Summer Institute promotes equitable outcomes for students
July 9-10 conference to be preceded by Digital Equity Summit
By Charles B. Pyle, Director of Communications, Virginia Department of Education
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Teachers, school administrators, school board members and K-12 policy makers will gather in Richmond next week for a two-day institute focused on promoting equitable opportunities and outcomes for all students in the commonwealth’s public schools.
The Virginia is for All Learners Education Equity Summer Institute — presented by the Virginia Department of Education in collaboration with Secretary of Education Atif Qarni and the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education’s Center for School-Community Collaboration — is scheduled for July 9-10 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. The conference is the fourth 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.
“Embracing equity means understanding that every student comes to school with their own set of unique needs and abilities, and that it is our responsibility as educators to provide whatever instructional and support services each student needs to succeed and achieve their fullest potential,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said. “Equity is the lens through which we should view every student and every outcome and statistic.”
“Under Governor Ralph Northam’s leadership, the commonwealth has made important strides toward equity in how it supports its most challenged schools and students,” Qarni said. “But while I am proud of the progress we have made, there is still much that must be done to provide supports and services to the schools and students who need them the most.”
"Equity must be at the core of teacher preparation programs in every institution of higher education,” 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 this effort and part of this important institute.”
Lane, Qarni, Daire and state Board of Education Vice President Diane Atkinson will welcome participants with opening remarks, beginning at 8:15 a.m. on Tuesday, July 9. Governor Northam will address attendees at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Scheduled keynote speakers, in order of appearance, are as follows:
- Rodney Robinson — Robinson, a history teacher at Virgie Binford Education Center in Richmond, is the 2019 National Teacher of the Year and 2019 Virginia Teacher of the Year. Robinson is scheduled to speak on Tuesday, July 9, at 8:30 a.m.
- U.S. Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott — Scott represents Virginia’s 3rd 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 Tuesday, July 9, at 12:15 p.m.
- Tiyale Hayes — Hayes is the senior vice president of strategic insights and research for Black Entertainment Television networks, a division of Viacom. Hayes is scheduled to speak on Tuesday, July 9, at 12:30 p.m.
- Cristóbal Rodríguez — Rodríguez is an associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies and is the director of graduate studies in the School of Education at Howard University. Rodríguez is scheduled to speak on Wednesday, July 10, at 8:45 a.m.
Institute participants will attend breakout sessions on culturally inclusive practices, expanding access to computer science programs, social emotional learning, equity in early childhood education, culturally affirming classroom management, increasing teacher diversity, equitable discipline and other topics.
Approximately 500 educators from more than 80 school divisions have registered to attend the institute, including teachers, principals, superintendents, special education directors, student services directors, equity coordinators and division disciplinary staff.
The Virginia is for All Learners Education Equity Summer Institute is made possible with the support of the following sponsors: JFF, the VCU School of Education, BET, the Virginia Lottery, Comcast and Amazon Web Services.
The full schedule for the Virginia is for All Learners Education Equity Summer Institute is available on the Virginia is for Learners website.
VDOE Digital Equity Summit
The Virginia is for All Learners Education Equity Summer Institute will be preceded on Monday, July 8, by a day-long Digital Equity Summit, also at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.
The Digital Equity Summit will focus on strategies and best practices for expanding student access to broadband in homes and communities.
“Virtually all Virginia students now have classroom access to high-speed internet capable of supporting digital learning and one-on-one computing,” Lane said. “Our challenge now is to address the digital divide in homes and communities, especially in urban and rural school divisions.”
Keynote speakers for the summit, in order of appearance, are as follows:
- Jessica Rosenworcel — Rosenworcel is a member of the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC is an independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress and is responsible for implementing and enforcing federal communications laws and regulations. Rosenworcel is scheduled to speak at 8:45 a.m. on Monday.
- Evan Feinman — Feinman is the executive director of the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and also serves as Governor Northam’s chief broadband advisor. Feinman is scheduled to speak at 12:15 p.m. on Monday.
The Digital Equity Summit is presented by VDOE with support from the following sponsors: T-Mobile Education, Comcast, Amazon Web Services, Kajeet, the VCU School of Education, Microsoft, and the Virginia Lottery.
The full schedule for the VDOE Digital Equity Summit is available on the Virginia is for Learners website.