There is very little research and writing done by urban educators to document effective practices in urban schools. Duncan-Andrade has taught and researched effective teaching practices in schools around the world for over 23 years to provide insights to educators and school leaders into effective systems change, program building, and daily educational practices. This discussion equips leaders and educators to leverage research-based critiques of up-by-your-bootstraps theories of individualized success being pedaled to schools. In their place, it offers concrete, time-honored, research based strategies that foreground relationships, relevance, and responsibility as essential ingredients to fundamentally altering the business-as-usual approach that continues to fail so many of our young people. Through the voices of young people and educators, this talk reissues license for community responsive practices that transform engagement and educational outcomes for all children, relieving undeserved suffering in schools and communities.