2017 Proceedings

2017 Urban Education Conference Proceedings
Inclusion of Diverse Language Learners in STEM Education


From Burned Up to Fired Up

Kantis Simmons

46% of new teachers quit within the first five years of joining the profession.

Statistics show that an overwhelming number of teachers and educators battle with stress overwhelm and burnout, but what do YOU do to stay motivated in school all year long?

In this presentation, Kantis Simmons shares:

  • How to free yourself from teacher stress and burnout.
  • How to balance school and life to get more things done.
  • Classroom engagement strategies to connect with your students.
  • How to elevate the culture and morale of your school’s staff.


Cultural Diversity in STEM

Marina La Grave

My presentation will expand on awareness, knowledge and skills when integrating cultural and diversity dimensions to STEM curricula. We will explore specific issues and strategies when working with a diverse audience as well as the skills that need to be in place.

Session One

Educate to Elevate

Kantis Simmons

Dear teacher and educator, how do you define student engagement? How do you get your students more involved?

In its simplest form, Kantis Simmons, define it as… “The ability to get students to love school, its activities, and love what they are studying in school.

In this talk you will discover 15 practical ideas on how to better motivate students and engage their students to love school and have fun learning.

Minecraft for Education

Josh Reynolds

Teaching is about creating, innovating and cultivating curiosity. Microsoft STEAM solutions provide resources to empower students to achieve more. This session will focus on Microsoft STEAM offerings, including Minecraft Education Edition, Microsoft Imagine Academy and more!

STEM Education Research Projects in WNY Public Schools

Dr. Alexa Schindel, Dr. Ji-Won Son, Dr. Noemi Waight, Dr. Randy Yerrick

  • Dr. Alexa Schindel and Randy Yerrick “Place based science and the use of civic responsiveness to stimulate sustained engagement in authentic science learning”
  • Dr. Noemi Waight and Xiufeng Liu, “Using Computer-based models to teach Science: The importance of visual literacy”
  • Dr. Ji-Won Son “Findings from the summer math program to improve mathematical reasoning among underrepresented girls“

This session will combine hands on examples of research-based classroom best practices with findings from recent outreach campaigns and funded national research projects. The first part of the session will explicitly engage the audience in participatory activities followed by findings and audience Q&A regarding implications of research findings for today’s practicing teachers interested in equity, diversity, and social justice in STEM.

You’re Not Alone: Bringing in the Wider Community 

Betty Jones

This is a story of expanding relationships to tap into informal science resources for students and tailoring museum visits to address identified needs with wrap around curriculum including pre-visit vocabulary lists. The session will include some lessons learned when museum staff worked with Goddard scientists and the Onondaga Nation to develop a culturally appropriate Bella Gaia program for First Nation students.

Session Two

Integrating Language and Cultural dimensions to STEM curricula

Marina La Grave

This workshop aims to teach participants the basic components of sheltered English instruction and integration of cultural components to STEM curricula. Participants will learn to use clear, direct, simple English/Spanish and a wide range of scaffolding strategies to communicate meaningful input in the content area to students as well as integrating relevant cultural dimensions to any given lesson plan or activity.

The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership (ISEP) with Buffalo Public Schools: A STEM Ecosystem for inclusive STEM education

Joseph Gardella

This talk will describe the development of the ISEP project (isep.buffalo.edu) over the past 14 years.  The ISEP project has built a model of a STEM Ecosystem structure involving students and their families from the Buffalo Public Schools at middle and high school levels. ISEP comprises teachers’ professional development and wrap around supports for students and families, partnering with higher education and informal STEM learning partners to increase participation of underrepresented and under-served students in STEM fields.

Bring the Story of “Hidden Figures” to Your Classroom

Rudo Kashiri

Bring the excitement of Hidden Figures story to your classroom with the NASA STEM Activities In the sixties, the U.S. was on an ambitious journey to the moon, and Katherine Johnson and her fellow human computers helped get NASA there. This session will engage the “Hidden Figure” Katherine Johnson. You will walk away with a collection of resources and educational activities for students in grades K-12. Each educational activity and resource includes a brief description, videos, historical references and information about how the activities and lessons align to education standards.

STEM is Everywhere

Kantis Simmons

This non-traditional STEM Education talk goes into details on how to help students in your program learn, live and love Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math subjects and careers. With a STEM is everywhere framework,

Kantis Simmons will discuss topics:

  • How to study STEM subjects in fun way
  • 7.25 ways to learn it, live it, and Love STEM subjects
  • How to approach a future career in STEM
  • Creative ways to jump-start your school’s STEM program

Session Three

NASA – Nuestra Tierra Dinámica Model

Marina La Grave

The objective of NASA-NTD after-school program was to design, develop, conduct and evaluate a democratic, participatory and bilingual/bicultural program developed to provide an excellent opportunity for diverse students, families, and extended community to engage in active learning about environmental and climate change in their schools, homes and community.

Nuestra Tierra Dinámica program had two signature programs: 1) Green Labs (K-5), and 2) Video Labs (6-12). The programs were evaluated and resulted in some significant deliverables – afterschool curriculum and program models. To date, the NTD program continues to yield a consistent increase in Latino and diverse students, families and community involvement around the nation and in Mexico.

NASA Treasure Hunt

Rudo Kashiri

Preparing next generation of successful scientists, researchers and engineers through NASA resources. The session will provide resources to engage underserved and under-represented students in STEM. Participants will take a Grand Tour through NASA tools that educators can use in the classroom to engage all students in STEM!  This will be a fast paced, high energy presentation full of ideas and activities that you will be able to take back to your classroom and do on Monday morning.

Using Discipline-Based Education Research to Inform Teaching Strategies and Design of Instructional Materials to Engage Students in STEM

Dr. Renee Cole

The results of discipline-based education research provide a significant resource to inform teaching strategies and the design of instructional materials that can more effectively engage students. This session will briefly describe research that can inform instruction in STEM courses and describe how this research has been used to develop innovative strategies for teaching. The goal is to provide insights for instructors wishing to learn about, adapt, and incorporate research-based materials and teaching strategies into their courses, hopefully with the goal of “doing better things” to create more effective learning environments to promote students achieving a deeper understanding of STEM and developing appropriate science process skills.

NOAA Teacher @ Sea

David Amidon

In the NOAA Teacher @ Sea program, teachers are immersed in research science aboard a working research vessel. Participants in this workshop will learn about David Amidon’s excursion working with the Juvenile Rockfish Survey aboard the NOAA ship Rueben Lasker and the lessons he created to bring this experience into the classroom. Constructed in accordance with the NYS Science Learning Standards and the NGSS, this unit includes activities to learn about overfishing, food webs, and habitat analysis, as well as a design challenge for students to build their own trawl net to gather their data.

Round Table Discussion

Moderator: Dr. Janina Brutt-Griffler

Panel: Dr. Renee Cole, David Amidon, and Betty Jones


2017 Urban Education Conference Proceedings
Mindfulness & Improving Classroom Behaviors


What A Boy Wants, What A Boy Needs

Shawn Hardnett

Boys are as good as the relationships that they are in.  When there is a problem, it I can usually be traced back to an unmet relational need.  That is no different for black and brown boys than it is for anyone else.  We just miss the relational need as we focus on addressing the behavioral problem that is in front of us.  How much time would we give back to instruction if we started every day, every class with a focus on those needs before anything else?


The Unlikely Teacher

Tim Clue

Tim Clue is a professional writer, stand-up comic and award-winning teacher who believes that speaking and learning should be dynamic, interactive, collaborative, ideally funny (for better stickiness) and should allow for failure, reinvention and plenty of wiggle room. Tim also believes that comfort with discomfort is essential for growth. What if, instead of a blah blah blah lecture on these basics truths, Tim asks us to take a journey—through the use of his improv experiences and dialogue—to learn, laugh and collaborate with him on what we already know but often forget: The Art of Connection is Timeless. Please join Tim in understanding Why.

Session 1

Boy Activated: How to Drive Black and Latino Boys Crazy for Learning 

Shawn Hardnett

It is one thing to be a boy in a traditional school which seems to be designed to make it tougher and tougher for boys to engage. That said, being a black or brown boy who has experienced poverty in one of those schools is a whole different thing. Come and take a look at how to combine what Michael Gurian has taught us about how boys learn with what we know about how black and brown boys experience their world.  From there, we will turn our classrooms into places that drive these young men crazy – for learning.

