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.

Summer course takes students into the world of Parisian Impressionism

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Paul Signac (French, 1863 to 1935), Opus 217. Against the Enamel of a Background Rhythmic with Beats and Angles, Tones and Tints, Portrait of M. Felix Fénéon in 1890, 1890-1891, oil on canvas, 29 x 36-1/2 in. Fractional gift of a private collector, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Digital image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY. | PHOTO COURTESY INDIANAPOLIS MUSEUM OF ART

A summer II session history course in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI will take students out of the classroom and into the Indianapolis Museum of Art to study firsthand the impact urban Paris played on Impressionist artists and the artists’ role in Parisian society.

Cultural History of Modern France-Impressionism begins Tuesday, July 1, and runs through Thursday, Aug. 7. The class meets Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 9:15 p.m. and will include visits to the Indianapolis Museum of Art for guided tours of relevant galleries and the print vaults.

“The beauty of the French galleries at the IMA is you can watch French modern art evolve,” course instructor Kevin Robbins said. “By turning your head 90 degrees you can watch four decades of French culture go by.”

The course focuses on the origins and developments of Impressionism as a broad cultural movement based largely in Paris. The class begins with a look at Paris’ development under imperial urban renewal and the development of a leisure economy within the city. From there, the class expands to examine the many artists, patrons, and critics assembled in the Impressionist movement.

Students will examine Impressionist works from artists such as Monet, Degas and Renoir for evidence of how the artists saw and understood the Parisian urban world.

“Students are empowered as detectives,” Robbins said. “It turns every painting into a readable document that needs to be decoded. This makes paintings into a much more accessible, malleable subject matter for history students. You can read the images critically, you can read them using documentary analytical strategies developed in other classes and it makes the course more accessible to many people who don’t have training in art history or art.”

The class does not require any previous background in art or art history study and is open to all IUPUI students and students from other colleges and universities.

Robbins said the course will be beneficial to students with an interest in urban history, modern history and politics.

“This is not a standard art history course,” he said. “This is more about asking relentlessly: ‘Where does Impressionism come from as an urban historical phenomenon and an urban visual phenomenon?’ The emphasis is on how Paris becomes the essential incubator of Impressionisms.”

To help students gain a better grasp of Impressionistic influences, the course will also explore popular cultural events like ballet, opera and music.

“One of the things the Impressionists had in common was they were all passionate devotees of music in one form or another — be it dancehall music, popular song or classical music of the era,” Robbins said. “These were individuals who reveled in all the musical possibilities Paris presented.”

“This really is an intensive tour of all the various expressive art forms of Paris at the time.”

For more information about the course, contact Robbins at krobbin1@iupui.edu or 317-274-5819.