15th Anniversary Back to School Kickoff Conference

A clear and unified vision


Welcome to the Coney Island Prep Back to School Kickoff Conference! We are thrilled to celebrate our 15th Anniversary on Monday, August 14, 2023, at the prestigious NYU Kimmel Center.

The conference is an opportunity for our dedicated staff members to engage in professional development, learn from each other in breakout sessions, hear from inspiring guest speakers, and recommit to our school’s vision for the future.

Throughout the day, we will explore a wide range of topics, including academic excellence, college access, social emotional learning, student engagement, family engagement, academic inclusion, and work-life balance.

Get ready for an inspiring day of learning, collaboration, and innovation, as we embark on a journey to shape the future of education for our community.

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Back to School Kickoff Conference


9:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Check-in & Arrival

NYU Kimmel Center

9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

The Power of Radical Education - A Conversation with Brittany Packnett Cunningham

Eisner & Lubin Auditorium – Fourth Floor

10:45 AM - 3:30 PM

Professional Headshots with Reggie Cunningham

Stop by anytime during transitions for a professional headshot.


11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Breakout Session #1

See below for more detail on Breakout Sessions

Classrooms – Third Floor

12:00 PM - 12:45 PM


Eisner & Lubin Auditorium – Fourth Floor

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Breakout Session #2

See below for more detail on Breakout Sessions

Classrooms – Third Floor

2:00 PM - 2:15 PM


2:15 PM - 3:15 PM

Breakout Session #3

See below for more detail on Breakout Sessions

Classrooms – Third Floor

3:15 PM - 3:30 PM


3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Closing Panel: The Impact! CIP’s NYU Alumni

Eternity Rampersant, Hussein Gamaleldin, & CIP Alums at NYU

Harry Wu CIP ‘23

Rosy Salinas CIP ‘23

Lavrenti Mamulashvili CIP ’21

Zelin Li CIP ‘19; NYU’23

Eisner & Lubin Auditorium – Fourth Floor

4:45 PM - 6:00 PM

Welcome Back Reception

Slainte – 304 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

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All the details


Breakout Session #1: Accelerating toward Results

Admitted, Denied, or Waitlisted: An NYU College Access Case Study

  • Presenter: Jaclyn Dailey & Joseph Welcome
  • Topic: Academic Excellence
  • Room: Eisner & Lubin

Deep dive into the application data from NYU over the years and discuss how the landscape of applying to a selective college has changed. We will do some review of the ‘steps of the college application process – TREAT’, we will review our own NYU application data using real student information, and discuss what we can do with our students to help them gain acceptance to schools like NYU. We will also review 3 real applications provided to us by NYU and vote in teams as to whether you think students were Admitted, Denied or Waitlisted.

Read Outside the Box: Cross-Content Literacy Acceleration

  • Presenter: Nicole Gilliams-Olivera
  • Topic: Academic Excellence
  • Room: GC 361

How can we increase student capacity to expertly read complex text across disciplines? In this session, we will dive into unleashing the power of metacognitive conversation to coach reading. We will explore relevant research, analyze classroom video, and practice applying metacognitive strategies.

PRIDE Promise: Increasing Access Pushing Persistence

  • Presenter: Eugene Wood & Elliot Bobr
  • Topic: College Access
  • Room: GC 365

This session will seek to provide clarity on CIP’s PRIDE Promise Scholarship, its success and areas for growth. CIP staff members will walk away from this session understanding the impact of this matching scholarship and its impact on our efforts to ensure students can attend and graduate from selective colleges and universities.

Teaching Strategies - Make It Your Own!

  • Presenter: Shay L. Askew & LeShawn Williams
  • Topic: Academic Excellence
  • Room: GC 369

The session will include the introduction and practice of teaching techniques that assist with classroom management, effective systems, and routines. The goal is to foster a strong start to the school year that can be effectively continued. Presenters will discuss the reasons for implementing these routines, their effectiveness, demonstrate how the techniques are used, and provide opportunities for the audience to practice them both as a whole group and in small groups.

The strategies covered will include “What To Do” Directions/Turn-in-Talk and “First Five/Do It Again.

