America’s Best Urban Schools Symposium

The 2020 America’s Best Urban Schools Symposium will be held May 11th- May 13th, 2020 at the San Diego Marriott La Jolla in La Jolla, California. Please join our returning attendees who have called the NCUST Symposium the most powerful professional development experience of the year!

The America’s Best Urban Schools Symposium is an opportunity to celebrate excellence in public education and learn from urban schools and districts that achieve impressive academic results, especially for children of color, English learners, students with disabilities, and students who meet low-income criteria. You can expect one full day of school visits to high performing schools and two days of high-quality programming, time to team-build with your colleagues and make new connections, and non-stop inspiration to recharge your gap-closing, achievement-raising spirits!

Each of these schools benefits from leaders in their discipline or role that contribute to the overall success of the school. Throughout the symposium, we will feature teachers, principals, support staff, superintendents and researchers sharing the hard-fought lessons they have learned. A special focus will be on excellent and equitable dual language schools. Learn from schools who are ensuring all their students are bilingual, biliterate and bicultural.

Each of our award-winning schools will host a session that describes their journey to success and the practices they engage in to ensure deep learning and continuous improvement. As well, each session leaves lots of time for questions and conversation to explore the ideas and issues in depth. Educators attending the symposium exit with specific plans regarding how they will break down barriers to achievement for students at their school.

Pre-Conference Site Visits

NCUST Executive Coaches will lead guided visits to high-performing urban schools in the San Diego area.

Participants will choose either elementary, middle, dual language or high schools to visit. The day-long excursion for each of four groups will involve two school visits, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Each visit will start with an overview from the school’s principal and/or leadership team and then continue with small group observations in individual classrooms. At the end of the visit, the group will meet again with the school leadership to ask questions. During lunch, the facilitators will lead a discussion with each group about lessons learned and how they can be applied at the participants’ schools.

Space is limited, so this opportunity is open to the first 200 participants that register. The fee for the full day event is $100 and includes bus transportation, light breakfast, box lunch, and school expenses.

2018 Symposium Program Guide

Cover from 2018_NCUST_Symposium_Program_Guide


“This has been the most beneficial symposium I have ever attended. Meeting other educators doing the same work and sharing ideas has been food for the soul!”

“Be prepared to go back wanting to do so much more for your school. You will learn a lot!”

“It’s simply amazing to witness the commitment and “buy-in” from these award-winning schools.”

“Outstanding work by the NCUST staff! An incredibly inspiring Symposium.”

“A very rare opportunity was provided for Administrators to learn and share ideas. This doesn’t happen enough”

“I walked away knowing that consistency and having a clarity of focus are keys to my school’s success”


Please contact Karen Jones at or (619) 594-7905.

5500 Campanile Dr, EBA 332 San Diego, CA 92182-1165