CUBE 2023 Annual Conference - Register Now & Save $100

Thank you to the board members and education leaders from districts across the country who convened in Chicago, Sept. 14-16 for the CUBE Annual Conference. Click here to read the CUBE 2023 Wrap Up!


CUBE has convened school board members from across the nation for the past 55 years to network and share the continually evolving strategies they are using to address the unique educational challenges that exist in our nation's urban centers. Content is curated specifically to provide you with the tools and support you need to effect change as an empowered, impactful urban school board member.

Keynote Speakers


Friday, Sept. 15

Saturday, Sept. 16

Radical Care: Leading for Justice in Urban Schools

Helping Our Students Overcome the Impossible 

Dr. Rosa Rivera-McCutchen  Ice-T
Dr. Rosa Rivera-McCutchen
Professor of Administration & Supervision,
Hunter College - City University of New York
Rapper & Actor

Read Bios

Registration Fees

Registration  Registration Deadline CUBE Districts/NATCON Districts/Member State Association Staff  General (Non-CUBE Districts/Non-NATCON Districts/Non-Member Associations)  Guest* 
Early Bird Before July 21  $550  $675  $175
Standard  After July 21  $650 $775  $175

*A guest registration grants access to the Welcome Reception and CUBE Urban Night Out (UNO) only. Your guest must purchase a registration if planning to attend sessions, networking meal events, evening receptions, and CUBE Urban Night Out (UNO).

Schedule-at-a-Glance (as of 5/3/23)

3 – 6 p.m.  Early Registration 

7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
7:15 – 11 a.m. (Bus departs at 7:30 a.m.) Experiential Learning Visit
9:30 – 11:15 a.m.  Preconference Sessions 
11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Doors open 11:15 a.m.)  The State of Urban Education Luncheon
2:15 – 3:15 p.m. Breakout Sessions
3:15 – 3:30 p.m.  Coffee & Conversations
3:30 – 4:30 p.m.  Breakout Sessions
5 – 6:30 p.m. Welcome Networking Reception

7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
7:30 – 9 a.m.   Networking Breakfast 
9 – 10:30 a.m. Opening Keynote 
Radical Care: Leading for Justice in Urban Schools
Dr. Rosa Rivera-McCutchen
Professor of Administration & Supervision, Hunter College - City University of New York
10:45 – 11:45 a.m. Breakout Sessions 
12:15 – 1:45 p.m.
(Doors open at Noon)
Awards Luncheon
  • Benjamin Elijah Mays Award
  • CUBE Annual Award
2 – 3 p.m.  Breakout Sessions
3 – 3:15 p.m.  Coffee & Conversations
3:15 – 5 p.m.  General Session
Joint Council Stories from The Field Presentations: Advocating for Equitable Outcomes
6:30 – 9:30 p.m.  Urban Night Out (UNO) in Chicago

7:30 a.m. – Noon  Registration 

Breakfast On Your Own
9 – 10 a.m.  Student Panel: Advocating for Youth Mental Health Through Grow Your Own Educator Pathways
10:15 – 11:15 a.m.  Breakout Sessions
11:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. (Doors open at 11:15 a.m.)  Closing Luncheon Keynote
Helping Our Students Overcome the Impossible


  • Preconference Sessions

    Thursday, Sept. 14 | 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

    Outcomes Based Contracting to Compel Mutual Accountability
    It is a simple idea: Districts contract with vendors to pay for outcomes, not services. Yet how do you ensure this simple idea translates to equitable systems in school districts across the country? In this learning session, education leaders across an Outcomes Based Contracting (OBC) learning network will share how they led development of some of the first RFPs and contracts nationally to require a substantial portion of payment to be contingent on achieving agreed-upon, rigorous outcomes for students in urban communities. By addressing the technical and adaptive elements of change required to shift to paying for outcomes, this presentation invites dialogue around how to empower district leaders to compel mutual accountability between vendors, district staff, and school staff in the services delivered to students, leading to more equitable systems and use of limited resources in urban school districts.

    Brittany Miller

    Presented by Southern Education Foundation

    Thursday, Sept. 14 | 9:30 – 10:15 a.m. and 10:30 – 11:15 a.m.

    THAT is the Question: Developing Effective Questioning Techniques for Board Members
    Rubber-stamp, rogue, pot-stirrer — all terms we have heard to describe boards/board members. Community expectations are increasingly putting school boards in the spotlight ... and sometimes in the hot seat. How do we avoid the weeds yet exercise due diligence, effectively carrying out our governance role? Ask great questions. Asking better questions is the key to unlocking better answers. Determine when to broaden the discussion and when to narrow it, driving toward a decision. Learn to ask questions in a way that demonstrates commitment to the mission yet adds understanding. Join the conversation as we develop the how and why of asking better questions.

