Envisioning Equity

Envisioning Equity in Greater Baltimore’s Classrooms: A gathering hosted by Towson University and the College of Education

Black and brown youth in Greater Baltimore attend schools that do not always serve them well. Given the structural challenges that provide inequitable funding and resources for these youth, this gathering will focus on how we can still lift these children up and help them meet their educational and long-term goals. We recognize the challenges our young people face, but want to use the funds of knowledge that these children bring to school to push ourselves to explore ways in which we can use them to serve them better in our schools.

Let your voice be heard and join other stakeholders for this important conversation.


Agenda - Saturday October 7, 2017 West Village Commons

8:00–9:00 AM Registration and Breakfast

9:00–9:20 AM Welcome

  • Laurie Mullen, Dean, College of Education, Towson University
  • Kim Schatzel, President Towson University

9:20–10:20 AM Keynote Speaker

  • Chris Emdin, Associate Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University
    Chris Emdin, eminent scholar of science education, cultural relevant teaching practice, and “reality pedagogy” will speak about the research that he does on hip hop pedagogies and how to engage young people of color

10:20–10:30 AM Framing sessions around systemic implicit biases and institutional inculcation of this through testing, curriculum, and teaching.

  • Adar Ayira, Associated Black Charities

10:30–10:45 AM Coffee Break

10:45 AM–Noon Breakout Session

Doing the Heavy-Lifting: Creating and Maintaining Culturally Responsive Classrooms


  • Kaye Whitehead is a former Baltimore City school teacher and is now Associate Professor, Communication and African & African American Studies, at Loyola University Maryland and the author of Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post Racial America (2015)
  • Iris Kirsh is an English teacher at Patterson High School in Baltimore City. Her research focuses on the root causes of systemic inequity in public education. She and her students blog at wordpress.com.

How can teacher and administrator preparation change to provide an equity lens to future educators and educational leaders?


  • Morna McDermott is a professor in the College of Education at Towson University. Recent publications include The Left Handed Curriculum, and The Activists Handbook for the Education Revolution. Her teaching and research focus on the intersections between creativity, social justice, and public education. She lives in Baltimore with her husband and two children.
  • Simone Gibson is an assistant professor of education at Morgan State University who specializes in preparation of Black pre-service teachers to address issues of literacy and equity. Additionally, she studies the non-dominant literacy strengths of K-12 learners from historically marginalized communities.

How do we move from a deficit mindset to a developmental one about education inequality? 


  • J. Little is a white, genderqueer resident of Baltimore City. They work in the field of education in a variety of contexts including K-12 public schools, universities, community settings and workshops around racial equity. They work to develop and facilitate curricula that addresses racial disproportionality while building tools to make progress towards equity. They currently work with Baltimore Racial Justice Action and Towson University as well as volunteering for the interim leadership team of Baltimore's chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice. J. is committed to working on self-awareness and self-education while working with others to understand our roles, risks and abilities in interrupting white supremacy culture.
  • Brittany Horne is the equity support teacher and sixth grade science teacher at Roland Park Elementary/ Middle School. She has spoken throughout the country on issues dealing with equity in our educational system. She holds a bachelor of arts in sociology and a master of arts in teaching both attained from The College of New Jersey. During her years in college, she was the president of the Black Student Union and senator of Culture and Society. Brittany was The College of New Jersey’s representative at Yale University for their 13th Annual Black Solidarity Conference where she led discussions dealing with the legitimacy of both mainstream media sources and investigated socio-political issues at hand dealing with the impending political campaigns. She currently is partnering with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum located in Baltimore City to teach school-aged children about the civil rights movement and to guide them in becoming effective activists and leaders of change in their surrounding communities.

How can equitable access to the arts and culturally-rooted arts education practices help youth envision their future?


  • Diane Kuthy is a lecturer in the Department of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education at Towson University and a PhD candidate in the Language, Literacy and Culture program at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County. Diane is a member of Baltimore Racial Justice Action. Her research focuses on racial equity in arts education.
  • Shyla Rao believes in arts education as a form of social action that empowers young people to critically engage with their place in the world. Shyla serves as Principal at City Neighbors Hamilton, a public charter school in Baltimore City. She finds great importance with staying actively connected in the community through arts, advocacy, education, and play.
  • Julia Di Bussolo, Ms. Di Bussolo joined Arts Every Day as Executive Director in September 2012. She lives in Baltimore City and is the proud mom of a Baltimore City Public Schools student. Di Bussolo holds an M.A. in Community Arts and a B.F.A. in Photography from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

How can we create school environments that are restorative and trauma-responsive rather than punitive?


  • Wendy Shaia is the executive director of SWACOS (Social Work Community Outreach Service) at the University of Maryland Social Work School. She has more than 20 years of experience developing, implementing, and leading organizations and programs including homeless shelters, low-income housing development and community service programs.
  • Tracey Durant works in the Office of Equity and Cultural Proficiency for Baltimore County Public Schools. In this role, she is responsible for planning, developing, evaluating and implementing equity initiatives designed to close achievement gaps and increase academic rigor.
  • Pat Goldys is the school principal Norwood Elementary which implements restorative practices.

How can administrators support all school professionals in their work with students of color?


  • Kim Moffitt is associate professor in the Departments of American Studies and the Language, Literacy and Culture Ph.D. program and affiliate associate professor in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Her teaching interests include culture. She is the founding parent and a board member of Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys Public Charter School, a 4th–8th grade liberal arts, college preparatory school.
  • Rochelle Machado is the principal of Arundel Elementary Middle School in Cherry Hill. She holds a master’s degree from Towson University in instructional leadership. In 2017, she won the Mike Hickey Award for school leadership.

12:00–1:00 PM Networking Lunch

Enjoy a lunch buffet and visit with gallery participants including Wide Angle Media, Young Audiences, Art Everyday, Dewmore

1:00–2:15 PM Breakout Session Continued

See descriptions above.

2:15–2:45 PM Coffee Break

2:45–3:15 PM Dance performance

Members of the Step Team from The Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women will perform. The team's story is shared in Step: A Real Life Story. This new documentary chronicles the first graduating class and team members as they prepare to become the first in their families to go to college.

3:30–4:30 PM Closing Panel: Our challenges and future work together

  • Moderator: Jessica Shiller, Towson University
  • Dayvon Love, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle
  • Sean Conley, Chief Academic Office, Baltimore City Schools
  • Verletta White, Interim Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools
  • Ray Winbush, Morgan State University

Advisory Committee

Adar Ayira   Associated Black Charities
Kaylah Blake  Baltimore Algebra Project
Shanda Crowder  Family League
Shanelle England  Y of Maryland
Diane Kuthy  Towson University
Mariana Le Bron  Towson University
Rochelle Machado  Baltimore City Schools
Jessica Shiller  Towson University