It's a PRIME Time to Think About Vertical Alignment

  • Presenter: Bikkaram Singh
  • Topic: Academic Excellence - STEM
  • Room: GC 375

It can be easy to think about mastery of content in silos, rather than thinking about the bigger picture. It might be easier to think about how mastery of a 4th grade standard will help students in 5th or 6th grade, but how does it help students to master content in 7th grade, or even 11th grade? In this session, we will look at various topics across multiple grade levels and show how the use of prime factorization in the instruction of these topics can impact student mastery. Hence, why this is a PRIME time to talk about vertical alignment!

Activating the Power of After School

  • Presenter: Kelly Stumper & Jen Soper
  • Topic: Social Emotional Learning
  • Room: GC 379

How did participation in after school or extracurriculars impact you growing up? Join us as we highlight the impact that CIP’s after school program is having on scholars, share our own experiences with extracurriculars and work together to solve the after school question: how do we serve more scholars?

Metacognition: Work Smarter, not Harder

  • Presenter: Samantha Davis
  • Topic: Academic Excellence
  • Room: GC 388

Intentional and strategic deep reflection into our teaching practices and student outcomes allows for us to grow our curriculum and broaden the scope of best practices. But who’s got the time? In this session, we will discuss strategies for implementing efficient and purposeful metacognition both for teacher and students. This session we will discuss strategies for using metacognition to improve our curriculums and lesson planning. In turn, We will discuss different approaches to deepen metacognitive activities, and instructional routines to encourage independent reflections.

Breakout Session #2: Cultivating our Community

Culturally Responsive or Nah?

  • Presenter: Malika Davis & Louvina Jackman
  • Topic: Student Engagement
  • Room: Eisner & Lubin

What does it mean to be a culturally responsive educator? Is it enough to just put students’ names into the classwork and play their favorite music? This session will define and explore the concept of culturally responsive teaching, dispel some of the myths regarding it, and introduce attendees to some tools for becoming culturally responsive educators.

Empathy at the Core: Nurturing Resilience through Trauma-Informed Teaching

  • Presenter: Ruben Kennedy
  • Topic: Social Emotional Learning
  • Room: GC 361

Trauma-informed teaching starts with an understanding of how trauma can impact learning and behavior. Through this lens, educators must think about what student behavior may be telling them and reflect on their teaching methods to find ways to better support students who may be experiencing trauma.

This intro to Trauma Informed Practices (TIP) seeks to help start the conversation with understanding the tenets of TIP in the hopes of aiding educators in creating trauma informed learning environments.

Get 'em Talking: Student Engagement Activities You Can Use Day One

  • Presenter: Rose Friedrichs
  • Topic: Student Engagement
  • Room: GC 365

During this session, teachers will learn specific activities that teachers can use to get students talking to one another. These activities can easily be adjusted for any grade and/or content. While specifically designed to be used as “after reading” discussion tasks, they can ultimately be used in any situation to encourage students to have conversations within the classroom. Some activities can be designed to work with any type of discussion, while others require students to pull information directly from a text. These tasks will add structure to group discussions and some fun as well!

How to #LUV: Evaluating Our Beliefs to Listen, Understand and Validate our Families with an Equity Lens

  • Presenter: Elizabeth Anoff
  • Topic: Family Engagement
  • Room: GC 369

Family engagement plays a critical role in scholar success — but it’s not always easy! Join Elizabeth Anoff, Senior Director of Family and Community Engagement, to discuss how our values and beliefs can serve as a connection (or barrier) to forming genuine relationships with families through an equity lens. We will also discuss effective strategies to build authentic relationships with scholars’ families and ways to make schools and classrooms more welcoming to all.

Why are they so DANG moody??? Being Empathetic to the Characteristic of Young Adolescents

  • Presenter: Charles Jeffries
  • Topic: Student Engagement
  • Room: GC 375

Building authentic relationships is most important and more challenging during a scholar’s Young adolescent developmental stages. This is the most impressionable developmental stage, which places additional responsibility on 5th-10th grade educators to foster Positive learning partnerships.

How can empathy help you through gaining an understanding of one of the most critical stages of their development?

Inclusion: History & Vision Setting

  • Presenter: Paulina Portnoy & Melissa Elstone
  • Topic: Academic Inclusion
  • Room: GC 379

Join us to learn & explore the benefits of the inclusion model in a school setting. Participants will be introduced to an inclusion framework and have the opportunity to work with individuals across layers to craft a vision for inclusion that pertains to their sphere of influence.

Coney Island Prep: A PRIDE-ful Community

  • Presenter: Jonathan Cintrón-Rodriguez & Coop
  • Topic: Social Emotional Learning
  • Room: GC 388

Culture? What about it? How does it apply? Well, Come find out how we put it all together at CIP!

