The Conference

Thank you to all who attended the 2012 National
Community Organizing and School Reform Conference
Friday, March 23 – Saturday, March 24, 2012
Harvard Graduate School of Education

For video, audio, and other documentation from the conference, along with information on the panels, workshops, and speakers who took part, visit

The Community Organizing and School Reform Conference brought together community organizers, education researchers, youth, educators, funders and other stakeholders to discuss the contributions of community organizing to school improvement and equitable education policy. The conference provided an opportunity to discuss the role of community organizing in the current policy context, learn about new research and practice in the field, build relationships within and across stakeholder groups, and build capacity to advance the work of community organizing and school reform.

Buy the Book

The conference was put together by Mark Warren, Karen Mapp, and the Community Organizing and School Reform project in connection with the publication of their new book, A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform. Based on a comprehensive national study, the book presents rich and compelling case studies of prominent organizing efforts in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, San Jose, and the Mississippi Delta. It argues that community organizing represents a fresh and promising approach to school reform as part of a broader agenda to build power for low-income communities and address the profound social inequalities that affect the education of children.

Speakers and workshop leaders included:
Shawn Ginwright, San Francisco State University
Kathy Hoover-Dempsey, Vanderbilt University
Leroy Johnson, Southern Echo
Alberto Retana, Los Angeles Community Coalition
Marshall Ganz, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Maisie Chin, Community Asset Development Re-defining Education (CADRE)
Ernesto Cortes Jr., Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF)
Mark Warren, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Penny Bender Sebring, Chicago Consortium on School Research
Karen Mapp, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Julio Cammarota, University of Arizona
Helen Beattie, Youth and Adults Transforming Schools Together
John Jackson, Schott Foundation
Ricardo Martinez, Padres y Jovenes Unidos
Caron Atlas, Arts and Democracy Project
Hiro Yoshikawa, Harvard Graduate School of Education
and many more…

This conference was co-sponsored by the Ford Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Hazen Foundation, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, and Communities for Public Education Reform