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Redefining Student Engagement was a two-day symposium that brought together local and international academics, educators, practitioners, policy makers - as well as youth, themselves - to discuss critical questions concerning student engagement. A major goal of the symposium was to gain a better understanding of the conditions experienced by students who face the greatest challenges in completing their schooling. This involved, in the first place, hearing from young people about the conditions that actively helped them in their learning. Secondly, it entailed examining the ways in which families, communities and schools could generate feasible ways of reconfiguring and reinterpreting themselves in order to understand the issues young people encounter and, therefore, to better support them. Proceedings of the symposium are now being compiled, will be and widely disseminated through the symposium's participants, district Boards of Education and the Centre for Urban Schooling's website.

The symposium was made possible through a generous donation by William and Phyllis Waters.  For more information about the speakers, program, and contact information, please click on the links below.

Keynote Speakers


Panel Speakers


Panel Moderators

Agenda

Panel Descriptions

Contact

 

Keynote Speakers

Lois Weis, November 8th, 2007
Lois Weis is State University of New York Distinguished Professor of Sociology of Education at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. She is the author and/or editor of numerous books and articles relating to race, class, gender, education and the economy. Her most recent volumes include The Way Class Works: Readings on School, Family and the Economy (Routeldge, 2007), Class Reunion: The Remaking of the American White Working Class (Routledge, 2004), and Beyond Silenced Voices: Class, Race and Gender in United States Schools (edited with Michelle Fine, SUNY Press, 2005).

She is a winner of the outstanding book award from the prestigious Gustavus Meyers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America, as well as a seven-time winner of the American Educational Studies Association's Critic's Choice Award, given for an outstanding book. She is past-president of the American Educational Studies Association, and is the editor of the Power, Social Identity and Education series for SUNY Press.


Urvashi Sahni, November 9th, 2007
Urvashi Sahni has been an educator for the last twenty-two years. She completed her Ph.D. in 1994 in Language and Literacy at the University of California at Berkeley. As an educator, Dr. Sahni has founded a high school, and worked extensively in teacher training, curriculum development and school reform in India. For instance, she started an innovative inservice program for UNICEF in Lucknow, India, which has involved 30,000 kindergarten and first-grade teachers in twenty-eight districts of the country. In addition, Dr. Sahni initiated and managed a school reform project in a rural section of Uttar Pradesh in north India that involved sixty-two schools, 16,000 children, and 258 teachers. Dr. Sahni has collaborated with government agencies, several local agencies, and NGOs such as UNICEF, Azim Premji Foundation, and USAID in the area of school reform. Through such experiences, she pioneered the use of technology in education in rural schools in the state of Uttar Pradesh. In addition, she has directed the production and development of education software by teachers and programmers in the local language, and continues to experiment with and research the use of technology in education in very underserved areas of the country. In 2000, she received the Haas International Award from UC Berkeley in recognition of her "major contributions to the betterment of the world community".

In the last five years, Dr. Sahni has done considerable work in Drama in Education and the use of technology in Education. She is the Co-Founder of a project called Digital Studyhall, which involves the use of technology to reach underserved populations in India. From 2003 - 2004, Dr. Sahni was also a visiting professor at the Graduate School of Education at Berkeley.

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Panel Speakers

Mark Campbell

Cara Eastcott

Bruce Ferguson, The Hospital for Sick Children

Kathleen Gallagher, Centre for Urban Schooling, OISE

David Gillborn, University of London

Adonis Huggins, Regent Park Focus Media Arts Centre

Chris Kang, School Without Borders

Annie Kidder, People for Education

Wendy Luttrell, Harvard University

Rita Mammone and John Giustini, Toronto Catholic District School Board

Merrill Mathews, Ottawa Carleton District School Board

Ainsworth Morgan, Pathways to Education

Tonika Morgan, Medina Collective

Mario Murray, Beatz toda Streetz

Linda Nathan, Boston Arts Academy

Melanie Parrack, Toronto District School Board

Shauna Pomerantz, Brock University

John P. Portelli, OISE

Jean-Paul Restoule, OISE

Andrew J. Ryan, George Mason University

Felix Salazar, Toronto District Catholic School Board

Naomi Savage, Toronto District School Board

Dennis Thiessen, OISE

Mishayla Vandenheuvel, Toronto District School Board

Wilma Verhagen, Toronto District School Board

Jeffrey White, Triangle Program, Toronto District School Board

Jean-Paul Willaime, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Sorbonne University

Scot Wortley, University of Toronto

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Mark V. Campbell is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at OISE. Since earning his B.Ed. in 2002, Mark has taught at the secondary, college and university levels. His research interests include: remix culture, turntablism, Afrodiasporic youth cultures, subjugated knowledges, AfroModernism(s), temporality and Canadian state-sponsored 'multiculturalism'. His most recent publications include:  "Indigenous Knowledge in Jamaica: A Tool of Ideology in a Neo-Colonial Context" in Anticolonialism and Education: The Politics of Resistance (G. Dei & A. Kempf, Eds., 2006), and "Connect the T. Dots - Remix Multiculturalism" in Ebony Roots, Northern Soil (Charmaine Nelson, Ed., 2008). His dissertation is entitled Remixing Relationality: 'Othered' Sonic Modernities of our Present.

