Establishing a Foundation for Learning & Growth: Closing Gaps in College & Career Preparation

Establishing a Foundation for Learning & Growth: Closing Gaps in College & Career Preparation
Establishing a Foundation for Learning & Growth: Closing Gaps in College & Career Preparation



Significant opportunity and achievement gaps impact students’ access to rigorous curricula, rich learning environments, educators with high expectations, information about postsecondary options, and overall preparation for college and careers.  This discussion group meeting will examine how one district—the San Jose Unified School District—created a college-going culture and raised rigor for all students, and will also emphasize the role of community-based programs in promoting postsecondary success and building public engagement in education. The meeting will showcase the college- and career-readiness initiatives of the National Council of La Raza and the National Urban League. Participants will have an opportunity to learn about the successes of these programs and the challenges they have faced, and to examine how policies can support a comprehensive approach to college and career preparation for the most disadvantaged students.




Dr. Linda Murray is currently serving as Superintendent in Residence for the Education Trust-West (ETW) and is responsible for helping lead the practice work of the organization in California.  The  work is centered around high school reform to ensure that all California graduates are college and work ready.  Prior to joining ETW, Dr. Murray served as Superintendent of Schools for the San Jose Unified School District for eleven years from 1993–2004.  In 1998, under her leadership, the district raised its graduation requirements to meet the UC/CSU entrance requirements, and since then the district has demonstrated major successes,  particularly for poor students and students of color.  In addition, in 2002, the district adopted, as part of its mission, creating a college going culture in all schools K-12.  Not only are San Jose students academically prepared, students and families are involved in programs and activities throughout elementary, middle and high schools that are designed to help them prepare for a college future.



Hal Smith is the Vice President for Education and Youth Development and Health and Quality of Life with the National Urban League. He also serves as a Senior Research Fellow with the National Urban League Policy Institute. Prior to joining the National Urban League, Hal held teaching, administrative, policy and advocacy positions with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), the Annenberg Institute for  School Reform @ Brown University, the City College of New York, the College of the Holy Cross, Northern Illinois University,  Lesley University and Harvard University. He holds a B.B.A. in Human Resource Administration from Temple University, an M.A. in Africana studies from the State University of New York at Albany and an Ed.M. and Ed.D. in Community Education and Lifelong Learning from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.



In her role as Vice-President for Education at the National Council of La Raza, Delia Pompa oversees all education programs including early college high schools, charter schools, early childhood education, and extended learning.  Her work on public school reform is shaped by over 30 years of experience leading local, state and federal agencies and national and international organizations. In particular, Ms. Pompa’s work focuses on helping academic institutions understand and respond to the needs of underserved children and their teachers.

She is the former Director of the Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs in the U.S. Department of Education and the former Executive Director of the National Association for Bilingual Education. Ms. Pompa began her career as a kindergarten teacher in San Antonio. She went on to serve as a district administrator in Houston and as Assistant Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency.  She is the former Director of Education, Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, and Youth Development for the Children’s Defense Fund. Ms. Pompa serves on a variety of national boards and committees for a wide range of institutions addressing the educational needs of children. She is a frequent speaker and commentator on current education reform issues.






The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.