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Conference Description

Publicly Funded Alternative Schooling in the GTA: A First Ever Conference!

The Greater Toronto Area has an alternative schooling history that is unique in public education.  From its early roots in the late 1960s, there are now approximately 60 alternative schools in the GTA.  This first-ever conference will offer a wide range of theme-based sessions for the sharing of ideas and questions.  The keynote speaker, renowned writer and teacher, Herbert Kohl, has prepared a video presentation especially for this event.  Herbert Kohl has been challenging both mainstream and alternative schooling for 50 years.

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 and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

 This conference brings together approximately 280 teachers, administrators, parents, students, school board officials, researchers (including graduate students), teacher candidates, and other interested members of the educational community.

 In the GTA, publicly funded elementary and secondary alternative schooling values intellectual engagement and offers a wide range of options for students.  Alternative models help school systems respond to discoveries about how people learn; they increase opportunities for close and personalized relationships among students and teachers.  Alternative schools seek to respond to students as whole human beings.  In the GTA there are community-based schools that promote democratic participation, as well as schools/programs that seek to re-engage youth whose needs have not been met in mainstream schooling.  They offer a wide range of choices and opportunities.

Showcasing decades of discoveries made within alternative programs and schools, this conference offers an unprecedented opportunity for collaborative study, the posing of next questions, and expanded visions for research and practice.

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This conference is dedicated to the memory of Bob Davis 

Canadian thinker and activist Bob Davis, was a larger than life innovative educator.  In the 1960s he co-founded Everdale Place school community in Hillsburgh, Ontario and This Magazine is About Schools.  Later he edited Mudpie Magazine: Growing Up in Metro Bob taught at OISE, York University, Everdale Place and at Victoria Park and Stephen Leacock secondary schools in the Toronto Board of Education.  Bob was active in teacher politics and developed an engaging, effective teaching of working-class and racially diverse students.  Founder of The Spadina Road Tabernacle Band, Bob brought to life a unique  Canadian justice-oriented musical culture. He authored books on education, music and politics.  "Bob was a public intellectual and active citizen who combined ideas-culture-music-work and activism.  It was a very full and giving way of living, a real example of citizenship.  Bob had very big shoulders." (C. Novogrodsky)