    Diana Baker Freeman
    Tiffany Taylor

    Presented by Diligent

    Thursday, Sept. 14 | 9:45 – 10:45 a.m.

    CUBE First-Time Attendees Informational Session & Meet-and-Greet
    Join CUBE Chair Gill Garrett and Vice Chair David Murray as they provide first-time CUBE Conference attendees with a detailed overview of what to expect and what can’t be missed at this year’s conference. The session also will be an opportunity to meet with and network with other attendees from across the country and learn more about the benefits of joining the national CUBE network.

    Gill Garrett, Chair, Council of Urban Boards of Education, Pontiac School District Board of Education (MI)
    David H. Murray, Vice Chair, Council of Urban Boards of Education, Board Member, District 1, Prince George's County Public Schools (MD)

  • Breakout Sessions

    Thursday, Sept. 14 | 2:15 – 3:15 p.m.

    Students and Educators: Co-Developing a Racial Equity Policy
    This session highlights the process, challenges, and opportunities of centering the voices of middle school and high school students from various racial and ethnic backgrounds during the development of key concepts and ideas central to the making of a racial equity policy. This session will also provide information on the extensive engagement process that was led by a nationally respected equity assistance center and included approximately 197 students and educators; 2,070 narrative survey feedback responses from 345 parents, caregivers, and community members; and feedback from the district's equity, access, & opportunity steering committee and local community organization to create the district's first antiracism policy. We will review the approved policy and corresponding action steps and the early impact on district climate and culture. Finally, our presentation will highlight the challenges commonly faced by urban, suburban and rural school districts while attempting to navigate the emotionally charged topic of countering racism in public schools through the eyes of those most directly impacted: students on the margins. The implications of this work can serve as a model to center equity in policy, practice, and procedure.

    Dr. Markay Winston, Deputy Superintendent, Monroe County Community School Corporation, Bloomington (IN)
    Dr. Jeff Hauswald, Superintendent, Monroe County Community School Corporation, Bloomington (IN)
    Brandon Shurr, Board President, Monroe County Community School Corporation, Bloomington (IN)

    A Model for Ensuring Postseconday Success in Communities of Color | From K-12 to K-20
    In this session, participants will learn about Access ASU, a successful model in Arizona, in which Arizona State University partners directly with over 66 K-12 school communities in the Phoenix metro area to improve student achievement, enhance staff support, and facilitate leadership development. These components are critical to increasing postsecondary matriculation into college and improving student persistence and graduation rates. The majority of K-12 school partners are communities of color, comprised of families that are at or below the poverty line. We believe this work can and should exist in communities across the county. The Access ASU model provides the framework.

    Some of Access ASU’s most significant accomplishments include:

    1. Serving over 100,000 students and families annually across Arizona, supporting and empowering them to successfully move through the K-12 system and transition into a fruitful postsecondary experience using a multi-tiered approach.
    2. Engaging dozens of community partners already serving families to share best practices, gain feedback, and collaboratively design curriculum.
    3. Impacting thousands of first-generation, low-income, and BIPOC students throughout Arizona via the “WeGrad” college prep program.


    Dr. Quintin Boyce, Associate Vice President for Educational Outreach, Arizona State University

    Perception is Reality: How to Communicate Your School Improvement Initiatives and Defend Against Attacks
    School boards strive to create an environment where all students can achieve at their maximum potential. As part of these efforts, boards may promote initiatives aimed at providing equitable access to high-quality academic programs, creating a positive school culture, ensuring digital equity among students, overcoming the effects of poverty on academics, and tackling other issues that are unique to urban school districts. But what happens when someone opposed to these initiatives — such as an influential person in your community or a disgruntled employee — attempts to mischaracterize your school improvement efforts? How do you respond when your board meetings become forums for uncivil discourse and conduits for the spread of disinformation? What happens when you, your board, or your superintendent become the target of character attacks, inflammatory labels, or cancel culture? This session will discuss what preventative actions you can take to keep your board meeting on track. In addition, we’ll explore the legal and reputational implications of character attacks on board members by addressing such questions as: What constitutes defamation? Are character attacks protected by the First Amendment’s free speech clause? When, if ever, do boards have the right to restrict speech? Are there ways to identify what topics are ripe for outrage and prepare in advance for uncivil behavior and/or character attacks?

    David Albert, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA)
    Jay Worona, Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel, New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA)

    Bring a Folding Chair: Ways to Stand Firm in Your Equity Leadership
    Shirley Chisholm said it best — “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” This panel discussion will feature school board members and a superintendent, who will address issues we continue to face as leaders of educational equity. Panelists will discuss their personal and leadership experiences while providing proven equity leadership strategies that led to success, despite existing barriers. Moderator Emeka Nti will lead a panel discussion with board members Courtney Graves (Ferguson-Florissant School District, MO), Dania Martinez (Paterson School District, NJ), and David Murray (Prince George’s County Public Schools, MD*).

