Creating Culturally Affirming Education for Students of Color

Descriptions of Keynote Presentations and Workshops

Geneva Gay
Keynote Presentation: Friday, 9:00-10:15 a.m.
The Power and Practice of Culturally Responsive Teaching
A discussion of how and why culturally responsive teaching makes a difference in the lives and learning of youth of color and their families. 

Kathy Robinson, with Rosemary Eichenlaub and Alice Pratt
Workshop: Friday, 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Teaching in the Margins: Culturally Responsive Pedagogy for Elementary General Music in Communities of Color
This session will focus on what research and two veteran urban elementary music educators tell us about teaching to and through the strengths of ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse students.  It is based on research done with the two practicing teachers who are co-presenters of the session.  This workshop is the same as the one offered by these presenters in the afternoon, 2:30-3:45 p.m


Rossana Cota
Workshop: Friday, 10:30-11:45 a.m.
A Patchwork of Integrated Possibilities with Mexican Songs, Dances, and Children’s Literature.
Discover classroom tested lessons on songs in Spanish from the Western influence of Mexico. Bilingual children’s literature will be used to present musical concepts as well as dances from this part of the country.  All material is appropriate for both children of color and all students, bringing us all together sharing in the world of music.

Barry Derfel
Workshop: Friday, 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Closing the Education Gap by Eliminating Zeros.
In 2003 I had been a classroom teacher for eighteen years.  At the time, I was also a strong advocate for closing the education gap in the Ithaca City School District.  At a meeting with my new principal, he asked me why it was that most of the students on the “D & F” list in my classes were students of color and/or students without economic privilege.

My initial reaction was to become defensive.  This question challenged the core assumptions I held about myself as an educator.  I went home and began thinking about how this could be.  Was it true that most of the students who weren't doing well in my classes were students of color and/or students without economic privilege?

I went home that night and examined my grade book.  The data confirmed his assertion.  80% of the students on the “D & F” list in my classes were students of color and/or students without economic privilege.  Yet, these students only made up about 20% of my overall student body.  The education gap existed within my own classroom.  

To close the education gap in my classes I began by committing to making sure that every student turned in every assignment, every time.  There was a direct correlation between students who had multiple zeros in my grade book and students who were failing.  I established a policy and made a commitment to ensuring that zeros were no longer an option.  This underlying premise became a lens through which I filtered ALL of my teaching practice, and my teaching began to change, in deep and fundamental ways, in an effort to really close the achievement gap.  This workshop will engage participants in an interrogation of the specific steps I took to effectively implement this practice, as I worked to create a classroom that affirmed all students.

Aaron Dworkin
Keynote Presentation: Friday, 1-2:15 p.m.
Breaking the Sound Barrier: The Sphinx Organization and Classical Music
Named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, Aaron P. Dworkin is the Founder and President of the Sphinx Organization, the leading national arts organization with offices in Detroit and New York that focuses on youth development and diversity in classical music.  In his presentation, Mr. Dworkin will discuss the lack of diversity that exists in the classical music field.  As part of this analysis, he will share statistics from orchestras, music schools and youth orchestras that lay the foundation for his work building greater representation of Blacks and Latinos in the industry.  He also covers the issues facing minority composers and the obstacles to greater visibility of their historical contributions to the classical music repertory as well as current commissions.

In addition, he will provide an overview of the Sphinx Organization and the impact of its programs including their Preparatory Music Institute in Detroit, Performance Academy in Boston, Artist Series at Carnegie Hall, various educational programs in schools around the country and the flagship program of the organization, the Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino musicians.  Dworkin will also share a brief video on the organization that includes clips of several of its ensembles, featuring the Sphinx Symphony, Sphinx Chamber Orchestra and the Harlem Quartet.

Mr. Dworkin represents diversity himself with a family background that is White, Black, Jewish, Jehovah's Witness, Irish and Catholic.  He will also share his personal story including his adoption, beginnings on the violin at the age of five and his various life experiences that ultimately led him to founding the Sphinx Organization while still a student at the University of Michigan. 

