In his book, We Got This, Cornelius Minor capitalizes on his time as a teacher in both the Bronx and Brooklyn to highlight the power of listening—and how authentically listening to kids is the most useful tool in reaching every child’s full capacity to learn.
During our time together, Mr. Minor will identify tools, attributes, and strategies that can augment our listening, allowing us to make powerful moves toward equity by broadening access to learning for all children. Mr. Minor recognizes we are living in a time of social and cultural change. His work will leave teachers and administrators feeling empowered to make great change in their classrooms and schools despite teaching during unprecedented times.
Throughout the day, participants will have the opportunity to:
– reflect on what they are learning
– connect it to their current teaching environments
– work through frustrations and reach kids who need us most
– craft approaches that honor students AND teachers; and
– create sustainable plans of action.
Schedule for the day
9:00 – 9:15 – Welcome, opening remarks, general overview of the day
9:15 – 10:45 – whole group with Cornelius
10:45 – 11:00 – cameras off break!
11:00 – 11:45 – Q&A
11:45 – 12:45 – Lunch Break
12:45 – 2:15 – whole group with Cornelius
2:15 – 3:00 – Panel discussion
Our panel will be comprised of local Indianapolis educational leaders who are committed to challenging the status quo and engaging in transformative practices bringing about more just and equitable access to learning in our own school communities, in the ways Mr. Minor suggests.
Dr. Kara Taylor, Dr. Erica Buchanan-Rivera, Ayana Wilson-Cole, and Dr. Jennifer Wheat Townsend
Dr. Kara Taylor is a clinical assistant professor in the Urban Teacher Education program (with affiliated appointment in the Africana Studies program) at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. She has research focuses of critical literacy and fugitive literacy practices in urban schooling spaces. She is a Chicago native born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. She is a product of public schooling and taught literacy in Chicago Public Schools for six years. She has a passion to give back to the urban communities in which she came from. She has a BA in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago, MFA in Creative Writing from Chicago State University, MA in Elementary Education from Roosevelt University, and a PhD in Language, Literacy and Culture from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is currently working on the editorial team International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, board of Indiana State Literacy Association and various NCTE sectors. She is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. She is a black woman, wife, activist, daughter, sister and artist.
Dr. Erica Buchanan-Rivera has served in education for nearly 14 years as a teacher, principal, diversity trainer, director of curriculum and adjunct professor. During her time as a principal in Lawrence Township, she was recognized as an Administrator of the Year award recipient and her international school was nationally recognized as a Magnet School of Excellence under her leadership. Dr. Buchanan-Rivera was formerly the Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer in Hamilton Southeastern Schools, the first DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) role in a Hamilton county school district. She is currently the Director of Equity and Inclusion at Washington Township Schools. Dr. Buchanan-Rivera completed her doctoral degree from Indiana State University in 2017. Her scholarship is centered on identity-affirming environments and antiracist pedagogy. She has published award-winning educational articles, and her work continues to be in a national spotlight while featured in numerous podcasts, panels, and keynote presentations. Dr. Buchanan-Rivera has served as an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Butler University, where she received the College of Education Distinguished Alumni Award in 2020. She is currently serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Indianapolis teaching a class that is focused on educational equity and the critical race theory. Dr. Buchanan-Rivera believes that all students deserve a classroom environment that values their authenticity.
Ayana Wilson-Cole currently serves as the Assistant Principal at Eagle Creek Elementary in Pike Township where she also serves as a member of Pike Township’s Equity Council. Prior to accepting this position, she taught grades 2-6 and served as an instructional coach over the course of 14 years. Ayana has a Bachelors in Elementary Education and an MS in Language Education from Indiana University-Indianapolis. She is currently working on her Ed.D in Language, Culture, and Language Education at Indiana University. Ayana is a proud mother of three children: an 18 year old son starting his first year at Ball State University, a 15-year-old daughter who is a sophomore at Ben Davis High School, and a 6 year old daughter who goes to school with her every day.
Dr. Jennifer Wheat Townsend is the Director of Learning in Noblesville Schools and the Learning Officer of the Noblesville Diversity Coalition Board. Jennifer has also served as a Literacy Specialist, worked at Butler and Indiana University, and taught a multi-age K-1 classroom. Jennifer’s focus is on literacy, instructional coaching, and equity. She graduated from Butler University with her Bachelor and Master’s degree and completed her doctoral work at Indiana University. She believes that the heart of our work in education centers around humanity—creating spaces for children and adults to learn, be heard, be seen and valued. Jennifer has a passion for education, reading, writing, and fitness.