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GSAPP Cultural Conference October 16th, 2009
Culture Counts: Multicultural Interventions in Clinics, Schools, and Other Organizations

On Friday, October 16, 2009, professionals, students and educators attended the 6th annual Cultural Conference. Sponsored by GSAPP, the Graduate School of Education, the School of Social Work—Institute for Families, and the Center for Effective School Practices, the conference served as a forum for knowledge and ideas related to multiculturalism in the schools, in clinics, and in other organizations.

The conference began with Dr. Nancy Boyd-Franklin providing opening remarks. Dr. Shalonda Kelly detailed a brief history of the conference —GSAPP students applied for and received the initial seed money that has allowed the conference to flourish. Dean Stan Messer, Ph.D. introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Dorothy S. Strickland, who was later awarded the 1st GSAPP Culture Conference’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Dr. Strickland’s address, entitled, “The Literacy Achievement Gap: What We Know & What Might be Done About It,” focused on historical influences in the achievement gap between poor and minority students and their white and more affluent counterparts. In addition, the keynote addressed how the achievement gap impacts specific populations and environments, as well as empirical support for best practices that improve literacy achievement, particularly in low performing schools. Dr. Strickland urged the audience to remember that, “As professionals, we must help individuals acquire the skills needed to make their own choices as they shape their personal culture.”

After lunch, the audience enjoyed a rousing afternoon keynote address by Dr. Nancy Boyd-Franklin: “Violence Prevention Programs for Youth in Clinics, Schools and Communities.” Dr. Boyd-Franklin highlighted the need for professionals to “get out of the office” and collaborate with all those involved in the lives of youth, including parents, therapists, schools, police, and churches. She also provided sobering statistics on youth violence, an overview of violence prevention programs, and remarks on the spread of gang violence. Dr. Boyd-Franklin wove the theme of cultural competence’s value throughout her address.

“This was our best Culture Conference to date,” states Dr. Nancy Boyd-Franklin, “I was particularly pleased with our co-sponsorship with the School of Social Work and the Graduate School of Education. We had a very diverse audience as a result. I particularly want to thank our staff for all of the time and effort that they put into the preparation for the conference as well as our students, staff and faculty on the Committee on Diversity."