Monday, February 4, 2019

The Charlotte Teachers Institute will host the public event “Exploring American Sacred Values” on Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture.

Kendal Mobley, assistant professor of religion at Johnson C. Smith University, will discuss American civil religion as “religion repurposed to infuse the present political order and with sacred significance and authority,” and how it shapes current national traditions, symbols and beliefs. The Feb. 21 program also features presentations and discussions with local educators who studied the topic together in a 2018 Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) seminar.

Four Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) teachers will deliver mini-presentations that will examine: CMS values related to America’s founding fathers, pay-for-play in college sports, forced conformity in early Native American schools and media influence on social values and the American dream.

This CTI event will begin with an opening reception at 5:30 p.m.; attendees will have the opportunity to view curriculum exhibits prepared by CMS teachers who participated in the 2018 seminar. These poster presentations focus on topics related to American values that the teachers targeted to address with students such as Charlotte’s Excelsior Club nurtured community; segregation, civil rights and legislation; voting as a civic duty; oppression of women; acculturation of English language learners; and what it means to be an American.

Reception guests can view the Gantt Center’s “What We Ask Is Simple” exhibition about 20th-century protest and “Welcome to Brookhill,” a display about economic equity and affordable housing.

The main program begins at 6:30 p.m. and includes Mobley’s talk, the mini-presentations by teachers and a panel discussion moderated by Angie Chandler, senior manager of program and educational initiatives for the Gantt Center.

CTI is an educational partnership among Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, UNC Charlotte and Johnson C. Smith University that works to improve teaching in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.  

“Exploring American Sacred Values” is part of CTI’s “Teachers as Scholars” educational series for the public that highlights collaborative work by professors and teachers in CTI seminars. This Feb. 21 event is supported by a grant from UNC Charlotte’s Chancellor’s Diversity Challenge Fund.

CMS classroom teachers can apply to participate in the upcoming 2019 CTI seminars; March 10 is the deadline for applications.