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 Symposium Focuses on Equity Through Student Agency

In a year where the focus has been on the state's new accountability system, the San Diego County Office of Education is keeping the focus on students at its second annual Equity Symposium.

Equity for our students is critical and urgent. A student's race, ZIP code, or gender shouldn't determine their success in school, but data show that they still do.

Based on research and best practices, student agency is one of the keys to unlocking student success.

That's why this year's theme is Equity through Student Agency: Mindsets, Relationships, and Innovations.

"Public education can be the primary catalyst for ensuring every student has a chance to provide a great life for themselves." said Dr. Paul Gothold, San Diego County Superintendent of Schools. "We must recognize the issues in our systems and mindsets that create barriers for students and address those before we can talk about achievement."

Student agency, or a student's confidence in navigating through school and knowing where and how to ask for assistance, is one of the top takeaways from the new California School Dashboard, which is connected to the Local Control and Accountability Plans.

Hundreds of education leaders will participate in the Equity Symposium, spending two days gaining strategies and resources to address opportunity and access gaps by building student agency.

"We took school teams last year and were overwhelmed to see the commitment from our teachers, counselors, and administrators to provide the best pathways and academic and positive behavior supports possible for students," said Theresa Kemper, assistant superintendent at Grossmont Union High School District. "School teams and district staff are attending again because of the high quality of the presentations and the unique opportunity to hear the same message throughout the workshops and keynote presentations."

The Equity Symposium will feature three nationally known keynote speakers: Dr. Anthony Muhammad, CEO of New Frontier 21; Liz Murray, author of Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard; and George Couros, author of The Innovator's Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity.

There will be dozens of presenters in nearly 30 learning sessions sharing their stories of this difficult but necessary path to equity and best practices in growing student agency.

It's not too late to register. The Equity Symposium is Sept. 7 and 8 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina.