Creativity In Urban Education Conference


Ripple is a a free conference on creativity in urban education, to be held on Saturday, April 24th on the campus of the University of Chicago.  It's a spinoff of Splash that's intended to "acknowledge and feed the interest in education that many of the college students who teach in and volunteer."  Don't hate them just because they go to UofC. Contact Luke (  Registration opens for the free conference on
on Monday, April 5th.
More details below.  They're looking for presenters as well as attendees.


years ago, I co-founded a program for high school students called
Splash! Chicago, based on a similar program at Massachusetts Institute
of Technology. Our program has grown, and now encompasses two related
programs: Splash and Cascade. Both programs give college students the
chance to design and teach classes in topics they themselves care deeply
about to a diverse mix of high school students from all over the city.
Along the way, we seek to advocate, by example, a kind of education
based around creativity, passion and unexpected ideas. In particular, in
relation to your work, we have thought a whole lot about teacher
training, and what makes good teachers, and are always looking for more
ideas on that front. For more information about our programs, you can
visit our website:

This spring,
we've decided to supplement these programs with a conference on
education called Ripple. We have several goals for this event.


First, we see it as a way to acknowledge and feed the
interest in education that many of the college students who teach in and
volunteer for our programs have shown. While the University of Chicago
does have academic opportunities for students who wish to pursue careers
in urban teaching, it does not offer so many avenues to test out a
potential interest in the field without making a firm commitment. This
conference is designed to encourage students to develop their own
interest in education and teaching without the constraints of vocational

Second, we see the conference as a way to bring
together a wide variety of people, with a wide variety of viewpoints
about education, and encourage them to talk to each other, think about
each others' opinions, and work together to brainstorm new ideas. We
plan to make the conference free to all participants, and to invite not
only University of Chicago students, but also teachers from schools
around the city of Chicago, parents of students in our programs,
community leaders, and several leading figures in the education world.

third, more specifically, we see the conference as a way to think
deeply about the role of creativity and passion in urban education,
especially in the context of accountability-based standards that have
become the norm in many school districts, and the similar flavor of many
afterschool programs. While it's one thing to run an extracurricular
program like Splash! that values a freeform model, it's another to
imagine this kind of model working within schools, and across a system
with struggling schools like Chicago's. By inviting both leaders in
urban educational policy and leading proponents of creativity in
educational thought, we hope to foster dialogue that tackles the serious
issues facing our schools from as many angles as possible, and to
encourage constructive debate between viewpoints.

The conference will
include an opening panel discussion, then a series of workshops
throughout the day (some focusing on creativity in teaching practice,
and others on urban educational policy), and finally a keynote speech to
The goal of the workshops is to present
a wide variety of viewpoints on education, from a wide variety of
people. With that in mind, if you're interested in presenting a
workshop, we encourage you to present a topic you know and care a lot
about, ideally related in some way to the theme of creativity in
education. Hopefully you can find a way to make it exciting and somewhat
interactive too. We have two workshop blocks of 80 minutes, and one of
60 minutes.

the conference is free, participants will have to sign up on our
anytime starting Monday, April 5th. We will allow participants to sign
up in person on the day of the conference if there is room, but to
guarantee a spot, you should sign up ahead of time on the website.


- 9:45 AM / Conference Check-in and Basic Breakfast
9:45 - 11:00 AM /
Introductory remarks and Opening Panel
11:10 AM - 12:30 PM /
Workshop Session A
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM / Lunch and Open Conversation
- 2:50 PM / Workshop session B
2:50 - 3:10 PM / Break for
Conversation and Passing Time
3:10 - 4:10 PM / Workshop session C
- 4:20 PM / Break for Conversation and Passing Time
4:20 - 5:30 PM /
Keynote speech and Closing Remarks


Confirmed speakers and panelists include
Urban Prep founder Tim King, Urban Education Institute director Tim
Knowles, UIC education professor and author Bill Ayers, MIT Teaching and
Learning Lab assistant director Sanjoy Mahajan, UTEP director Kavita
Kapadia, Afterschool Matters director David Sinski, and many more.

Filed under: Events & Deadlines


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  • I encourage organizers and participants of this conference to draw from the maps, links, and other information hosted on the Tutor/Mentor Connection web site which you can find by searching Google or Bing for the words "tutor mentor".

    The T/MC hosts a May and November Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference to bring people involved in tutoring/mentoring together to learn ideas, network, and build better programs in more places. The next is May 27 and 28 at Loyola and I hope some who attend the sessions in April will want to do follow up work in May and throughout the summer, so there are better strategies in place to help kids as school starts next fall.

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