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Future Ready Partners provide local educational and youth development leaders with professional development and networking during inaugural event

On May 22, UP Partnership’s My Brother’s Keeper San Antonio, Excel Beyond the Bell San Antonio and Diplomás networks hosted the inaugural Future Ready Practitioner Conference which brought together cross-sector partners made up of leaders from local school districts, colleges and universities and youth development organizations at St. Mary’s University.

Programming at the conference focused on providing professional development and networking opportunities for teachers and college faculty, principals, counselors and academic advisors and college admissions officers, among others.

“The UP Partnership Practitioner Conference was an opportunity to celebrate innovations in practice for youth across our Future Ready Bexar County partners,” noted Dr. Abel Gonzales, Director of Instructional Outreach Programs at the University of Texas at San Antonio, “Teachers, faculty and staff members from every level of the education ecosystem shared how equity minded practitioners are making a difference in better serving the leaders of tomorrow.” Gonzales closed the event by inspiring the participants to network to move their collaborative work forward as a team beyond the confines of the conference. 

In addition to workshops and networking, key sessions included an opening keynote on Developmental Relationships by Dr. Benjamin Houltberg, President and CEO of Search Institute.

The Developmental Relationship Framework gives us all — educators, youth development staff, community partners — a common language to work through,” Jenny Castro, Executive Director of Empower House, said. With programs and sessions that furthered that framework, “the UP Partnership Practitioner Conference invited us to imagine how our programs and services are strengthened and how impact is multiplied when we prioritize doing the hard work of building relationships with the youth in Bexar County,” she added.

Student leaders also provided their perspectives during a Diversity Student Panel at lunch moderated by UP Partnership’s Director of K12 and Youth Development, liz moseley. 

moseley really appreciated “the young people’s honesty and vulnerability to share about themselves and on behalf of their peers,” they said. 

Each young person “spoke with so much passion” and specifically wanted to touch on mental health as a central topic of discussion, they said. 

Providing access to information and resources to grow and flourish social-emotional learning capacity and elevating youth voice aligns with UP Partnership’s Future Ready Bexar County Plan launched in April of last year. This community-wide plan brings together more than 85 partners working toward the plan’s collective North Star goal — to increase the percentage of Bexar County’s High School graduates enrolling in postsecondary degrees or credential programs to 70% by 2030. In Bexar County, that number is currently around 50%. This plan focuses on the three equity pillars of Healing, Access and Voice — the must HAVEs for Equity amongst Bexar County’s young people.

If your organization is ready to join in on the Future Ready movement, please contact to find out more information on how you can become a Future Ready partner or donate to the work here.You can also follow our progress by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social media.