Friday, October 4, 2013

Randolph hosts conferences on education and social justice Oct. 12

Randolph College will host two public conferences covering topics such as social justice and education on Oct.12.

The annual Women Education Leaders in Virginia (WELV) regional forum will provide training for teachers, education students, and school administrators. The local Race, Poverty, and Social Justice conference will include a series of workshops on improving racial equality.

The WELV conference is open to women and men who work in education or who are preparing to enter the field. Beginning with in Smith Memorial Hall with an 8:30 a.m. breakfast and concluding at 12:30 p.m., it will include breakout sessions for elementary and high school educators. The workshops will include skill building activities centered on classroom environments, relationships, and meeting the needs of all students.

Charol Shakeshaft, professor of educational leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University, will deliver the keynote address. Tate Culbreth, a fifth grade teacher at Bedford Hills Elementary School in Lynchburg, will lead the elementary education sessions. Susan Hunter, a Greensboro, N.C., high school teacher who has demonstrated success with advanced placement courses, will lead the high school sessions.

“These are women who have leadership roles in their individual schools,” said Peggy Schimmoeller, a Randolph education professor who helped organize the conference.

The forum will provide opportunities for all who are interested in education, including future educators, to learn how they can become stronger teachers and leaders. “They will get the opportunity to network with people in the school system. It’s also a good way for them to learn ideas that they can take into the classrooms,” said Consuella Woods, another education professor.

The WELV forum costs $15 for members of WELV, $25 for non-members, and $15 for college students. The non-WELV member and student prices include a one-year membership in WELV. Participants can print a registration form from the WELV website or register the morning of the event. Seating is limited to 60.

The Race, Poverty, and Social Justice conference was organized by Many Voices One Community (MVOC), a group that promotes conversations to improve racial relations. It will include several speeches and workshops from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Leggett Building covering topics related to racial equity and social justice.

Ken Parks, a Randolph theatre professor and a member of the MVOC board, helped organize the conference and bring it to Randolph. “I wanted to make this opportunity available to our students,” said Parks. “Randolph is a great match for this conference. We have a lot of diversity on campus, which many college campuses do, but I’ve enjoyed that people here are open to discovering what other perspectives exist.”

Martha McCoy, executive director for Everyday Democracy, will provide welcoming remarks, and Wornie Reed, director of the Center for Race and Social Policy at Virginia Tech, will present the keynote speech between the morning and afternoon workshops.

The event is free to Randolph College students. Tickets are $10 for other students and $20 for non-students, and lunch is provided for paying ticket holders. Pre-registration at www.lynchburgtickets.com/SocialJustice is required.

Parks said the conference will help people gain a new perspective on diversity. “I think that everyone needs to be at the table and feel included in the conversation,” he said. “You can get a whole new perspective, and you’re bound to grow from just considering different experiences.”