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2019 New York State My Brother's Keeper Symposium

Save the date for the 2019 New York State My Brother's Keeper Symposium!

Date: Friday, May 31, 2019

Time: 7:30 AM – 5:15 PM

Location: Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY

2019 Symposium Agenda (draft)

The 2019 MBK Symposium is an invitation-only event. If you are affiliated with NYSMBK but have not received an invitation and believe you have been overlooked, please email us at Put "2019 Symposium" in the subject line and provide a brief, two-sentence summary of your involvement in MBK in New York State.

Note to MBK Coordinators: 
All student attendees must return a photo and video release prior to the symposium. Please print the photo and video release form, then scan the signed form and send it to us by email

Breakout Sessions

First Session

OPTION 1: “The Basics”

Dr. Ronald Ferguson, Director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University, and Creator of the Boston Basics

There are five parenting principles that researcher Ronald Ferguson calls the "Boston Basics." They include: 1) Maximize love, and manage stress; 2) Talk, sing, and point; 3) Count, group, and compare; 4) Explore through movement and play; and 5) Read and discuss stories. The principles are designed for children between birth and age 3, the critical first years of life in which 80 percent of the brain's overall growth happens. Now, the Boston Basics Campaign is partnering with hospitals, community health centers, childcare providers, libraries and early learning centers across Boston. Professor Ferguson hopes that they can help close the achievement gap that already starts to emerge by the time a child is in kindergarten.


OPTION 2: “Is My MBK Program Better Because I Lead It?”

Principal Baruti Kafele, celebrated educator, author, and motivational speaker

Adapted from his latest best-selling self-reflection guide, Is my school a better school because I lead it? Baruti Kafele offers leaders thought-provoking questions to ponder from the fundamental overarching query: “Is my MBK program a better program because I lead it? Musing deeply on discrete leadership matters is an essential component of success for anybody overseeing the day-to-day operations of a program serving youth, and doubly so in underserved communities. Kafele offers those seeking to improve the quality of their programming hard-won wisdom on such critical issues as ensuring an optimal culture and climate, engaging in parent and community outreach, confirming emergency preparedness, rallying staff, and much more.


Second Session

OPTION 3: “Untapped Potential! It Does Not Have to be This Way: Promising Practices, Successful Schools and Young Men of Color”

PLC Associates, Inc.

This session will present comprehensive findings from ten successful high schools and two impressive districts who are winning in spite of narratives and beliefs to the contrary, proving that their student population, especially boys and young men of color (BYMOC), can not only achieve, but excel. Each of these schools has surpassed the state graduation rate for BYMOC and has demonstrated a three-year positive trajectory of improvement – a laudable accomplishment!

An expert-level team from PLC Associates, Inc., visited each of these schools and districts, conducting intensive interviews, focus forums, surveying, identifying Social-Emotional Developmental Health (SEDH) supports, assessing resource allocation, meeting with students, talking with families, examining data and “digging deep” to identify the key drivers of success. We will share these exciting findings with the field, along with the key trends we found, connected to leveraging such success.

Participants will have an opportunity to hear not only what these schools did to achieve such results…but also, how they did it. Guests from these schools and districts will be present and participating, as well. Our goal is to present clear and compelling content…so that all schools, especially those serving BYMOC, are positioned to achieve such extraordinary levels of success.


OPTION 4: “Educator… You Matter!”

Principal Baruti Kafele, celebrated educator, author, and motivational speaker

This empowering, introspective workshop takes educators on a self-reflective journey designed to challenge them to think deeply and critically about their current practices relative to how they inspire educational excellence. Educators will discover numerous ideas for strengthening their practice and investing in student success. This workshop is an indispensable must for educators who want to give their absolute best in schools, classrooms, and districts at all times and under all circumstances.