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Cara Eastcott is a filmmaker, theatre performer and writer. The first documentary she co-directed was called Hear the Story, which has been screened at conferences, high schools, and community centres across the city.  It was also screened at the 2007 Reel World Film Festival. This, year Cara co-wrote and performed with a theatre collective called The Urban Griots of T Dot in Jinch Malrex, a play directed by d'bi.young.anitafrika. This group has also self-published the play, along with individual poems, monologues and stories, in a book that includes a study guide on the issues and themes presented in Jinch Malrex. Cara currently works at Goldelox Productions Inc.
 
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Dr. Bruce Ferguson is the Director of the Community Health Services Resource Group at The Hospital for Sick Children.  He is also a Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology and Public Health Science at the University of Toronto.  Dr. Ferguson taught psychology at Carleton University, and then moved into the health care system at the Royal Ottawa Hospital, and the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry.

In 1997, Dr. Ferguson began work at The Hospital for Sick Children, where he founded the Community Health Systems Resource Group (CHSRG).  The purpose of the CHSRG is to create and implement systemic models for children's success by transferring knowledge to all who can influence healthy outcomes for children.  Its goals are to: improve services for children and youth at the community level; build community commitment to children and youth; and advocate for strong policies at all levels of government that support children, youth and their families. In 2004-2005, Dr. Ferguson led a team that carried out the early School Leavers study for the Ontario Ministry of Education.  Since then he and his team have worked with the Ministry on the Learning to 18 and Student Success programs.  Currently, his team is beginning a study on the transition from Grade 8 through to Grades 9 and 10.

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Dr. Kathleen Gallagher is Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair in Urban School Research in Pedagogy and Policy, and the Academic Director of the Centre for Urban Schooling. Dr. Gallagher's latest book, The Theatre of Urban: Youth and Schooling in Dangerous Times (University of Toronto Press 2007), is based on a three-year ethnographic study of four secondary schools in New York City and Toronto. The book highlights the contemporary social, political, and artistic meanings of drama in urban schools. It also comments upon the discourses of risk and the state of heightened security and surveillance in many urban schools and the impact of these policy changes on the subjective experiences of youth. It examines these systemic changes through an innovative, performative methodology of co-research with youth. Her book Drama Education in the Lives of Girls: Imagining Possibilities (University of Toronto Press, 2000) received the American Education Research Association's book award for significant contribution to Curriculum Studies in 2001.  Her edited collection (with Dr. David Booth) is entitled How Theatre Educates: Convergences and Counterpoints with Artists, Scholars, and Advocates (University of Toronto Press, 2003).

Dr. Gallagher has published many articles on urban youth, pedagogy, gender, and the arts and travels widely giving international addresses and workshops for practitioners. Her research continues to focus on questions of inclusion, engagement, and artistic practice in urban contexts, as well as the pedagogical possibilities of learning through the arts.

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Dr. David Gillborn is Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. Recently described as Britain's 'most influential race theorist in education', he is the author of numerous books and articles, including 'Rationing Education' (with Deborah Youdell), which won 'best book in education' from the Standing Conference on Studies in Education (SCSE)/Society for Educational Studies (SES). He is recognized internationally as a leading writer in the field, and was recently honoured for his work in 'promoting multicultural education' by the American Educational Research Association (AERA) special interest group on the Critical Examination of Race, Ethnicity, Class and Gender in Education. David's writing spans both quantitative and qualitative research, and he is currently working closely with colleagues in the US in the field of 'critical race theory' (CRT). His new book, "Conspiracy? Racism & Education" (pub. Easter 2008), is the first major application of CRT to the English school system.

David also works closely with policy and advocacy groups, including the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, the Runnymede Trust and the National Children's Bureau. He was a member of the 'London Board' of the Commission for Racial Equality from 2004 until its abolition in 2007. In addition to his own research and teaching, David is also founding editor of 'Race Ethnicity & Education', a leading international journal for the critical analysis of race and racism in education.

