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2016 Sizemore Conference

The Duquesne University School of Education's Barbara A. Sizemore Urban Education Initiative hosted the seventh Annual Dr. Barbara A. Sizemore Summer Conference in the Power Center Ballroom on Wednesday, May 25 and Thursday, May 26. This year's conference was focused on STEM-science, technology, engineering, and math, but it went one step further and added the arts as part of the focus.

According to Olga M. Welch, dean of the School of Education: "More than 275 people from throughout the region, including students from the Pittsburgh Public Schools, and community leaders who have been working with us through our Canevin Center for Educational Transformation and Social Justice, came together to hear nationally-recognized educational leaders and to learn from each other how to seek educational equity for all young people."

The intent of the conference was to provide participants with experiences and tools to support their work in and out of the classroom and, as a result, motivate them to continue the work of educating students in urban settings. The latest in effective research and educational approaches were also shared during the two days from a variety of speakers and through hands-on workshops.

Highlights of the conference this year included:
• Two panel discussions, one featuring area youth and the other featuring fathers, both focusing on lives, careers/future plans, and how parents can become more engaged in their child's education;
• Pittsburgh-based hip-hop artist Jasiri-X, whose music and community service work are transforming the urban classroom and fostering positive social change among students;
• Keynote speakers-Dr. Louie Rodriguez, professor of educational leadership and technology at the University of California at San Bernardino, and Dr. Leslie Fenwick, professor of educational policy and leadership at Howard University--who charged the conference participants with improving educational opportunities for students at all educational levels, especially the underserved and minority youth and;
• Ten workshops focused on STEAM education including: human-centered design, using creativity with reclaimed materials, sustainable solutions for students to use in their local communities, how math can improve self-esteem, and culturally-responsive educational tactics for use in the classroom and community.

In addition, Dr. Launcelot Brown, the Dr. Barbara A. Sizemore Distinguished Professor, presented the Sizemore Spirit Award to Hannah McCarthy, a Pittsburgh native and coordinator of the Teaching Magnet in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

McCarthy, a 24-year veteran teacher from Brashear High School, was honored for her tireless work in engaging urban youth about viable careers in education and helping them realize the importance of becoming teachers. Since 2013, McCarthy has served on the Executive Council of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers (PFT), where she also credits the union for helping to give her voice as an advocate for young people and their teaching aspirations.

The annual conference is part of the School of Education's Dr. Barbara A. Sizemore Urban Education Initiative, named for Dr. Sizemore, a teacher and administrator with the Chicago Public Schools and the first African-American woman to be appointed superintendent of a major city school system in Washington, D.C. A doctoral graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, her work in Pittsburgh included desegregating the Pittsburgh Public Schools, and she was also an instrumental member of Pittsburghers Against Apartheid. Throughout her entire life, Dr. Sizemore, who received numerous awards and recognitions for her work, campaigned tirelessly to foster educational equity for urban youth.

The Dr. Barbara A. Sizemore Summer Conference, and The Canevin Center for Educational Transformation and Social Justice, are funded through a grant from The Heinz Endowments.


Schedule of Events

Wednesday, May 25 &  Thursday, May 26, 2016

Duquesne University Power Center
1015 Forbes Avenue, Fifth Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219


Day 1 · Wednesday, May 25, 2016

9 a.m. - 1 p.m. 2nd Annual Sizemore Youth Conference, Mr. Jasiri X, One Hood Media (Invitation only)

Day 2 · Thursday, May 26, 2016

8:-8:15 a.m. Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:15-8:40 a.m.


  • Olga M. Welch, Ed.D., Dean of the School of Education
  • Laucelot Brown, Ph.D., Current Barbara A. Sizemore Distinguished Professor of Urban Education at Duquesne University
9 -10:15 a.m. Morning Plenary Speaker: Dr. Louis Rodriguez, California State University, San Bernadino
10:30-12:00 p.m. Concurrent Workshops in Canevin Hall
12-1 p.m. Lunch
1- 2 p.m. Keynote Speaker: Dr. Leslie Fenwick, Dean, Howard University School of Education
2- 3 p.m.  Panel Session:  Father's Voice:  Supporting my Child's STEAM Interest - Panel includes Fathers and Panel Facilitator:  Mr. Mark Brentley, Former Pittsburgh School Board President and Founder of Pittsburgh Public Schools Take Your Father to School Day
3- 3:30 p.m. Remarks and Closing - Dr. Launcelot Brown, Current Barbara A. Sizemore Distinguished Professor of Urban Education at Duquesne University