Urban Teaching Matters: Conference For and By Urban Educators

Over 100 individuals from across the state, including Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE) students, alumni, staff, and faculty; educators; and non-profit representatives came together last month to advance conversations about urban education at the GSE’s Urban Teaching Matters conference.

Urban educators led ten participatory workshops and discussions on topics relevant to urban education. Topics included progressive pedagogy in urban settings, youth participatory action research, advocacy and public policy, integrating current social movements into the curriculum, and building relationships with students and communities across race and class. GSE students Keith Benson, Stephanie Rivera, Mara Hughes, Awo Okaikor Aryee-Price, and Brandi Gustafson and GSE alumni Cienai Wright, Nicole Cooper, Heather Renaud, Cassie Gorombey, Shana Stein, Brian Canares, Sheila Frye, Jill Grimm, and Kirsten Fontana were among discussion and workshop facilitators. The event was designed to encourage a mutual exchange of ideas and to support efforts to promote quality and equity in urban schools.  Participants shared their commitment, interests, skills, and passions in lively small groups.

“This event was an opportunity to support teachers in the field who are deeply committed to social justice and who perhaps don’t receive the acknowledgement and encouragement they deserve,” notes Eloiza Jorge, Program Coordinator of the GSE’s Urban Teaching Fellows.

David Dante Troutt, Professor of Law, Justice John J. Francis Scholar, and founding director of the Rutgers Center on Law in Metropolitan Equality gave the keynote address. His keynote discussed the roles and intersections of race, class, and place explored in his book, The Price of Paradise: The Costs of Inequality and a Vision for a More Equitable America.

“The event also provided a forum for alumni of the Urban Teaching Fellows program to connect with each other and with current fellows,” states Jorge.  “This year the program will graduate its sixth cohort and this was a meaningful way to share the wisdom and experiences of current and former fellows.”

The GSE’s Urban Teaching Fellows, directed by Dr. Thea Abu El-Haj and Dr. Beth Rubin, is a specialized program that develops excellent teachers for urban schools. The program fosters critical inquiry among youth and pre-service teachers through specialized support, coaching and professional development. To learn about an upcoming presentation of Youth in Action Forum, an after-school participatory research model run by Urban Teaching Fellows in seven schools across four local school districts, please visit the event webpage.

To learn more about the Urban Teaching Fellows, visit their program webpage

To learn more about the Urban Teaching Matters conference, please visit the event website.


View photographs from the event in the album below: