Black History Education Conference

The 3rd Annual Black History Education Conference: “And How Are the Children? Black Education Matters” will provide a venue where educators across the state and country will be able to share policies, practices, programs, and procedures that have proven effective in promoting high levels of achievement for those often being under served in our school systems and communities.

Whenever members of the African Masai tribe greet one another, they ask a question: “Kasserian ingera?” Not “How do you do?” or “How’s it going?” but rather “How are the children?” It’s wonderfully revealing about the values of the Masai society. Their first concern is the next generation.

We are asking that you open your heads, hands, and hearts to collaborate with us to close the stark gaps that exist for many of the students and families that we serve in our communities and across the country. Whatever challenges we face and achievements we make, the question that goes to the heart of the health of our homes, schools, and communities should be the same: “And how are the children?” Our collective goals should lead us to being able to answer—”ALL of the children are well!”

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Black History Education Conference Scholarship

Thanks to our generous sponsors we are able to provide scholarships for a limited number of people in need of financial support. Please use this link to complete an application.

Our Journey

During this time in our history, many people have asked what they can do to take action toward ending systemic racism. Now, in our third year of offering the Black History Education Conference, we knew before this issue took center stage that culturally relevant professional development was one way to eliminate the attitude, opportunity, and achievement gaps that exist across the globe. Our answer is to bring forth solutions that will help us eliminate the stark gaps that exist in the state of Wisconsin and across our country.

The itinerary for our journey this year will be guided by what we call the B.R.E.A.T.H. Board. The B.R.E.A.T.H. Board outlines how we organize our action steps toward fulfilling our mission and goals for breathing new life into our instructional practices and children. The B.R.E.A.T.H. Board also serves to help answer the question, “What can we do to take action toward ending systemic racism?”

BBlack History Education Conference–The Black History Education Conference experience is intended to provide a venue where stakeholders across the state and country will be able to share policies, practices, programs, and procedures that have proven effective in promoting high levels of achievement for Black students. 

R–Relevant Texts–”Dreaming In Ethnic Melodies” by Andreal Davis is a book that allows the reader to take a trip through the heart and mind of a mother as she shares her hopes and dreams for her son as he navigates the journey from childhood to adulthood. The author draws from lessons learned from prominent African American historical and contemporary figures to impart wisdom and equip him with the necessary tools and information he needs to move through and to success as an African American male in modern day society.

E–Ethnic Melodies is a culturally relevant literacy curriculum that includes five responsive literacy categories and 21 culturally relevant lesson plans.

A–Affirmations and Academic Breath Bags–The “I Am Somebody” affirmation can be used to help students speak into existence what you want them to believe about themselves and what you as a teacher, family, or community member want them to know you believe about them, as well. The academic “Breath Bag” is a culturally relevant “school in a backpack” that includes age appropriate reading, science, social studies, math, and art or music activities. The activities are designed to promote positive identity development/self-esteem, enhance academic achievement, and bridge the digital divide.

TTestimonials in support of our work provide qualitative data around the impacts of our collective work and responsibility.

H–Health Disparities–With a focus on the newly created program called “The Afr I CAN cer Project,” Cultural Practices That Are Relevant will partner with community organizations and Black History Education Conference attendees to implement the Afr I CAN cer Project. The goals of the project include reducing inequities, creating awareness, implementing education activities, conducting outreach, and developing programs for underserved populations.


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Friday, February 19, 2021

Time (CST) Session
2:30p-2:45p Opening
2:45p-4:00p Milton House Museum Underground Railroad Tour
4:30p-4:45p Mary Mcleod Bethune
4:45p-5:30p Don’t Just Talk About It, Be About It: HBCU Education Turning Dreams Into Realities Panel Discussion
6:00p-8:00p Soul Train Dance with Black Art Showcase

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Time (CST) Session
7:30a-8:30a Afro Flow Yoga
9:00a-10:30a Opening
10:45a-11:45a Concurrent Sessions: Round 1
12:00p-12:45p Education for Transformation: Culturally Relevant Instructional Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement
1:00p-2:00p Concurrent Sessions: Round 2
2:15p-3:15p Concurrent Sessions: Round 3
3:30p-4:30p Concurrent Sessions: Round 4
4:30p-5:00p Closing

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Concurrent Sessions: Round 1

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10:45-11:45 a.m., You’re a Star! Celebrating Black Scientists with PBS Wisconsin

Want to learn more about Black Space Scientists, PBS KIDS, and participate in a hands-on, building activity? Join Mouna Algahaithi from PBS Wisconsin as she leads families together through an interactive workshop. We will read together, watch a brief PBS KIDS episode related to the theme, and build a spacesuit for our own stuffed animal, all while celebrating the accomplishments of important Black science figures! Make sure to bring your little ones and your favorite stuffed animal along for the mission!

Speaker: Mouna Algahaithi, PBS Wisconsin

10:45-11:45 a.m., From Talk to Action & Accountability: Methods to Fight Racism & Institutionalize Racial Equity Within Schools

For far too long, DEI sessions within the field of education have introduced concepts and opened the door for dialogue – sometimes helpful, but more times, spaces that are triggering, not well facilitated, or simply a complete waste of time, particularly for Black & Brown educators, as there is little to no follow-up nor any real change over time.  Within this session, you will learn practical and concrete methods to move from “talking about equity” to actually enacting change and accountability within your school or system. This session provides guidance on pathways to institutionalize racial equity within board governance, school/district leadership, finance/procurement, family community engagement, instruction, school culture, and HR/talent management! This is a session you do not want to miss.

Speaker: Krystal Hardy Allen, K. Allen Consulting

10:45-11:45 a.m., Leveraging Culturally Responsive Practices to achieve Black Literacy Excellence

Culturally Responsive Practices can serve as a bridge between home and school for culturally and linguistically diverse students and their homes.  Therefore, building on the strengths of Black students is critical in literacy instruction.  This session will address culturally relevant pedagogical practices in literacy and examine how to identify and address visible and invisible barriers to being a culturally relevant practitioner.

Speaker: La Tasha Fields, Wisconsin RtI Center

10:45-11:45 a.m., Our History Started Before Slavery

Knowing where we came from is ESSENTIAL to know where we are going! The Our History Started Before Slavery session is a space where participants from home, school and community receive teachings, encouragement and strategies on how to cultivate a stronger and long lasting sense of Black pride in their children/students while educating them on their Black culture.

Speaker: Freddie Taylor, Urban Intellectuals

10:45-11:45 a.m., The Queens Table

The conversation entrée for the session will offer nourishing thought and positive perspectives of the Black female narrative. This affinity space is designed as one of reverence, reflection, and inspiration for Queens to share their stories of self-care, life lessons, and words of wisdom of what it takes to wear their crowns with grace and pride.  

The Table is set with the 42 principles of Ma’at, the Nguzo Saba principles, and Iyanla Vanzant’s Twelve Commitments of Faith to nourish the soul, raise the spirit, and honor self-love.      

The goal of the experience is for participants to: 

  • learn, grow, and keep rising to their personal best
  • stand tall in self-efficacy to reach one to teach one
  • digest messages of self-worth
  • identify ways to transform thoughts and beliefs
  • cultivate life patterns to serve as role models and influencers

Feel free to wear a crown and bring along a young Queen of Tomorrow. Special prize give-a-ways.  

Speaker: Dr. Chrishirella F. Warthen-Sutton, Racine Unified School District

10:45-11:45 a.m., Using African Textiles in the Classroom to Increase Black Achievement and Self-Esteem

During this session educators and  parents will learn how to lead students in a hands-on, multisensory project. Participants will learn how to make a small quilt to use as an object lesson in the classroom to teach students how to trace their ancestral heritage through the quilting tradition.

*Participants will need to bring to the session: African fabric scraps, an 8×11 piece of cardboard, a glue stick, scissors and any type of embellishment (sequins, cowry shells etc) that reflect your culture.

Speaker: Kyna Clemons, Ujima Children of the Sun Homeschool Collective

Featured Lunchtime Presentation


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12:00-12:45 p.m., Education for Transformation: Culturally Relevant Instructional Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement

Educational research is clear and compelling. It demonstrates that culture is the key—the critical mediating factor in increasing student achievement, especially among African American students and other students of color. We understand culture to be a bridge, not a barrier, and we approach it as such.

