The 2020 America’s Best Urban Schools Symposium will be held October 12th – October 14th, 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.

2020 America's Best Urban Schools Symposium

October 12th – October 14th, 2020.  San Diego Marriott La Jolla.


San Diego Marriott La Jolla

4240 La Jolla Village Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 587-1414 / (888) 236-242

If you made a hotel reservation at the Marriott for the 2020 America’s Best Urban Schools Symposium that was scheduled for May 11-13, 2020, please contact the Marriott at (888) 236-2427, immediately to cancel your reservation to avoid any charges. The Marriott unfortunately cannot transfer your reservation to the new date of October 12-14, 2020.

A block of rooms has been reserved with a special room rate of $209.00, single/double occupancy at the San Diego Marriott La Jolla. Click the link below to make reservations. If you choose to reserve by phone,  please mention you are attending the America’s Best Urban Schools Symposium.

The room reservation cut-off date is Monday, September 14, 2020. After this date, rooms will be available on a first come, first served basis at the prevailing hotel room rate.

If you have any questions, please contact Karen Jones at or (619) 594-0513.




Become part of a learning community dedicated to generating excellent and equitable learning results for diverse learners! Click here to become a member and receive discounts on events and merchandise. Join today and receive $50.00 off your America’s Best Urban Schools Symposium Individual Registration Fee!

$100.00 – High Performing Schools Site Visits

One-Day Registration Fee
Tuesday, October 13, 2020 or Wednesday, October 14, 2020

$250.00 – One-Day Registration Fee

$275.00 – Late Registration fee begins on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 through Monday, October 12, 2020

Team Registration Fee (per person for 3 or more)
Tuesday, October 13, 2020 – Wednesday, October 14, 2020

$450.00 – Registration fee begins on Monday, May 4, 2020 through Monday, September 7, 2020

$500.00 – Late Registration fee begins on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 through Monday, October 12, 2020

Individual Registration Fee
Tuesday, October 13, 2020 – Wednesday, October 14, 2020

$475.00 – Registration fee begins on Monday, May 4, 2020 through Monday, September 7, 2020

$525.00 – Late Registration fee begins on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 through Monday, October 12, 2020


Monday, October 12, 2020

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.


Dr. Francisco Escobedo

Dr. Francisco Escobedo has been in education for the better part of 29 years. He currently serves as Superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD), where he started in 2010. Located in southern San Diego County, the District’s 46 schools serve more than 29,600 students. CVESD was 1 of 7 Districts identified as a “Positive Outlier” by LPI from 1000 comparative districts for its superior academic scores. Eight Chula Vista schools have earned NCUST’s America’s Best Urban School Award. Dr. Escobedo is past president of the Board of Directors for the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce, he is member of the Board of Directors for the YMCA and Classroom of the Future, and he is a Rotary member. He is the current Superintendent of the Year for the Association of California School Administrators, Region 18. Dr. Escobedo’s experience includes working as Assistant Superintendent for Educational Leadership in the South Bay Union School District and Principal Research Analyst for the American Institutes for Research. Since 2001, Dr. Escobedo has been an adjunct professor of Educational Administration at San Diego State University and is currently a member of the doctoral faculty. He earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University, an M.A. degree from San Diego State University, and Ed.D. from the University of California, San Diego, and San Diego State University

Dr. Nancy Frey

Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is a Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership and Teacher Education at San Diego State University. As a scholar-practitioner, she also serves as a teacher leader at the acclaimed Health Sciences High and Middle College in San Diego. She is the recipient of the 2008 Early Career Achievement Award from the National Reading Conference, as well as a co-recipient of the Christa McAuliffe award for excellence in teacher education from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Dr. Frey, along with her colleague, Dr. Doug Fisher, have published extensively on issues at the core of educational equity and excellence. For example, her recent books, All Learning is Social and Emotional, the Teacher Credibility and Collective Efficacy Playbook, Developing Assessment-Capable Visible Learners are positively influencing teaching and learning throughout the United States and many countries around the world.

Frederick Brown

Frederick Brown is Learning Forward’s Chief Learning Officer. He is the co-designer and facilitator of Learning Forward’s multi-year partnership with Fort Wayne Community Schools, as well as the Learning Leaders for Learning Schools leadership program for principals across Arizona. Prior to joining Learning Forward, Frederick served as a senior program officer for the Wallace Foundation, where he guided the work of several major grantees, including the Southern Regional Education Board; the Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburgh; and the states of Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Oregon, Kansas, and New Jersey. He has been an elementary school teacher and principal as well as a middle school assistant principal. He also served as a founding member of the Mathematics and Equity Teams for Ohio’s Project Discovery, a statewide initiative to improve mathematics and science instruction. Frederick is the co-author of Becoming a Learning System.


OCTOBER 13, OCTOBER 14, 2020




We look forward to answering your questions!

Receive the latest news

Subscribe to the National Center for Urban School Transformation

Get notified about new articles, events, insights, and opportunities.