Session Descriptions

Dive deeper into the program by exploring our detailed session descriptions below:

We Gon’ Be Alright, But That Ain’t Alright: Abolitionist Teaching and Anti-Racism Social Work
Dr. Bettina Love, Co-founder of the Abolitionist Teaching Network 

Dr. Love’s talk will discuss the struggles and the possibilities of committing ourselves to an abolitionist goal of educational freedom, as opposed to reform, and moving beyond what she calls the educational survival complex. Abolitionist Teaching is built on the creativity, imagination, boldness, ingenuity, and rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists to demand and fight for an educational system and social work practices where all students and everyone we serve are thriving, not simply surviving.

 

Exploring Intersectional Experiences
Scholars Dr. Ann Lopez, Dr. Gillian Parekh and expert and doctoral candidate Laura Arndt will reflect on the experiences of and system responses to Black, Indigenous, and students with disabilities as they thrive and survive in our local context. Panelists will discuss the intersections of these experiences and identities in relation to abolitionist and decolonizing approaches in our education system, while examining the need for and value of distinct responses to student well-being. They will also explore uncovering and affirming excellence among students who are disproportionately impacted by traditional systems of education, advancing the understanding of existing barriers and identifying levers for change.  

Moderators:

  • Tracey Grose, SSWAG Chair, School Mental Health Ontario
  • Patricia Codner, SSWAG Member, Halton Catholic District School Board

Panelists:

  • Dr. Gillian Parekh, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Disability Studies and Education, Faculty of Education, York University
  • Dr. Ann Lopez, Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy, Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
  • Laura Arndt, Chief Operating Officer, Survivors Secretariat

Fauzia Agbonhin, Spoken Word Artist
Enjoy a captivating spoken word demonstration by Fauzia Agbonhin, 19-year-old Nigerian-Canadian slam poet and author of I Never Truly Hated You. In her poetry, Fauzia addresses diversity, racism, mental health, anxiety, and many other social justice issues that face our society today.

Looking to hear more and deepen your knowledge from one of the experts and scholars from our morning panel? Join them in the afternoon for interactive breakout sessions with leaders representing individuals with lived experiences, accomplished advocates and transformative administrators and practitioners across education. 

Take part and add your voice to one of three engaging discussions on student well-being with system leaders and community champions, delving into the experiences and impacts of: Anti-Black Racism; disability; and culturally responsive practices specific to Indigenous students. 

Panelists and co-leads will share their perspectives on opportunities for transforming practice, policies and institutions, cultivating leadership in education, and strengthening collaborative relationships that honour students, parents/caregivers and community. In conversation with our collaborative session leaders, join us to explore and co-create strategies to support, nourish and sustain the accomplices and rebels that drag the system towards change. 


A: Constructing and Responding to Disability

Facilitators: 

  • Dr. Gillian Parekh (Lead), Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Disability Studies and Education, Faculty of Education, York University
  • Lois Agard (Co-Lead), Superintendent of Education, York Region District School Board
  • Rana Nasrazadani (Co-Lead), Policy Analyst and Member of Ontario’s K-12 Education Standards Development Committee 

Moderators: 

  • Patricia Codner, Family/Caregiver Engagement and Literacy Lead, School Mental Health Ontario
  • Maria Peixoto, MSW, RSW, School Social Worker, Toronto Catholic District School Board

B: Anti-Racism and Socially Just Leadership

Facilitators: 

  • Dr. Ann Lopez (Lead), Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy, Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
  • Charline Grant (Co-Lead), Chief Advocacy Officer, Parents of Black Children
  • Richard Marcano (Co-Lead), President of Board of Directors for HairStory

Moderators: 

  • Geer Harvey, MSW RSW, Counselling & Attendance, Upper Grand District School Board, Centre Dufferin District High School 
  • Dr. Camille Logan, Associate Director of School Improvement & Equity, Peel District School Board

C: Indigenizing Approaches

Facilitators: 

  • Laura Arndt (Lead), Chief Operating Officer, Survivors Secretariat
  • Akiesha Absolon-Winchester (Co-Lead), Registered Social Worker, Flying Post First Nation
  • Nick Bertand (Co-Lead), Education Officer, Ministry of Education

Moderators: 

  • Colinda Clyne, Curriculum Lead, First Nation, Metis and Inuit Education, Upper Grand District School Board
  • Toni Lauzon, MSW, RSW, Social Worker and Attendance Counsellor, Greater Essex County District School Board