2010 AVID National Conference

Panel - College Readiness and Rigorous Opportunities for All Students
Sponsored by the College Board College Board

Hear from experts in the field of academic advancement of diverse students in a panel discussion that addresses the importance of rigorous opportunities for all students, challenges to creating those opportunities, and solutions to overcome challenges.



David T. Conley

David T. ConleyDr. Conley is Professor of Educational Policy and Leadership in the College of Education, University of Oregon. He is the founder and director of the Center for Educational Policy Research (CEPR) at the University of Oregon, and founder and chief executive officer of the Educational Policy Improvement Center, a 501(c)3 not-for profit educational research organization. CEPR and EPIC conduct research on issues related to college readiness, college and high school course content analysis, high school-college alignment and transition, and large-scale diagnosis and assessment of college readiness. Dr. Conley serves on numerous technical and advisory panels, consults with educational agencies nationally and internationally, and is a frequent speaker at national and regional meetings of education professionals and policymakers.

Agencies with which CEPR and EPIC have recent or current working relationships include the US Department of Education; the College Board; the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; the Maine Department of Education; the South Carolina Higher Education Coordinating Commission; the Washington Education Association; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Carnegie Corporation; and numerous school districts and new school networks.

In 2003 Dr. Conley completed a groundbreaking three-year research project to identify the knowledge and skills necessary for college readiness. Standards for Success was funded by the Washington, D.C.-based Association of American Universities (AAU) and The Pew Charitable Trusts. This project analyzed course content at a range of American research universities to develop the Knowledge and Skills for University Success standards. His most recent book, published in 2005 and based on this research, is College Knowledge: What It Takes for Students to Succeed and What We Can Do to Get Them Ready.

Over the past 14 years, Dr. Conley has received over $15 million in grants and contracts from federal and state governments, national education organizations, and foundations to conduct research on a range of educational policy issues. He has published the results of this research and other studies in numerous journal articles, technical reports, conference papers, book chapters, and books, including Who Governs Our Schools?, which analyzes changes in educational policy and governance structures at the federal, state, and local levels, and College Knowledge. Dr. Conley's most recent book, College and Career Ready: Helping All Students Succeed Beyond High School, which features case profiles of America's most college-ready high schools, informs policy-makers, administrators, teachers, parents, and students how they can develop a culture rooted in higher education success.

Dr. Conley received a B.A. with honors in Social Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his master's degree in Social, Multicultural, Bilingual Foundations of Education and doctoral degree in Curriculum, Administration, and Supervision at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Before joining the faculty of the University of Oregon in 1989, he spent a total of 20 years in Colorado and California as a school-level and central office administrator in several districts, an executive in a state education department, and as a teacher in two public multicultural alternative schools.

Donna Y. Ford

Donna Y. FordDonna Y. Ford, Ph.D., is Professor of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt in the Special Education department. Donna has been a Professor of Special Education at the Ohio State University, an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Virginia, and a researcher with the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. She also taught at the University of Kentucky.

Donna earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Urban Education (educational psychology) (1991), Masters of Education degree (counseling) (1988), and Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and Spanish (1984) from Cleveland State University.

Professor Ford conducts research primarily in gifted education and multicultural/urban education. Specifically, her work focuses on: (1) recruiting and retaining culturally diverse students in gifted education; (2) multicultural and urban education; (3) minority student achievement and underachievement; and (4) family involvement. She consults with school districts and educational organizations in the areas of gifted education and multicultural/urban education.

Dr. Ford's work has been recognized by various professional organizations: Research Award from the Shannon Center for Advanced Studies; the Early Career Award and the Career Award from The American Educational Research Association; both the Early Scholar Award (1994) and the Distinguished Scholar Award (2008) from The National Association for Gifted Children; and the Esteemed Scholarship Award from The National Association of Black Psychologists. She is the author of Reversing Underachievement Among Gifted Black Students (1996) and co-author of Multicultural Gifted Education (1999), In search of the dream: Designing schools and classrooms that work for high potential students from diverse cultural backgrounds (2004), and Teaching culturally diverse gifted students. Several other books are in progress. Donna has written over 100 articles and book chapters; she has made more than 500 presentations at professional conferences and school districts.

