Nation’s Premiere Charter Schools Conference Takes Place in Las Vegas, Nevada June 30 - July 3

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Washington D.C.- The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (National Alliance) invites you to our 2019 National Charter Schools Conference (#NCSC19) — June 30 - July 3 in Las Vegas, NV — bringing together more than 5,000 educators, school leaders, policymakers, charter support organizations, charter management organizations, and advocates to collaborate and experience the premier leadership development event in the public charter school sector. This year’s conference theme — Reimagining Education — inspires our participants to rethink the charter school movement, their role in it, and how they can learn from the best in the field. And there is no better place than Las Vegas to celebrate the success of 3.2 million children attending high-quality charter schools!

Nevada has a charter school sector that is more than 20 years old and a charter law that ranks among the top ten state laws in the country, according to the National Alliance. If Nevada charter schools were considered a school district, they would comprise the third-largest school district in the state given their more than 50,000 K-12 students. The state’s charter sector continues to thrive due to no cap on charter school growth, allowance of multiple authorizing entities, and a fair amount of autonomy and accountability.

Now in its 19th year, the National Charter Schools Conference is the only national conference designed for charter school educators, leaders, administrators, advocates and board members. The three-day event includes daily keynote speeches from world-renowned education leaders, 135+ breakout sessions, and 270+ exhibitors.

Below is a snapshot of featured content and speakers at next week’s conference. All the times indicated below are in Pacific Time (PT). Every conference session will be hosted on level two of the Mandalay Bay South Convention Center. Full program information and search tool available here. Reporters interested in attending must register (free of charge) to receive required press credentials. Please contact Shaelyn Macedonio to initiate registration and indicate which sessions you would like to cover. Advance information is available upon request for some of the below appearances and announcements. Programs noted with * will also be livestreamed on the National Alliance’s Facebook Page.

Monday, July 1

*Welcome by Nevada Legislators Teresa Benitez-Thompson and Jill Tolles
9:30 a.m. - 9:40 a.m., Oceanside Ballrooms

Legislators Tolles (Republican) and Benitez-Thompson (Democrat) welcome attendees to the state of Nevada and reflect on the state’s positive charter school growth. Nevada has the first majority-female state legislature in the nation.

*Opening Remarks by Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
9:40 a.m. - 9:55 a.m., Oceanside Ballrooms

Nina Rees will welcome attendees to Nevada, touching on the conference theme “Reimagining Education”, and the work the National Alliance is doing across the country and in Washington D.C. to move the charter school sector forward.

*Keynote Address by Sal Khan – Reimagining Education
10:00 a.m. - 10:25 a.m., Oceanside Ballrooms

Sal Khan is the founder of Khan Academy, a non-profit organization with the mission of providing a free, world-class education for anyone anywhere.

*Hall of Fame Induction

10:25 a.m. - 10:40 a.m., Oceanside Ballrooms

The National Charter School Hall of Fame was established to recognize individuals and organizations who have had a profound and lasting impact on the charter school movement. The first inductee honored by the National Alliance this year is Fernando Zulueta, president of Academica.

Featured Breakout Sessions:

Hacking the Future: Technology, Civics, and the Fate of the Free World
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Mandalay F

Sal Khan of Khan Academy and Stefanie Sanford of College Board host a discussion on how technology is shaping public life and what teachers can do about it. At a time of declining trust in government, business, and almost all institutions, students need the confidence to shape the big forces affecting their lives. Join us for an optimistic look at how educators can save democracy.

Looking Ahead to 2020: Are Charter Schools a Republican or Democratic Ideal?
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Mandalay H

Speakers: Joel Benenson, Benenson Strategy Group, Mike Murphy, Revolution Agency and Romy Drucker, Walton Family Foundation

*Charter Talks

11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Charter Talks Stage, Exhibit Hall

Back for a third year, Charter Talks features 15-minute compelling presentations with a story arc that shares a big idea, a tech demo, or delves into a hot topic.

With Us, Not to Us: Community-Centered Reform
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., Mandalay F

Speakers: Cassandra Anderson, UNCF, Sekou Biddle, UNCF, Kenya Adjekum Bradshaw, The New Teacher Project, Tyler Lewis, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, Maya Martin, PAVE, Naomi Shelton, KIPP Foundation


Tuesday, July 2

*Remarks by Romy Drucker, deputy director of K-12 Education at the Walton Family Foundation
3:20 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Oceanside Ballrooms
Romy Drucker helps lead the Walton Family Foundation’s initiatives to improve K-12 education for all our nation’s children by empowering parents with quality options. She is the co-founder and former CEO of The 74.

*Story Telling - The Perspective of Students

3:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m., Oceanside Ballrooms

Speakers: Christopher De La Cruz, learning coach at South Bronx Community Charter High School, Austin Smith & Brandon Rodriguez, rising seniors at South Bronx Community Charter High School

*Keynote Address by Hadi Partovi - Unleashing Opportunity and Creativity with Computer Science

3:50 p.m. – 4:20 p.m., Charter Talks Stage, Exhibit Hall

Hadi Partovi is the founder of and creator of the Global Hour of Code Campaign.

*Charter Schools Rally - The Fight

4:20 p.m.- 4:40 p.m.

The charter school movement is in a critical moment in its history. We need every advocate to come together and put the needs of students first by speaking up on behalf of the nation’s 3.2 million charter school students and pushing back on the agenda of the education bureaucracy. The rally will be led by Dr. Howard Fuller, Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University, Keri Rodrigues, Massachusetts Parents United and Myrna Castrejón, California Charter Schools Association.


Wednesday, July 3

*Keynote Address by Clifton Taulbert - The Character of Community: The Strength of Our Lives
9:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m., Oceanside Ballroom

Author Clifton Taulbert is recognized from the United States to South Africa to Australia. His first book, Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored, became a requested gift for Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison. He has since written fourteen books and produced a major motion picture. He is a Pulitzer nominee, business owner and an international lecturer.

*Hall of Fame Induction

9:30 a.m. - 9:55 a.m., Oceanside Ballroom

This year’s final two honorees are Dr. Margaret Fortune of Fortune School of Education and Joe Nathan, Ph.D. of the Center for School Change.

Featured Breakout Sessions:

Using Charter Schools to Support Student Activism, Voice and Choice

10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m., Breakers I/J

This session will share the experiences of the Mastery Charter School - Shoemaker Campus where students’ positive racial identity was elevated and ultimately led to student activism, agency, voice, and community involvement.

Speaker: Sharif El-Mekki, Mastery Charter School – Shoemaker Campus

What are the Enabling Conditions Required to Ensure Equity for Students with Disabilities
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Lagoon L

To move the needle, we must accept that supporting students with disabilities requires cross-stakeholder investment. With a shortage of special educators, we need to maximize resources and build capacity among all school staff. This panel moves us beyond buzzwords to focus on delivering results.

Speakers: Toni Barton, Relay Graduate School of Education, Shannon Hodge, Kingsman Academy Public Charter School, Megan Ohlssen, National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools, Sahba Rohani, Community Roots Charter School, and Aqua Stovall, First Line Schools New Orleans

About Public Charter Schools Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit