On Saturday, March 1, Skyline College hosted it’s 7th Annual Rock The School Bells Hip Hop Conference to nearly 300 youth and students from various middle school and high schools in the Bay Area. They engaged in a number of workshops ranging from experiencing interactive activities such as utilizing different instruments to create beats, participating in a live writing and spoken word sessions, creating a collective mural, and experiencing a live dance audition. They also participated in career-related workshops such as learning effective strategies using social media, how to create a strong brand, and learning the ins and outs of getting into the music industry.

A series of workshops were held specifically for educators in the Bay Area. Over 60 educators, administrators, youth service providers, and directors participated in workshops that provided them
with strategies utilizing Hip Hop pedagogies and ideological literacy practices that they can use in their classrooms and programs. Workshops included: Seeing Through the Lies: Ideological Literacy and Critical Consciousness, Word is Bond: Building Hope through Hip Hop, Critical Pedagogy, and Ethnic Studies, and Bringing Beats into the Classroom: Academic Applications of Hip Hop, Beatmaking, and DJing.

Here are some testimonials from facilitators and youth:

“RTSB was well organized, inspiring, and relevant. I left feeling culturally empowered, sustained, and humbles. Salute to Rock The School Bells for the important work that y’all do.” – Dr. Patrick Camangian, Ethnic Studies, University of San Francisco

“Rock The School Bells is unlike any other educational conference I have attended and is a truly unique and wonderful opportunity for youth, educators, and community members alike.” – Dr. Elliott Gann, Today’s Future Sound

“Rock The School Bells was sensational. I’ve never experienced an education that was this entertaining and powerful.” – Student testimony


The Dean of Counseling, Dr. Angelica Garcia, provided a warm welcome to conference attendees, emphasizing that Hip Hop is an effective and valuable tool to educate and empower communities. One of the main speakers included Sebastien Elkouby, who served as the conference keynote speaker. He provided an eye opening and thought provoking presentation on how Hip Hop has grown as a business and how some artists knowingly sacrifice the integrity of Hip Hop in order to sell and feed into misconceptions of Hip Hop culture.

In addition to the many workshops and presentations, we held a special recognition ceremony for our Rock The School Bells Scholarship recipients, Victor Moran and Cindy Castillo.

On behalf of the Rock The School Bells organizing team, we would like to thank all of the members of the Administration team, deans, faculty, and staff for their continued support for Rock The School Bells. There are many people to thank who have helped with the planning and coordination of the event. A complete list of acknowledgements can be seen on

This event would not be possible without the support of the Center of Innovative Practices through Hip Hop Education & Research (CIPHER), Youth Entrepreneurship Program, Low End Theory – Collaborative, San Mateo County Community Colleges Foundation, and the 4 Elements Hip Hop Club of De Anza College.

Many thanks go to Kevin Chak and the Skyline College Bookstore, Collective Green SF, Universal Zulu Nation – All Tribes SF, Whipt Baked Cookies, and many other local vendors for their gracious donations to the event.

For more information about Rock The School Bells, and CIPHER please contact Nate Nevado at or visit and
Article by Nate Nevado | Photos by Berlin Tomas & Shane Menez