Ithaca College Hosts Conference On Culturally Affirming Education

ITHACA, NY — The Ithaca College School of Music and Department of Education are presenting a conference March 26–28 designed to help educators, parents and community members improve the effectiveness of instruction and the overall school experience for youth of color and their families. “Creating Culturally Affirming Education for Students of Color: Integrating the Performing Arts and Academics” will highlight programs that have proven successful in achieving culturally responsive instruction.

In order to provide the greatest opportunity to hear, learn from and interact with national leaders, researchers, authors and experts working to address this critical issue, the following talks and performances at the conference will be free and open to the public.

 Thursday, March 26
Ford Hall, Whalen Center
7:30–9 p.m.
Underground Railroad
A musical performance featuring students from the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Utica, New York, and the Community School of Music and Arts in Ithaca.

 Friday, March 27
Hockett Family Recital Hall, Whalen Center
9–10:15 a.m.
The Power and Practice of Culturally Responsive Teaching
Geneva Gay, professor of education at the University of Washington, will lead a discussion of how and why culturally responsive teaching makes a difference in the lives and learning of youth of color and their families. Gay has won numerous awards for her teaching and scholarship, and her books include “At the Essence of Learning: Multicultural Education” and “Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Practice & Research.”

 1–2:15 p.m.
Breaking the Sound Barrier: The Sphinx Organization and Classical Music
Aaron Dworkin will discuss the lack of diversity that exists in the classical music field. Dworkin is the founder and president of the Sphinx Organization, the leading national arts organization that focuses on youth development and diversity in classical music. The recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, he has been named one of “15 people who make America great” by “Newsweek” magazine.

 6–7:15 p.m.
Expect a Miracle: How Educators Can Help America’s ‘Stepchildren’ Succeed in School and Life
Gail Thompson, a professor at the Claremont Graduate University, 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. Thompson is author of five books, including “African American Teens Discuss Their Schooling Experiences,” “What African American Parents Want Educators to Know” and “Through Ebony Eyes: What Teachers Need to Know but are Afraid to Ask About African American Students.”

 7:30–8:30 p.m.
‘Spicy, Picante’: Afro-Spanish-Caribbean Styles and Rhythms as Part of the African Diaspora and Multiculturalism
Alejandro Jimenez will lead his band in a performance/workshop featuring mariachi and Afro-Brazilian music. A music educator in the Hartford public schools, Jimenez was named Connecticut’s 2006 elementary school music teacher of the year. He has presented at many national conferences and contributed to a number of music textbooks.

 Saturday, March 28
Emerson Suites, Phillips Hall
9–10:15 a.m.
Diverse Families, Welcoming Schools
JoBeth Allen 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. Allen is a professor of language and literacy education at the University of Georgia and the author of “Creating Welcoming Schools:  A Practical Guide to Home-School Partnerships with Diverse Families” and “Literacy Research for Political Action.”

 Ford Hall, Whalen Center
8:15 p.m.
Gospel Invitational Music Festival
Some 250 young gospel singers from high schools in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Florida, New Jersey and New York will perform as part of the fourth annual Ithaca College Gospel Invitational Music Festival. The concert will feature guest soloists Marques Garrett and Calesta Day along with the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra.

The conference organizers are Baruch Whitehead, associate professor of music and director of the multicultural chorus Voices in the Greater Ithaca Community; and Jeff Claus, associate professor of education and coeditor of the book “Service Learning for Youth Empowerment and Social Change.”

For a complete schedule of conference programs and presentations, visit /music/education/conference. For more information, contact Jeff Claus at or (607) 277-7025.

Originally published in News Releases: Ithaca College Hosts Conference On Culturally Affirming Education.

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