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Adonis Huggins is the Program Director of Regent Park Focus, and has a keen interest in the use of community based media as a tool of engagement and social change. Over the past fourteen years, he has been working with youth in Regent Park, Canada's largest public housing community, to develop programs and activities that offer young people opportunities to explore radio and print journalism, and audio, video, photography arts. Adonis has been recognized widely for his work. In 1995 Adonis and the Regent Park Focus was presented with a Mayor's Task Force on Drugs Award by the former City of Toronto. This was followed, in 1996, with an Innovative Prevention Program Award presented by the former Addiction Research Foundation. In 1999 Adonis was invited to do work overseas as a consultant with the Canadian Society for International Health on an Ukraine-Canada Youth For Health Project.  The project involved the use of video and radio arts to promote health, and was modeled upon Adonis' experiences in Regent Park. In 2001, under the leadership of Adonis, Regent Park Focus was profiled in Preventing Substance Use Problems Among Young People, a compendium of best practices and in 2003 was awarded Mayor's Community Safety Award for Outstanding achievement in youth violence prevention and Promoting Community Safety. In March 2006, Adonis Huggins was announced as the first recipient of the Face the Arts campaign, a 10-month campaign sponsored by the City of Toronto and Toronto Life magazine profiling Toronto's cultural mavericks. Adonis continues to be committed to the use of interactive youth engagement media strategies to engage young people.

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Chris Kang has over thirteen years of experience as a community builder.  In 2003, he co-founded the charity Schools Without Borders, and has served as its Executive Director since that time. Chris, who recently received the Toronto Community Foundation's Vital People award, brings to SWB his innovative and collaborative spirit, and believes strongly that Canada needs an innovative organization to provide the support and training for youth that will enable them to fulfill their potential to make a real difference in the world. Chris has extensive experience designing and leading both local and international projects, with a focus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Nairobi, Kenya. More locally, since November 2006, Chris has helped seven youth-led initiatives in Toronto leverage $175,000 in funding for innovative projects that focus on keeping, building and sharing power in the community.

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Annie Kidder is the mother of two children.  A former theatre director, she initially became involved in education through the Home and School Association at her children's school. In February 1996, she helped found People for Education, an independent parents' organization dedicated to the ideal of a publicly funded education system that guarantees every child access to the education that meets his or her needs. The group works with parents to support public education in Ontario's English, French and Catholic schools.  People for Education promotes greater civic engagement in the public education system; conducts ongoing research into the effects of policy and funding changes on schools; and coordinates a comprehensive communications strategy focused on education issues.

People for Education publishes a bi-monthly newsletter, maintains an informative website, holds an annual conference for parents from across the province, and publishes multi-lingual information bulletins for parents.

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Dr. Wendy Luttrell is Aronson Associate Professor of Human Development and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  She studies the relationship between culture, identity, and schooling, focusing on how students' perspectives about self worth, value, knowledge, and success are shaped.  She is the author of two award-winning books that explore these issues:  School-smart and Mother-wise: Working-Class Women's Identity and Schooling (Routledge 1997) and Pregnant Bodies, Fertile Minds: Gender, Race and the Schooling of Pregnant Teens (Routledge 2003). Her current project, Children Framing Childhood, Class and Culture, uses visual methodologies to examine the meanings that low-income, mostly immigrant children attach to childhood, the relationship between their family and school lives, and valued aspects of identity. A central goal is to provide educators with more appreciation for diverse children's insights, visions, and views about their upbringing. 

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Rita Mammone and John Giustini are teachers with the Toronto Catholic District School Board.  Through the recent Ministry of Education initiatives geared toward increasing the graduation rates by 2010, Rita and John were seconded from their high schools to create a centrally-based school board program that is available to students in all thirty-two schools across the board.   They developed and piloted a new program called Continuous Intake Cooperative Education for at-risk youth who have either left school early or are thinking about doing so.  Their program is very relationship-based and unique to the individual. Rita and John are as much interested in and supportive of students' social/emotional needs as they are in their curriculum needs.  Their program is a holistic approach to teaching and learning.

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Merrill Mathews has been in the teaching profession for the last fourteen years.  He started in the Ottawa Carleton District School Board in 1992 as a supply teacher, and then taught at the primary, junior and intermediate levels for the next 8 years.  In 2000, he was hired centrally at the Board office in Curriculum Services as the Equity/Social Studies Consultant, where he had the privilege of working to improve equity in education. In 2006, Merrill was invited to join the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat in Toronto, where he worked as a Student Achievement Officer with the Equity Team. Through this experience, he supported the Ontario Focussed Intervention Partnership in six inner city schools in the Toronto area. For the upcoming school year, Merrill feels extremely fortunate to be placed as Vice Principal at a great school, Sawmill Creek Elementary School, and to be working side by side with an outstanding Principal, amazing staff and most of all, incredible students.

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Ainsworth Morgan obtained his B.Sc. in Criminology at the University of Toledo. For the past seven years, he has worked for the Toronto District School Board teaching at Nelson Mandela Park PS. He is currently on secondment from the TDSB to work for The Pathways to EducationTM Program. He has also been a teacher at Upper Canada College Horizons summer program, and a group leader for the Boys' Anger Management Program (Central Toronto Youth Services).   He is the former vice-president of The Regent Park Community Health Centre Board or Directors, and a former member of the Trust and Development committees for the Pathways to Education Program. Ainsworth is currently pursuing a Masters of Education at OISE.

