The 2023 Conference took place on February 24. Rooted in optimism, the theme of the conference was Possibility.
From sharing stories of individuals who blazed trails and made change without a roadmap, to sharing tools and strategies to fill your own cup and cultivate space for conversations that change hearts and minds, we aimed to create a day that left educators feeling hopeful, energized and inspired.
Special Opening Performance from Shahaddah Jack.
Morning Panel // It's possible, and it's worth it: How to bring sensitive topics into the classroom with care and confidence.
Opposition and hesitation to bringing certain topics into the classroom can come from all angles of the educational ecosystem, and at the expense of meaningful student discussion and impactful learning. In this session, panelists will share best practices, techniques and experiences that will aid in navigating the hesitation and ensuring the care of both self and students.
Panelists: Darryl Gershater, Amanda Lederle & Jonelle St. Aubyn.
Moderated by Caroline Alphonso
, Education Reporter, The Globe & Mail.
Since her groundbreaking debut, 1964’s It’s My Way!
, the Cree singer-songwriter has been a trailblazer and a tireless advocate, an innovative artist, and a disruptor of the status quo. Sainte-Marie has spent her whole life creating, and her artistry, humanitarian efforts, and Indigenous leadership have made her a unique force in the music industry. In 1969, she made the world’s first electronic vocal album; in 1982 she became the only Indigenous person to win an Oscar; she spent five years on Sesame Street
where she became the first woman to breastfeed on national television. She’s been blacklisted and silenced. She’s written pop standards sung and recorded by Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, Donovan, Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes. She penned “Universal Soldier,” the definitive anti-war anthem of the 20th century. She is an icon who keeps one foot firmly planted on both sides of the North American border, in the unsurrendered territories that comprise Canada and the USA.
Darryl Gershater is a Social Worker and has provided therapy to adults and youth in the health sector and in private practice for over 20 years. Darryl’s career began in public health, first doing research and then transitioning to therapeutic work within the health sector. Providing spaces for expression is an ongoing theme in Darryl’s therapeutic work – be it through designing expressive arts projects, facilitating groups or working individually. Darryl’s goal is to listen closely as folks relay their journey of life’s ups and downs and to think creatively about how to support people to tell their story in a space where human rights are respected.
Amanda (they/them) is a recovering perfectionist and empathic human living in Tkaronto (Toronto). Their goal is to leave every conversation knowing that the individual feels a little more heard than when they began. Amanda loves to discuss creativity and mental health. They have been trained as a peer support and completed their Mental Health First Aid certification. When Amanda isn't an Active Listener, they facilitate arts and mental health workshops and work in arts administration.
Jonelle St. Aubyn
Jonelle St. Aubyn is the teacher librarian at Louise Arbour Secondary School in Brampton and works for the Peel District School Board. Jonelle has been teaching since 2001 and has spent the past 8 years as the full time teacher librarian. Equity, social justice, human rights and literacy are all things that she is passionate about. She strives to make meaningful changes within the library learning commons and the school system to improve educational outcomes and opportunities for all students.
Caroline Alphonso (Moderator)
Caroline Alphonso is The Globe and Mail’s education reporter, specializing in kindergarten to Grade 12. Her areas of interest include education policy, the intersection of politics and education, changes in curriculum and the impacts of socioeconomic status on schooling. In 2014, she was part of a team nominated for a National Newspaper Award for a series that measured and analyzed the impact of income inequality in Canada. When she is not reporting, you can find her at a local hockey arena cheering on her two young children.