    Presented by McGraw Hill

    Thursday, Sept. 14 | 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. 

    Urgent Action Needed: Tackling the Teacher Crisis Head-On!
    Are you ready to be part of the solution to the teacher crisis facing our schools? Join us for an exciting and interactive session exploring innovative strategies to address teacher recruitment and retention. Research has shown that high-quality teachers are key to raising student achievement. It is imperative that we collaborate as we explore solutions to this challenge.

    As school board members, particularly in urban districts, we must be open to embracing and supporting our district leaders as they propose innovative solutions regarding teacher recruitment and retention.

    By the end of this session, you'll have an understanding of some underlying factors that may have contributed to the challenge we are facing and be equipped with some innovative solutions to consider to address them.

    Dr. Zipporah Miller, School Board Member, Prince George's County Board of Education (MD)

    This Is a Lot!: How Humanistic Psychology Answers Today's Problems
    We have placed tremendous emphasis on whole child development. In its simplest form, whole child development means that we are intentional about addressing all of our students' needs instead of just focusing on academics. This humanistic approach is critical to schools in our post-pandemic world. Data overwhelmingly demonstrates that students are in crisis, and schools are forced to manage the crisis daily. It has not been easy! Violence has increased, absenteeism is at an all-time high, and students are not functioning optimally in their academics. Students have shown that they can not learn until their basic needs are met, they are safe, feel good about themselves, and have a sense of belonging. This is the argument of Abraham Maslow, one of the forefathers of humanistic psychology. His hierarchy of needs argues that students cannot remember, concentrate, focus, attend, learn, et cetera when they are hungry, fearful, unsure, or otherwise preoccupied. In this session, we will review Maslow's hierarchy of needs and discuss how the theoretical underpinnings can help schools address their post-pandemic needs for whole child engagement.

    Dr. Kenya Coleman, Educational Consultant and Former Senior Director of School Mental Health, Washington DC Public Schools

    The Board/Superintendent Team: Cultivating a Culture of Collaboration, Communication, and Civility
    Effective Board/Superintendent Relations require strong communications, trust, a governance mindset, and a shared understanding of our roles and responsibilities while striving toward common ground, consensus-building, and working toward civility. This session will help board trustees develop the tools, skills, competencies, and a common language necessary to navigate and adapt during challenging times. Navigating power differentials, managing emotions, maintaining curiosity in the face of criticism, and balancing inquiry and advocacy for our collective board work require genuine commitment and dedication to a cause greater than ourselves. During this session, we will share how our resilience, intentional work, systems thinking, innovative mindset, and deep equity work, has made a difference. Our commitment to centering our collective work around our students has led us to stronger relationships. Staying curious — not furious — matters, especially during adversity, negative political influence, and other turbulent conditions. We cannot rely on past practices to address new problems during these critical times. We must be open and adopt new solutions to new problems.

    Dr. Celeste Hawkins, Board of Education President, Ypsilanti Community Schools (MI)
    Dr. Alena Zachery-Ross, Superintendent, Ypsilanti Community Schools (MI)

    Are Your School's Policies Fair? Analyzing School Policies Using an Equity Lens
    Ongoing attacks on public education combined with the rise of colorblind racism make the need for equitable school policies crucial. Policies that support honest, safe, and inclusive learning environments are a necessity to ensure that all students can thrive. This session will explore the importance of equity-centered leadership, utilizing an equity lens for decision-making, and the impact of “colorblind” policy-making as we continue to advocate for racial and social justice in public education.

    Aaron Dorsey, NEA
    Makeda Harris, NEA

    Presented by NEA

    Post-Pandemic Wisdom Lessons From the River Rouge School District: Trauma, Triggers, & Healing
    For slightly over a decade, the River Rouge School District has been intentional in addressing the adverse childhood experiences of students from high-poverty communities in Metropolitan Detroit, Michigan. Overwhelming research supported undertaking this work as a critical area of focus because these children needed to have dynamic systems of support to help them overcome the collateral consequences of multigenerational poverty, abuse, neglect, and other inherent challenges. We believed this to be a universal truth and created a framework to build understanding and supply the requisite skillset for trauma-informed educators and trauma-sensitive schools. This was an effective movement, and the outcomes supported the belief that we were doing magnificent work.

    This session will address the River Rouge School District’s revolutionary approach to empower educators in supporting the development of emotionally balanced and academically competitive students. Every day it appears that we are witness to a mass shooting, some out-of-control or misguided youth documented in videos abusing teachers, or other senseless acts of violence. The countless emails or text messages from social media provide an endless supply of footage showing the need for mental health support. The fragility of children, adolescents, and adults in this country, and the negative effects of these experiences, have real consequences. However, we have spent so much time discussing the problem that we seldom focus this energy on the answer. The session "Trauma, Triggers, & Healing" focuses on the solution so that we can see the opportunity to help.