In this session we will dive into the impact and importance of values. Then we will dive into how CIP’s PRIDE values drive our school and classroom culture. Lastly, we will apply them to our campus age groups while exploring how they manifest over time.

Breakout Session #3: Becoming the Best Place to Teach & Lead

You Can Lead, and We Need You Too: Leadership Strategies for BIPOC at Any Level

  • Presenter: Dr. Lisa Martin
  • Topic: Leadership Development and DEIJ
  • Room: Eisner & Lubin

Dr. Martin has recently completed a 6-month project in which she interviewed 75 established and aspiring BIPOC leaders on their barriers and pathways to success. She will share insights and themes that emerged from this project and the many coaching, therapy, and affinity groups sessions she has hosted through the years. Dr. Martin will offer strategies, for any level of employee, to step into their own sense of leadership in a way that is authentic, affirming, and outside of a white supremist paradigm. Strategies for co-conspirators to champion the leadership of BIPOC will also be shared. Anticipate an interactive, emotive, and multimedia experience.

Indigenous Peoples Day + Inspired Action Day + other community initiatives

  • Presenter: Maggie Rose Melito
  • Topic: Student Engagement
  • Room: GC 361

Acknowledging the original caretakers of the land, committing to our community, and finding filaments of reconciliation and hope bring us closer to the earth. At CIP, we put those values at the forefront of our work.

Nurturing the Nurturers: Cultivating Self-Care for Educators and Staff

  • Presenter: Lakota Leijon & Courtney Gannon
  • Topic: Wellness
  • Room: GC 365

In the fast-paced and demanding world of education, the well-being of educators and staff is often overlooked, despite being the very foundation of a successful learning environment. “Nurturing the Nurturers: Cultivating Self-Care for Educators and Staff” is a dynamic and transformative workshop designed to empower those who dedicate their lives to nurturing young minds. Join us for a workshop that not only rekindles your passion for teaching but also nurtures the nurturer within you. Experience a profound shift in your approach to self-care and take the first step toward creating a culture of well-being within your educational community. Let’s embark on this transformative journey together (and your body ready to move/grove)!!

Trapped in Excellence

  • Presenter: Iman Wright
  • Topic: Leadership Development and DEIJ
  • Room: GC 369

In this session, we will delve into the concepts of perfectionism and overthinking, examining their connection and impact. We will explore the positive and negative aspects of these traits in both personal and professional life, considering their consequences and social implications, as well as their effects on physical health and mental well-being. Additionally, the session will provide practical tips and strategies to combat this syndrome.

During the session, we will discuss methods for managing perfectionism and overthinking, and we will focus on cultivating self-compassion and acceptance. Mindfulness techniques will also be shared to help attendees develop a healthier approach to these challenges. By the end of the session, participants will gain valuable insights and tools to navigate their lives more effectively and foster a greater sense of well-being.

All the Way Up: Managing Up!

  • Presenter: Lily DeSaussure & Hannah Prussin
  • Topic: Leadership Development
  • Room: GC 375

Managing up isn’t easy! Due to positional power, privilege, and identity, it can be challenging to give feedback to your manager and those with more power than you. In this session, you will engage with tools that will help you manage up and create agency in your role and your career. For some fun and optional pre-work, watch the pilot episode of Abbott Elementary in this link, on Hulu, or on HBOMax.

Pre Work link: Abbott Elementary

Beyond the Books: Embracing AI with ChatGPT

  • Presenter: Liza Potter & Abigail Gabriel
  • Topic: Academic Innovation
  • Room: GC 379

ChatGPT: You’ve heard about it, your scholars have heard about it… now what are you going to do about it? In this session, we’ll dive into the AI landscape, how it’s already impacting education, and how you can leverage AI such as ChatGPT, Brainly, and other AI platforms to take your work to the next level.

The Science of Reading: Fad or Fact?

  • Presenter: Linda Timko Liang
  • Topic: Academic Excellence
  • Room: GC 388

The Science of Reading is everywhere, but what is it? And what distinguishes this movement from previous trends in literacy? In this session we will dive into the Science of Reading: what it is, what it is not, and whether it is here to stay.

