Newark to host Roadmap to Educational Equity conference

Diploma wrapped with a red ribbon on fresh spring green grass

Calling it an opportunity to highlight the educational inequities that exist in New Jersey, the city of Newark will host the 2022 Roadmap to Educational Equity Conference on Friday and Saturday on the campus of the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

The two-day conference, which begins at 8:30 a.m. on both days, will have emphasis on conditions in 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.

The conference is geared toward educators, administrators, nonprofit 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.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, a former Newark principal, said 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,” he said. “This conference is about getting all our stakeholders together and collectively finding solutions. We will turn discussion into urgency and urgency into action.”

Baraka, Rutgers University-Newark professor Charles Payne, and Rutgers-Newark professor of urban education Edward Fergus are the keynote speakers.

Fergus 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 CEO and President Ryan Haygood will moderate.
  • Improving School Climate to Create Safe Spaces for Black and Brown Students: Newark Tech Principal Baruti Kafele, Baraka and Father Ed Leahy, headmaster of St. Benedict’s Prep, will participate. Newark Office of Comprehensive Community Education CEO Sharnee Brown will moderate the panel.

The following workshops will be held:

  • Integrating Trauma Informed Practices for Mental Wellness;
  • The Power of Access: Off-School Time Programs in the City of Newark & Freedom Schools;
  • Igniting Parent Advocacy: Black Parent Group & Newark Parent Advocates;
  • LGBTQIA+: Improving Identity Awareness in Schools;
  • Honing Teacher Advocacy. How to be a Change Agent in Your School;
  • College Prep & Readiness for Students with Disabilities.