    Dr. Derrick R. Coleman, Superintendent, The School District of the City of River Rouge (MI)

    Friday, Sept. 15 | 10:45 – 11:45 a.m.

    Student Achievement Data: Disaggregate, Make Public, Collaborate, Monitor, Engage Parents: Increase Real Student Growth
    The national crisis of African and Latino American student achievement data should be alarming to all in K12 education. The national and local test scores of Black and Brown students remain at the bottom of all ethnic groups measured by national and state assessment bodies. Dr. John Ogbu's renowned 2003 book, "Black American Students in an Affluent Suburb," sounded the alarm and depicted the lower achievement of African American students, at that time, in the affluent suburban community of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This trend has worsened and continued for too long and must be addressed. All stakeholders, especially school board members, in K-12 schools must understand the criticality of in-district/local assessments, how to use local assessments such as NWEA/MAP, the process of annual local assessments, how to responsibly share the data with all stakeholders, and most importantly how to engage families. This presentation will share the story of how Lindop School District 92 and Bellwood School District 88 (both in Illinois) have instituted the culture of Student Achievement Data Transparency (SADT) by requiring regular student achievement data reviews as part of their regular governance practices. Join us to learn their practices.

    Jeffery D. Cohn, Educational and Governance Consultant
    Dr. Janiece Jackson, Superintendent, Lindop School District 92 (IL)
    Dr. Barbara Suggs-Mason, Retired Superintendent and Educational Consultant, Elementary School District 159 Matteson (IL)
    Dr. Victoria Hansen, Superintendent, Bellwood School Distrcit 88 (IL)

    Programming and Promise: Building Healthy School Environments That Strengthens Student Well-Being
    Durham Public Schools has embarked on a journey to improve students' future outcomes by building a strong emphasis on student well-being. An urban district of predominately Black and Latino students, DPS has integrated this effort through a community-driven equity policy, public equity dashboard, Culture and Climate Learning Walk system, STOP Violence Prevention Director, and SEL Curriculum Implementation K-12. These are a few actions geared towards using data to ensure healthy school culture and climate and to further the mission of equity, excellence, and fulfillment of our student's limitless potential.

    Following the pandemic closures, our nation and district are keenly aware of the possible negative impacts on students' social-emotional learning and overall mental health. To protect our students' well-being, our district has taken an integrated approach that includes community partnerships, strategic resource allocation, differentiated professional learning for staff, and social-emotional learning as a tenet of our core instruction. Learn how our district is removing the stigmas associated with social-emotional-mental and wellness through equitable, research-based, yet practical staff and student supports.

    Dr. LaVerne Mattocks-Perry, Senior Executive Director, Student Support Services, Durham Public Schools (NC)
    Dr. Daniel Bullock, Executive Director, Office of Equity Affairs & Professional Development, Durham Public Schools (NC)
    Dr. Letisha Judd-Manning, Director, Integrated Academic & Behavior Systems (MTSS), Durham Public Schools (NC)
    Dr. Albert Royster Jr., Executive Director, Office of Research & Accountability, Durham Public Schools (NC)

    NOT Another Townhall! Try a World Cafe© Model to Engage Stakeholders in a District's AAA Success Plan
    Participants in this session will engage in the World Cafe© Model used monthly in a district to create a community of learners focused on student achievement, assessment, and accountability. This session requires participants to examine and explore how one urban district is determined to creatively address the needs of its diverse learners and marginalized community despite its financial constraints.

    “Tell me I forget. Teach me, and I remember. Involve me, and I learn.” This famous quote reminds Jennings School District staff that involving stakeholders in the learning process increases the urgency urban education is faced with, which is providing a multi-system of support for students and staff to ensure achievement, assessment, and accountability are the focus. Student achievement, assessment, and accountability align with good curriculum and instruction that require districts to plan innovatively, especially since the pandemic and teacher shortage.

    Dr. Monica Barnes-Boateng, Director of Assessment & Data, Jennings School District (MO)
    Dr. Charmyn Andrews, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, & PD, Jennings School District (MO)
    Dr. Paula D. Knight, Superintendent of Schools, Jennings School District (MO)

    Beyond Access: The Urgency of Now
    This workshop focuses on how and why urban boards can support access to literacy as a civil right. We examine how the impact of educational equity in urban settings on the science of reading (SoR) should include identity, students' funds of knowledge, and cultural and linguistic diversity. Student experience, language usage, and social justice issues require consideration in literacy instruction to address challenges and effectiveness. As we look to students in our urban communities and the multiple ways in which literacy and instruction have been reframed, it is essential to be instructionally additive in our urban schools to build the success of our African American and other students of color, as well as other diverse communities who may have been previously underserved.