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Tonika Morgan is an academic agitator, whose work focuses on alternative approaches to post-secondary education and training for marginalized people - namely single mothers and women of colour. Using her past experiences with poverty and homelessness, as well as her failed relationships with the education system, Tonika has been involved in projects that address issues such as education, poverty, and women and storytelling through hip hop culture. Currently, Tonika is the Project Manager of Women Moving Forward in the Jane/Finch Community. She is also the Founder and Co-Director of the Medina Collective, a hip hop womanist collective, and serves on a number of boards and committees. When she isn't working or volunteering, Tonika can be found pushing her professor's buttons at Ryerson University, as a 3rd year student in the Arts and Contemporary Studies program.

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Mario Murray
Mario "TheVoyce" Murray is the Workshop Facilitator and Operations Coordinator for Beatz to da Streetz, a Youth-led Social Enterprise that aims to engage youth through urban arts to make positive changes in their own lives.

As an artist, he is a social entrepreneur and creates music that is commercially viable and socially responsible, a balance that has garnered him numerous awards, his most cherished being an opportunity to perform for Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean.

For more on TheVoyce or Beatz to da Streetz visit www.b2ds.ca and www.myspace.com/thevoyce


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Dr. Linda Nathan is the founding headmaster of the Boston Arts Academy, the city's first and only public high school for the visual and performing arts. Under her leadership, the school has won state, national, and international recognition, including a Massachusetts Compass Award, a "Breaking Ranks" award from the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and a Mentor School award from the Coalition of Essential Schools. BAA sends well over ninety percent of its graduates-all residents of the city of Boston-to college. Linda was instrumental in starting Boston's first performing-arts middle school, and was a driving force behind the creation of Fenway High School, recognized nationally for its innovative educational strategies and school-to-work programs. She is also a co-founder and board member of the Center for Collaborative Education in Boston, a nonprofit education reform organization dedicated to creating more equitable and democratic schools. She was named 1990 Teacher of the Year by Channel 5 "Chronicle" in Boston, and from 1995 to 1998 she served on the National Academy of Science's Commission for the Science of Learning. In 2003, Linda received the Nadia Boulanger Educator's Award from the Longy School of Music for her work in arts education; in 2006 she received the first Fidelity Inspire the Future Award, which is given to community leaders who inspire the next generation of artists and arts advocates. She was recently named a Barr Foundation Fellow, Class of 2007.

Linda's articles on school reform and arts education have appeared in Phi Delta Kappan, Educational Leadership, Horace, and other publications. Fluent in Spanish, she has worked on issues of school reform in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. In March 2006, she presented to the first UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education in Lisbon, Portugal. She is a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she teaches a course titled "Building Democratic Schools." She is also currently writing a book about urban education and the arts. Linda Nathan earned a bachelor's degree at the University of California, Berkeley, a master's degree in education administration at Antioch University, a master's of performing arts at Emerson College, and her doctorate in education at Harvard University.

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Melanie Parrack is the Executive Superintendent - Student Success, for the Toronto District School Board.  She is committed to ensuring programs, policies, procedures and practices that ensure every student is motivated to, and has the opportunity to, maximize his or her potential as a learner and as a contributing member of our society. In her current role, Melanie works in conjunction with staff from the Ministry of Education to advise and implement Ministerial policy, in conjunction with Board direction.  This dual accountability is proving very beneficial for the school system.

Melanie's career includes positions in teaching and administration.  Melanie has served as System Superintendent with responsibility for academic achievement, Superintendent of Education for a family of schools, Executive Assistant to the Director of Education (former North York Board of Education) and Principal and Vice-Principal at the secondary level in numerous school sites. 

Melanie's commitment to student success is her reason for being an educator.  She has led initiatives with a focus on grade Seven and Eight at-risk students, transition between grades Eight and Nine, credit accumulation in grades Nine and Ten, program pathways and school-to-futures transitions.  She has participated in the Minister's Working Table for provincial implementation of the new policy surrounding Cooperative Education.  Melanie also coordinated the Imagine Student Success Project that actively involved students' voices in shaping the future effectiveness of the TDSB in ensuring student success.

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Dr. Shauna Pomerantz's research focuses on the construction of girls and girlhood through the intersecting lenses of sociology and cultural studies. Her past projects include Girl Power, a study of girls' embodied and lived expressions of feminism, and Dressing the Part, an ethnography of girls' uses of style in the negotiation of identity in the school. In both of these projects, popular culture proved to be an intricate and integral aspect of how girls understood themselves and each other. Girls' engagement with popular culture (clothing, music, television, film, and the Internet) helped to solidify social groups and everyday experiences, even while it was virtually ignored in the classroom. Shauna's PhD is from the University of British Columbia, where she studied sociology of education and taught in the areas of feminisms, child and youth culture, and social justice. Currently, she is assistant professor at Brock University, in the department of Child and Youth studies, where she teaches popular culture and qualitative research. When not working, she likes to stay up to date on indie rock and pop, music videos, films about teenagers, and smart television programs, such as The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Big Love.