This session demonstrates the role of culture in education along with effective culturally relevant and responsive content and instructional strategies to increase student engagement and achievement.

Speaker: Chike Akua, Clark Atlanta University

Concurrent Sessions: Round 2

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1:00-2:00 p.m., Beginning to Embed Culturally Responsive Practices into Your School Universal Practices

Culturally responsive practices and PBIS are critical elements of how teams can ensure every student achieves. In this session, we will discuss current research, best practices, critical conversations, resources, and how to begin embedding them into PBIS systems.

Speakers: Dr. Jennifer Rose, Loyola University Chicago; Milaney Leverson and Kent Smith, Wisconsin Response to Intervention (RtI) Center

1:00-2:00 p.m., Black Girl Magic: Fostering Relationships and Promoting Excellence through Asset-Based Groups

Participants will have the opportunity to learn how the Natural Circles of Support approach was utilized at Hawthorne Elementary School. The session addresses how to build supportive relationships with the students, how to use the assets that students bring to the group, learn about the impact on the group participants, and how to begin your own group.

Topics in the session include:
– Mentoring Black females
– Black female achievement
– Teaching to reaffirm students

Participants will gain tools and strategies to:
– Facilitate groups for African-American girls to learn about the impacts and outcomes of Oya Sisters at Hawthorne Elementary School
– Begin asset-based groups at their own school

Speakers: Rosa Thompson, Maria Loy; MMSD

1:00-2:00 p.m., Black to the Future: The Role of Culturally Responsive Teaching and Multicultural Curriculum on Educational and Social Progress in America

Dr. Geneva Gay defined culturally responsive teaching as “using the cultural characteristics, experiences, and perspectives of ethnically diverse students as conduits for teaching them more effectively” (Gay, 2002). It is a crucial part of transforming America’s schools, America’s students, America’s teachers and, eventually, America itself.  This session addresses culturally responsive pedagogy and multicultural curriculum, and their impact on the transformation of the social and educational diversity of America. It speaks to the shifting changes in the social and cultural makeup of the United States of America over the last fifty years and how this has impacted and should continue to impact the transformation of educational curriculum and instructional practices in America’s schools. Essentially, the session aims to help the attendee see how the changes in America’s school curriculum and teaching practices need to keep pace with the changes in its social and cultural landscape and makeup, to greater assure social equity, fairness, justice, and equal education and opportunity for all.

Speaker: Wayne Muhammed, Summit Creek Academy, Greensboro, NC

1:00-2:00 p.m., Extra Mile Club

Gaynelle J. Dantzler will share how the Extra Mile Club of the Lowcountry (EMC), a non-profit organization in Beaufort, South Carolina, is taking a holistic approach to mentoring in order to nurture a community of productive citizens and provide the love, attention, and support they need in hopes that, one day, they will pay it forward.  Dantzler will share how the EMC’s efforts have reduced juvenile delinquency and serious juvenile violence for youth in the EMC, especially when coordinated with broader community-wide efforts.

Speaker: Gaynelle J. Dantzler, Extra Mile Club of the Lowcountry(EMC)

1:00-2:00 p.m., It's A Different World! - How Equity in Schools is Essential in Serving Our Most Vulnerable Students

Inequities in schooling, especially for Black and Brown children is the current “hot” conversation of the day.  Now that equity is squarely on the table as the next civil right for children of color, now what?  How do schools change centuries of toxic culture and norms?  This presentation will explore the implementation cycle of equity in schools along with the dysfunctional cycle of equity that results from both internal and external pressures through two case studies. One, a community urban K-12 school. One, a suburban, affluent HS. Intentionally presented to show the conditions and strategies in common and unique to each case. so that school leaders can make connections. Participants will learn to build structures that support legacy, not just a trend that disappears as leadership changes.

Speaker: Regina Armour, The Armour Group

1:00-2:00 p.m., Supporting Healthy Families: Black Communication

Our workshop helps providers confront racist presumptions by addressing cultural influences that impact care and will help providers work towards more anti-racist approaches by increasing their understanding and intersectional linguistic skills. 

