School development program celebrates 35th anniversary with symposium October 11-12

October 05, 2004

Linking brain research and child development is the theme of the Comer School Development Program (SDP) 35th anniversary celebration banquet and symposium October 11 at 4 p.m. and October 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale, 155 Temple St.

Keynote speakers include Arthur Levine, president of Columbia Teachers College, Kenneth Kosik, professor of neurology and neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, and Mariale Hardiman, educator and author of "Connecting Brain Research with Effective Teaching."

The School Development Program was founded in two underachieving New Haven public schools in 1968 by James P. Comer, M.D., the Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center and associate dean at the Yale School of Medicine. Thirty-five years later, the SDP has evolved into what many call the "Godfather" of school reform. SDP is based on the premise that all youngsters--regardless of race, geography or cultural and economic background--can learn at high levels. The programs and services that fall under the SDP umbrella help schools ensure that students achieve their highest academic potential.

The symposium/celebration focuses on the implications of brain research for child development, schooling and teacher preparation. The symposium will also address the question of how students are prepared to protect and promote democratic institutions. "These are fundamental issues for high academic achievement and responsible student behavior that are being neglected in our national rush to raise test scores," said Comer.

"This an unparalleled opportunity for educational practitioners, researchers and policy makers to explore what it will take to prepare students for success in school and in life," Comer added.

After an awards dinner on the first evening, the keynote discussion will address the challenges facing the national teacher preparation system, especially the readiness of the system to integrate and transmit knowledge gained from brain and development studies to the present and future education work force.

Three presentations on the second day will address aspects of what is now known about brain and mind functioning and how this knowledge can be used in school organization, management, and classroom teaching and assessment. The presentations will also explore brain function and its link with six developmental pathways: physical, social-emotional, psychological, ethical, linguistic and cognitive intellectual. Breakout forums will allow participants to engage each other in exploring these topics.
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For more information on the symposium, please contact Yesenia Diaz at 203-737-1553.

For more information on SDP, please visit: http://info.med.yale.edu/comer/news_events/index.html

Yale University

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