Sofia Villenas
Workshop: Friday, 2:30-3:45 p.m.
Towards Knowing and Unknowing Immigrant Families in Our Schools
Knowing "other" families, particularly immigrant families, is a complicated thing, even when we try to "know" in order to help. How we go about knowing, how we think we know, what the known think of our knowing, and what we do with our knowing are not easy nor innocent endeavors. This presentation guides participants in identifying three dilemmas of knowing "other" families - 1) knowing families as all about experiencing oppression rather than also living lives of joy, 2) knowing families in conversations about needs which unwittingly turn into conversations about deficits or what families lack culturally, and 3) Knowing all families of the same group as homogeneous and unchanging, or conversely as individuals devoid of collective histories, collective social/economic circumstances, and shared cultural practices. Drawing from perspectives of funds of knowledge (Gonzalez et al, 2005) and community cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005), participants are moved to consider how to both "unknown" immigrant families while simultaneously working to know families in deeper and more complex ways.

JoBeth Allen
Workshop: Friday, 2:30-3:45 p.m.
Family-School Partnerships that Lead to Learning
What do schools count as parental involvement? We will examine common school events such as open house, conferences, festivals, and family nights. We will explore opportunities that extend learning such as student-led conferences, parent-teacher-student research projects, and collaborative literacy learning projects that incorporate the arts.

Kathy Robinson, with Rosemary Eichenlaub and Alice Pratt
Workshop: Friday, 2:30-3:45 p.m.
Teaching In the Margins: Culturally Responsive Pedagogy for Elementary General Music in Communities of Color
This session will focus on what research and two veteran urban elementary music educators tell us about teaching to and through the strengths of ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse students.  It is based on research done with the two practicing teachers who are co-presenters of the session.  This workshop is the same as the one offered by these presenters in the morning, 10:30-11:45 a.m.

Gail L. Thompson
Keynote Presentation: Friday, 6-7:15 p.m.
Expect a Miracle: How Educators Can Help America’s “Stepchildren” to Succeed in School and Life
In this keynote address, Dr. Thompson will share research, stories, and strategies that are designed to help educators unleash the academic potential of America’s “stepchildren”: African American, Latino, and low-income K-12 students.

Alejandro Jimenez
Performance/Workshop: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
"Spicy, Picante" -- Afro-Spanish-Carrbbean Styles and Rhythms as a Part of the African Diaspora and Multiculturalism
This session will present and explore some teaching ideas and song materials that have proven to be successful in engaging children of Afro-Spanish backgrounds and educating all children in a multicultural way.  The music styles of Salsa, Merengue, Son, Plena, and Bomba Latin Jazz, with roots in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, will be presented, including performance by a band.  Session participants will hear, see, sing, move, and interact while learning easy song materials in Spanish.  For educators in all disciplines.  Handouts will be provided.

JoBeth Allen

Keynote Presentation: Saturday, 9:00-10:15 a.m.

Diverse Families, Welcoming Schools
Diverse families and teachers from across the country have created partnerships that support student learning.  We will explore family funds of knowledge through photography, teacher-family-student dialogue journals, and classroom/home learning projects incorporating family stories, family treasures, and family music and poetry.


Geneva Gay
Workshop: Saturday, 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Culturally Responsive Teaching
Learn about how to "do" culturally responsive teaching through examples of success.


Sean Eversley-Bradwell
Workshop: Saturday, 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Hip Hop: Old School and New School

Hip hop has become one of the largest and furthest reaching social movements in modern history.  However, the use of hip hop in schools and classrooms is often limited, superficial, and misunderstood.  This session will focus on the curriculum relevant history of hip hop and its importance and applications for students and teachers today.

Cynthia Henderson
Workshop: Saturday, 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Helping Students Achieve Voice and Empowerment through Theatre for Social Change
In this workshop, Professor Henderson will explain and show video clips about two "theatre for social change" projects she has led - one, called "Voice Suspended," was done with students of color at Ithaca High School to help them speak out about the discrimination they were experiencing at school and in the district; the other, "Road Trip: Demystifying HIV/AIDS," is a project she led with a theatre troupe in Cameroon, Africa.  "Voice Suspended," a very powerful and honest play written and performed by youth of African and Latino descent, has been performed a number of times in the community to educate educators and the community, and it provides a model for how to engage and empower youth who may feel marginalized and/or mistreated by school.  Professor Henderson will discuss the process of creating these kinds of projects and will answer questions people may have about doing this kind of work with youth.  She will also explain how people may get involved with PASC (Performing Arts for Social Change), a volunteer program she has founded that has been taken on as an initiative by Cornell University's Center for Transformative Action.





 

School of Music  ·  3322 Whalen Center  ·  Ithaca College  ·  Ithaca, NY 14850  ·  (607) 274-3171  ·  Full Directory Listing