Black History Month virtual forum will examine equity, opportunity and inclusion

Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares will host a virtual forum this Thursday, Feb. 25 in recognition of Black History Month, with featured speakers set to discuss African American experiences and strategies for ensuring equity, opportunity and inclusion.

Leveraging the theme “Know My Name, Face and Story,” the OCDE-organized event will be streamed live from 3:25 p.m. to 5 p.m. Teachers, counselors, administrators and others who educate and support students are encouraged to register to attend.

Know My Name, Face and Story graphic“This past year our country has engaged in important conversations on race and equity,” Dr. Mijares said. “We hope to continue that discussion and honor Black History Month with a local forum that will allow respected community voices to share their own personal stories and insight on how our educational systems can best serve students of all backgrounds.”

OCDE, which serves some of Orange County’s most vulnerable student populations and provides support for 28 school districts, has long prioritized educating the whole child in inclusive learning environments.

In 2016, the department was selected by California to help school systems implement the Multi-Tiered System of Support framework, which aligns new and existing strategies to meet students’ academic, behavioral and social-emotional needs.

Based on the theme “All Means All,” MTSS builds on the strengths of each school, offering core supports for all students, additional assistance for some and targeted interventions for those with the greatest needs.

Participants can register for Thursday’s “Know My Name, Face and Story” colloquium at

Here’s a list of the featured speakers:

Willie L. Banks, Jr., Ph. D.
Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs
University of California, Irvine

Letitia Clark
Mayor, City of Tustin

Youlonda Copeland-Morgan
Vice Provost, Enrollment Management
University of California, Los Angeles

Kevin Martin
Senior Vice President, Organizational Performance and Strategic Planning
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union

Robert Sheffield
Director, Quality Schools and Districts

Alyssa Simmons
Laguna Hills High School, Class of 2020