16th Annual Multicultural Education Conference to be held at New Paltz

NEW PALTZ – The 16th Annual Multicultural Education Conference, “Partnering in Advancing Student Voice: New Possibilities for Engagement in Learning,” will be held at the State University of New York at New Paltz on Friday, Nov. 12 from 8 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. A keynote speaker, cultural arts performance and interactive workshops will fill the day.

Since 1994, this conference has brought together educators, students, parents and community members to gather fresh insight and to make connections with others who are working to create equitable schools that will enable all young people to achieve.

This year, with drop-out rates increasing and many youth feeling voiceless and unseen, the conference will focus on innovative ways to intentionally and collaboratively make classrooms and schools communities that engage the diverse voices of students with honor and respect so that all learn and thrive.

The keynote speaker will be Jason G. Irizarry, professor of Multicultural Education at the University of Connecticut and an Associate in the Institute for Puerto Rican and Latino Studies. A former middle school teacher in New York City, his research focuses on urban teacher recruitment, preparation, and retention with an emphasis on increasing the number of teachers of color; culturally responsive pedagogy; youth participatory action research and Latino students in U.S. schools. Two books, The Latinization of U.S. Schools and Homegrown Teachers of Color, are forthcoming.

Irizarry’s presentation, “A New Vision for Multicultural Education: Learning from Youth," takes place at 8:30 a.m.

Participants may choose from 15 panels, talks and workshops. Examples of topics include: “Engaging Hard to Reach Students”; “Who We Are: Telling and Enacting Stories of Indetity”; “Validating LGBT Students and Their Families in the K-6 Elementary Educational Process”; “Youth Media for Advancing Diverse Student Voices”;”Who We Are: Telling and Enacting Stories of Identity”; “To Kill a Mockingbird: Hurtful to Children of Color?”; “Student Voices and Diversity through Digital Poetry”;”Hip Hop in the Classroom: Using Popular Culture to Develop Student Voice”; and “Social Emotional Intelligence: Cultivating All Students’ Hearts and Spirits.”

An afternnon cultural arts program includes performances by three talented, local student groups. Nex 2 Read is a spoken word poetry and performance club of multicultural students from Kingston High School that encourages free and positive self-expression and community outreach. The Multi Flava Club is a multi-ethnic cultural dance/singing group from Wallkill Senior High School. The SUNY New Paltz Slam Poetry Team, current New York State Poetry Slam Champions and ranked sixth in the nation, will present local student voices about issues of diversity and multiculturalism.

For additional program information, contact Nancy Schniedewind at (845) 257-2827, and for registration information, contact Christine Waldo-Klinger at waldoklc@newpaltz.edu or (845) 257-3033. The cost is $40 for adults and $5 for students, which includes breakfast and lunch. The registration deadline is Oct. 28.