Education Summit

Notes from the 2015 Education Summit

2015 summit web banner


On March 223, 2105, Catholic Partnership Schools held its 3rd Annual Education Summit. Our 2015 Education Summit Keynotes energized and inspired the crowd.

Four internationally-recognized experts shared the keynotes of the day and touched on important topics surrounding education while also helping us explore:

  • Why are some kids learning so much and others so little?
  • What do we need to understand?
  • What do we need to do? 


Baruti Kafele

An internationally-renowned education speaker. He works with hundreds of schools and districts to assist them in addressing and closing the “attitude gap” – the gap between those students who have the will to strive for academic excellence and those who do not. Baruti’s works dive deep into motivating black males to achieve in school and life and transforming the attitudes of at-risk student populations. 

Baruti was an elementary school teacher in East Orange, NJ, was selected as the East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year and is credited with leading the transformation of four urban New Jersey schools, including the “Mighty” Newark Tech, which went from a low performing school to national acclaim being recognized as one of America’s best high schools.

Laurence Steinberg, PhD

One of the world’s leading experts on adolescence and brain plasticity. In his latest book, Age of OpportunitySteinberg argues that the brain remains “plastic,” or changeable, well into one’s early 20s. His research challenges that while brain development from ages 0-3 is important, ages 12-25 may be just as important for shaping the future of individuals and society.  The adolescent period of brain development is a second (and last) chance, indicating a period of opportunity that educators and parents can tap into and nurture.

Laurence’s latest book, Age of Opportunity: Lessons From the New Science of Adolescence, focuses on a range of topics, including adolescent brain development, risk taking and decision making, family and peer relationships, school achievement and juvenile justice.

Pedro Noguera, PhD

One of America’s most important voices for healthy public education –  a strong and powerful voice for urban education, its challenges and how it can be improved. Pedro looks at ways in which the academic performance of students in urban areas is linked to social and economic factors. As a former K-12 teacher, he argues that American public schools are floundering and our current policies focus on the symptoms and not the underlying cause – poverty.

Pedro is an expert on school reform, diversity and the achievement gap–and he translates social theory into concise, direct language with emotional impact and intellectual rigor. His most recent book is Schooling for Resilience.

Amanda Ripley

An investigative journalistic for Time, The Atlantic and other magazines. She explores the gap between public policy and human behavior. Her latest book is, The Smartest Kids in the World – and How They Got That Way, a New York Times bestseller. Amanda will explore her groundbreaking research into learning in other cultures. She has visited schools on four continents and interviewed hundreds of kids, teachers and parents. Her presentation will address such important questions such as “How do other countries create ‘smarter’ kids?” and “What is it like to be a child in the world’s new education superpowers?”

Amanda’s work has also touched on other important topics and stories including the primary of sports in American high schools, the college of the future and the science of motivating children.

Special Guest:

  • Sister Rosemarie Nassif, SSND, PhD, Director, Catholic Sisters Initiative, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Read more about the 2015 Education Summit here.


Notes From the 2014 Education Summit…


Our 2014 Education Summit was a huge success and we had some very special guests.

Continuing the Conversation…

Self-Control, Poverty, Social and Emotional Development, and the Roles They Play in Raising our Children

Another successful gathering of researchers, social scientists, educators, teachers, administrators, and parents who came together to shape a program of action that springs from a greater understanding of the physiological and neurological impact of poverty, violence, and trauma on a student’s ability to learn and succeed. After the keynote address, presentations were made by panel members, audience Q&A, smaller expert/practitioner groups to explore in facilitated working groups more effective strategies for improving behavior, resilience, academic achievement, and parental engagement. The summit was the jumping off point for additional conversation and networking that will ultimately lead to new and practicable solutions.


Angela Duckworth, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Duckworth is a 2013 recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellow Genius Award. She is identified throughout the country for advancing our understanding of how self-control and grit — the relentless work ethic of sustaining your commitments toward a long-term goal — impact success. The implications of her work span from education to employment to human happiness.


  • Maurice J. Elias, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychology, Director of Social-Emotional Learning Lab, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
  • Hallam Hurt, MD, Neonatal and Perinatal Medicine and Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Douglas MacIver, PhD, Co-Director, Center for Social Organization of Schools, School of Education, Johns Hopkins University
  • Matt Katz, Moderator, WNYC, New York Public Radio

“The summit, held by the Catholic Partnership Schools, a non-profit foundation operating the five Catholic schools in Camden, gathered 323 education professionals for a day of panel discussions and networking.” Read more at

Notes From the 2013 Education Summit…

2013 Education Summit

It’s Unanimous. The 2013 Education Summit Was a Winner!

Our thanks to the more than 300 education professionals from seven states who converged on The Enterprise Center in Mt. Laurel, NJ on Monday, March 18th to hear noted author Paul Tough and a high-powered panel of researchers and academics talk about the power of resilience and grit and the need for a deeper understanding of the social and emotional underpinnings of success in childhood and beyond.

What set the conference apart was the sheer diversity of the group. Representatives from every sector serving children were there – from pre-school specialists to university researchers, professors, and students; charter, district, parochial, and private schools administrators and teachers; guidance counselors; educational psychologists; social workers; funders; parents, and government officials. They came together to learn more about the latest research on the physiological and neurological impact of poverty and trauma on young lives, to share ideas and resources,  and to reinforce for one another the need to first help children deal with the daunting challenges they face every day.

After the keynote address, presentations by the panel members, and audience Q&A, smaller groups met in 8 facilitated workshops led by the presenters to learn more effective classroom and school-based strategies for improving behavior, resilience, academic achievement, and parental engagement. For more about the speakers, click here.

Attendees came away armed with strategies for turning developmental theory into meaningful practice.  They heard about the practical interventions that have been shown to reverse the negative impact of violence and poverty and get children on the right academic path.

They learned how mindfulness strategies and practice create a safe and emotionally healing space for learning. And they discussed the critical role of parents at home and in school in ensuring positive student outcomes.


Paul Tough, Author

Author of the best-selling How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character.


  • Mary Dozier, PhD from the University of Delaware
  • C. Cybele Raver, PhD from New York University
  • Stephanie Jones, PhD from Harvard University
  • Jenny Roca, M.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania

To read the story in the Philadelphia Inquirer

And in Camden’s Catholic Star Herald