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K-State Today

December 1, 2021

College of Education's Council for Public School Improvement hosts virtual speakers series

Submitted by Sarah Harper

Paul Gorski

The Council for Public School Improvement, a part of the Kansas State University College of Education, recently hosted a virtual conference featuring Paul Gorski, a national expert on equity, for area educators.

Gorski, the founder of the Equity Literacy Institute and EdChange, spoke on "Beyond Heroes, Holidays and Food: Best Practices for Racially Equitable Educators and Schools." In this virtual workshop, educators explored ways to bolster new levels of equity consciousness in classrooms, enabling participants to become change agents on the ground today. Gorski emphasized that individuals, organizations and schools must shift from merely celebrating diversity to focusing on efforts that are grounded in principles of equity.

"Dr. Gorski is an expert in reminding educators that many of the biases and inequities that disrupt students' success are subtle and unintended," said Tonnie Martinez, executive director of CPSI. "If we truly want to close the opportunity gap, Dr. Gorski's strategies can empower us to reshape what we're doing in schools." 

"It is extremely important, as educators, to learn how to continually strengthen our equity efforts," said Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education. "These efforts not only benefit us personally but also the students and colleagues we mentor and interact with each day. Dr. Gorski's work is bridging the gap between just celebrating diversity and actually pursuing it, making a sense of belonging a permanent fixture in our schools."

The next Council for Public School Improvement conference will be in person on Feb. 8, 2022, at the K-State Alumni Center. The day will feature Doug Reeves, who will discuss "Fearless Schools: Building Trust and Resilience for Learning, Teaching and Leading." Reeves has written more than 40 books and 100 articles on education and leadership. He plans to share ways to address students' psychological safety and how educators can be fearless in creating classrooms where all students will thrive. The first 25 to register will receive Reeves' newest book.

The Council for Public School Improvement is a partnership between public Kansas school districts and K-State's College of Education. In its 35th year, the council focuses on enhancing the quality and effectiveness of public-school instruction and student achievement through targeted professional development. The organization continues to bring nationally recognized leaders in education to share ideas and strategies with educators from across the state.

Steering Committee members for 2021-2022 are Reginald Eggleston, USD 475 Geary County; Marvin Wade, USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden; Brett Nelson, USD 379 Clay County; Greg Brown, USD 435 Abilene; Kevin Logan, USD 323 Rock Creek; and Denise O'Dea, USD 108 Washington County. Ex-officio COE members are Mercer; Jerry Johnson, chair and professor of educational leadership; Mary Devin, professor; and Martinez.

For more information about becoming involved in the Council for Public School Improvement or to register for an upcoming conference, contact Jaishri Ram at cpsi@k-state.edu or visit the council website.

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