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Dr. John P. Portelli is Professor, Co-Director of the Centre for Leadership and Diversity, and Associate Chair of the Department of Theory and Policy Studies at the Ontario Institute for the Studies in Education, University of Toronto. He teaches in the graduate programs in Philosophy of Education and Educational Administration, and in the pre-service teacher education program.  His research and teaching focus on: issues of democratic theory and educational policy, leadership and pedagogy; student engagement and the curriculum of life; standardization, equity and "students at risk"; and analysis and critique of neo-liberalism in education. He has published seven books (including a collection of poetry). He has been involved in three major national projects: Student Engagement in School Life and Learning (1996-1999), Toward an Equitable Education: Poverty, Diversity and 'Students at Risk' (2004-2007), and Pedagogies At Risk: Just Schooling and Accountability Discourses (2005-2009).

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Dr. Jean-Paul Restoule is Anishinaabe and French, and a member of the Dokis First Nation. He is currently Assistant Professor of Aboriginal Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. His research has included Aboriginal identity development in urban areas; access to post-secondary education for Aboriginal people; HIV prevention strategies for Aboriginal youth; and the application of indigenous knowledge in academic and urban settings.

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Andrew J. Ryan teaches at the University of the District of Columbia, at and George Mason University.  He has taught courses in math, Internet and Multimedia Studies and, since 2001, Hip-Hop studies. CollegeBound Teen Magazine named Ryan's first Hip-Hop course, Beats, Rhyme and Culture, at #14 in their list of the top 25 'coolest' college courses.  Ryan also teaches a blended course on Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop Literacies and is currently developing a fully online class, Introduction to Hip-Hop Studies.   In addition to his work at the university level, Ryan has taught math at the high school and middle school level.

In addition to his teaching positions, Ryan is the founding executive director of Hip-Hop Matters, an education-based, Hip-Hop non-profit and is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Hip-Hop.  He holds a Bachelors degree in computer science from Binghamton University (State University of New York), a Master's degree in Systems Engineering (George Mason University) and expects to finish his PhD in Instructional Technology in 2010.  He is working on his first book, Spitting Knowledge: Effective Use of Hip-Hop in the Classroom to be published by Peter Lang.

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Felix Salazar was born in Trinidad, and came to Canada in 1967.  He worked as a teacher while attending the University of Toronto part time.  Throughout his years at U of T, Felix was actively involved in campus life:  he was a member of an undergraduate association that advocated for part time students, and eventually sat on the founding committee for the Canadian Organization for Part Time University Students; he was the first Black member of the University's Governing Council, and served as Governor for two years; he was Vice President of Academic Affairs, and a member of both the University's Transitional Year Task Force and the Professor Tenureship Task Force.

Felix's activism also carried over into his professional life, where he devoted much time and energy to resolving union politics in the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association Elementary Teacher's Association.  In addition, as a teacher with over thirty years' experience, seventeen of which were spent as a Guidance Counsellor, Felix worked extensively with at-risk students (e.g. students who were marginal slow learners; who had little or no parental support in education matters, etc.) in many of Greater Toronto's under-serviced communities, such as the Jane-Finch Corridor and Weston. 

Now that he is "retired", Felix serves as the President of Toronto's Occasional Teacher's Local (TOTL), a position he has held for three years.

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Naomi Savage is the Artistic Director of the Toronto District School Board's Theatre in Education Co-op Program.  Theatre Co-op is a five-month program that enables students to earn high school credits while creating an original play that tours approximately thirty middle schools.  The play is ensemble driven and collectively created.  Naomi also teaches Drama at Central Technical High School.  Her article about Theatre Co-op will appear in The Canadian Theatre Review's October 2007 issue dedicated to the topic of Theatre and Children.

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Dr. Dennis Thiessen is a Professor and the Chair in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Curriculum Inquiry.  His research interests are in the areas of student lives and careers, teacher development, school improvement, and educational change. His publications include the following books/monographs: International Handbook of Student Experience in Elementary and Secondary School, co-edited with Alison Cook-Sather (Springer, 2007); Getting into the Habit of Change in Ohio Schools: The Cross-case Study of Twelve Transforming Learning Communities, with Stephen Anderson (Ohio Department of Education, 1999); Agents, Provocateurs: Reform-minded Leaders for Schools of Education, co-edited with Howey and Zimpher (American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, 1998); Children and their Curriculum: The Perspectives of Primary and Elementary School Children, co-edited with Pollard and Filer, Falmer, 1997); and Making a Difference about Difference: The Lives and Careers of Racial Minority Immigrant Teachers (co-edited with Bascia and Goodson (Garamond Press, 1996).

