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National PTA to Bring Together Parent and Education Leaders for Discussion on the Role of Family Engagement

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Heidi May Wilson, Media Relations Manager

African American Family Engagement Symposium to take place during Think Big, Think PTA: 2016 Annual National PTA Convention & Expo in Orlando

On Saturday, July 2, National PTA will bring together parent and education leaders from across the country at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort for a discussion on the issues and barriers that challenge the academic achievement of students of color—including college readiness, access, affordability and retention—and the use of meaningful family and community engagement as a tool to improve student success. The African American Family Engagement symposium is being held in conjunction with the 2016 Annual National PTA Convention & Expo.

It is critical that all students are supported in learning; receive a high-quality, well-rounded education in a safe and healthy environment; and have access to opportunities that prepare them for long-term success. Families and communities play an important role in addressing the challenges African American students face and the disparities that exist in the educational system as well as accelerating efforts to close the achievement gap and improve student outcomes. The symposium will bring focus to the need for increased family engagement while shining a light on programs, resources and best practices that support educational excellence for students of color.

White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans Assistant Director Lauren Mims will participate in the symposium along with Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the first woman of color in the world to go into space; Beverly Ferguson, senior vice president for 100 Black Men of America, Inc.; Kristy J. Sinkfield, director of strategy and innovation for Vanderbilt University Medical Center; and national and local PTA leaders. The symposium will be moderated by Dr. Barrye L. Price, deputy chief of staff of the U.S. Army Forces Command and a member of the Board of Directors for National PTA.   

Saturday, July 2 — Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort — Southern Hemisphere I
1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd.
Orlando, Florida 32830

*The discussion also will be streamed live at:


  • Laura Bay — President, National PTA
  • Lauren Mims — Assistant Director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans
  • Mae C. Jemison — Engineer, Physician, NASA Astronaut and Science Literacy Advocate
  • Barrye L. Price — Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Forces Command and Board Member, National PTA
  • Kristy J. Sinkfield — Director of Strategy and Innovation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Beverly Ferguson — Senior Vice President, 100 Black Men of America, Inc.
  • Frances Frost — Family Ambassador Fellow, The Campagna Center and Past President, Montgomery County Council of PTAs
  • Zamarie Johnson — President, Southside St. Petersburg Community PTA
  • Otha Thornton — Immediate Past President, National PTA

Heidi May Wilson, National PTA, 614-570-3922

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.