Building Bridges to Literacy

Thursday, June 13 | 4:30–6:30 pm PT


Join the Region 16 Comprehensive Center on Thursday, June 13, 2024, for the fourth session of our virtual conversation series, Centering Family and Community Wisdom for Systems Change

In Session 4, “Building Bridges to Literacy: Navigating Culturally Sustaining Practices in English-Dominant Schools for 3rd Grade Reading Success,” this essential conversation promises to generate as many questions as answers on this critical topic. Our three passionate panelists are proven system leaders working to shift system conditions for the historically marginalized student populations in their states. They will share the challenges and opportunities changemakers should consider while navigating the implementation of approaches to reading that are considered “science-based” and those that highlight the power and richness of dual language and the development of Indigenous languages. Learn with us as we explore the nuanced tensions and considerations in the quest to situate what truly counts for families while ensuring that every student leaves the system of schooling whole, healthy, and valued.

Featured Panelists

Joel Isaak

Joel Isaak is the Deputy Commissioner and Director of Tribal Affairs of the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, while also working on a doctorate in Indigenous Studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is a dedicated educator, culture bearer, language keeper, artist, and lifelong learner, committed to keeping the Dena’ina language and culture alive.

Carmen Xiomara Urbina

Carmen Xiomara Urbina is the Deputy Director of the Oregon Department of Education. She is a bilingual and bicultural leader who brings diverse and unique lived experiences to her decades of work with communities of color and education systems. Her approach is grounded in equity, focused on the needs of all our students and families, and designed to bring community and education organizations together in both safe and effective ways.

Henry Strom

Henry Strom is the Executive Director at the Office of Native Education at Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. The heart of his work is focused on creating more opportunities for Native people to become educators, making it easier for learners to learn Native languages, and supporting districts to best serve their Native learners.

Session 3 Panelists


Dr. Anthony Craig is a Washington educator with a passion for developing systems that foster equitable educational outcomes. He is the director of the University of Washington College of Education’s Leadership for Learning (Ed.D.) program. Dr. Craig began his career as a kindergarten teacher and served as an instructional coach, school principal, and central office administrator all in the Tulalip Tribal community. Anthony is a citizen of the and lives in Coast Salish territories with his wife, their children, and beloved grandson.

Series Moderator Anthony Craig

What to Expect

These conversations are interactive spaces. Each virtual conversation features guided panel discussions that elevate practitioners’ voices from across the education ecosystem, collaborative breakout sessions with peers, and access to resources on advancing equitable collaborations with families and communities.

This series is designed for anyone who wants to go beyond the traditional lecture format and immerse themselves in interactive conversations that allow them to grow their practice, engage in self-reflection, and work to advance systemic change in their community. All are welcome, particularly K- 12 educators, school districts, charter management organizations, local and state educational agencies, Bureau of Indian Education staff, Tribal education personnel, and diversity, equity, and inclusion specialists.

Learn more about this virtual conversation series in our introductory blog post.

This is more than an invitation; it’s a call to action. Share this journey with your network and join a community of change-makers ready to reshape our education system.

Published May 30, 2024

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