Speakers: Jalateefa Joe-Meyers, Sankofa Educational Leadership United; Wanda Smith, Peace Network Inc.

1:00-2:00 p.m., Wisconsin’s Model to Inform Culturally Responsive Practices and our work with the Juvenile Justice Education System

In this session, we will explore Wisconsin’s Model to Inform Culturally Responsive Practices and our journey to make the Model actionable for educators in jails, detention centers, and prisons. We will work to provide enough of a context of our own journey with the Model that participants can start their action steps to building a more culturally responsive instructional practice in their own settings.

Speakers: Kyle Peaden, Chrissy Thuli, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI)

Concurrent Sessions: Round 3

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2:15-3:15 p.m., Counteracting Patriotic Education: Culturally Relevant Teaching & Learning for Black Children in The Age of Trumpism

The focus of this presentation is to:

  • Show the need for history lessons taught through strengths-based approaches
  • Uplift African American children through history exploration, social justice lessons, and perspectives that produce social curricula of change
  • Establish the necessary tools to counteract destructive pedagogies pushed by mass media and other outlets

Patriotic education has to be counteracted with real life, research-based, and culturally responsive truth. This session will show the link between the power of history and the social-emotional learning strategies used to implement these principles. These strategies include incorporating books, visuals, and other materials that reflect Black history, lives, and points of view.

Speaker: O’nae Chatman, Chatman Consulting Group

2:15-3:15 p.m., Equity Through S.T.E.A.M.

Recent events in our country have made it increasingly apparent that we live in a white supremacist society that has been specifically created to keep Black and Brown people as the chattel on which white men, primarily, have built their empire. Critical Race Theory has shown that systematic racism has held Black and Brown people back from full personhood. As an educator, I have been trained to have rigorous practice and content in my classroom, practice based on a set of arbitrary standards and benchmarks that are based on non-educator policymakers’ beliefs about what a student should know and be able to do. This has led to widening gaps in opportunity and achievement for BIPOC. I have heard recently that Virtual Education is leaving our children behind, but I believe that this couldn’t be further from the truth. It is what we are trying to teach “virtually” that is lacking. Our times call for rethinking how and what we are teaching. The answer lies in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics taught through the process of “making”. Come explore S.T.E.A.M. education and how it can accelerate and catapult our children into the future. 

Speaker: Kira Fobbs, MMSD

2:15-3:15 p.m., Foster Care Disparities for African American Children in Wisconsin – Are We Serving the Needs of our African American Children

In this presentation, participants will:

  • Learn some of the history regarding the framework of how we lose African American children in the Foster Care system.
  • Challenges in Changing the Foster Care System
  • Serving the Needs of African American Children
  • Ideas to generate change in a system that has challenges in meeting the needs of children of color

Speaker: Quincey Daniels, Northcentral University

2:15-3:15 p.m., Leading Change: A Lesson From Our Ancestors

Are you leading a change initiative? This interactive session applies the most common greeting in the Zulu tribe, Sawubona, which literally means “I see you; you are important to me; and I value you” when leading change initiatives and innovations. Sawubona reminds us to be aware of the needs of others and to give importance to individuals in a group. As you mentor and lead others through change, you will learn the behaviors leaders can expect to see when leading change while gathering strategies to meet the needs of those behaviors as well as cautions to be mindful of.

Speaker: Kathy L. Myles, Wisconsin Response to Intervention (RtI) Center

2:15-3:15 p.m., Selecting Culturally Relevant Literature For Children

One of the issues librarians confront every day is what to purchase. Building a culturally relevant collection takes time and money. In this session, we’ll examine some of the authors, illustrators, and titles that have been added to the Hawthorne Elementary School collection. While looking at the titles, we must remember that some books are “mirrors” that let us see characters who have experiences and lives like our own and other books are “windows” that let us see the lives of characters whose experiences are different from ours. This combination lets the reader feel understood and also lets them develop an understanding of what is different.

It is especially important that our children are able to see themselves reflected in the literature they find in their library. Looking at publishing data gives some hope, as there are more BIPOC authors and illustrators being published every year, but the percentage of titles is still woefully small in comparison to the total number of books published each year.

