Joe Johnson, Executive Director for the National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST), delivered a keynote speech at the annual conference of the California Educational Research Association (CERA) in December. Johnson highlighted key themes emerging from NCUST’s study of its National Excellence in Urban Education Award Program winners. The keynote identified eight instructional practices common in exemplary schools, including focusing on mastery, constructing essential vocabulary, and leading students to love learning. Johnson also outlined several factors that enable these instructional practices to develop and achieve success. Among these factors were building collaboration and trust by protecting time for teachers to work together and developing a team-oriented culture; making teaching public by opening classroom doors and engaging in frequent observation, feedback, and support; and persisting in improvement efforts by celebrating progress and overcoming inevitable setbacks. NCUST will host the National Excellence in Urban Education Symposium in May 2014 to further share lessons from educators at high-performing urban schools.