    Maria Campanario, National Consultant, Retired from Boston Public Schools

    Understanding the Youth Mental Health Journey: Going Beyond the Healthcare System
    This session will provide an overview of research findings that shed light on the adolescent experience of navigating mental health in their day-to-day lives. Our learnings can help improve our understanding of how youth think about mental health, where they seek help, and how they prefer to engage. We will then discuss opportunities for stakeholders across the community to solve barriers to progress and enhance effective connections across the youth mental health journey.

    Speakers To Be Announced

    Presented by UnitedHealthcare

    Friday, Sept. 15 | 2 – 3 p.m.

    Connecticut's Learner Engagement & Attendance Program (LEAP) — A Focus on Relational Home Visits
    The pandemic and its aftermath have amplified pre-existing educational inequities across Connecticut, particularly in its urban centers. Urban, lower-income communities already plagued by the effects of systemic racism bore the disproportionate brunt of COVID-19’s impact. Chronic absenteeism, a pre-pandemic issue, has significantly increased since 2020. In response to this urgent problem, Connecticut dedicated COVID relief money to creating a relational home visit model focused on getting students back to school in targeted, largely urban districts. In April 2021, the Learner Engagement and Attendance Program (LEAP) was born and has since been the subject of the largest and most robust study of a home visit program ever conducted with resoundingly positive results. Now receiving national press and touted as a best practice, participants in this session will learn about LEAP’s cornerstones, data-driven and research-based components, and evaluation results. As a result of this session, participants may further explore LEAP resources and trainings so that the potential benefits of this model may be implemented with fidelity to help students in urban areas nationwide.

    Kari Sullivan Custer, Attendance Lead and Learner Engagement & Attendance Program (LEAP) Manager, Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE)
    Francisco J. Baires, Education Service Specialist for Family Engagement & LEAP Coordinator, Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) Resource Group & Connecticut Home Visit Hub
    Caroline C. Calhoun, Professional Learning and Attendance Specialist & LEAP Coordinator, EdAdvance
    Charrisse Ifill, Special Projects Manager, Hartford Public Schools

    Integrated Pathways to Comprehensive Community Change: Following the Roadmap in Local Youth Data
    Evidence2Success, an initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, provides a framework and tools for engaging schools, communities, and child-serving public systems to collect and review data on students’ social and emotional health needs and agree on priority outcomes, programs, and services. Our session at last year’s CUBE Conference focused on our tools for helping schools and partners work together to align resources to support those programs and services and to align funding opportunities with infrastructure needs and planned growth proactively.

    This year we propose to share tools for using local data to make decisions on programming and public investment to improve youth outcomes and racial equity. We will share promising evaluation results on how data from our Youth Experience Survey has been used to guide collective community investment and planning, both in the short term and over time. We will demonstrate some of the tools before providing an opportunity to discuss how they might benefit school districts and their community collaborations when used alone or in conjunction with the financing tools shared last year.

    Mildred Johnson, Senior Associate, National Community Strategies, Annie E. Casey Foundation
    Sarah Chilenski, PhD, Associate Research Professor, Annie E. Casey Foundation
    Capetra Parker, Community Prevention Strategist, Annie E. Casey Foundation

    Miami-Dade County Public Schools Accelerate Academic Achievement Using Cambridge Pathway and Assessments
    Join us to gain a deeper understanding of how Florida's Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) has implemented the Cambridge Pathway to provide students' equitable access to high-quality teaching, learning, and assessments while developing students’ skills and confidence to reach their highest potential in preparation for college, career, and life. The Cambridge Pathway focuses explicitly on developing curriculum and assessments that are equitable and accessible for all student learners through its design to fundamentally improve the performance of all students.

    Joette Viggiano, District Supervisor, Cambridge Assessment International Education
    Allison Ibarra, Senior School Development Manager, Cambridge Assessment International Education

    Presented by Cambridge Assessment International Education

    What’s Leadership Got To Do With It? Eliminate the School-to-Prison Pipeline by Building the School-to-STEAM Pipeline
    The school-to-prison pipeline robs young people of their future by pushing them out of schools and into the justice system. Far too often, the end result is the criminalization of education and the perpetuation of a system of inequality. It has become an urgent issue of social justice that requires action at the school board and district leadership levels to resolve.

    Moreover, it is equally important to recognize that researchers have long documented widespread disparities in educational access and labor market outcomes as it relates to the early exposure and integration of African American and Latino students into the STEAM pipeline.

    As a result of your participation in this session, you can expect to:

    • Clarify the Board of Education’s role in policy development and establishing a five-year strategic plan focused on achieving equity in education by expanding access.
    • Discover how the district has addressed significant content-area teacher shortage issues.
    • Learn the innovative manner in which Dolton West School District 148, through strategic planning and joint partnerships, has provided students early access to culturally relevant STEAM-related content.
    • Recognize the power of your vote by gaining a thorough explanation of how the district has leveraged board-approved technology solutions as a means to enhance instruction.
    • Understand a process for ensuring the most effective use of the dollars available to your district at the local, state, and federal levels.

