Annual urban education conference to focus on many factors affecting schools

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Dr. Virginia Caine

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James Earl Davis

INDIANAPOLIS — The 16th annual Indiana Urban Schools Association summer conference on urban education is gathering experts from across the country and many from the Indiana University School of Education at IUPUI to examine the many factors impacting students, families, and educators this Wednesday, June 18. The conference, whose theme is “Schooling and the Ripple Effect: Emotional, Intellectual, Physical,” starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Chapel Hill 7th and 8th Grade Center in Indianapolis. Among the presenters are several Indiana school teachers and program leaders. They will share the latest program developments in place for the state’s urban schools.

The conference sessions and topics will focus on a variety of factors affecting K-12 education in urban schools. Some of the sessions will address meeting expectations in the midst of environmental distractions, how well students learn, and nutrition and physical well-being factors impacting student learning. “The ripple effect of schools reaches everyone, not simply students,” said Chuck Little, executive director of the Indiana Urban Schools Association (IUSA) and clinical professor or educational leadership at the IU School of Education at IUPUI. “At this conference, we will engage topics like health, instruction, politics, and teacher evaluation, all of which impact and shape the future.”

The keynote address will be delivered by James Earl Davis, professor of educational leadership and interim chair of the department of Teaching and Learning at Temple University. Davis is the author of Uneasy Ties: Race and Gender in Urban Education Reform. His research expertise covers gender and schooling outcomes, masculinity, sociology of higher education, and applied research methods.

The guest speaker for the conference is Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Health Department and associate professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine’s Infectious Disease Division. Caine has served on many professional boards, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Elimination of Health Disparities through Translation research panel, and the Council on Education for Public Health.

Also presenting at the conference is Doug Martin, an Indiana writer and educator who released his book Hoosier School Heist earlier this year. The work makes the case for what he calls the private corporate takeover of Indiana’s public schools. Martin says legislation and an extensive net of interlocking relationships have allowed this to happen, promoting private sector interests at the expense of public schools.

The IU School of Education at IUPUI will be part of several presentations throughout the day. Hardy Murphy, a research scholar with the School of Education, will be a panelist on two panels dealing with teacher evaluation, one focusing on how teacher evaluation is evolving and the other about developing a rubric for teacher evaluation standards. Murphy is conducting a statewide research project on Indiana’s teacher evaluation system. Three students from the Urban Education PhD program will present. Aly Elfreich and Brandon Currie will conduct two sessions of “School Counselors as Participatory Action Researchers in Urban High Schools,” one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Tiffany Kyser will present “Design Shift, System Shift: a Design Thinker’s Brief Multimodal Approach to Urban Education.” Additionally, Dean Gerardo Gonzalez will provide opening remarks for the conference.

The Indiana Urban Schools Association was established to serve the needs of urban school children in Indiana by supporting a positive legislative agenda, providing a forum for considering urban school needs, cooperating with other organizations interested in urban school children, providing services and programs designed for urban schools, and supporting other programs designed to benefit all children in Indiana schools. More about this week’s conference is available here.

IUPUI center helping K-12 students master economics

389636_w296INDIANAPOLIS — Teacher training, classroom materials and student competitions sponsored by an IUPUI academic center are giving local students a grasp of how the American economy works.

The Center for Economic Education, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and a member of the Indiana Council for Economic Education, works with K-12 educators to improve their understanding of economics and personal finance. It provides teaching strategies that can be easily integrated into classroom instruction.

A coach with a long history with the center recently had two teams of Carmel High School students place among the top four at a national competition testing their knowledge of economics.

“I have been involved with the IUPUI Center for Economic Education (and the Council for Economic Education) for almost 20 years,” said Michelle Foutz, coach of the winning Carmel teams. “I consider myself fortunate to be teaching economics in a state that places great value in economics education.”

One Carmel team placed second in the Adam Smith Division of the National Economics Challenge in May, while the second placed third in the David Ricardo Division. Advanced placement, international baccalaureate and honors students compete in the Adam Smith Division. The David Ricardo Division is open to students who have only taken a single-semester economics course.

The Carmel High School teams earned their way to the national event by winning the state championship competition hosted and coordinated by the IUPUI center in partnership with the Indiana Council for Economic Education.

“Economics Challenge, Commodity Challenge, Stock Market Simulation, Key Teacher Program and Econ Camp are fantastic center and council programs that have increased my enthusiasm for teaching and have also generated a lot of student enthusiasm for learning economics,” Foutz said.

“I would love to introduce Economics Challenge to all of my students. After participating in this competition, my students have a much greater appreciation for learning economics, and they have more confidence in themselves and in what they can accomplish. I can’t say enough about the benefits of this competition, and the positive impact on my kids.”

The Indiana Economics Challenge is one of two high school competitions the IUPUI Center for Economic Education, directed by Mohammad Kaviani, coordinates. The Center, in partnership with the Indiana Council for Economic Education, also coordinates the Indiana Personal Finance Challenge, an online competition that focuses on topics related to personal finance.  These competitions help ensure that Indiana students have a basic understanding of economics and the tools for making sound financial decisions.

More than 10,500 high school students from across the country competed in the national level of the Economics Challenge. Eight teams, including the Carmel students, completed exams and a critical-thinking round in the semifinals. Bellaire High School from Houston, Texas, and Hunter College High School from New York City were named first-place winners respectively in the Adam Smith and David Ricardo divisions following quiz bowl rounds for each final four teams.

CNBC has archived news coverage of the competition available online.