Speaker: Pam Hoadley, MMSD

2:15-3:15 p.m., Spaces Affinity Group

Creating spaces for teachers of color to assist in increasing their knowledge and  developing expertise as facilitators of culturally responsive practices for educational communities is a need specifically in the state of Wisconsin.  The objective of establishing the Spaces affinity group is to develop collegiality, support, and professional development for group members; support the group’s engagement and outreach with the educational community; and develop leaders of diverse, culturally responsive practice professional learning communities

Cohort 1 launched in fall 2020 and included Black Female Educators in Milwaukee and surrounding areas.  Facilitators helped participants to incorporate the Three R’s Release, Relate and Relax. Within this space created as a place of safety, individuals became equipped to be their authentic selves as women of African Ancestry and connect with others within the same profession. Additionally, the overall goal is for participants to become Equity Warriors as it relates to implementing culturally responsive practices as well as empowering colleagues to do the same.

Speaker: Dara Atandare, Brown Deer Wisconsin School District

Concurrent Sessions: Round 4

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3:30-4:00 p.m., Cancer Clear and Simple

Cancer, Clear & Simple (CC&S) is a set of educational materials about cancer.  CC&S includes a curriculum, facilitator guide, and educational handouts. All CC&S materials incorporate health literacy principles and are designed to build knowledge and improve health-related decision-making. This session will present pieces of information from each section of the curriculum, Cancer Basics, Cancer Prevention, and Cancer Screening.  

Find more about CC&S here:

Speaker: Joshua Wright, UW-Madison

4:00-4:30 p.m., Pancreatic Cancer and its Impact on Black Communities

In this session we will discuss some of the statistics related to pancreatic cancer incidence, research on health disparities related to pancreatic cancer and factors that may contribute to higher incidence of pancreatic cancer among Black/African Americans.

Speaker: Diiehma Bates and Fatima Zelada-Arenas, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN)

3:30-4:30 p.m, Becoming a Black Artist

My talk will center on my personal journey to art and how I became a professional painter. I will look at the road blocks and the struggle that many Black artist experience, such as moving past the negative stereotypes about artists (i.e., “the starving artist,” not finding recognition until after death). We will also dive into the challenges that many Black artists face in trying to find role models and mentors. Finally, we will explore the need for self-drive, determination, studying, discipline, and continuous practice.

Speaker: Jerry Jordan

3:30-4:30 p.m, Black Indians Connection, Convergence and Confluence

Black and Native populations experience the worst disproportional statistics across the nation and share equally tragic and abhorrent historical experiences in this country. Black Indians face double the challenges by carrying the burdens of both populations as well as the unique burden of being both Black and Indian. The need for and evidence of unifying voice has never been more relevant than in the state of our nation today.

This workshop will explore the unique emergence of the intersectional racial population of Black Indians in our history. We will share both written history as well as knowledge not written in books but passed down through oral tribal tradition. Participants will learn about some prominent Black Indians and their contributions that shaped history as well as crucial times of concurrence and unity between Black and Indian communities throughout history. Discussion will move to a contemporary context involving examining the complex reality of the internally-oppressive racial divide, the harm of this intersectional experience, and the difficulties of interracial existence.  Finally, in light of current conditions, discussion will ensue around the need for powerful racial connection, convergence, and confluence of Blacks, Indians, and Black Indians to lift our voices and hold each other in solidarity in these turbulent times for the sake of the future of our children.

“I have a dream where one day my four children will live in a country where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” –Dr. Martin Luther King

“Let us put our minds together and see what future we can make for our children.” –Sitting Bull

Speaker: Kamewanukiw Paula Rabideaux, Wisconsin Response to Intervention (RtI) Center

3:30-4:30 p.m., A Celebration of Life! Over 25 Years Featuring STEM Professionals of Color

For over 25 years, the BTC Institute has partnered with the African American Ethnic Academy to offer A Celebration of Life!,  a summer science program for upper elementary and middle school students. A key objective of the program is to showcase Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) professionals of color who have careers related to the different science theme each year.