    Dr. Kevin Nohelty, Superintendent of Schools, Dolton West School District 148 (IL)
    Dr. Sonya Whitaker, Deputy Superintendent of Schools, Dolton West School District 148 (IL)

    Everyone Needs a Leader Who Looks Like Them
    This session will look at how even diverse organizations like the U.S. Army must continue to strive to ensure leaders are representative of both the military members who serve and reflect the diversity of the nation. It also will highlight the steps the Army is taking to provide educational and leadership opportunities to provide diverse communities in the military with leaders who look like them and inspire them to achieve more. The first 25 attendees will receive exclusive giveaway items at the beginning of the session.

    Joseph FX O’Donnell, Director of Recruiting, Marketing, and Incentives, U.S. Army Recruiting Command
    Dawne Divine, Education Service Specialist, U.S. Army Recruiting Command

    Presented by U.S. Army and Army ROTC

    Saturday, Sept. 16 | 10:15 – 11:15 a.m. 

    Innovative Strategies to Motivate and Build Resilience in Every Student
    How do you help students bounce back from what they have been through? From trauma, isolation, and poverty, to mental health challenges, our students have faced many obstacles over the last two years. Come see a formula to help you guide students through the challenges that destroy motivation and make it difficult to find success.

    Christian Moore, Founder, WhyTry Organization
    Dr. Dennis B. McKesey, Founder and CEO, In Our Best Interest LLC & The Off School Grounds Coalition, Inc

    Equity in Action: Strategies for Promoting Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice in Education

    Equity work in schools is a critical component of creating inclusive and socially just educational environments where all students have equitable access to opportunities and resources, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or socio-economic status. For far too long, school districts have been comfortable just talking about equity. It's time to put action behind the word.
    In this session, we will explore the importance of equity work in schools and discuss strategies for promoting diversity, inclusion, and social justice in education.

    Throughout the session, participants will engage in interactive discussions, case studies, and reflection activities that encourage critical thinking and application of equity concepts in real-world educational settings. Participants will leave the session with practical strategies and resources for promoting equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice in their schools and classrooms, and will be inspired to take action to create more equitable and inclusive educational environments for all students.

    Dr. Anthony Lewis, Superintendent, Lawrence Public Schools (KS)

    Co-Designing Systems of Change: Structural Equity and Complex System Approach
    The educational landscape is fraught with structural and relational challenges. It’s also full of potential beyond the dreams of our students, families, teachers, and leaders. This session explores community challenges and opportunities and the social factors at the source. Participants will explore targeted universalism and how Ferguson Florissant School District leveraged this approach within their antiracism and equity supports. This session will also explore Cynefin and Kotter’s systems of change and the actions that school districts should take to address complex, chaotic, and complicated problems. This is an active session where participants will work through a protocol that supports reimagining and redesigning systems of change for school districts.

    Dr. Joseph Davis, Superintendent, Ferguson Florissant School District (MO)
    Tamoya Rose-Watson, Assistant Superintendent of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Ferguson Florissant School District (MO)

    Are You Really About It? Moving Beyond the Equity Talk: From Policy to Practice to Impact
    Does your district have a resolution to denounce racism and/or a policy to achieve racial equity? In recent years, many districts have formalized their commitment to equity, antiracism, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) through Board-approved policy and resources, but then what? How exactly is your district embedding equity into day-to-day operations? And how do you know if your district’s equity commitment is having an impact on your students who are furthest from opportunities? Board members and district leaders have to move beyond the talk for equity. There have to be concrete ways to operationalize equity into key decisions and resource allocation that will ultimately benefit students. Plus, there has to be a way your district can measure the impact and tell the story. This workshop will help board members and district leaders determine several ways to assess the impact of their equity efforts and walk away with practical examples to strengthen their equity policy.

    Nichelle Nichols, Board of Education Member, Madison Metropolitan School District (WI)

    The School Board Role in Aligning Organizational Culture While Enhancing Collaboration and Equity: A Look Into Professional Learning Organizations
    How can school boards transform school culture? To improve organizational culture/student achievement, it takes a systemic system led by the school board. Much attention has been given to the need for Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), while little attention has been given concerning the role of the board. This presentation focuses on how the board can ensure the success of all students by utilizing an organizational approach to learning. Learn about the work being done by several districts to support a reimagined Professional Learning Organization (PLO) model.

    Dr. Patrick Rice, Clinical Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; President, The Black Educational Advocacy Coalition; Consultant, Cairo School District 1

  • General Sessions

    Thursday, Sept. 14 | 11:30 – 2 p.m.