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Mishayla Vandenheuvel
(Bio coming soon)

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Wilma Verhagen has been an educator for almost twenty years. She has worked in a variety of schools, ranging from an Inuit school in an isolated Northern Quebec village, to a private school in north end Toronto. Wilma has taught Special Education classes in three downtown Toronto TDSB schools in grades ranging from Kindergarten to 7/8. For the past eight years, Wilma has worked at Nelson Mandela Park P.S. in the Regent Park Community, mostly as the Methods & Resource teacher (MART). As of September 2007 Wilma is at Jesse Ketchum Jr. & Sr. P.S. as a Vice Principal.

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Jeffrey A. White is a Program Teacher at the Triangle Program, Canada's only high school program for LGBTQ youth.  He has been involved with the Program for seven years (both as a volunteer and as a teacher) and has recently completed his M.A. with a focus on anti-oppression and anti-homophobia education, as well as, queerness and the importance of building community in school.

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Dr. Jean-Paul Willaime holds doctorates in Religious Studies (1975) and Sociology (1984) from the University of Strasbourg (France).  He was Lecturer in Sociology of Religion at the University of Strasbourg from 1975 to 1992 and is currently Director of The Group Societies, Religion, Laïcity Research Centre (EPHE/CNRS) and Professor of the History and Sociology of Protestantism at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Department of Religious Studies, Sorbonne, Paris.  His research interests include mainline and evangelical Protestantism, sociology of ecumenism, religions and school education, and European religion, and his main publications include Profession: pasteur (1986); La précarité protestante : Sociologie du protestantisme contemporain (1992); Sociologie des Religions (3rd edition, 2004); Sociologies et religion : Approches classiques (with Danièle Hervieu-Léger, 2001); Europe et religions. Les enjeux du XXIe siècle (2004); Sociologie du Protestantisme (2005) ; Des maîtres et des dieux. Ecoles et religions en Europe (ed. with Séverine Mathieu,2005) ; Religion and Education in Europe (ed. with Robert Jackson, Siebren Miedema, Wolfram Weisse, 2007) ; Enseigner les faits religieux (ed. with Dominique Borne, 2007).

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Scot Wortley
Dr. Wortley has been a Professor at the Centre of Criminology, University of Toronto since 1996.  In 2001 he was appointed the Justice and Law Domain Leader at the Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement (CERIS).  He teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses including Introduction to Criminology, Penology, Interpersonal Violence and Policing.  His current research projects include: 1) a study that is investigating the extent and nature of street gangs in Toronto; 2) a project that is exploring the relationship between immigration and crime using both official and unofficial sources of crime data; 3) a study that is examining the extent and impact of racial profiling in Ontario; and 4) a study examining police use of force in Ontario.  Professor Wortley has also been conducting research on youth violence as part of the TDSB's  School Community Safety Advisory Panel (chaired by Julian Falconer and charged with the investigation of school safety issues in the wake of the shooting death of Jordan Manners) and the Ontario Government's Roots of Youth Violence Inquiry (chaired by Roy McMurtry and Alvin Curling).

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Panel Moderators

David Booth is professor emeritus at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, where he teaches graduate courses in the arts in education and literacy education. He was educated in Ontario, and completed his graduate work at Oxford University and Durham University in England.

For over forty years, David has been involved in education, as a classroom teacher, language arts consultant, professor, speaker and author. His students have included teachers and administrators enrolled in the pre-service, master's and doctoral programs in education. He has also authored many teacher reference books and textbooks in all areas of language development: early literacy, reading, writing, speaking and listening, drama and media. His latest writings include Reading and Writing in the Middle Years, Even Hockey Players Read, Literacy Techniques, The Literacy Principal, and I Want to Read.
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Joseph Flessa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theory and Policy Studies.  His areas of expertise include urban educational policy, the principalship, and the professional preparation of school leaders.  He is currently working on several research projects including a project on poverty and schooling for the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, and a project on class size reduction for the Canadian Education Association.  Joe teaches doctoral classes in educational administration.  He also teaches a course in OISE's new interdisciplinary M.Ed. cohort focused on urban schools.  In addition Joe teaches School and Society in the Initial Teacher Education program (in particular, for the secondary option focused on inner city schools). 

Previously, as a graduate student Joe helped establish U.C. Berkeley's innovative urban-focused Principal Leadership Institute.  Before graduate school he taught 6th grade in Houston, Texas and taught 5th grade and served as principal of a school in Pachuca, Mexico.
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Jeff Kugler is the Executive Director of the Centre for Urban Schooling at OISE, and has led its development and growth since 2005.

