York U conference to look at history of alternative schooling in the GTA


Toronto, Nov. 15, 2012 – 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)

What: Publicly Funded Alternative Schooling in the GTA: A First Ever Conference
Saturday Nov. 17, Sunday, Nov. 18
Oakham House, Ryerson University Conference Centre, 55 Gould Street, Toronto & OISE 6th Floor, 252 Bloor Street West, Toronto (see map). 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.

York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre, York is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York’s 11 faculties and 28 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 288 leading universities worldwide. York's community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 250,000 alumni.

Media Contact: Robin Heron, Media Relations, York University, 416-736-2100 x22097 / rheron@yorku.ca