Dr. Ford, is co-founder of the Scholar Identity Institute for Black Males with Dr. Gilman Whiting. Donna has served two terms as board member of the National Association for Gifted Children, and has served on numerous editorial boards, such as Gifted Child Quarterly, Exceptional Children, Journal of Negro Education, and Roeper Review. She also reviews for several journals in such disciplines as urban education, child development, and counseling and development. Professional learning includes membership in professional organizations, including the National Association for Gifted Children, Council for Exceptional Children, American Educational Research Association, Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students, Association of Teacher Educators, American Counseling Association, and others.

Dr. Ford was interviewed in the Fall 2007 Access, AVID's educational research journal. In it, she spoke about African-American male achievement issues.

Trevor Packer

Trevor PackerTrevor Packer is the College Board's vice president, responsible for leadership of the Advanced Placement ProgramĀ® with overall responsibility for strategic planning and ongoing development and operations of the APĀ® Program.

Named vice president in 2007, Packer previously served as executive director of the AP Program, where for four years he managed its growth and national expansion and worked to strengthen the program's overall quality and reputation. Most notably, he enacted plans to increase services for small rural schools, double the number of AP courses in world languages and cultures, and align AP curricula and assessments with best practices at colleges and universities.

Before serving as executive director, he was manager of the AP Program's policy and processes, overseeing day-to-day management of the printing, shipping and scoring of the AP Exams and the administration of the AP Exams at 15,000 schools annually.

A former lecturer and instructor in composition and literature at Brigham Young University and John Jay College, Packer has written a manual on composition pedagogy, and written works on author Willa Cather and abolitionist Sojourner Truth. He is currently working on a book examining Virginia Woolf's relationship to the Pre-Raphaelites.

Packer earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in English from Brigham Young University.

Bob Poole

Bob PooleBob Poole was, for many years, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Coordinator, at a large and diverse comprehensive public high school in Canada. Starting from small beginnings in 1984, this programme grew to include a large number of students choosing to participate in the IB Diploma Programme. That school became, and remains, one of the larger IB World Schools, globally. Mr. Poole's involvement with the IB grew steadily along with the growth of the programmes in schools in the United States, Canada and around the world. He has served on a wide variety of committees and task forces both for the IB globally and for the Americas region. He has also served as a workshop leader and as a school site visitor. Mr. Poole currently serves as Regional Development Specialist for the IB Americas region, working to increase understanding and recognition of the IB Programmes among universities and governments.

Watson Scott Swail

Watson Scott SwailDr. Watson Scott Swail is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Educational Policy Institute, a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to policy-based research on educational opportunity for all students. With offices in Virginia Beach, VA, Toronto, Ontario, and Melbourne, Australia, the mission of EPI is to impact the development and implementation of public policy and educational practice through high-level research and analysis. With this information, it is our earnest hope and belief that policymakers, researchers, and practitioners will make prudent decisions to enhance educational opportunities for all students, especially for low-income and other historically under-represented students at the higher education level.

Widely respected in the area of college opportunity research, Dr. Swail has published extensively in national journals and publications. Recent publications include "Latino Students and the Educational Pipeline," "The Affordability of Higher Education," and "Higher Education and the New Demographics." He has been published in Phi Delta Kappan, Change, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Dr. Swail serves on a number of national advisory committees, including technical review panels for the major U.S. longitudinal and cross-sectional surveys sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. As well, he has recently conducted projects for the Canada Millennium Scholarship Program related to higher education access in Canada.

Prior to establishing EPI, Dr. Swail served as the Founding Director of The Pell Institute and Vice President of the Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, DC. He previously served as senior policy analyst with SRI International and associate director for policy analysis with the College Board. While with the Board, Dr. Swail co-directed the Trends in College Pricing and Trends in Student Aid reports released in the U.S. each fall. He is a former technology teacher and taught at Victor Wyatt School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and also at Benjamin Syms Middle School in Hampton, Virginia.

In addition to his research and writing, Dr. Swail teaches educational policy and research at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, where he received his doctorate in educational policy. He earned his Master's of Science from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and Bachelor's of Education from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Dr. Swail serves on the research advisory board of the National Action Council on Minorities in Engineering (NACME) and also on the Board of Directors of the Student Resource Services in St. Louis. Dr. Swail is listed in the 2007-08 Who's Who in American Education, and resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with his wife, three growing boys, and Rigby, the Standard Poodle.

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