Leaders: What Works for Stories and Schools
EWA held its 65th National
Seminar in Philadelphia May 17-19. The conference featured roughly 120 speakers
and 40 sessions. We’ve rounded up stories, blog items, Power Point presentations*,
and podcasts on nearly all of them. You can view the original agenda here. You can also jump to a list of our sponsors.
sessions are featured chronologically. We will continue to update as we obtain
that contain a hyperlink open up to a video, PowerPoint, or PDF
Photos from the National Seminar
Thursday, May 17
Visit – Tackling Turnarounds: Mastery Charter Schools
Shifting States: What’s in Store
from Common Core – Forty-six
states plus the District of Columbia have pledged to use the Common Core
standards, and all but five states are involved in collaborative efforts to
develop related assessments.
Fawn Johnson, correspondent for
Cherry Boyles, instructional supervisor for
Washington County Schools, Springfield, Ky.
Gov. Jack Markell, State of Delaware
Andrew Porter, professor of Education and dean
of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania
Kathleen Porter-Magee, senior director of the High
Quality Standards Program at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Learning from Experts on How to
Observe Classrooms – How
do educators conduct and use observations of teaching? What can journalists
learn from educators on how to watch and interpret what goes on in schools?
Video examples provided.
associate director of University of Virginia’s Center for Advanced Study of
Teaching and Learning
director of the Early Education Initiative at the New America Foundation
Advocates’ Session: Moving the
Iceberg on Social Media –
Not everyone has entered the social media landscape, and many larger
agencies and institutions still aren’t using these tools effectively. Learn
lessons from leaders on making social media drive results.
Moderator: Alan Richard, senior
account supervisor, Hager Sharp
social media strategist and former reporter, Princeton University
senior vice president of digital strategy, Widmeyer Communications
social media strategist, Hager Sharp
How to Do Enterprise Stories on the
Fly – Journalists share techniques that K-12 and higher education reporters can use
to complete enterprise stories while juggling daily responsibilities in
national education reporter, The Wall Street Journal
team editor, Daily Press, Hampton Roads, Va.
reporter, Door County Advocate, Wis.
education reporter, Florida Today
Top Reporters’ Tips on Mining School
and College Data – Journalists provide advice on how to use data in your coverage. Topics include
how to file Freedom of Information requests for data involving individual
student records and how to analyze college completion data.
Gillum, investigative reporter, The
Using Federal Education and Census
Data in Reporting – Learn about how to use data from the Common Core of Data, the Student and
Staffing Survey, and the American Community Survey, as well as the tools that
the NCES has developed to enhance the experience.
statistician, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of
Examining College Spending and Its
Link to Price: A Practical Workshop – More students and families are asking why college costs so much and why the
price continues to rise. This workshop examines the trends behind these college
tuition increases, with guidance on how journalists can make better sense of
School Violence: What Reporters Can
Uncover – In many communities, campus violence and student discipline issues are
ever-present concerns for educators struggling to make schools safe places to
work and learn. Members of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team from The
Philadelphia Inquirer and others discuss the newspaper’s year-long project on
school violence and its impact on the community.
Cary, member, Philadelphia School Reform Board
Ciotta, senior editor for digital/print projects, The Philadelphia
Gym, founder, Parents United for Public Education
What About Principals?
– A great deal of attention has focused on teachers and school turnarounds, but
how can effective teachers or schools become without strong leaders? Find out
how researchers are documenting the skills principals need to be powerful
instructional leaders even as reformers build new pipelines to grow the supply.
Moderator: Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence, Education Trust
Anthony, director of human capital management,
Prince George’s County, Md.
Bender, principal, PS 11, New York City
Porter, professor and dean, Penn Graduate School of Education
Tozer, professor, Educational Policy Studies, University of
Illinois at Chicago
Are Vouchers Making a Comeback?
–With the political changes to state legislatures in 2010, vouchers and tax
credits for private schools are making a comeback. This session features a
debate between a supporter and critic of using public funds to expand private
Moderator: Scott Elliott, education
reform reporter, The Indianapolis Star
president and CEO, The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
executive director, Pennsylvania School Boards Association
Covering ‘Collective Impact’ and Its
Link to Education –Several programs are emerging that
look at not just academics but how to make sure that families get the services
they need so children arrive at school fully ready to learn. Strive Partnership
and Say Yes to Education are among the programs that can serve as models for
emerging Promise Neighborhoods.
