JCPS hosts 63rd Annual Council for Great City Schools Fall Conference

Approximately 1,200 education leaders from big-city schools across the country are in Louisville for the five-day conference 

October 22, 2019—Former senior adviser to President Barack Obama Valerie Jarrett, best-selling author and historian Jon Meacham, and 2019 National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson will address urban educators during the the Council of the Great City Schools’ 63rd Annual Fall Conference, being held this week at the Louisville Omni Hotel. 

The conference—which begins Wednesday with a series of task force meetings and a welcome reception and ends Sunday—will also feature a national town hall meeting on the importance of the 2020 Census, moderated by NPR reporter Hansi Lo Wang.

The town meeting will be Friday, Oct. 25 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and will include a panel of urban school leaders as well as representatives from the U.S. Census Bureau and national organizations. It will be streamed live here.

"We are proud to host this premier professional-development opportunity," said Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Marty Pollio. "Each fall, the council provides urban public school educators with an important chance to spend time together addressing issues and challenges, celebrating successes, and sharing best practices that are sure to spark new ideas as we look for ways to elevate educational opportunities for our students."

Several JCPS officials will be presenting at the conference on a variety of topics, including the district's Backpack of Success Skills, Academies of Louisville, and Racial Equity Plan. 

On Thursday evening, the winner of the Green-Garner Award will be announced. Jefferson County Board of Education Chairwoman Diane Porter is 1 of 11 finalists for the award, which recognizes outstanding contributions in urban education leadership and is presented to an urban school board member one year and an urban superintendent the next year. The 2019 finalists are all board members.

The award is named in memory of urban school leaders Richard R. Green, the first African-American chancellor of the New York City school system, and businessman Edward Garner, a former president of the board of the Denver Public Schools. The winner will receive a $10,000 college scholarship to be presented to a student.

More information about the speakers include:

  • Robinson, the 2019 National Teacher of the Year, will keynote Thursday's lunch. A 19-year teaching veteran, Robinson became a teacher to honor his mother, who struggled to receive an education after being denied one as a child due to segregation and poverty in rural Virginia. In 2015, Robinson started teaching at the Virgie Binford Education Center, a school inside the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center, in an effort to better understand the school-to-prison pipeline.
  • Jarrett, the longest serving senior advisor to President Obama, will keynote Friday's breakfast. She oversaw the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls. She worked throughout her tenure at the White House to mobilize elected officials, business and community leaders, and diverse groups of advocates.
  • Meacham, the presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, will keynote Friday's lunch. His new book, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, debuted at number 1 on The New York Times bestsellers list. It examines the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in U.S. history when hope overcame division and fear.

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