Call for Session Proposals


Monday, February 22, 2021 – Deadline for Submitting Proposals 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021 – Deadline for Conference Registration 


Charting Our Future: Race, Justice & the Education System

At Graduate Tacoma’s inaugural Charting Our Future conference, we are taking the work of a community-wide movement of youth advocates to the next level. As with all Graduate Tacoma events, we will build on our ability to connect across professions, lived experiences, and a shared vision for a Tacoma where every child succeeds in school, career, and life. Still, we are in a new and essential age where connecting is just a start. Our future depends on the action we take together now. Part leadership, part peer-learning conference: we will consider data transparency, youth activism, and working across sectors to support student success—after a year of remote learning.

Join us for a virtual gathering of practitioners, leaders, and community to disrupt historical oppression and create a socially just future for Tacoma’s youth and young adults.

Session Topics 

We are seeking proposals in the following topic areas for the conference:

  • Advocacy – Leveraging your position to advocate for local, regional, and state policy that addresses racial disparities for student success.
  • Community Engagement – Establishing a structure for families and youth to make decisions on issues that impact their lives.
  • Continuous Improvement – Using data to disrupt oppression and advance your goals.
  • Education Justice – Understanding how Tacoma’s racial legacy and today’s challenges in education remain connected.
  • Addressing the System – Lessons learned from confronting the seemingly intractable root causes to racial inequity.


Indicate the type of session format for which you are submitting a proposal: 

  • A panel discussion and action
  • A facilitated roundtable discussion and action
  • A lecture, discussion, and action

Indicate the length of session for which you are submitting a proposal:

  • 45 minutes
  • 75 minutes

Proposals must demonstrate that at least 30 minutes are incorporated for discussion and interaction. Panels should not be “talking heads” but rather allow sufficient time for adequate discussion and exchange between all in attendance.

We will give preference to sessions that include multiple and diverse perspectives. Student perspectives are most welcome.

The purpose of the conference is to help residents, parents, educators, students, and community GT partners carry out their responsibilities and develop new ideas to help every child achieve success. We will prioritize proposals that are dynamic, cross-organizational, and collaborative over those promoting a single product, program, organization, or service. 

Sessions should focus on lessons learned, challenges and issues encountered and how those were addressed. Sessions should not be a “show and tell.” 


A. Presenter Details and Session Logistics

  • Session Title, Abstract, and Full Description (see note below) ** 
  • Name, Contact Details, and Biography of Lead Presenter
  • Names, Contact Details, and Biographies of all Proposed Speakers (see note below) **
  • Conference Topic(s) 
  • Target Audience
  • Audio-Visual Needs 
  • A Summary of Handouts to be Posted (Confirmed leads are responsible for submitting all session handouts to us two weeks prior to the event so Foundation for Tacoma Students can post to a platform for all participants to access.) 

B. Full Session Description 

(Detailed description of your proposed session – maximum 500 words) 

Include a content outline describing the major theme(s), challenges, lessons learned, successes and failures, etc. that will be addressed in this session. If applicable, also specify student groups (age, grade, racial demographic, etc.) that are most relevant to your session.

In addition, please include the goals of the session and the methodologies to be used. Remember to include a minimum of 30 minutes for discussion in the panel discussion format session. If there is more than one presenter, explain what each presenter will discuss. Please be as complete as possible and remember that the content needs to have wide applicability, comparative perspectives and an analysis of “lessons learned” and “tools for action” useful to educators, community-based leaders, policy makers, families, and students.

C. Additional Comments

The lead presenter will serve as the key contact on the session and is responsible for communicating all session information and details with presenters.

** Important Information for Session Proposers 

  • Should the proposal be selected, the abstract and bios submitted will be printed in the conference program exactly as submitted. 
  • Please pay very careful attention to the exact format, language and word limitation required: no more than 75 words for the abstract and 150 words for the bio. 
  • Biographies may include presenters’ positions and major work accomplishments relevant to the presenter’s session topic. 
  • Proposals submitted without an abstract, a full description, or complete bio information on all presenters listed will not be considered. 

(This does not mean all materials must be included with proposals. But proposals without a session description will not be considered in the review process.)


Be sure to save a copy of the proposal before submitting it to the Foundation! 


Online proposal fields must be complete in order to continue with the proposal submission. If you are unable to continue with the submission, it may be that you did not provide the information required. You will know your submission was successful when you receive an electronic acknowledgement. If this acknowledgement is not received, please submit your proposal again.

If a hard copy of the proposal is absolutely necessary for completion or if technical difficulties are encountered, please email for guidance.


Proposals will be reviewed by the Graduate Tacoma Conference Planning Committee and evaluated with the following criteria foremost: 

  • Connection/applicability to the conference theme
  • Originality and quality of the proposed session 
  • Relevance to the audiences 
  • Presence of multiple perspectives 
  • Diversity of presenters
  • Realistic allocation of time, including for discussion 
  • Substantive issues discussed during the session (note again that sessions should not promote marketed products, programs, universities or services in any way) 

Session proposals should NOT be a “show and tell” but rather a focus on challenges, trends, and lessons learned, with ample time for discussion and call to action. 

The Conference Planning Committee will have to choose among many proposals, some of which may be similar, and will seek balance among topics and areas of importance to the membership. Proposals of equal merit cannot in all instances be selected when the result would be an imbalance in the conference’s overall coverage of topics, audiences, and regions.


When will I hear about whether my proposal is accepted or not? 

You will hear by March 5, 2021, if not sooner, regarding the status of your proposal.

How are the proposals reviewed? 

Members of the conference advisory committee, including representatives from Graduate Tacoma community partners, parents and students, will review proposals. 

Can I request a specific date or time for my session?

No, due to the complexities in conference scheduling. Please make sure you and your presenters are available during this time frame. If selected, session leads will be notified of the session date and time in early March.

What if one of my presenters is coming only for this session and will not be participating in any other part of the conference? 

It is possible for a presenter to just come to his/her session and then leave. However, they will still be required to register in order to receive the login credentials for their session. 

If I am using PowerPoint or other materials, will I have host capabilities to manage myself? 

Yes, you will need to specify any visuals you want to present in your proposal, and if you need additional Zoom hosting capabilities for yourself and other presenters.

QUESTIONS & CONTACT INFORMATIONPlease contact us at with any questions and a member of our conference planning team will be in touch!