“When we introduce our students to female engineers or Black computer scientists, we begin to shift the status quo and transform popular image and belief of who ‘belongs’ in STEM to include every type of person.” (National Alliance for Partners in Equity)

If you’d like to hear more about this program and discuss related issues, please join us!

Speakers: Barbara Bielec, BTC Institute; Karen Herrera, MMSD (retired)

3:30-4:30 p.m., Destined for Greatness! Why Every Child and Every School Needs a Greatness Coach

In this session, you will learn exactly what a Greatness Coach is, what they do, why they are one of the key factors of leadership in schools. You will also learn how they play an important role in childrenś success in schools. I will share with you my journey as being the only Black person on staff as a Playground/ Support Assistant to being on the Crisis Response Team to my current and most rewarding position as The Greatness Coach with a multicultural staff. Most importantly you will learn ​Why Every Child and Every School Needs and Deserves A Greatness Coach!

Speaker: Mizzier Campbell, Sun Prairie Area School District

3:30-4:30 p.m., Fun Weird Science: STEM Based Lesson Hooks

Science is something that students have to DO. Take part in this OPPORTUNITY to interact with Fun Weird Science strategies as we model engaging hands-on learning experiences guaranteed to keep your scholars hooked. Participating educators will benefit from and engage in a variety of STEM-based activities designed for use as lesson hooks, driving focus and/or extensions. Session topics to include but not limited to chemical reactions, force and motion, heat energy, polymers, aeronautics, and life cycles. Walk away with a electronic toolkit for STEAM-based activities that can be utilized at home to complement your science exploration efforts!

Speaker: Ronnie Thomas

Featured Sessions

Are you concerned about widening opportunity gaps?
Are you looking for a counter narrative to what children are seeing and experiencing on social media?
Are you looking for curriculum to broach the topic of race with your child?

Join us in making sure that we can respond with “ALL of the children are well.”

Learn more about Breath Bags in action!
New program brings learning, interaction for 3rd and 4th graders at Penn Park

Keynote: “I’m Six Years Old and I Read at an Eighth Grade Level”


Felicia Phillips, author of Coping with Covid for Kids, will speak about what motivated her to write a book for her children, her students, and children all over the world in need of coping and social-emotional learning skills.

This strand will focus on pancreatic, breast, colon, and prostate cancer and address the recent unveilings of health disparities for African Americans connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn how this busy 1844 Stagecoach Inn was a successful part of the Underground Railroad Station, a secret network of people and places that helped individuals escape slavery.

The daughter of former slaves, Mary Jane McLeod Bethune became one of the most important Black educators, civil and women’s rights leaders, and government officials of the twentieth century. The college she founded, Bethune Cookman College, set educational standards for today’s Black colleges. Her role as an advisor to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave African Americans an advocate in government.

Sojourner Truth was born into slavery but escaped to freedom and became one of the most noted African American women speakers on issues of civil rights and abolition. She was deeply religious and felt a calling from God to travel America speaking on slavery and other contemporary issues. At six feet tall, she was a striking presence and used her powerful oratory to awaken the conscience of America to the injustice of slavery and discrimination.

Visionary, entrepreneur, and philanthropist; just a few words that describe Freddie E. Taylor, founder and CEO of Urban Intellectuals (UI).

Spurred by the lack of Black history instruction that his sons received in grammar school, Taylor knew the onus was on him to create a new narrative of Black culture. In 2009, UI was born.

Initially, UI was an online hub of Black media that now boasts over one million Facebook fans, a mobile app, and its own social media network. Today, the company has several products, including the renowned Black History Flashcards.  UI has aggressively taken a lead role in engaging, educating, and empowering people who are curious and passionate about the African diaspora.

To date, over 300,000 Black History Flashcards have been sold and featured in:  Essence, HuffPost, CBS Chicago, Good Morning Washington, Milwaukee PBS, and Sister Circle on TV One. Additionally, UI enjoyed a 2019 Black History Month collaboration with JetBlue featuring the flashcards in the JFK (New York) and Newark (New Jersey) airports.

Chike Akua, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Educational Leadership at Clark Atlanta University and an African-centered leadership strategist to colleges, universities, educational conferences, and urban schools internationally.

