Educators gather online for annual school improvement conference

News SREB News Release

More than 1,600 educators nationwide will gather online this week for a national school improvement conference to share strategies to address unfinished learning, improve access and equity for each student, and raise the quality of instruction when school opens this fall.

The Southern Regional Education Board Making Schools Work Conference is taking place July 6-9.

“For more than 30 years, this conference has inspired teachers and leaders from across the South and nationwide to improve education and share ideas and strategies that support every student in reaching their full potential,” said SREB President Stephen L. Pruitt.

Teachers, principals, counselors, instructional coaches and state and district leaders will come together in more than 180 live and on-demand sessions on literacy, math, career pathways, social-emotional learning, diversity, equity and inclusion, continuous improvement and more.

Educators lead most of the conference sessions, sharing school-improvement ideas and strategies with their peers.

“As we reflect on the past year and plan for fall 2021, this conference encourages teachers, principals, superintendents and others in education to explore how they can accelerate learning for students, address the inequities that were magnified during the pandemic, and improve instruction to help all students prepare for lifelong success,” Pruitt said.

The conference will feature a virtual networking lounge in which educators can share resources and discuss key topics in education. Another highlight will be a showcase of Nashville businesses that partner with conference partner PENCIL to create videos that promote early literacy; encourage STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) learning; and develop students’ career awareness and readiness.

Conference keynote and featured speakers include:

  • Kim Bearden, co-founder of the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Anna Nixon, award-winning roboticist and co-founder of STEM4Girls, a nonprofit group that encourages girls and youth to explore STEM careers
  • Baruti Kafele, transformational school leader and social justice champion
  • Joe and Dardi Hendershott, co-founders of Hope 4 The Wounded and advocates for children of trauma
  • Christian Moore, licensed clinical social worker and creator of the WhyTry social-emotional learning program

Tackling Unfinished Learning

On Wednesday, July 7, at 1 p.m. ET, Pruitt will lead a keynote conversation with education leaders. Panelists will discuss their plans to provide new levels of support for students this fall and how they’re re-envisioning education in different ways.

The panel includes members of SREB’s K-12 Education Recovery Task Force, which in 2020 developed a playbook on virtual or hybrid instruction, addressing unfinished learning and safely resuming in-person instruction.

Next year: SREB’s summer conference will be held in Grapevine, Texas.

Media Contacts

Alan Richard:, (404) 879-5528
Kirsten Sundell:, (301) 514-7263

About SREB

The Southern Regional Education Board works with states to improve education at every level, from early childhood through doctoral education. A nonprofit, nonpartisan interstate compact based in Atlanta, SREB was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislators to help leaders in education and government advance education to improve the social and economic life of the region. SREB’s annually supports thousands of K-12 educators in schools and districts nationwide through its research-based school-improvement process, ongoing professional learning and coaching on effective classroom instruction, and challenging curricula in literacy, math and STEM-based career pathways.