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Going to AERA? These sessions have a Philadelphia focus

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

by Jeseamy Muentes

More than 13,000 attendees, including education and policy leaders, will gather in Philadelphia this week at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA).

The event will be held April 3-7 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the downtown Philadelphia Marriott hotel. The theme is “The Power of Education Research for Innovation in Practice and Policy.” More than a dozen of the 100-plus sessions will include local leaders or have a Philadelphia focus.

Notebook editor and publisher Paul Socolar, Notebook contributing editor Dale Mezzacappa, and Parents United for Public Education co-founder Helen Gym are among the speakers.

Socolar will be speaking Friday during a session with School District Superintendent William Hite called “The Landscape of Education Reform in Philadelphia.” The session, which will be live-streamed, will discuss the ideas and challenges of improving one of the largest urban school districts in the nation.

Mezzacappa will take part in a symposium titled “Action Space for School Reform,” a discussion about Children Achieving and other 1990s Philadelphia school reform efforts.

Gym, a Philadelphia activist and Notebook blogger, will be one of two speakers during the session “Rising to the Challenges of Quality and Equality: The Promise of a Public Pedagogy.” Gym will talk about what educational research means for the lives of schoolchildren in Philadelphia.

Sessions and speakers with Philadelphia focus
Session Time/Location
“The Political Realities of Education Reform: What is the Role for Educational Research?” Thursday, April 3, 2:15-3:45 p.m., Convention Center, Terrace Level, Terrace I With Ed Rendell, former Pennsylvania governor and Philadelphia mayor
“Rising to the Challenges of Quality and Equality: The Promise of a Public Pedagogy” Thursday, April 3, 2:15-3:45 p.m., Convention Center, 100 Level, 121B With Diane Ravitch, New York University, and Helen Gym, Parents United for Public Education
Philadelphia Education Town Hall Thursday, April 3, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Arch Street United Methodist Church
“The Landscape of Education Reform in Philadelphia” Friday, April 4, 10:35 a.m.-12:05 p.m., Convention Center, 100 Level, 115C With William Hite, Philadelphia School District Superintendent, and Paul Socolar, the Notebook
“Congress and Connecting Research to STEM Education and Innovation” Sunday, April 6, 9-10:15 a.m., Convention Center, Terrace Level, Terrace I With U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah
“Action Space for School Reform: Taking Stock of Philadelphia, the 1990s and Today” Saturday, April 5, 10:35 a.m.-12:05 p.m. With Dale Mezzacappa, the Notebook
“Noncognitive Factors Affecting Student Success: State of the Science and Opportunities for School Improvement” Sunday, April 6, 4:05-5:35 p.m., Convention Center, Terrace Level, Terrace I With Angela Duckworth, University of Pennsylvania scholar, MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant recipient

Other AERA sessions with a Philadelphia focus
Session Time/Location
Comparing Private-Sector Technical Training With Public-Sector Degree Completion: An Off-Site Panel Discussion With Aker Philadelphia Shipyard and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on Academia-Industry Partnerships for Workforce”

Wednesday, April 2, 3-6 p.m., Aker Philadelphia Shipyard

“Out in the Community with Division K: Conversations With Students, Educators, and School Leaders in Philadelphia”

Wednesday, April 2, 3:30-7 p.m., Academy of the Natural Sciences

“The ‘Portfolio’ Model and the Future of U.S. Urban School Reform: Lessons from New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Beyond”

Thursday, April 3, 12-1:30 p.m.

“School Closures and the Perils of Limiting Education Opportunities: The Philadelphia Story”

Friday, April 4, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

“Graduate Student Council Food-for-Thought Session. Learning Through Sisterhood: Urban Arts and Education With the Philadelphia Sophisticated Sisters”

Friday, April 4, 12:25-1:55 p.m.

“A Tale of Three Cities: Parent Activism and School Reform in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia”

Saturday, April 5, 2:45-4:15 p.m.

“Reflections on the Portfolio Model as an Urban District Reform: The Philadelphia Case”

Sunday, April 6, 8:15 a.m.-10:15 a.m.

“Graduate Student Council Food-for-Thought Session. Truth Through Words: Raising the Voices of Urban Youth in Philadelphia”

Sunday, April 6, 12:25-1:55 p.m.

"Exploring the Power of Practitioner Research for Innovation in Practice and Theory: The Philadelphia Story”

Sunday, April 6, 12:25-1:55 p.m.

“Imagine a School: How Researchers Can Support Community-Based Groups’ Visions for Philadelphia Public Schools”

Sunday, April 6, 2:15-3:45 p.m.

“The Elusive Battle for Educational Equality in Pennsylvania: 40 Years of Changes and Challenges”

Monday, April 7, 10:35 a.m.-12:05 p.m.

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