tammy robinson at rock the school bellsOn Saturday, March 5, the Center for Innovative Practices through Hip Hop Education and Research (CIPHER) hosted their 9th Annual Rock The School Bells Hip Hop Conference to over 400 participants from various middle schools, high schools, college/universities, and non-profit organizations.  Youth participants were able to choose from a total of 22 workshops such as:

  • Not A Rebel, Just Indigenous: Rebel Music, Native America
  • Curators of Hip Hop: Gentrification through Hip Hop’s Lens
  • We Live This: Authentic Hip Hop Cultural Street Pedagogy and Career Readiness
  • Civil Rights to Kids with Mics: Why US History Must Include Hip Hop’s Origins
  • Take Back Our City! SF Hip Hop vs. Gentrification
  • My Influence through Hip Hop facilitated by our students of CIPHER and the Guardian Scholars Program

These workshops were aligned around the theme of “Takin’ It Back” where they addressed social and cultural gentrification that has impacted many of our communities such as San Francisco and Oakland.  They also addressed some of the cultural misappropriation and commodification in Hip Hop today that misrepresents the authentic essence of Hip Hop.  The theme also refered to reclaiming lands, cultures, identities, as well as redefining what education should be and look like in classrooms and in educational institutions as a whole.

In addition, we were able to host our 3rd installment of workshops for educators, administrators, graduate students, and other professionals who work directly with youth and students.  Participants learned about the different ways in which Hip Hop pedagogies can be utilized in various educational spaces through workshops such as Keep Ya Head Up: Hip Hop Pedagogy in the Classroom and Building a Hip Hop Ed Community Campuswide.

Interim Dean of Global Learning Program and Services (GLPS), Dr. Tammy Robinson, delivered an energetic welcome address to the theme of “Takin’ It Back” and Dregs One was the conference featured keynote speaker.  Dregs One is the founder of 5 Elements Hip Hop Youth Program, a non-profit organization that works with inner-city youth to address social issues such as gentrification and police brutality through the use of music.

Participants were able to meet with representatives from different Skyline College programs and services such as the Career Advancement Academy, Guardian Scholars Program, Sparkpoint, TRiO, and CIPHER.  In addition, we hosted over 10 local vendors and businesses.  Partial proceeds from vending also benefitted the Rock The School Bells Scholarship Fund.

Rock The School Bells was a successful event filled with workshops, music, education, art, and positive energy.  In addition, we were able to award six scholarships to four current Skyline College students and two high school students through the Rock The School Bells Scholarship Fund.

This event would not be made possible without the support of the President’s Innovation Fund, Career Advancement Academy,  the Counseling Division,  Skyline College Bookstore, Guardian Scholars Program, CIPHER Hip Hop Learning Community, Youth Entrepreneurship Program; ASSC, Global Learning Programs and Services, and the many programs and learning communities who donated their time to the event.  A special recognition goes to all of the volunteers – students, staff, faculty, and administrators, who also supported our efforts to make this event a huge success.

For more information on Rock The School Bells and CIPHER, please contact Nate Nevado at nevadon@smccd.edu or visit www.rocktheschoolbells.com.

Article by Nate Nevado|Photos by Berlin Tomas and Shane Menez