The Post and Courier, Charleston,
Edmondson, managing director, Strive
Kania, managing director, FSG
Anne Schmitt-Carey, president, Say Yes to Education
Shelton, assistant deputy secretary for
innovation and improvement, U.S. Department of Education
Will Open Source College Courses
Roil the Waters? – The University of Pennsylvania and
Princeton University are joining schools such as MIT, Stanford and Carnegie
Mellon in making some of their courses available free online, sans credit for
now. What questions should reporters be asking about this move to give everyone
everywhere access to a college education?
Moderator: Jeff Young, senior writer, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Carey, policy director, Education Sector
Himpele, associate director, The McGraw
Center for Teaching and Learning, Princeton University
Kim, director of learning and technology, Master of Health Care
Delivery Science program, Dartmouth College
Struck, associate professor of classical studies, University of
I’d Like to See About Education – The contentious debate over how
to best reshape America’s public education system has educators, parents and
policymakers choosing sides. Veteran journalist and entrepreneur Steven Brill
will offer a provocative road map to help education writers navigate this
fertile territory. Brill will also apply the premise of his weekly Reuters
column, “Stories I’d Like to See,” to the education beat, based on research for
his 2011 book on school reform.
The Federal Role in Transforming
Education – Michael Bennet has the benefit of
a dual vantage point on education reform, having served as superintendent of
Denver Public Schools and now U.S. senator from Colorado since 2010. He will
discuss teaching as a transformative profession and the prospects for the
reauthorization of No Child Left Behind.
Introduction: Scott Elliott,
education reform reporter, The Indianapolis Star
Senator Michael Bennet,
Democrat of Colorado
Tomorrow’s Teacher: Paths to
Prestige and Effectiveness – America’s teaching corps has
become the focus of intense reform activity in recent years. A single, but by
no means simple, question sits at the center of much of this work: How can we
transform teaching into a prestigious profession? In this special plenary
session, a series of expert speakers delivers succinct talks over the course of
the morning on various aspects of this critical topic.
Can Community Colleges Get Better? –
More than ever, community colleges are being seen as key to getting millions of
Americans the education they need to thrive. Yet while many students enter
community colleges for job training that does not culminate in a degree, many
more intend to get a degree but fall short. What can change? What are examples
of model community colleges?
Moderator: Mary Beth Marklein,
higher education reporter, USA Today
senior vice president for government relations, American Association of
vice president for academic affairs, Community College of Philadelphia
vice president, American Institutes for Research
Amy E. Slaton,
associate professor, history and politics, Drexel University
executive director, College Excellence Program, The Aspen Institute
New Research on State Policy and College-Going
Gaps – In a new analysis, researchers from the University of
Pennsylvania make the case that some state higher education policies may be
aggravating social stratification and widening college-going gaps. Are states
implementing the right policies to improve higher education, or are they making
matters worse? Are there solutions? How should reporters cover these issues?
Moderator: Scott Jaschik, co-founder
and editor, Inside Higher Ed
practice professor of higher education, University of Pennsylvania
professor of education, University of Pennsylvania
program director, National Governors Association
Through the Fire: Fixing Newark’s
Schools –The Honorable Cory A. Booker, 42,
is serving his second term as the mayor of Newark, N.J., the largest city in
the state of New Jersey. Mayor Booker and his administration, together with the
City’s residents, have made meaningful strides towards achieving the city’s
mission by tackling significant challenges with innovation, new coalitions,
creative public private partnerships and building on the already existing great
foundation in New Jersey’s most historic city. He will discuss efforts to
bolster Newark’s schools, and to ensure greater equity and opportunities for
the city’s children.
Should Funding and Facilities Follow
the Child? –Charter advocates are pushing for
greater access to facilities and more equitable funding. At the same time, some
school districts are seeing steep budget cuts, and in some cases facing
bankruptcy, in part because of a shift of students and funding to charter
schools. We explore a range of perspectives on this complicated issue.
Moderator: Dale Mezzacappa,
contributing editor, Philadelphia Public School Notebook
co-director, Public Impact
professor, Western Michigan University
chairman, Philadelphia School Reform Board
executive director, Democrats for Education Reform
Beyond Race? Affirmative Action Up
for Debate – What are the implications for
higher education institutions of the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the
use of racial preferences in admissions? Experts on opposite sides of the
debate offer their perspectives, while a seasoned higher education journalist
points reporters to the related questions and issues they should explore.
