Summer Institute in Richmond focuses on equity & achievement gaps

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Dean Andrew P. Daire, Ph.D.

Governor Ralph Northam, Secretary of Education Atif Qarni, the Virginia Department of Education and the VCU School of Education are inviting educators, school administrators and K-12 policy makers to a two-day institute next week focused on equity and closing achievement gaps.

The Education Equity Summer Institute is scheduled for July 23-24 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. It is the third in a series of annual programs focused on the importance of providing the supports and wrap-around services necessary to ensure that all students are successful in school.

"I am elated that so many important voices will be joining the dialogue at this year's Education Equity Summer Institute," said Qarni. "Meaningful progress is only possible with the input of all stakeholders, including K-12 educators, university deans and legislators. In pursuit of the governor’s vision, my hope is that we will have the chance to explore how we can better serve every child, no matter who they are or where they live."

“Equity is the lens through which we should look at everything we do to make sure that all students have the supports and resources they need when they need them,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said. “We can maximize the potential of every student in the commonwealth by ensuring that they have equitable experiences at school.”

“I am proud that the VCU School of Education and our Center for School-Community Collaboration are part of the effort.”

"Bringing these important stakeholders around the table to address this complex issue of closing the achievement gap for minority students is key in moving the needle in the right direction,” said Andrew Daire, dean of the VCU School of Education. “I am proud that the VCU School of Education and our Center for School-Community Collaboration are part of the effort.”

Lane, Qarni and Board of Education President Daniel Gecker will welcome participants with opening remarks, beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, July 23. Northam is scheduled to make remarks at 1:15 p.m. on Monday.

Lane also will deliver a keynote address at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday on how reforms to the commonwealth’s school accreditation standards and graduation requirements are designed to ensure that all students are life ready when they complete school.

Other scheduled keynote speakers include:

  • U.S. Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott — Scott represents Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District and was one of the four primary negotiators of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Scott is scheduled to speak on Monday, July 23, at 8:55 a.m.
  • Christopher Emdin — Emdin is associate professor of science education and director of science education in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Emdin also serves as associate director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education at the college. Edmin is scheduled to speak on Monday, July 23, at noon.
  • Ivory A. Toldson — Toldson is professor of counseling psychology at Howard University, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Negro Education and executive editor of the Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research, published by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Inc. Toldson is scheduled to speak on Tuesday, July 24, at 8:45 a.m.
  • Institute participants will attend breakout sessions exploring how public policies influence equitable outcomes for students, how social-emotional learning and trauma-informed care are essential strategies to address achievement gaps, and how educator preparation programs at Virginia colleges and universities have a role in improving equity in student outcomes.

More than 500 educators from 84 school divisions have registered to attend the institute, including teachers, principals, superintendents, special education directors, student services directors and division disciplinary staff. Also attending are deans of teacher preparation programs and representatives from education associations.

Virginia Department of Education Press Release