At CUS, Jeff has been instrumental in generating strong bonds between the Centre and community agencies, schools, teachers and principals. He has also participated in the creation of new inner city teacher education programs at OISE, which better prepare teachers to assume the challenges of teaching in today's diverse urban classrooms.

With over twenty-eight years of experience working in the public education system, Jeff has experienced its challenges and joys from many standpoints: as a teacher, principal, vice-principal, and course director. Before coming to the Centre for Urban Schooling Jeff was for many years the Principal at Nelson Mandela Park Public School in the Regent Park community of Toronto. Jeff is also the Past-President of the Canadian Council for Inner City Education and co-organized the National Inner City Conference in Toronto, which took place in April 2007. He has been involved with the TDSB Model Inner City School initiative from the outset, originally as a co-chair of the Model School for Inner Cities Task Force (2005), and since then, as a member of the TDSB Inner City Advisory Committee.
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Normand Labrie is a Full Professor and Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto (OISE).   As Faculty at OISE since 1991, Dr. Labrie was Head of the Centre for Franco-Ontarian Studies (CRÉFO) for ten years (1994-2004).   His research focuses on linguistic pluralism from multiple perspectives, including the study of language politics, linguistic minorities, bilingualism and multilingualism.  While his research deals mainly with linguistic pluralism in Canada and in Europe, his latest research focuses on French-speaking communities in Canada. 
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Ben Levin is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Department of Theory and Policy Studies at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, University of Toronto.  A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, he holds a B.A. (Hon.) from the University of Manitoba.  He received an Ed.M from Harvard University, and then completed his Ph.D. at OISE. 

His career in education extends over many years, starting with his efforts while in high school to organize a city-wide high school students' union and his election as a school trustee in Seven Oaks School Division at the age of nineteen. Since than he has worked with private research organizations, school divisions, provincial governments, and national and international agencies, as well as building an academic and research career in education.

Ben has held leadership positions in a wide variety of organizations in the public and non-profit sectors.  From late 2004 until early 2007, he was Deputy Minister of Education for the Province of Ontario.  From 1999 through 2002, he was Deputy Minister of Advanced Education and Deputy Minister of Education, Training and Youth for Manitoba. He is internationally known for his work in educational reform, educational change, educational policy and politics.
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David Montemurro has strong, school-based experience as a high school teacher and Department Head of History, Social Sciences, English and ESL. As a Lecturer in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE, he has coordinated three different secondary program cohorts within OISE’s Initial Teacher Education program, including the new Inner-City Education cohort. David has also taught Intermediate/Senior Curriculum and Instruction courses in History and Politics, as well as on-line and face-to-face Additional Qualification courses in History and Individual & Society.

More current interests include inner-city education and pre-service teacher development. He is particularly interested in fostering and extend initial teachers' commitments to equity and social justice, thorough a site-based pre-service program that aims to foster a collaborative network of inner-city educators, schools and community based social service agencies.

As an associate member of OISE’s Centre for urban Schooling, David presented at the National Inner City Conference, which took place in April 2007. He has also contributed articles to Orbit Magazine and Educating for Global Citizenship in a Changing World.
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Leslie Stewart Rose is a Lecturer in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning.  Her current work is a case study attempting to understand how teacher-candidates (TCs) make sense of their experiences in a teacher education program designed to prepare teachers to teach in inner city schools. This study seeks to understand the modes of thinking of a teacher-candidate: how TCs think about what they observe, how they interpret their observations, recognize tensions and conflicts in discourses, philosophies and actions, contemplate dilemmas and options and make decisions.  Though this research, Leslie hopes to provide a forum  for 1) teacher-candidates, to become more metacognitively aware and deeply learn from their experiences; 2) for her to, as teacher-educator researcher, better understand the complexities of learning to teach in inner city schools; and 3) for readers who might find useful insight as we strive to improve teacher education and the experience of schooling for all students.

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Panel Descriptions

DAY 1 - NOVEMBER 8th, 2007

Session 1 - Inside and Out: Students' Lives beyond the School Walls
Student participation in sports, clubs, peer groups, vocational and volunteering activities has an impact on how students engage in learning, overall.  But why do some youths seem to be active leaders outside of the school environment and quiet spectators in the classroom? Why are the spaces where youth envision their personal development sometimes so different from the spaces that the school system designates for them? This panel will examine students' sense of self and leadership in the contexts of extracurricular activities. Equally, it will address the complexities that young people encounter in the process of constructing and defining their identities inside and beyond the school walls.

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Session 2 - Student Engagement: Quality Indicators and Implications for Public Policy
Operationalizing and constructing indicators of student engagement is not a simple task; neither for researchers, nor for policy makers. There are not only a plethora of views conceptualizing student engagement, but also a myriad of aspects to it. In the Canadian context, most Boards of Education have not yet started to evaluate student engagement, in part because of the complexity that such an endeavour would entail. As such, there is an urgent need to start constructing and implementing more complex research methods and indicators of student engagement. This session will discuss the types of indicators and data gathering methods that have been used by academics, international research programs and experts in the field, and will consider the strengths and challenges of each approach. Although this session is of main interest to policy makers and researchers, school principals and teachers interested in the topic are encouraged to attend.

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Session 3 - Relevant Pedagogies:  Troubling Identities and Diverse Classrooms
Most educators would agree that in order to engage their students in learning is necessary to understand their individual, social and cultural identities. But why are certain young people's identities "troubling" to teachers? How is the social construct of a "normal student" institutionalized as part of a school's culture? Some school policies produce the effect of mainstream culture generating feelings of "otherness" among students with diverse identities, lifestyles or life plans. When students stay in school, against the odds, it is often because they have found contexts where schools, families and/or communities have connected positively with them, often through relevant pedagogies.  This panel will discuss how teachers can use relevant pedagogies to build stronger relationships with their students and to challenge existent forms of exclusion. It will also provide examples of current programs and initiatives that support students who face discrimination, homelessness, disabilities, or repetitive school failure.

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Session 4 - The Art of Student Engagement
The arts, in their various forms, have often been regarded as powerful tools to engage young people. They not only provide youth with a language to express and affirm their identity; they also arts allow students to experience achievement outside the conventional academic environment. Participation in artistic endeavours also fosters the development of students' social skills.  But, to what extent do the arts support young people in their complex processes of developing their individual, social, and cultural identities? How do they instill in students a sense of belonging? What is the role of the arts in opening spaces for critiquing and accepting differences? This session will provide a discussion about the arts as a tool for fostering students' engagement in diverse artistic disciplines. It will also bring together examples of arts programs that are inspiring and supporting students in and beyond school.

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What Helped or Could Have Helped? Youth Speak Up
  
Walking away from school is an active and conscious decision that is made at the individual level, and generally entails complex reasons and long-term processes of disaffection with school as a social institution. In the voices of young people from different walks of life, this session will provide a youth-centred view on student engagement: what they enjoyed from their school experience; the levers that were offered to them; the supports they found outside of school; or the supports they wish they could have had in their school life.

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DAY 2 - NOVEMBER 9th, 2007

Session 5 - Plugging into Youth Pop Culture: Music, Style and Identities
Youths' popular culture is often portrayed in deficit terms as opposed to considering it as a valuable resource for the community. Adults often construct stereotypes of "troublemakers" based on certain styles and looks about which they have little understanding.  Participants in this session will explore the various forms of youth popular culture - such as hip-hop, rave, goth, and punk - and the role that technology and communication devices play in the lives of younger generations. Forms of culturally relevant pedagogy are intrinsically linked to this discussion.  The panel will present best practices that illustrate how teachers are attempting to plug into these cultural forms to engage students in learning curriculum and thinking critically about the society in which they live. The session will also bring examples of youth-led initiatives that are opening the ground for youth participation, expression and leadership through forms of popular culture.

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Session 6 - Culture, Religion and Student Engagement:  Framing the Debate
The Canadian urban context is often characterized by rich ethnocultural and religious diversity. Such diversity poses daily challenges to teachers and school administrators who sometimes perceive students from particular ethnocultural and/or religious groups as being "unequipped" to engage successfully in school. School systems often explain this as a "deficit" that results from certain cultural backgrounds and social values.  Questions to be considered include: How do school systems relate - or not - to their students' ethnocultural and religious identities? What types of policies are in place? Have these worked or failed in engaging communities, parents and students?  The panelists in this session will explore these issues by drawing from their particular experiences as educators, researchers, and community activists.

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The Schools We Want:  High School Students Discuss What Needs to Change

In this panel, current secondary school students from various parts of the city will critically analyze their experiences in Toronto’s high schools.  For example, what does it look like and feel like to be a youth in a Toronto high school? What are the factors that support students facing great difficulties at school? What helps students to complete their schooling "against the odds"?.  The panelists will also provide recommendations for supporting student engagement. 

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Towards a Multidimensional Framework for Redefining, Understanding and Assessing Student Engagement
Professor Lance McCready, from the Centre for Urban Schooling, will facilitate a collective discussion about the different themes that emerged from each of the sessions. These themes will have emerged from the reports of each Symposium Eye.  The discussion will encompass questions of policy and practice, thereby moving forward an agenda that will foster student engagement at the local and provincial levels.  This agenda will commit us, collectively, to taking the steps will decrease school disaffection, and increase educational participation and success for all students.

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Contact

For further information about this symposium, please contact Luisa Sotomayor, Research Officer at the Centre for Urban Schooling:  lsotomayor@oise.utoronto.ca

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