It is imperative that educators regularly engage in professional development opportunities that train and equip them to understand Black student development and improve their responsiveness to systemic inequalities that impact their everyday learning. Therefore, the mission of State of Black Learning – Pittsburgh (SBL) is to foster dialogue and provide practical tools for all educators (teachers, specialists, principals, administrative assistants, coaches and more) to incorporate sustainable resources into the work they do. Further aiming to cultivate personal and professional development among educators who value knowledge and the enhancement of students’ lives.
Historically, education has been seen as a ‘one size fits all’ system for students. Research shows this is not the case with Black students. Whether considering a child’s home life or integrating a learning strategy to enhance student engagement, it is essential to hone in on the ways in which educators interact with and teach Black students. SBL is designed to increase educator effectiveness and provide the tools necessary to help participants address all of the factors that improve student outcomes and help Black children learn in the greater Pittsburgh region.
SBL is a two-day conference which will gather thought leaders, learning stakeholders, and educators across Pittsburgh who teach through various platforms. The aim is to use insightful analysis, commentary, and facilitated dialogue on best practices to help participants critically discuss how systemic inequities in race, gender, and socioeconomic status continue to shape and impact learning for Black children. At the conclusion of the conference, all participants will be charged to constantly seek and implement proven and innovative solutions that take action against the systemic inequalities facing black students.
For the purpose of SBL an EDUCATOR is defined as any person who provides positive instruction or education to students in the areas of academics, citizenship, sports and/or social/family support.
For the purpose of SBL a STAKEHOLDER is defined as any person, community and/or organization who will benefit directly from improving student outcomes and helping Black children learn in the greater Pittsburgh region.
Dr. Bettina L. Love is an award-winning author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia. Dr. Love is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the area of Hip Hop education. Her research focuses on the ways in which urban youth negotiate Hip Hop music and culture to form social, cultural, and political identities to create new and sustaining ways of thinking about urban education and intersectional social justice. Her work is also concerned with how teachers and schools working with parents and communities can build communal, civically engaged schools rooted in intersectional social justice for the goal of equitable classrooms.
For her work in the field, in 2016, Dr. Love was named the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. She is also the creator of the Hip Hop civics curriculum GET FREE. In April of 2017, Dr. Love participated in a one-on-one public lecture with bell hooks focused on the liberatory education practices of Black and Brown children. In 2018, Georgia’s House of Representatives presented Dr. Love with a resolution for her impact on the field of education.
Dr. Love is a sought-after public speaker on a range of topics, including: antiblackness in schools, Hip Hop education, Black girlhood, queer youth, Hip Hop feminism, art-based education to foster youth civic engagement, and issues of diversity and inclusion. In 2014, she was invited to the White House Research Conference on Girls to discuss her work focused on the lives of Black girls. In addition, she is the inaugural recipient of the Michael F. Adams award (2014) from the University of Georgia. She has also provided commentary for various news outlets including NPR, The Guardian, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
She is the author of We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom and Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South. Her work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including the English Journal, Urban Education, The Urban Review, andJournal of LGBT Youth. In 2017, Dr. Love edited a special issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies focused on the identities, gender performances, and pedagogical practices of Black and Brown lesbian educators.
SBL is a two-day conference which will gather thought leaders, learning stakeholders, and educators across Pittsburgh to help participants critically discuss how systemic inequities in race, gender, and socioeconomic status continue to shape and impact learning for Black children.
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