York conference looks at alternative schooling in the GTA

Alternative models of education in the Greater Toronto area – from their early roots in the late 1960s to present day – will be the focus of a conference Nov. 17 and 18 hosted by York University.

Publicly Funded Alternative Schooling in the GTA: A First Ever Conference will bring together approximately 280 teachers, administrators, parents, students and other interested members of the educational community, showcasing decades of discoveries made within alternative programs and schools.

Keynote speaker, writer and teacher, Herbert Kohl, will kick off the event with a video presentation providing a context and frame for all of the sessions in the conference.

Highlights include:

Vern Harper, a Canadian First Nations Cree Elder, speaking about the need for cultural survival schools, and about challenges faced by First Nations students in the TDSB – including its alternatives. (Nov.17, 12:50pm)

Teresa van Neste, Alternative School Advisory Committee (ASAC) Co-Chair, speaking about how an arts-based Waldorf education addresses democratic leadership, meaningful work, community spirit and academics, and how public education can begin to take up radical Waldorf practices. (Nov. 17, 1:55pm)

Esther Sokolov Fine (Faculty of Education, York University) and filmmaker Roberta King (King Squire Films Ltd.) presenting their feature documentary, Life at School: The DAS Tapes (2001), edited from video footage collected at Downtown Alternative School (DAS) in the 1990s over a three-year period. They will also screen video material from a second three-year study conducted 12 to 15 years later with the same students, reflecting on the effects the alternative schooling experience and peacemaking had on their lives. (Nov. 17, 3pm)

The conference will take place at Oakham House, Ryerson University Conference Centre, 55 Gould Street, Toronto & OISE 6th Floor, 252 Bloor Street West, Toronto. Presentations from 10am to 4pm.

Co-sponsors include:  Faculty of Education York University (and York Centre for Community and Education – YCEC), Toronto District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, and Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada.