Detention Prevention: A Powerful Conversation About Early Literacy

Hilderbrand Pelzer III

Award Winning Educator & Author

10:00am-11:00am ET

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After years of leading five different types of schools, including a school inside Philadelphia’s six major correctional facilities, Pelzer often witnessed a sad occurrence play out repeatedly throughout his career as an educator: students who could not read. This presentation will offer an important perspective to participants by addressing how incarcerated education can be used as a discussion framework for early literacy and reading instruction and reveal broader insights about the intersection of education and incarceration, which can strengthen participants’ understanding of when and how to raise the academic bar for teaching. This presentation will also expand the conversation to disrupt the school-to-prison-pipeline theory by steering focus to the teaching of reading, which has to be fixed, and the many teachers who struggle with teaching reading. Additionally, the presentation will elicit feelings about the school-to-prison-pipeline; confront daily actions and practices that fail to reach, teach, and engage thousands of students; explore ways to transform relationships with students who face difficulties and who start at an academic disadvantage; and share real-life insights on the incarcerated side of the school-to-prison-pipeline.

About the Presenter:

Hilderbrand Pelzer III is an award-winning educator with three decades of experience in the urban educational field. The author of Unlocking Potential: Organizing a School Inside a Prison, Pelzer has earned a national reputation for his achievements in expanding opportunities for students in highly challenging schools and educational environments. This is demonstrated in his achievement of countless honors for excellence in educational leadership and distinguished principal leadership. One notable honor was the Queen Smith Award for Commitment to Urban Education, a national award recognizing significant contributions to urban education by an urban educator. Pelzer is also a writer and speaker. His captivating TEDx talk “What Incarcerated Youth Can Teach Teachers” illuminates issues related to inadequate reading instruction, educational inequity, and illiteracy in the juvenile justice system.


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