gaining this awareness allows us, as educators, to “read” our students, as well as monitor some of our own, unconscious, internally-carried stress.  We will practice a “rise to the occasion”, as well as how to “get down on it”.



  • Demonstrate fundamental aesthetics of African and European dance

  • Discuss cultural principles reflected in movement standards

  • Assess and mitigate held tension reflected in body posture

  • Move with deeper awareness of Self

11:45 AM - 11:55 AM


12:00 PM - 1:10 PM

Breakout Session 2

Creating Culturally Safe Space for Indigenous Populations

Turquoise Devereaux 

A presentation dedicated to revitalizing the indigenous perspective.  A brief timeline of history from an Indigenous perspective focusing on how historical events still impact American Indian communities today. The presentation includes research from Native American scholars and how to utilize a historical context to alleviate barriers and support healing from a holistic approach.

Includes knowledge on how to create culturally safe spaces while highlighting the complexity of identity and resilience within Native American communities. Attendees will utilize the learned historical and worldview knowledge to acquire empathy skills to utilize when serving Native American families within education spaces.


Lastly, attendees will learn tangible skills on how to be an ally to any marginalized group that one does not belong to but focusing primarily on Native American populations. The presentation will touch on key components of alleviating personal biases, assumptions, stereotypes and the importance of being a lifelong learner.


  • Create individuals and spaces to revitalize the Indigenous perspective

  • Amplify and increase the representation of Indigenous truth, values and resiliency through connection and collaboration systems.

  • Validate INDIGENOUS WORLDVIEWS including lived experiences to assist in supporting Indigenous communities while they navigate systems, while activating individual tangible cross cultural skills for future success.

  • How to be an ally for change at a systems level for marginalized groups including Indigenous communities.

  • Learn about the complexities of identity and how it relates to school, work, life decisions, culture and overcoming adversity.

DEI at School: Preparing Materials, Presenting Lessons, Sharing Feedback, and Communicating With Equality and Equity

Kelli Christiansen, President, bibliobibuli

As society progresses and cultural norms shift, education at all levels must keep up with the changes in the ways we communicate with our students and their parents; with colleagues and other education stakeholders; and with and about each other. Those of us whose work requires communicating, editing, teaching or lecturing, and/or writing have a responsibility to ensure that everything—e.g., classroom materials and coursework, lectures and lessons, syllabi and course outlines, research papers and reports—is devoid of language that might be ageist, homophobic, racist, sexist, xenophobic, etc., or that otherwise fails to be inclusive. In this session, we will examine the changing ways in which we can better communicate for diversity, equality, equity, and inclusion. In addition, we will look at ways in which we can recognize and avoid unconscious bias; write, edit, and lecture without -isms; prepare and grade materials that avoid appropriations, assumptions, homophily, and stereotypes; ensure that anecdotes, examples, and reference material are diverse in source and authorship; and provide feedback that considers ability, age, economic status, ethnicity, gender, health status, nationality, race, religion, and sexual orientation. “DEI at School” also will delve into teaching education professionals and students to avoid clichés, prejudices, stereotypes, and tropes; to recognize microaggressions; and to ensure accuracy and sensitivity regarding marginalized groups. How we communicate matters: What we say and how we say it can make an enormous difference in how students learn. “DEI at School” will highlight the ways in which we can communicate more effectively.


After attending this session, participants will be able to improve the classroom experience by:

  • recognizing and avoiding unconscious bias;

  • understanding how to communicate, lecture, and teach without -isms; and

  • identifying and eliminating microaggressions, assumptions, and appropriations.

Safer Spaces for LGBTQ+ Students

Andrea Young and Sadie Redfern

Educators play a critical role for LGBTQ students as adult allies and advocates.  according to GLSEN’s national research on the experiences of LGBTQ youth in schools, nearly 4 in 5 LGBTQ students don’t see positive LGBTQ representation in their curriculum and nearly 9 in 10 experience verbal or physical harassment at school. In this workshop, we will present national data on LGBTQ student experiences, work through classroom-based case studies, and provide resources and strategies for creating inclusive schools where all students feel welcome.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn who GLSEN Phoenix is and how GLSEN Phoenix can be used as a resource for students, educators, and school administrators to support LGBTQ+ students

  • Learn the current climate for LGBTQ+ students

  • Develop tangible takeaways to begin implementing inclusion in the classroom right away

  • Learn about GLSEN Phoenix four pillars (supportive educators, student-led clubs, enumerated policies, and inclusive curriculum) and how to implement these at schools

1:10 PM - 1:15 PM


1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

Closing Remarks

"Racial Equity in Schools" Discussion

Dr. Cliff Moon

Discussion based on the video by Dr. Tyrone Howard speaking to the complex challenges that many students of color encounter in their efforts to be successful, and how they can be supported socially, emotionally, and academically by practitioners, school staff, and school leaders.