(NEWARK, NJ) -- On October 4, 2022, Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced that the City of Newark will host the 2022 Roadmap to Educational Equity Conference on Friday, October 28 from 8:30am to 5:00pm and Saturday, October 29 from 8:30am to 2:30pm at the New Jersey Institute of Technology Campus Center, located at 150 Bleeker Street.
At the two-day conference, educational inequities that exist in New Jersey will be highlighted, with an emphasis on Newark. On both days, stakeholders will get to share lived experiences of inequities, identify priorities and develop recommendations. Concurrently, they will participate in a series of seminars, panel discussions, workshops, and keynote addresses offering data, strategies, and best practices. After the two-day conference, a host/planning committee will summarize data and solutions to produce policies and action agendas.
"Schools are a microcosm of broader societal issues. We have to remove these societal barriers that impede our students' learning, and holistically change the system to enable them to achieve personal success," Mayor Baraka said. "This conference is about getting all our stakeholders together and collectively finding solutions. We will turn discussion into urgency and urgency into action."
The conference is geared toward educators, administrators, non-profit staff, government officials, students, parents, businesses, philanthropists, charitable organizations, unions, police agencies, and community members from across Newark and throughout New Jersey committed to education at all levels, from kindergarten, elementary schools, high schools, and on through to college.
Mayor Baraka, Rutgers University-Newark Professor of African-American Studies Dr. Charles Payne, and Rutgers University-Newark Professor of Urban Education Dr. Edward Fergus are the keynote speakers, who will discuss the "The Changing Landscape of Urban Education" and offer a call to action for disrupting systematic inequities.
Two panel discussions will be held:
* Defending Systems v. Unpacking and Disrupting Systematic Inequities. District Leaders, Presidents of Newark Colleges, the community, and a youth focus group will participate. New Jersey Institute for Social Justice President and CEO Ryan Haygood will moderate.
* Improving School Climate to Create Safe Spaces for Black and Brown Students. Newark Tech Principal Baruti Kafele, Mayor Baraka, and Father Ed Leahy, Headmaster of St. Benedict's Prep, will participate. Newark Office of Comprehensive Community Education Chief Education Officer Dr. Sharnee Brown will moderate the panel.
Workshops will include the following:
* Integrating Trauma Informed Practices for Mental Wellness. Moderator: Dr. Monique Swift, of Swift Solutions Consultant Services, LLC. Due to the compounded trauma experienced in marginalized communities and the added trauma of COVID-19, this workshop will expose attendees with how to develop a trauma informed mindset as a tool to address and understand mental wellness in schools.
* The Power of Access: Off-School Time Programs in the City of Newark & Freedom Schools. Moderator: Justin Artenant, White-Riley-Peterson Fellow Senior Manager, Newark Thrives! United Way of Newark. Due to the gaps and systemic inequities in schools for marginalized communities, this panel/workshop aims to expose attendees to the benefits of Out of School Programs & Freedom Schools within Newark to offer parents supplemental enrichment and exposure needed to compete in the global market.
* Igniting Parent Advocacy: Black Parent Group & Newark Parent Advocates. Moderator: Kaleena Berryman, Founder and Lead Consultant, KBerryman Consulting, LLC. Due to the systemic inequities and inequalities parents face in schools for marginalized communities, this panel/workshop aims to display effective parent movements and efforts to offer parents strategies to disrupt barriers and develop agency to assist their children with navigating schools.
* LGBTQIA+: Improving Identity Awareness in Schools. Moderator: Newark LGBTQIA+ Commission Chair SuSu Stewart. In order to increase safety & awareness for LGBTQIA+ students, this panel/workshop aims to inform attendees of an understanding of identity awareness and how to create safe spaces for students with schools.
* Honing Teacher Advocacy. How to be a Change Agent in Your School. Moderator: Thomas Whitaker, CHS English Teacher, Assistant Affirmative Action Officer, MapSo Freedom School Co-Founder. This panel/workshop aims to showcase effective teacher activists who have challenged barriers and acted as change agents within schools or school systems.
* College Prep & Readiness for Students with Disabilities. Moderator: Kaleena Berryman. Due to the systemic inequities and barriers students with disabilities face in schools, this panel/workshop aims to display effective strategies and organizations whose work centers around advocating for students with disabilities to enable them to attend pre-college programs and college.
"This conference is transformative because it seeks to both share pertinent information about systematic inequities and also collect lived experiences and recommendations from the community. The collective genius in the city will be used to elevate the conversations around equity and to disrupt age-old inequities that have persisted since inception. All stakeholders have an opportunity to change the narrative by having the courage to reimagine spaces where all students will be heard, seen and have their learning priorities met," said Dr. Brown.
The outcomes of the conference will act to document how systemic inequities have been created in Newark. It will work to disrupt these inequities to produce and publish papers to inform all Newark institutions of roles they can play in ameliorating these efforts, to empower stakeholders in holding systems accountable in these processes, and to provide training and development to implement said plans into action.
For up to date information about the 2022 Roadmap to Educational Equity Conference, visit www.newarknj.gov/mayorsevent.