Due to concerns and precautions regarding the coronavirus COVID-19, the 2020 Moving the Needle Conference has been canceled.  

We will be working with our provider to fully refund conference registration fees. Please allow adequate time to complete this process. We hope you will consider attending next year’s conference and will be posting updates once new dates and a location have been confirmed.


Narrowing the Achievement Gap

How to Retain All Students


This year Moving the Needle and Narrowing the Gulf are joining forces and merging into Moving the Needle: Supporting Students by Narrowing the Achievement Gap. Our focus this year is to look locally within the state of Florida and address the barriers that continue to hinder students from maximizing their career and academic potential. We welcome pasts sponsors, presenters and guests to join us as we dive deeper and discuss transportation, housing/evictions, policies and procedures, food insecurities, support services within the institutions of higher learning and community outreach and engagement.


We have four population groups we are focusing on this year: Accessibilities and Veterans, African American and LatinX Students, Age and Gender Equity, and Classroom Supports and Techniques.

In support of these four population groups, we are interested in learning if your institution or organization participates in Community Outreach. More specifically, Community Outreach efforts that demonstrate an increase in career and academic growth. 


With the growing numbers of these social issues, colleges have seen their retention and completion rates plummet, negatively affecting their outcomes, which are often tied to performance funding. Most colleges are not equipped to assist students with the challenges these issues present. To combat these issues, it is critical that colleges partner with community based organizations to leverage their expertise. This year’s Moving the Needle conference will include discussions on how equity with regard to race, gender, age, and disabilities affect a student’s success rate and the ability to obtain economic stability and growth. We will include a panel for the opening and closing of the conference discussing key factors from the community and student perspectives.

Conference Tracks


Topics include:

○ Improving equity and meeting students

   where they are

○ Holistic assessment of students -

   recognizing need and expressing empathy
○ Proactive ways to share resources with

○ Helping students of color succeed in the

○ Tips for reaching out to students in ways

   that respect their needs
○ Incorporating relevant work experience and

   soft skills in the classroom

○ Helping students with disabilities success
   in the classroom


Topics include:

       ○ High-impact practices and programs

          colleges deploy to increase student

          engagement and retention
       ○ Reducing unnecessary barriers to

          enrollment and retention
       ○ Fostering relationships between

          institutions, students, and outside

          agencies to expand wrap-around

       ○ Successful student engagement

          practices in both on-campus and online
       ○ Creating financial aid awareness and

          reducing college debt


Topics include:

       ○ Existing partnerships between external

          partners (for profit, not for-profit, and

          faith-based organizations) and colleges

          that are making a difference in the

          lives of students
       ○ Using partnerships to leverage shared

           resources and expand grant

       ○ Advancing the Completion agenda

          through Local College Access           

          Networks (LCANs)
       ○ Successful articulation strategies that

          lead to clearer educational pathways,

          accelerate completion, and improve 


*Intended Audience: Front Line Staff, Faculty, Support Services Staff and Community Employees, Community Agencies, Vocational Rehab and Social Workers.

Request for Proposals: Please consider presenting your best practices, efforts to strengthen 504 Compliance and enrich accessibility services, community engagement opportunities and suggested next steps to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of our student and community success plans for 2020.

Special Thanks To Our Past Conference Sponsors

Conference Location

St. Petersburg College
Seminole Campus

9200 113th St.
Seminole, FL 33772

Hotel Information

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Largo

Nightly rate: $159
Book by phone: 727-581-3900
Map & Directions

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Harbourside

Nightly rate: $220
Book by phone: 800-726-0865

Map & Directions

Holiday Inn Express & Suites St. Petersburg - Madeira Beach

Nightly rate: $209
Book by phone: 727-914-7107

Map & Directions

Conference Location

St. Petersburg College
Seminole Campus

9200 113th St.
Seminole, FL 33772


"I'm excited to say I've never seen anything that in-depth. To actually have, at one time, so many people sit down and focus on the overall idea of how to implement and change the overall scope of student success."

Conference Attendee