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Renowned child psychologist to speak June 13

by Pat Keefe - May 30, 2006

Dr. James Comer, associate dean at the Yale University School of Medicine, will be the keynote speaker at a June 13 conference, “Closing the Achievement Gap,” sponsored by the Neag School of Education.

Comer, the Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale’s Child Study Center, is a nationally renowned expert in education reform, as well as child psychiatry.

For nearly four decades he has been working to implement the “Comer School Development Program,” a model for closing the achievement gap.

His model has been implemented in more than 500 U.S. schools, including several in Connecticut.

Comer’s goal is to help students achieve better social, emotional, and academic outcomes by improving the climate in schools.

His model stresses teamwork among parents, teachers, administrators, and support staff in both planning and managing school activities, with significant attention to the developmental and behavioral needs of students.

Comer has authored nine books and hundreds of journal and magazine articles on the subject.

He has received 42 honorary degrees and dozens of prestigious awards, including the John P. McGovern Behavioral Science Award from the Smithsonian.

As part of his keynote presentation, Comer will discuss how educators can incorporate understanding of child and adolescent development into their everyday practice. His talk will be based on his wealth of field-based research knowledge.

The conference will include 13 breakout sessions highlighting Neag School faculty research, including behavioral interventions and supports, the role of physical activity, professional development for teachers, and teacher preparation as it relates to diverse and English language learners.  

A school superintendent, a principal, a teacher, and the director of a school reform model will take part in a panel on the obstacles they face in closing the achievement gap.

The conference is scheduled for Tuesday, June 13, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., in the Rome Ballroom. Registration for UConn faculty, staff, and students is $50, and $100 for others.

To register, go to www.achievementgap.uconn.edu, or call 860-486-0183 or 860-486-0201.

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