On August 25, 2016, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a public policy trade organization representing over 400 of the region’s top companies, held its 5th Annual Education Summit hosted by Microsoft Silicon Valley.
The theme of this year’s Summit was “Public-Private Partnerships”, and nearly 400 industry representatives, education leaders, community based organization staff members, and local elected officials spent the morning learning about ways in which local schools and business have developed intentional, sustainable, and impactful partnerships. Companies including Microsoft, Synopsys, Salesforce, PWC, Addepar, Symmantec, and Zynga discussed ways they were partnering with local Bay Area schools as it related to the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Education Portfolio’s four focus areas:
- Diversifying the STEM Pipeline
- Supporting the Implementation of New Education Reforms
- Workforce Development
- Ed Tech
The morning started with an address by Kristina Peralta, the Director of Education and Workforce Preparedness at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. In it, she framed the event by discussing the role that advocates have to utilize their privilege to create space for disenfranchised communities and highlighted the importance of developing partnerships that create opportunities for students while acknowledging and actualizing students’ agency.
Jonathan Noble, Director of US Government Affairs at Microsoft, welcomed the crowd and shared Microsoft’s work advocating for and providing access to Computer Science Education. He spoke about Microsoft’s TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) program, which engages volunteer computer science professionals to provide computer science education to schools all over the country.
The next speaker was Dr. Jannett Jackson, Chancellor of Chabot-Las Positas Community College District, which serves over 29,000 students in Alameda County. She spoke about the critical role community colleges play providing higher education access to all students, noting that the California Community College system serves 2.4 million students.
Our Morning Keynote was Ebony Frelix, Sr. Vice President of Employee Engagement and Philanthropy at Salesforce.org. She was joined onstage by Hydra Mendoza, Sr. Advisor of Education and Family Services for the Office of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Commissioner for the San Francisco Board of Education. The lively discussion highlighted Salesforce’s deep engagement with San Francisco Unified School District, and Salesforce.org’s 1-1-1 model, through which Salesforce.org donates 1% of their annual equity, 1% of employee time for volunteering and 1% of their product.
The Diversifying the STEM Pipeline panel was moderated by Dr. Allison Scott, Chief Research Officer at the Kapor Center for Social Impact, and featured Claire Shorall, Manager of Computer Science for Oakland Unified School District; Brian Stanley, Executive Director of the Oakland Education Fund; Nikki Lasley, Sr. Program Manager for Education Initiatives at Salesforce.org. The panel focused on how multiple stakeholders, including local foundations, school districts, and business, have partnered to implement Computer Science plans to serve underrepresented low-income students and students of color.
John Fensterwald, Editor-at-Large at EdSource, led a discussion on New Education Reforms featuring Anne Campbell, Superintendent of Schools at the San Mateo County Office of Education; Carrie Hahnel, Deputy Director of Research and Policy Analysis at The Education Trust-West; Ted Lempert, President of Children Now; and Michael Kirst, President of the California State Board of Education. The discussion focused on how the Federal guidelines under the Every Student Success Act align with California’s Local Control Funding Formula and the state’s new Accountability System.
The EdTech panel featured Marc Suidan, Partner, Merger & Acquisitions for PwC; Muhammed Chaudhry, President & CEO for the Silicon Valley Education Foundation; Dianne Tavenner, Founder and CEO of Summit Public Schools; Mike Sego, Director of Engineering at Facebook; Kathy Gomez, Superintendent of Evergreen School District; and was moderated by Dr. Barbara Means, Co-director of the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International. The panelists discussed partnerships and the technologies they are pioneering, and how they fit within the broader context of EdTech.
The Workforce Development panel was moderated by Cecily Joseph, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Office for Symantec, and featured Jordan Smith, Lead Software Engineer, and Zach Ingraham, Sr. Data Engineering Lead at Addepar; Johnnie Williams, Apprenticeship Director at #YesWeCode; Marthaa Torres, Principal, Thurgood Marshall Academic High School; and Erin Baudo Felter, Executive Director of Zynga.org. Panelists provided best practices in diversity recruitment and retention, as well as ways to strengthen partnerships with local schools.
The event wrapped up with an inspiring Closing Keynote from Linda Darling-Hammond, President and CEO, Learning Policy Institute and Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University, who discussed 21st Century Learning for All.
Darling-Hammond closed with a quote from John Dewey which read, “What the best and wisest parent wants for his or her child, that must the community want for all of its children. Any goal is narrow and unlovely. Acted upon, it destroys our democracy.” The quote was a great way to end the Summit, and served as a reminder that all of us– business leaders, community members, educators, and political leaders, are accountable for the outcomes of all students.
For more information on the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Education Porfolio and Education Summit, visit: http://svlg.org/policy-areas/education/education-leader-summit