    State of Urban Education
    CUBE Chair Gill Garrett will provide updates and insights on the current state of urban education, along with his motivational messaging on continuing to build and support excellence in urban school board leadership.

    Gill Garrett, Chair, Council of Urban Boards of Education, Pontiac School District Board of Education (MI)

    Sponsored by McGraw Hill

    Friday, Sept. 15 | 9 – 10:30 a.m.

    Radical Care: Leading for Justice in Urban Schools
    Educators often invoke the term care to describe why they entered the field and what compels them to continue. But care, as is typically described and enacted, is not sufficient for leading schools and districts, particularly those serving historically underserved children. Instead, educational leaders need to embrace radical care. Drawing from over 20 years of researching and working in New York City public schools, Dr. Rosa Rivera-McCutchen outlines the five components of radical care: adopting an anti-racist stance, cultivating authentic relationships, believing in students’ and teachers’ capacity for excellence, leveraging power strategically, and embracing a spirit of radical hope. Sharing vignettes from her personal experiences and research that exemplifies each of the components, Dr. Rivera-McCutchen’s keynote will encourage leaders to thoughtfully challenge existing structures that reproduce inequality and offer a much-needed framework that can transform urban schools.

    Dr. Rosa Rivera-McCutchen, Professor of Administration & Supervision, Hunter College - City University of New York

    Sponsored by AT&T and Sodexo

    Friday, Sept. 15 | 3:15 - 5 p.m.

    Joint Council Stories from The Field Presentations: Advocating for Equitable Outcomes
    The promise of public education is for every child to succeed in school and life. To realize this promise, education leaders must actively advocate for every child to be given resources, supports, and interventions based on their needs. Presented in collaboration with NSBA’s National Black Council, National Hispanic Council, and American Indian and Alaskan Native Council, this session will feature national education experts and school board members from across the country sharing their personal journeys and inspirational stories to highlight the importance of equitable outcomes for each student in our communities. Presentations will focus on understanding the importance of intentionally including advocacy efforts in planning, promoting, and implementing educational equity initiatives.

    Kyron Loggins, Development Associate, The Hidden Genius Project
    Desmond Paré, Alumnus, The Hidden Genius Project
    Stephanie Thompson, President, Farmington Municipal Schools (FMS) Board of Education Western Regional Director of NSBA’s American Indian/Alaska Native Council.
    Brendaliz Cepeda, Owner of Bomba de Aqui/Multicultural Learning Center

    Sponsored by Disney Imagination Campus

    Saturday, Sept. 16 | 9 – 10 a.m.

    Student Panel: Advocating for Youth Mental Health Through Grow Your Own Educator Pathways
    Sometimes, while in the throes of creating policy and working on the future of education, adults forget where the rubber hits the road and fail to listen to the students. This session will feature students sharing their personal journeys and experiences related to youth mental health, elevating the education profession, and finding the pathways that led them to get involved in grow your own educator programs like Educators Rising. Panel participants will discuss the impact Educators Rising has had on them and their communities and how essential it is for them to become role models who reflect the communities from which they come. The students will share their lived experiences, the importance of youth mental health, their involvement with Educators Rising, and how their experiences have motivated them to become educators to help support the next generation of students.

    Presented by current and former Educators Rising students

    Sponsored by NEA. Presented by PDK International.

    Saturday, Sept. 16 | 11:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.

    Helping Our Students Overcome the Impossible
    In this talk, Ice-T will share his personal journey and experiences in the public education system, the challenges students in urban communities face, and how educational leaders can best support our students and set them up for success. 

    Ice-T, Rapper/Actor

    Sponsored by Diversified Foods

  • Experiential Learning Visit

    Thursday, Sept. 14 | 7:15 – 11 a.m.

    Closing the STEAM Equity Gap by Creating the School-to-STEAM Career Pipeline
    Dolton West School District 148 is pleased to host board of education members and other educational leaders from across the nation for an experiential learning visit. Dolton West School District 148 is located in the south suburbs of Chicago and serves the communities of Dolton, Riverdale, Harvey, and South Holland.

    This experience will visit the Lincoln School, a K-8 elementary school, and be joined by the superintendent of schools, deputy superintendent of schools, board members, staff, and students to provide participants with the opportunity to learn about the launching of their new STEAM Equity Initiative. Participants will learn to:

    • Define the Board of Education’s pivotal role in the policy development required to undertake this initiative.
    • Address the national teacher shortage by providing students access to quality STEAM education instruction delivered virtually by highly qualified educators across the United States.
    • Leverage Board of Education-approved technology solutions as a means to enhance instruction.
    • Ensure a process for your district’s equitable distribution of financial, technological, intellectual, and human resources.
    • In alignment with its Five-Year Strategic Plan, hear how Dolton West School District 148 is guaranteeing prudent stewardship of financial resources to make the most effective use of state and federal dollars to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline and instead significantly contribute to the “School-to-STEAM Career Pipeline.”

