This February’s installment of Be The Change is focused on a key educational issue in the US that is playing out here in Forsyth County: the achievement gap for males of color. The agenda for this quarterly community convening on education is full, with the achievement gap and educational equity front and center. We’ll feature a screening of the documentary film Beyond the Bricks, facilitated participant breakout sessions, and a moderated panel discussion among the Superintendent and Board Chair of Winston-Salem / Forsyth County Schools, as well as the President and CEO of YMCA of Northwest North Carolina. These conversations will explore the achievement gap as a national trend and examine the perspectives and policies shaping our community’s outcomes and day-to-day life for students in Forsyth County. The full event agenda is included below.

“We’ll kick off the event with a data walk and presentation on our community’s core measures in education as well as recently-reported figures around educational equity in Forsyth County. The fact of the matter is there are significant disparities across nearly all of these measures based on the race / ethnicity and / or the socioeconomic status of a given student. These gaps among subgroups of students are alarming and must be addressed. By bringing the community together around this issue, and by examining specific, concrete policies and dynamics affecting the situation, we can begin to chart a path toward progress, together.”

— Forsyth Promise Partnership Director, Wendy Poteat

To read the full Forsyth Promise 2018 report, click here.

Event Details

  • Childcare will be provided.
  • Location: The event will take place on Forsyth Tech’s main campus, in the Strickland Center (formerly the Oak Grove Center).
  • Navigation on Campus: Please refer to this campus map if you are planning ahead. Directional signage to the Strickland Center is posted for visitors once they arrive on campus.
  • Parking: Ample parking is available on site at the Strickland Center.
  • Navigation at the Strickland Center: Navigational signage will be in place at building entrances and inside the building. The event will be held in the Dewitt E. Rhoades Conference Center on the second floor.
  • Registration Deadline: Please register by February 27th.

The Forsyth Promise

The Forsyth Promise is a coalition of community institutions, organizations, and grassroots leaders who come together to identify and collaborate on community-wide priorities to improve Forsyth County’s core measures in education. Guided by the core values of educational equity, inclusive stakeholder engagement, and data-driven decision making, the Promise is focused on reducing or eliminating racial / ethnic, socioeconomic, and other disparities among students. The Promise’s core educational measures include: early childhood reading, third grade reading, eighth grade math, ACT proficiency, high school graduation, college enrollment, and post-secondary completion.

Be The Change is our quarterly opportunity to meet as a broader coalition of community advocates for education, to go deep on key issues affecting our local systems of education, to report out on the work of the Promise, and to provide a channel for community advocates of all ages, races, and backgrounds to plug into the work. The spirit of this event, and our work in general, is open and collaborative. The Promise is about coming out of bunkers and building bridges so that we can come together, collaborate, and improve the quality of the educaiton received by all young people in Forsyth County.”

— Forsyth Promise Partnership Director, Wendy Poteat

Beyond the Bricks

Beyond the Bricks is a documentary created with the goal of promoting solutions for one of America’s critical problems in education: the consistently low academic performance of African‐American boys in school. Though the film focuses primarily on students and schools in Newark, NJ, the issues addressed there extend to urban enclaves throughout the nation. Beyond the dismal statistics are the real stories of children fighting to build better futures for themselves. Through two students’ personal stories, the film looks critically at the circumstances that are plaguing African‐American communities overall, and offers up examples of people who are successfully combating these challenges. BEYOND THE BRICKS promotes hope and the idea that with people at every level working diligently on this issue, there can be real solutions to the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that have for so long plagued African‐American boys and their education.

Event Agenda

5:00 – 5:30 PM
Registration, Data Walk, Check In

5:30 – 5:45 PM
Welcome & Session Overview
Wendy Poteat: Partnership Director, The Forsyth Promise

5:45 – 6:20 PM
Film Screening: Beyond the Bricks

6:20 – 6:25 PM
Bio Break

6:25 – 6:30 PM
Overview of Breakout Sessions
Mona Lovett: Crosby Scholars and The Forsyth Promise Co-Chair

6:30 – 6:55 PM
Audience Breakout Table Sessions

6:55 – 7:15 PM
Selected Report Outs from Tables

7:15 – 7:18 PM
Panelist Introductions
Chuck Spong: Love Out Loud, The Forsyth Promise Co-Chair

7:18 – 8:00 PM
Panel Discussion / Q&A
Dr. Beverly Emory: Superintendent, Winston-Salem / Forsyth County Schools
Stan Law: President and CEO, YMCA of Northwest North Carolina
Malishai Woodbury: Board Chair, Winston-Salem / Forsyth County Schools

8:00 – 8:05 PM
Structure Overview: A Civic Infrastructure for Systems Change
Tyler Sparks: Communications Director, Forsyth Futures

8:05 – 8:15 PM
Birth to Third Grade Action Network:
Announcement of 2019 Community Priorities
Adam Hill: Director of Data Strategy and Impact, Forsyth Futures

8:15 – 8:25 PM
Mobilizing for Change: Community Coalitions
LaTasha “Tash” Lane: Manager of Engagement and Communications,
The Forsyth Promise

8:25 – 8:30 PM
Where We Go From Here
Wendy Poteat: Partnership Director, The Forsyth Promise


Dr. Beverly Emory
Winston-Salem / Forsyth County Schools
Stan Law
President and CEO, YMCA of Northwest North Carolina
Malishai Woodbury
Board Chair,
Winston-Salem / Forsyth County Schools