Metro State debuts national summit for urban teachers
Americans rely on public schools to educate and prepare students to become productive members of society. Yet, many, particularly those in the urban schools, face significant challenges: overcrowding, teacher quality and shortages, low student achievement, access to pre-school and aging facilities.
To address these issues, Metropolitan State College of Denver and Denver Public Schools (DPS) are spearheading a national summit, “Great Teachers for our City Schools.” The summit, April 30 to May 2 at the Marriott City Center, will feature speakers and panelists, ranging from leading researchers and policy experts to higher education decision makers, school district officials and award-winning classroom teachers.
They have a tall task ahead of them according to Metro State’s Teacher Quality Enhancement Director Esther Rodriguez. “Compared with suburban
and rural schools, urban schools face high teacher and student absenteeism, high teacher turnover, high numbers of out-of-field teachers and great numbers of inexperienced teachers.
“Urban teachers are more likely to teach more students in classrooms with fewer resources needed for future academic advancement, such as up-to-date science labs and computer technology,” Rodriguez adds.
The summit kicks off with a dinner and plenary session featuring Colorado’s education leaders, including Michael Bennet, DPS superintendent; Stephen Jordan, president of Metro State; and Maria Guajardo of the Denver Mayor’s Office for Education and Children. The session facilitator will be Tim Waters, president and CEO of Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL).
Bennet’s participation underscores The Denver Plan about which he states “In the end, this generation of Americans will be judged by how well we prepare the next generation without regard to skin color, language, or socioeconomic status. In Denver, we prefer that this preparation not be left to chance.”
Summit participants will be introduced to innovative teacher-preparation models developed collaboratively by school districts and postsecondary institutions in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Denver and Montclair, N.J. In addition, they’ll review findings of recent research and analysis by the Center for Teaching Quality, Educational Testing Service, the New Teachers Project and the Civil Rights Project at the University of California–Los Angeles.
“The opportunity to hear presentations from so many education leaders from the different perspectives will enable the teachers to learn about the most current studies as to what does and does not work in urban schools,” says Letters, Arts and Sciences Dean Joan Laura Foster.
“This is a great cast rarely found together,” adds Sandra Haynes, dean of the School of Professional Studies. “Metro State is a leader in education for teachers in the state of Colorado making it a key organization in education in and of itself. It is important that we collaborate with other key partners to advance education.”
For Rodriguez, the summit is only the beginning. “It is our hope that this not be the end of a conference, but the start of a new national network on urban teaching.”
The summit sponsors are Metro State and DPS in collaboration with Educational Testing Service, The College Board, State Higher Education Executive Officers and Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education and the Denver Mayor’s Office for Education and Children. Registration is $275.
For more information on “Great Teachers for our City Schools,” visit http://www.mscd.edu/~tqe/summit08.shtml.