    Snacks and refreshments will be provided.

    Cost: $79

Conference Information

  • CUBE 2022 Recap

  • Cancellation Policy

    Request for refunds of the conference registration fee (minus a $150 service fee) can be honored only if made in writing to NSBA at by Wednesday, August 23, 2023. No refunds will be honored after that time.

    Please feel free to email us at with any questions you may have regarding your CUBE Annual Conference registration.
  • Safety Protocols & Requirements

    Proof of vaccination status or a negative test result is not required to attend NSBA events. Attendees who are not vaccinated are asked to take an at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen test before traveling to the event and should not attend if they test positive or have COVID-19 symptoms. NSBA does not require proof of these measures but encourages attendees to act responsibly and with consideration for the health and safety of others. Mask wearing is not required.

  • Hotel

    Headquarter Hotel: Marriott Marquis Chicago
    2121 S. Prairie Ave
    Chicago, IL 60616

    You must be registered for the conference before you can reserve housing in the NSBA hotel block. NSBA has negotiated a special rate for conference attendees. Booking information will be provided in the registration confirmation email. All reservations should be made before Wednesday, August 23, 2023. Room availability and conference rates cannot be guaranteed after this date.

  • Travel & Getting Around

    Ground Transportation
    Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
    The Marriott Marquis Chicago is approximately 10 miles from Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW). To get to the hotel from the airport, there are taxicabs and rideshare companies that operate at MDW. The loading zone for taxis and rideshare services is on the Lower Level Outside of Baggage Claim, Door 4. Taxicabs and rideshares are estimated at $30 one way to the hotel. Visit the MDW airport website.

    Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)
    The Marriott Marquis Chicago is approximately 28 miles from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD). To get to the hotel from the airport, there are taxicabs and rideshare companies that operate at ORD. Loading zones for taxis and rideshare services are located in Terminal 2 Upper Level between Door 2A and Door 2D. Taxicabs and rideshares are estimated at $50 one way to the hotel. Visit the ORD airport website.

    Hotel Parking
    Valet parking is available at the Marriott Marquis Chicago at $54.00 per day. 
  • FAQs

    Q: Will there be an online event for CUBE 2023 Annual Conference?
    A: There is no online component for CUBE 2023.

    Q: If my state association is not a member, can I register?
    A: Yes. Click here to see the pricing.

    Q: What is the registration deadline?
    A: You can save $100 when you register on or before July 21, 2023. We recommend registering early to secure your spot at the conference. The event sold out the last two years.

    Q: What is included in my registration fee?
    A: The full conference registration includes access to all sessions, networking breakfasts, luncheon events, evening receptions, and CUBE Urban Night Out (UNO). 

    Q: Can I bring a guest?
    A: Yes. The guest registration fee is $175. A guest registration grants access to the Welcome Reception and CUBE Urban Night Out (UNO) only. Your guest must purchase a registration if planning to attend sessions, networking meal events, evening receptions, and CUBE Urban Night Out (UNO).

    Q: How do I redeem a complimentary registration?
    A: Each CUBE district receives one complimentary attendee registration. The attendee using the complimentary registration should contact for the special registration code. If you are a sponsor, you can find the number of complimentary registrations in the agreement. Sponsors also will receive an email from Karen Miller regarding the number of complimentary registrations their company receives. The email will include information required to get your team registered. Contact Karen Miller at with sponsor-related questions. 

    Q: What is the event cancellation policy?
    A: Requests for refunds can be honored only if made in writing to NSBA at by Wednesday, August 23, 2023, and will be subject to a $150 cancellation fee per registrant. No refunds will be honored after that time.

    Q: Who do I contact if I have registration questions?
    A: Please email with your questions, indicating CUBE in the subject line.

    Q: What should I do if I have special dietary needs for meal events?
    A: Please email and indicate the type of allergy or other dietary restrictions. (Please title the email Dietary Needs for CUBE Annual.)

    Q: What should I do if I have an ADA request?
    A: Please email if you have any special needs by Wednesday, August 23, 2023. (Please title the email ADA Accommodations for CUBE Annual Conference.)

    Q: How many CEU credits can I earn by attending CUBE 2023?
    A: You can earn up to 12 CEU credits by attending CUBE 2023.

    Q: How do I report my CEUs earned at CUBE 2023?
    A: When the event is over, you will receive a survey link to the email you used to register. After you complete the survey, you will receive a link to a form where you can submit documentation for your CEUs. Contact with any questions.

    Q: Will session presentations and recordings be available?
    A: Session PowerPoints and additional digital handouts are exclusively available through the event app. This event has been planned as an in-person event — no recordings will be available.
CUBE 2023 Annual Conference Sponsors