Education summit aims to ‘re-invent tomorrow’s schools’
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A group of 50 educators, mental health professionals and human services specialists from across Pennsylvania gathered today (June 16) at the Nittany Lion Inn for an interdisciplinary conference intended to increase community-university partnerships and better serve children in K-12 schools.
“Universities with programs in social work, school psychology, curriculum and instruction, human development and psychology have an opportunity to work in collaborative, cutting-edge partnerships across schools and agencies to leverage the best outcomes for children and families,” said Cristin Hall, assistant professor school psychology. “We know that traditional initiatives and laboratory-based research methods do not always adequately address real world problems and needs, and we need these partnerships to fill those gaps.”
“Re-Inventing Tomorrow’s Schools: Innovations in Pennsylvania through Community-University Partnerships,” is a product of a partnership between Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh and aims to increase networking and research opportunities among interdisciplinary service professionals. Hall, conference co-chair, worked closely with Stephen Bagnato, distinguished professor of education at Pitt and 2014 Penn State Alumni Fellow, to create a conference that addressed the need for community-university partnerships while also providing resources to help make those partnerships a reality.
“We put a strong emphasis on how to successfully build these relationships,” Hall said of the two-day conference. “Through projects that will be presented at the summit, we demonstrate Penn State and Pitt’s commitment to serving youth in urban, rural and remote areas, as well as children with disabilities and those from disadvantaged populations in general.”
On Friday, participants also will be introduced to effective partnership models, partnership implementation and sustainability strategies, and how to integrate education, health and human services. They also will learn about multiple community-university partnerships employed by Penn State and Pitt, including Include Me From the Start Arc of PA, Intensive Meditation Retreats, PROSPER and Project TEAM.
“We want to see these types of partnerships grow in Pennsylvania and beyond,” she said. “It is our mission to provide a solid foundation for propelling forward in feasible, sustainable and effective interventions for children in PA and beyond.”
By Jessica Buterbaugh (June 2016)