This Conference Strives To:
- Equip the workforce with strategies that are
culturally relevant and responsive
- Promote an asset-based lens when working with children and when engaging with families and communities
- Promote the use of differentiated supports to meet the needs of dual language learners
- Respond to the needs of children in all levels of ability
- Build understanding of how children develop concept of race at an early age and how this impacts their understanding of self and the world
- Ensure educators are anti-racist and free of bias, student-centered, and focused on the whole child, including their social and emotional needs
- Supply information about removing barriers for families within the education system
Keynote Speaker (Friday)
Debbie LeeKeenan is a lecturer, consultant, and author, currently residing in Seattle, Washington. She was director of the Eliot-Pearson Children’s School at Tufts University in Medford, MA from 1996 to 2013. In addition to teaching in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University, she has been a member of the early childhood faculty at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and she is a former preschool, special education and elementary school teacher. She consults and lectures locally, nationally and internationally. Debbie is a co-producer with John Nimmo of the film, Reflecting on Anti-bias Education in Action: The Early Years, released in April 2021. Her co-authored books include: From Survive to Thrive: A Director’s Guide for Leading an Early Childhood Program and Leading Anti-bias Early Childhood Programs: A Guide for Change. Her other publications include chapters and articles in Young Children, Voices of the Practitioner, Child Care Exchange, Theory into Practice, the first edition of The Hundred Languages of Children, and Proactive Parenting: Guiding Your Child from Two to Six. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of New Mexico. With professional experience spanning 50 years in diverse university, public school, and early childhood settings in Massachusetts, New York City, New Mexico, Philadelphia and Taiwan, her areas of expertise include anti-bias education, early childhood education, teacher preparation, inclusive special education, curriculum development, project based learning, teacher inquiry, family engagement, professional learning communities and public school partnerships.
Debbie was awarded the Tufts University Arts and Sciences Multicultural Service Award in May 2003, the Building Bridges Tufts Distinction Award in June 2009 for her work with diversity, and the Abigail Eliot Award in 2015, which recognizes outstanding commitment to young children and the early childhood profession. Debbie was a member of the 2018 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Selection Committee, which recognizes children’s books of literary and aesthetic excellence that effectively engage children in thinking about peace, social justice, global community, and equity for all people. Debbie is Chinese-American, the child of first-generation immigrant working-class parents who grew up in New York City, and is part of a multi-racial family.
Keynote Speaker (Saturday)
Dr. Dina C. Castro is Director of the Boston University Institute for Early Childhood Well-Being and faculty in the Department of Teaching and Learning. Prior to joining, Boston University, she was Professor and the Velma E. Schmidt Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education at the University of North Texas (2014-2021). She also held positions at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University (2013-2014), and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, and the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1997-2013). Her scholarship focuses on equity and quality in the early care and education of bilingual children in immigrant, migrant and indigenous communities. Nationally, Dr. Castro has developed and evaluated early childhood professional development programs to improve language, literacy and socio-emotional development of bilingual children. She has developed measures to assess the quality of early education programs serving bilingual children, and second language acquisition in young children. Dr. Castro served as Director of the Center for Early Care and Education Research: Dual Language Learners, a federally funded national research center focused on increasing understanding of practices and measurement to improve early care and education for bilingual children.
Dr. Castro’s research has been funded by the Institute of Education Science, the National Institute of Child Health and Development, the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of Special Education Programs. Her policy and advocacy work includes being past member of the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and advisor to statewide and local early childhood initiatives in states around the country, including Arizona, California, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. In the global context, she is examining teachers’ conceptualizations about interculturality and their classroom practices in intercultural bilingual education schools in Peru and co-leading a binational study investigating the experiences of transnational students and their teachers in U.S. and Mexican schools. Dr. Castro is co-editor of the book Language, Learning and Disability in the Education of Young Bilingual Children, and lead author on the book New Voices ~ Nuevas Voces Guide on Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Early Childhood and has published numerous articles, book chapters and reports. She presents nationally and internationally as an expert on the early development and education of bilingual and culturally diverse children.
Early Learning and Care professionals serving children from infancy through kindergarten, in center-based, school district, Family Child Care settings, and Family Friends and Neighbor programs.