Outdoor Comfort Zone

Jennifer Maguder

When children feel comfortable with the ecosystem outside their door, they’re less likely to fear nature and more likely to enjoy it.  Finding a comfort zone in the outdoors can help children to live healthier lifestyles, perform better in school, and practice better behavior.  This presentation will take an inside look at techniques for teaching children about nature.  Beaver Lake Naturalist Jen Maguder will bring props and activities to demonstrate how to introduce students to central New York flora and fauna.

Deep Relaxation: A Guided Practice to Relax and Restore Body, Mind and Spirit

Dr. Roberta Schnorr

Deep Relaxation is a group mindfulness practice that can create a wonderful energy of peace and harmony. It is a practice of totally letting go and returning back to take care of our body and mind. A facilitator will guide us to follow our breath and release tension. Regular practice with calming our bodies can lead to healing and compassion for ourselves and lessen our reactivity to conditions and to others.

Session 2

Three Cs: An Improv-Based Program

Tim Clue

Communication, Collaboration, and Confidence. Utilizing strategically adapted improv-based exercises, Tim offers a shift in how students might better connect with language, themselves, and each other. This breakout is highly interactive and participative, daring teachers to rethink how we structure the exploration of language and the power of ideas. Teachers will learn first-hand how to use specific exercises to increase confidence and meaningful communication with a series of collaborative take-home strategies that can alter the most timid among us. Tim sees these not merely as drills, but foundational tools that can change the habits, culture and communication challenges in all schools. Trust, connection and team-building surges as Tim’s classroom is filled with a sense of passion, play and a new-found purpose. And by the end, the message is startlingly clear: Learning is better when we bring everyone along. Tim shows us How.

Your second chance to attend:   Boy Activated: How to Drive Black and Latino Boys Crazy for Learning 

Shawn Hardnett

It is one thing to be a boy in a traditional school which seems to be designed to make it tougher and tougher for boys to engage. That said, being a black or brown boy who has experienced poverty in one of those schools is a whole different thing. Come and take a look at how to combine what Michael Gurian has taught us about how boys learn with what we know about how black and brown boys experience their world.  From there, we will turn our classrooms into places that drive these young men crazy – for learning.

Yoga and Mindfulness for Children

Julie Daniel

Learn how yoga & mindfulness practices can help children build body awareness, strength, flexibility & support their ability to self-calm. This is true for adults as well! Join us for a brief overview of this ancient practice and learn how it can benefit you and your clientele. Bring a yoga mat if you have one (there will be some there to borrow). Wear comfortable clothing for movement.

Green Spaces in the City

Adrienne Canino

This session will describe the way Syracuse’s Youth Conservation Corps, Onondaga Earth Corps, uses the outdoors even in the most urban centers of the city to bring green spaces, environmental education, and experiential learning to youth of all ages.

Session 3

Clue’s Q&A: Let’s Process the Process!

Tim Clue

With so much presented, we need time to process and interact and even push back on what we’ve just seen and heard. Tim is an experienced facilitator and enjoys engaging with the true leaders and thinkers, changing young minds and reinventing schools that will influence our next generation.

Mindful Teachers, Mindful Students

Dr. Barbara Beyerbatch

This workshop will engage participants in gentle yoga practices (breath work, movement, relaxation) that can be integrated into daily classroom practice. Resources for deepening your own and your students’ practices will be shared.

Building Classroom Community & Positive Social Relationships Through Mindfulness, Music, and Movement

Mara Sapon-Shevin

In classrooms where students feel seen, valued and connected, there are fewer problems of inappropriate behavior and classroom management. This highly interactive session will involve participants in exploring ways to improve students’ social interactions and build a sense of community and connection through mindfulness, music and movement.  Activities will be primarily geared toward elementary-age students.

Get Mara’s handout here!

Classroom management through activity: Icebreakers, Team Builders, and other fun

Adrienne Canino

Session Description: Learn what a little experiential learning can do for a group of youth. Icebreakers, team builders, and other physical activities can pose communication, problem solving, leadership and decision-making questions for students. These experiences can be harnessed to move students forward as leaders.