Urban education focus of inaugural conference

Monday, October 14, 2013

The College of Education’s Urban Education Collaborative recently held its inaugural conference “Pursuing Extraordinary Outcomes in Public Education” at UNC Charlotte Center City.

This event, held in partnership with Sugar Creek Charter School, drew nearly 300 educators, students, community leaders and key stakeholders from across the nation. The three-day conference offered professional development, networking opportunities and a chance to discuss some of the most pressing issues related to urban communities.

Chance Lewis, director of the Urban Education Collaborative, said the conference goal was to bring educators, community members and foundation executives from across the United States together to share research, tools and experiences to help educators and other community stakeholders think about ways to better engage and empower students and families in urban schools.”

The Urban Education Collaborative, established in 2011, supports educators and offers research and tools to improve the educational experience of students who live in urban cities, like Charlotte, stated Lewis. “We are here to serve the community and be a central hub and repository of empirically based research and other valuable resources to improve urban schools in the state of North Carolina and the nation. ‘Pursuing Extraordinary Outcomes in Public Education’ is just another example of how we’re making a difference as an urban research university that is both a training ground for future educators and a place where we are convening, engaging and tackling those tough issues.”

Conference attendees could participate in more than 40 workshops on topics such as college and career readiness; school transformation and leadership; early childhood and literacy; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); cultural competence; and single gender education.  

Donna Ford, distinguished professor of educational and human development, Vanderbilt University; Ruth Green from Johnson C. Smith University; and youth advocate Wes Moore, author of the N.Y. Times bestseller “The Other Wes Moore,” delivered presentations during the conference.

College of Education Dean Ellen McIntyre, welcomed conference attendees. She noted the importance of the Urban Education Collaborative. “It is so great to see our college on the ground, in communities, making connections and making a difference beyond the classroom. We are helping to create a culture that helps teachers, principals and counselors not only choose to serve our neediest populations but actually reach milestones and see success in their work. As an educator, I believe this is where the real work is—and the real rewards.”

The Urban Education Collaborative is planning a first-ever international conference on urban education to be held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 2014.