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Canada among education speakers headed to Buffalo in December

The first half of December likely will see some pretty interesting conversations about education here in Buffalo.

District officials, of course, will be putting the finishing touches on their plans for seven of the city's low-performing schools. At the same time, though, a bunch of high-profile voices in education will find a forum here.

CanadaGeoffrey Canada, one of the best-known national figures in school reform, will be in town on Dec. 16.

For more than 20 years, he has been president and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone, which currently targets a 100-block area of Harlem with a variety of social, educational and medical services for children from birth through college.

Canada will be the keynote speaker at an education summit hosted by the education task force of the Community Action Organization of Erie County. "Power of Education - Children First" will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Adam's Mark Hotel downtown.

Tickets to the luncheon are $40. Reserved tables for eight are also available for $400. Proceeds will benefit CAO's Education Task Force Scholarship Fund to help low-income, college-bound students throughout the county. For more info, call CAO at 881-5150, ext. 4399.

In addition to Canada's keynote speech, CAO is also planning a panel discussion for the education summit. Details are still being worked out.

CAO's education summit will come on the heels of the first Parent Assembly meeting, which looks as though it's going to draw quite an interesting group of presenters.

(Parent Assembly, remember, is designed to bring together a parent rep from every classroom in the city schools, for a total of about 1,300. It will meet from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 8 at Performing Arts, 450 Masten Ave. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. I'm told the meeting is open to the public.)

According to Sam Radford, who's organizing the event, here's the lineup for the Parent Assembly meeting:

After some introductory remarks from District Parent Coordinating Council Co-Leen Webb, Interim Superintendent Amber Dixon and federal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education Jason Snyder will speak.

At about 6:45, Gene Chasin from Say Yes to Education will make a half-hour presentation about what his group would like to bring to Buffalo. (Here's our story about Say Yes and its tuition guarantee for public school graduates, as well as its approach to district governance and service delivery.)

Following that, officials from the local and state levels will talk about partnerships with parents and issues related to family engagement. The lineup includes BTF President Phil Rumore, Regent Bob Bennett, NYS Assistant Secretary for Education Katie Campos, Mayor Byron Brown, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples, and Councilman Demone Smith.

- Mary Pasciak

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee |

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes |

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone |

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB |