Event Speakers

We are pleased to offer the following break out sessions for our April event.  If you joined us before, welcome back.  If you are new to the group, welcome.  We are happy you are here. 

We welcome principal and spoken word poet, Howard P. Hanson, to kick off the event with a live performance. 

Please note, this program is deliberately scaffolded.  Regardless of your position on your social justice journey we hope to provide meaningful support to you.

Howard P. Hanson’s poem: One a Day 2020

Addressing Bias in Literacy Assessments

When assessments are not fair, they are biased. “Assessment bias occurs whenever test items offend or unfairly penalize students for reasons related to students’ personal characteristics, such as their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or socioeconomic status” (Popham 2003). This presentation will share an overview of different biases present in popular literacy assessments given to students. There will also be a review of different types of responses by different students to these biases, whether they appear in the content of the test, or in the way it is administered. Then, strategies for how to address these assessment flaws will be shared.


Dr. Aileen Hower is an Assistant Professor of Literacy and the Graduate Coordinator for the Masters in Language and Literacy with a Reading or ESL concentration at Millersville University where she also runs an annual Summer Literacy Institute on Writing. She is a National Writing Project Fellow through the Capital Area Writing Project at Penn State University, Harrisburg, and the past president for the Keystone State Literacy Association, the state affiliate of the International Literacy Association.

How to Create an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Environment in a School

Our session will focus on the practical implementation of creating and fostering an inclusive environment for all stakeholders within the school setting.


Tommy is the Principal and Chief Executive Officer at La Academia Partnership Charter School. He has been in urban education for approximately 10 years and has had success turning around schools across the country.

Pedagogy, Patience, and Persistence: Disrupting Racism at Majority White Schools

While practical strategies exist, the problem with a culture of inclusiveness is ideological. This presentation will help participants: 1) discuss strategies to convince those that contest race-conscious learning, 2) share approaches to write inclusive curricula, 3) explain how culturally inclusive classrooms should function. Part ideological, part an offering of practical tools, this presentation will give a blueprint for equitable classrooms.


Todd Mealy is an educator of 19 years, including tenures at J.P. McCaskey and Penn Manor high schools. Todd is also an adjunct professor in the History Department at Dickinson College. He is the author of seven books and is a regular contributor for Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine. His most recent publication is Race Conscious Pedagogy: Disrupting Racism at Majority White School, a book heavily endorsed by respected voices in Whiteness Studies, Critical Education Studies, and Philosophy. Todd is the founder of the Equity Institute for Race Conscious Pedagogy, a research institute that gives educators instructional and pedagogical tools across disciplines.

Effective Strategies Connecting with the Urban Learner and Families

This presentation identifies effective strategies that work with the urban learner and their families. The presentation will examine the 30 plus years of an urban inner city educator and his experiences with high poverty urban inner city learners and their families. The presentation and discussion will highlight the research that enable educators concrete strategies on communicating with families and the urban learners. The presentation will give details on building relationships with parents and families that are experiencing poverty.


Dr. George E. Fitch, Jr., graduate of Shippensburg/Millersville University in Educational Leadership, Masters in Educational Administration / Curriculum and Instruction, and BA from Howard University. Dr. Fitch taught in D.C. and P.G. County Public Schools and was a teacher of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School. He became the principal of Propel Schools – Homestead and then moved to York, PA to serve as the Principal/ CEO of Lincoln Charter School. He then worked as an Assistant Principal at William Penn Senior High School in York City. He currently works as The Pandemic Coordinator / Supervisor of Student Services.