Dr. Akua develops African-centered curriculum resources. As the author of eleven books, he has written and published several books and parent/teacher guides designed for today’s students. Education for Transformation: The Keys to Releasing the Genius of African American Students is a book for teachers and leaders that is used in a number of urban school districts for professional development. It is also used in a number of colleges and universities for preparation of pre-service teachers and leaders.

The book, Honoring Our Ancestral Obligations: 7 Steps to Black Student Success, is also used at a number of high schools, colleges, and universities for students and those who serve them.

Dr. Akua’s research has been published by academic presses in the following publications: African-Centered Education: Theory and Practice (2020)The Journal of Black Studies(2020), The SAGE Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America (2016).

Dr. Akua resides just outside Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife of 26 years and their two sons.  Learn more about Dr. Akua at

Founded by husband and wife team, Leslie Salmon Jones and Jeff W. Jones, Afro Flow Yoga® is an embodied practice that infuses dance movements of the African Diaspora with a meditative yoga sequence and live music. Afro Flow Yoga® promotes a compassionate, non-judgmental, inclusive, and safe environment. They cultivate community-building and activism through the lens of embodied practices of the African Diaspora.

Sheona Little is an Afro Flow Yoga® Certified Teacher who was introduced to Afro Flow Yoga® through a friend who encouraged her to do the teacher training.  As soon as she connected with Leslie and Jeff and learned more about the Afro Flow Yoga® program, she was immediately hooked!

All levels and ages are welcome. You don’t have to know yoga or dance to enjoy this class, so join us for this unique experience that includes live music, meditation, yoga, dance, and an opportunity to connect with yourself and your community. And it’s fun!

The mission of Afro Flow Yoga® is to bring healing and transformation to all individuals, communities, and the world, especially in challenging times, through interconnection to all beings and the earth while striving for social justice and equity.

Leslie, Jeff, and the Afro Flow Yoga® team were featured in a very special and important documentary, Dark Girls 2: Deep, Dark, and Divine, which premiered on the OWN network. This powerful documentary is a follow-up to the highly touted Dark Girls and explores the prejudices darker-skinned women face around the world. The film is directed, written, and executive produced by D. Channsin Berry (The Black Line) and his production company, Urban Winter Entertainment, Inc. To watch the entire documentary, please visit this website.

Featuring DJ Baby Butch and local artist Ciera Carey!

Join us for a special viewing of a documentary about the rich but undertold history of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Want to learn more about Black Space Scientists, PBS KIDS, and participate in a hands-on, building activity? Join Mouna Algahaithi from PBS Wisconsin as she leads families together through an interactive workshop. We will read together, watch a brief PBS KIDS episode related to the theme, and build a spacesuit for our own stuffed animal while celebrating the accomplishments of important Black science figures! Make sure to bring your little ones and your favorite stuffed animal along for the mission!

Welcome Address

Join us for a special welcome address from State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor!

With almost four decades of public education experience, including the prior 17 years as the Assistant State Superintendent for the Division for Learning Support, Stanford Taylor has been dedicated to the education of our next generation and ensuring all children have an opportunity to access a quality education. She is the first African American state superintendent in Wisconsin history.

Very Special Guest

Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings is Professor Emerita and former Kellner Family Distinguished Professor in Urban Education. She was the 2005-2006 president of the American Educational Research Association. She is currently the President-Elect of the National Academy of Education. Ladson-Billings’ research examines the pedagogical practices of teachers who are successful with African American students. She also investigates Critical Race Theory applications to education.

Dr. Ladson-Billings is the author of the critically acclaimed books, The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children, Crossing over to Canaan: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms, and Beyond the Big House: African American Educators on Teacher Education.

Who We Are

Andreal Davis is a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, friend, and the Statewide Culturally Responsive Practices Coordinator in Wisconsin. She is also CEO and Founder of Cultural Practices That Are Relevant Consulting Firm whose signature event is the annual Black History Education Conference. She received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1986 and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction in 1995 from UW–Madison. Davis also holds a certificate in educational administration from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin.

