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Gesu School Symposium on Transforming Inner-City Education

On November 6, 2015, Gesu School hosted its 18th Annual Symposium on Transforming Inner-City Education in Philadelphia. This year’s timely event focused on Tragedies and Current Events: Helping Students Understand What They See, Read, and Hear in the News.

With today’s technology, school-aged students are exposed to mass media with intense subject matter. What are the psychological effects? How can educators teach news literacy? What protocols can schools implement to help students cope when tragic events are reported? The 2015 Symposium addressed these probing questions, with prominent speakers delivering TED-style talks to an audience of teachers, education administrators, legislators, and supporters of inner-city education.


From left to right: Gordon Cooney, Jr. (Chairman, Gesu School Board of Trustees), Bryan Carter (President and CEO, Gesu School), Dana Weeks, Taunya English, Mary McNaughton-Cassill, PhD, and Michael A. Spikes.

Mary McNaughton-Cassill, PhD, Professor of Psychology, University of Texas at San Antonio, discussed the psychology of media impact and shared guidelines for helping students to cope with growing exposure to media. Director of the Digital Resource Center with the Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University, Michael A. Spikes, presented theory and practical applications to enable students to become smart consumers of news. To offer a different perspective on how to help students cope with tragic or intense news, Dana Weeks, Head of School, Germantown Friends School, presented on a protocol based in the Quaker tradition. Taunya English, Senior Writer/Health Reporter for WHYY’s “The Pulse,” a weekly radio show on health, science, and innovation, moderated a lively Q&A.


From left to right: Speakers Dana Weeks, Mary McNaughton-Cassill, PhD, and Michael A. Spikes answer thought-provoking questions from the audience and moderator, Taunya English (far right) during a Q&A session.

To view a video and photos of the Symposium and to read media coverage and a synopsis, visit the Gesu School website.

Always seeking to improve education for America’s inner-city children, Gesu School launched its Annual Symposium on Transforming Inner-City Education in 1997 to tackle tough issues in inner-city education. From its first moderator, the late Tim Russert, to outstanding panelists such as Stedman Graham, Joe Klein, and Paul Tough, the annual gathering brings together leading thinkers to stimulate productive conversation and energize us for our work in the field.





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