DMPS to Host 2nd Annual Summit on School Climate & Culture

Sir Ken Robinson to Deliver Keynote Address

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Freedom Writers founder Erin Gruwell was a keynote speaker at the 2016 Summit on School Climate & Culture.

Des Moines Public Schools is preparing to host the 2nd annual Summit on School Climate and Culture, to be held August 7-8, 2017 at the Iowa Events Center. 

The event is to help educators improve school climate and culture through professional development, skill building and application of best practices and research. Experts in the field of education and school improvement will present on how a positive school climate and culture is key to student, school and district improvements.

Attendees will hear from keynote speakers, attend work sessions and participate in roundtable discussions during the two-day event.

“From the topics being covered to the experts who are presenting, this event is an excellent opportunity for people to become better equipped to make a difference on one of the most important areas of education,” said Jake Troja, director of school climate transformation at DMPS and organizer of the summit.

Photo of Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson will be one of the keynote speakers at this year’s school climate and culture summit.

One of this year’s keynote speakers is Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized authority on creativity and innovation in education and business. Called “one of the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation” by Fast Company magazine, Sir Ken works with governments in Europe, Asia and the US, international agencies, Fortune 500 companies and leading cultural organizations. He led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government, was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, and was one of four international advisors to the Singapore Government for a strategy to become the creative hub of SE Asia. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2003 for his service to the arts, Sir Ken’s latest book is “Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education” (Viking, 2015).

Other keynote speakers include Dr. Christopher Emdin and Principal Baruti Kafele. Dr. Emdin is an associate professor at Columbia University’s Teacher College and the author of “Urban Science Education for the Hip-hop Generation” and “For White Folks Who Teach In the Hood.” Principal Kafele is a long-time teacher and school administrator in New Jersey who is the recipient of the National Alliance of Black School Educators Hall of Fame Award and the author of eight books on education.

Last year’s inaugural summit was attended by more than 1,200 teachers and school administrators. Among the presenters was Erin Gruwell, founder of the famed Freedom Writers.

For more information about the Summit on School Climate and Culture, and to register to attend, visit

Photos from the 2016 Summit on School Climate and Culture