Convinced of the importance of family and community in a child’s education, Davis has been instrumental in forming family-school-community relationships ever since she began teaching in 1986. She has served in various capacities in the public education arena including but not limited to an elementary educator, Title I reading instructor, parent involvement coordinator, instructional resource teacher for cultural relevance, assistant director of equity and family involvement, and the nation’s first director of African American student achievement with the Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wisconsin. She was formerly co-director, along with her husband, Arlington, of the African American Ethnic Academy, an academic and cultural enrichment program that convened on Saturday mornings. As a product of the research she did while serving as co-director at the African American Ethnic Academy, she was propelled by her own three sons and countless other under-served children across the country and devoted her life’s work to researching best practices and models around Culturally Responsive Practices that speak to the unique identities and world views of children.

Reflecting on her own educational experiences as a child and those she has had as a classroom teacher and mother, she has held deeply in her heart the people, purposes, and passions that have shaped and profoundly impacted her in becoming the educational leader she is today. Many of these experiences remain in her institutional memory and call her to create and share this work through publishing books, developing curriculum, and consulting work across the nation. Included in this repertoire of tools and resources are a professional development model called “Cultural Practices That Are Relevant” (CPR) that supports and strengthens Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching.

Most recently, she has published her first culturally responsive children’s book called, “Dreaming In Ethnic Melodies” that shares the hopes and dreams she has held for her own three sons. She currently serves as Wisconsin’s Statewide Culturally Responsive Practices Coordinator at the Wisconsin Response to Intervention Center where she, along with a team of colleagues, trains practitioners across the state of Wisconsin and nationally from a model she co-created called the “Model to Inform Culturally Responsive Practices” that focuses on what it means to be culturally responsive starting with self and moving that work across an entire equitable multi-level system of support.

As a result of this work, Davis has received various awards. She was the recipient of the NBC 15 News Crystal Apple Award (2000), UW–Madison Lois Gadd Nemec Distinguished Elementary Education Alumni Award (2004), Order of the Eastern Star Mother Full of Grace (2004), Milken National Educator Award (2004), and the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award (2013).

At Cultural Practices That Are Relevant (CPR) our work focuses on “Breathing New Life Into Our Instructional Practices and Children.”

In an effort to promote, honor and protect the wealth of Black educational practices and promote increased racial identity and achievement in Black children, Cultural Practices That Are Relevant is a national education consulting firm that provides culturally relevant conferences, coaching, workshops, curriculum development, and public speaking to early childhood, K-12, and higher education institutions across the United States.

We strive to draw from our highest order models and traditional ways of being and knowing to bring the best that we have to offer by mobilizing and sharing research based best practices and models that exist across the country. In doing so, the foundation of our work will be to learn from the past to create the future, Sankofa, and come together in a way that demonstrates the philosophy of Ubuntu—“I am because we are”—to make and take action toward closing achievement, attitude, and opportunity gaps that will allow our children to see and be the highest order model of their “possible selves.”

Our signature event is the annual Black History Education Conference, now in its third year, with an ever-increasing number of participants across Wisconsin and wider growing participation across the United States. Our 300-plus past attendees have included:

  • PK-16+ Educators: Early childhood representatives; K-12 school personnel; and higher education institutions including Edgewood College, UW–Madison, UW–Eau Claire, and UW–Whitewater
  • Church Members and Community Organizations: Urban League of Greater Madison, Overture Center for the Arts, Wisconsin State Historical Society, and more
  • State Officials: State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, UW–Madison Interim Chief Diversity Officer Cheryl Gittens, and representatives from the Wisconsin Education Council
  • Nationally-known Education Consultants: Dr. Gloria Ladson Billings and Dr. Mahalia Hines, mother of the Grammy award winning actor/performer Common

Another goal of Cultural Practices That Are Relevant is to bring people together to share what we know will change the data that places Wisconsin among the lowest on the Department of Education and NAEP lists in graduation rates, reading scores, standardized math scores, out of school suspensions, prison rates, experiencing poverty, health disparities, and other areas for Black students and families who call Wisconsin “home”.

2020 Black History Education Conference Clip

If you have a purpose for which you can believe, there’s no end to the amount of things you can accomplish.

Marian Anderson


If you have questions about the 3rd Annual Black History Education Conference, please email PLACE Conference and Event Planning Services at