NCTE Local Engagement Committee

NCTE has committed time and resources to promote equitable, just, responsive teaching and learning conditions and practices in St. Louis and the broader Missouri community. The committee has organized events to engage members of NCTE both within the Convention Center and in local venues.

Schedule of Events

Teach Us All Film Screening and Panel Discussion
Thursday, November 16, 12:00 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
St. Louis Regional Chamber, 1 Metropolitan Square #1300

On Thursday, November 16, 2017, the National Council of Teachers of English will host two showings of Teach Us All. Each showing will be followed by a panel discussion with educators and students from St. Louis schools and St. Louis community leaders.

After the noon showing, panelists will include Missouri State Representative Bruce Franks Jr. of the 78th District, Dr. Candice Carter-Oliver, Chief Executive Office for Confluence Charter Schools, third-grade teacher Chrystal Williams-Alberty from St. Louis Public Schools, and Tiffany Patton, Co-School Leader at KIPP Wisdom Academy.

After the 5:45 showing, panelists will include Darion Robinson, Volunteer and Community Engagement Coordinator at City Garden Montessori School, third-grade teacher Chrystal Williams-Alberty from St. Louis Public Schools, eighth-grade teacher Cryslynn Billingsley from Parkway Northeast Middle School in Parkway School District, and eighth-grade students from Parkway Northeast Middle School.

More about Teach Us All

In September 1957, following the watershed Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, a group of African American students known as the Little Rock Nine courageously attempted to defy the notion that skin color should determine educational access by integrating an all-white southern high school. Nearly 60 years after the “Little Rock Crisis,” disparities in access to quality education remain among the most urgent civil rights issues of our time. With its school district hanging in the balance following a state takeover in January 2015, contemporary Little Rock presents a microcosm of the inequities and challenges manifesting in classrooms all across America, which is seeing a resegregation of its schools.

Through case studies in Little Rock, New York City, and Los Angeles, Teach Us All seeks to bring the critical lessons of history to bear on the current state of US education and investigate: 60 years later, how far have we come—or not come—and where do we go from here?

From the Teach Us All website


Reading the World Around Us: Using Documentary Film to Teach Contemporary Social Justice
Friday, 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m. | Room 100

In this interactive session, we'll explore ways to teach the critical viewing skills students should employ when looking at documentary film. Specifically, we will see how recent documentary films, such as 13th, Baltimore Rising, and True Believers, examine important issues like criminal justice reform, social protests, and our current political landscape. Participants will leave with materials and resources to teach documentary films actively in the classroom.

Presenter: John Golden, Portland Public Schools, Portland, OR


Agents of the State or Agents of Change? Teaching (about) Social Protest in Local and Global Contexts
Friday, 2:00–3:15 p.m. | Room 100

Teachers are charged with simultaneously enacting the dual roles of “agent of the state” and “agent of change.” As agents of the state, teachers are expected to maintain the status quo, preparing students for today’s world. As agents of change, teachers are expected to work with students and community members to construct a more equitable, just future. There tends to be great pressure to act as an agent of the state, but our role as agents of change requires intentionality and commitment beyond standardized accountability measures. In this session, participants will explore how classrooms can engage with/in social protests to support our obligation to be agents of change.

Roundtables 1 & 2: Reflections of ME: Diversity in Children's Literature
Tracy Hinds, University City School District, MO
Channie Cotton, Hazelwood School District, St. Louis, MO

Roundtables 3 & 4: Writing for Change: Making Meaningful Classroom and Community Collaborations
Julie Gorlewski, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond
David Gorlewski, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond
Paul Thomas, Furman University, Greenville, SC

Roundtables 5 & 6: Take a Knee: Studying Contemporary and Historical Protests in Sports and Beyond
Luke Rodesiler, Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, IN
Alan Brown, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC

Roundtable 7: Take a Knee, Black Lives Matter, Sonoma Strong: Crafting Multimedia Text Sets to Fuel Empathy and Social Action in the Classroom and Beyond
Kristin Ziemke, Big Shoulders Fund, Chicago, IL

Local Engagement Committee Town Hall
Friday, 3:30–4:45 p.m. | Room 100

ACTivism in schools, local government, and daily life: you are invited to participate in a town hall meeting facilitated by a diverse group of seasoned advocates for social justice and equity in education. Listen. Give input. Ask questions. Participate in this important conversation about inequity and the repudiation of discrimination.

April Fulstone, Wydown Middle School, Clayton, MO
Sharonica Hardin, Superintendent, School District of University City, MO
Roxanne Henkin, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Tracy Hinds, University City School District, MO
Laura Kaye Jagles, Pueblo of Pojoaque Education Department, Santa Fe, NM
Saundi Kloeckener, Rockwood School District, MO
Alfredo Celedón Luján, Monte del Sol Charter School, Santa Fe, NM
Jordan McNeal, Student, School District of University City, MO
Renee Moreno, California State University, Northridge
Adolphus Pruitt, NAACP, St. Louis, MO
Valerie Taylor, Westlake High School, Austin, TX
Jeanette Toomer, MA, MS, Drama, Discovery and Learning, LLC, NY
Velma Valadez, Ladue Middle School, St. Louis, MO 


Silent March and Take-a-Knee Protest
Saturday, 4:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. | Meet at Room 100; Protest at Baer Park

As part of NCTE’s meeting in St. Louis, the Local Engagement Committee has organized a Silent March and Take-a-Knee Protest to address issues that affect teachers and students both locally and nationwide. The protest will take place on Saturday, November 18, at Baer Park between North Broadway and 4th St. at around 4:30 p.m. The march will commence at 4:15 p.m. at Room 100 of America’s Center Convention Complex, 701 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, Missouri. You must have a convention badge to enter the Convention Complex. The plan is to march silently once around Baer Park, culminating with all marchers taking a knee. Read more to find out why we are marching.


Ending Racism: What We Can Do!
Sunday, 11:15 a.m.–12:30 p.m. | Room 100

The objectives of this participatory educational theater workshop are to gain an awareness of racism on different levels in our society and to understand its negative effects. Moreover, the aim is to identify racism and learn ways and practices to confront and dismantle it personally and politically. Curriculum resources for class and community will be available.

Presenter:  Jeanette Toomer, MA, MS, Drama, Discovery and Learning, LLC