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Special Guests

Guest Speaker

Brittany Packnett Cunningham

Brittany Packnett Cunningham is a leader at the intersection of culture and justice. Cited by President Barack Obama as a leader whose "voice is going to be making a difference for years to come," Brittany is an educator, activist, writer, and award-winning podcaster and leader. Brittany has become a sought-after voice in the work of social change and empowerment. Brittany plays many roles, all focused on freedom.

Guest Speaker

Dr. Lisa Martin

Dr. Lisa Martin is a licensed clinical psychologist, consultant, and trainer. Dr. Lisa maintains a private practice in New York and Tampa and is a rostered psychologist for the National Basketball Player’s Association (the NBA’s union). Dr. Lisa also provides trauma-informed and anti-racism training and system change consultation to school systems, hospitals, non-profit organizations, and for-profit businesses across the country.

Special Guest Photographer

Reggie Cunningham

Reginald Cunningham (aka Reggie Noble) is the creator of the "Pure Black" brand. He is an influencer, creative, entrepreneur, and photographer whose work focuses on urban style and portraiture. Reginald's work has been featured in international publications like Vogue, Huffington Post, Essence, Ebony, Take Part, The Final Call, The Washington Post, and Buzzfeed.

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Kimmel Center for University Life


The Kimmel Center for University Life is the heart of NYU’s campus community housing several student life offices, two dining halls, music practice rooms, study space, and stunning views of Washington Square Park.

Learn More About the Venue

60 Washington Square S, New York, NY 10012

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Nursing Suite

If you’re in need of a nursing suite or any accommodations, you should have already been provided with details about utilizing the Nursing Suite at the Kimmel Center. In the event that you haven’t received any information regarding accommodations during the conference, please feel free to contact Ashley Weech at aweech@coneyislandprep.org, or reach out to any of our staff members. Your comfort and requirements are of utmost importance to us, and we are dedicated to ensuring a welcoming and all-encompassing experience for all participants.


Paid Parking is available at Champion Broadway Parking Corp located at 60-68 E 8th St, New York, NY 10003. We recommend taking advantage of the early bird discount of $22 for cars before 11am. For more information click here.


Sláinte Bar and Lounge, 304 Bowery, New York, NY 10012
View Map & Directions

Visit the Slainte Website

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Get where you need to go

Transportation & Directions

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) provides a robust website and mobile app that can provide you good guidance on how to plan your trip from start to finish. They will also help you be aware of any construction that may temporarily modify routes or stops.


These subway lines and stations run closest to our main hub of locations in Manhattan and are good options to select from:

  • 8th Avenue Line (A, C, E – blue)
    • West Fourth Street (W4) Station
  • 6th Avenue Line (B, D, F, M – orange)
    • West Fourth Street (W4) Station
  • Broadway Line (N, Q, R, W – yellow)
    • 14th Street – Union Square Station
    • 8th Street – NYU Station
  • Lexington Avenue Line (4, 5, 6 – green)
    • 14th Street – Union Square Station
    • Astor Place Station
    • Bleeker Street Station


If you are traveling into Manhattan on a bus, all Greyhound, New Jersey Transit, and other commuter buses go to the Port Authority Terminal located at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue. From there, take the Eighth Avenue subway (blue line) downtown.

Within NYC, the most convenient MTA bus lines are the M1, M2, M3, M5, M6, M8, M10, and the M21.

Metro North into Grand Central Station

From Grand Central, it is most convenient to take the Lexington Avenue subway (6 train) downtown. Depending on your final destination you will likely want to exit at the Astor Place Station in order to make a 10 minute walk to the Washington Square Park area.

Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), Amtrak, or New Jersey Transit into Moynihan Train Hall at Pennsylvania Station (Moynihan/Penn Station)

From Moynihan/Penn Station, it is usually most convenient to take the 8th Avenue subway (A, C, or E train) downtown to West Fourth Street-Washington Square Station. Walk east until you reach Washington Square Park.

PATH Trains from New Jersey

The Ninth Street Station (Sixth Avenue and Ninth Street) is the most central to Washington Square Park. Once you leave the station, walk south on 6th Avenue to West Fourth Street and then east to the park. Check the list of stations closest to your final destination, there may be another stop closer for you.

Kimmel Center for University Life

Resources & Downloads

Coney Island Prep at 15 Years. Our Vision Renewed.

Teaching and learning in an uncertain world requires a new vision for Coney Island Prep, rooted in our founding principles of academic excellence.

Download PDF

Coney Island Prep Priorities

Read about Coney Island Prep’s 2023-2024 Priorities

Download PDF

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