The School of Public Policy, the College of Education, the Maryland State Department of Education, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) of Maryland held a one-day virtual Literacy and Equity in the 21st Century Summit on Jan. 8.
The summit, themed Closing the Opportunity Gap, brought together a broad range of stakeholders to discuss literacy gaps among different populations, develop solutions to improve student reading outcomes and increase educator access to professional development.
"It was a privilege to be on the planning team and a co-host for this Fearless Conversation," said Jennifer Littlefield, director of undergraduate studies. "This was one of the first times groups from across disciplines and sectors have come together to directly discuss the literacy gap in Maryland."
More than 270 participants joined the call from across the country, from all sectors of government, school systems and communities. Panelists discussed equity and opportunity gaps in literacy, curriculums, school and government leadership, and systemic changes in education approaches, while breakout sessions throughout the day allowed attendees to engage with studies and best practices.
The summit closed with a commitment to further a systematic, statewide approach to supporting educators through the network of stakeholders in attendance.
“Monetary resources are important but the real critical factor is the transmission and communication of knowledge, grounded in research,” said Jennifer King Rice, dean of the College of Education. “We can't do it alone, we need each other, and we need to keep facilitating these fearless conversations.”