Moderator: Scott Jaschik,
co-founder and editor, Inside Higher Ed
president and general counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity
Michael A. Olivas,
professor and director, Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance,
University of Houston Law Center
Building Narratives Around Dropping
Out – Every year, legions of students disappear from American high school classrooms.
If school principals are lucky, they can track them down. But even when they
do, it’s often tough to convince students to stay in school. A columnist
describes his year following a struggling high school and a filmmaker shares
clips from an upcoming Frontline documentary.
Moderator: John Tulenko, senior correspondent, Learning Matters Inc.
columnist, The Indianapolis Star
Access to High-Quality Care for
Disadvantaged Kids – How is the economic downturn affecting early learning? What are the
implications for disadvantaged families as subsidized child-care slots are cut
back? Is kindergarten also affected?
Moderator: Liz Willen, editor, The Hechinger Report
What Is Being Done to Shore Up
Charter Quality? – What is the best way to develop high-quality charter schools? What role does
authorizing play to make good on the autonomy-for-accountability bargain? Some
choice advocates say it’s better to let a thousand flowers bloom, while others
insist on a high bar for new charters.
Moderator: Tom Toch, senior fellow, The Carnegie Foundation for the
Advancement of Teaching
Allen, founder and director, Center for Education Reform
Miron, professor, Western Michigan University
Richmond, president and CEO, National
Association for Charter School Authorizers
Woodall, education reporter, The
Summer Idyll or Idle? Combating
Learning Loss – The summer idyll is far from ideal for many children who grow up in poverty.
Typically, they lose more learning over the summer than middle-class children,
fueling achievement gaps. What is being done to avert summer learning loss?
What are promising models for enriching the summers of disadvantaged kids?
Blending Classroom and Online
Learning: Best of Both Worlds? – Blended learning combines in-person teaching with online courses so that
students can widen their course-taking horizons while receiving face-to-face
attention. Is blended learning the best of both worlds or too good to be true?
This panel explores the pluses and minuses of this emerging approach.
Moderator: Jonathan Schorr, partner, NewSchools Venture Fund
Andrejko, superintendent, Quakertown
Benson, program officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Cator, director, Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of
Horn, co-founder, Innosight Institute; Chris Lehmann, principal,
Science Leadership Academy
College Affordability: Covering the
Costs – President Obama called for making college more affordable
in his 2012 State of the Union Address. But how? Do increases in federal
financial aid spur mounting prices, or help more students afford higher
education? Would incentives aimed at curbing tuition increases actually work?
What about honesty about the true cost of college?
Michelle Asha Cooper,
president, Institute for Higher Education Policy
senior writer and columnist, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Early Learning: The Key to Success?
–Many researchers tout figures that show positive long-term academic and social
effects for spending on early-childhood education. Just how authoritative is
the research and why? What is the newest from brain research?
Moderator: Kathryn Baron, co-writer,
Thoughts on Public Education
special assistant, U.S. Department of Education
assistant research professor, National Institute for Early Education
Lindsey Allard Agnamba,
founder and director, School Readiness Consulting
Are Americans Really ‘Losing Our Minds’? – America’s colleges and
universities are facing a dilemma. Critics say it costs too much to get a
degree, but the authors of a new book argue that financial “solutions” won’t
fix what is really wrong. Instead, they contend, colleges should give priority
to genuine learning, so that graduates will be able to meet employers’
expectations by thinking critically, writing effectively and understanding complex
Hersh and Richard Keeling,
co-authors of We’re Losing Our Minds:
Rethinking American Higher Education
Serious Fun: Making, Not Playing,
Games for Learning – Many educators have created video games aimed at helping children learn. But
far fewer have sought to spur learning by teaching students to create their own
games. Does letting kids make their own games hold promise as a tool for
engaging them in school? How can journalists explore the topic, and what
questions should they ask?
Kafai, professor of learning sciences, University of Pennsylvania
Graduate School of Education
How Schools Use Data to Improve
Learning – How are leading-edge districts and states working with data on student, teacher
and school performance. Why do these systems matter and how do you make your
Moderator: Dorie Turner, education writer, The Associated Press
Bechler, Corona-Norco Unified School District
Dow, associate superintendent, Ysleta Independent School
Thomas, principal, Crossland High School
Waldron, president and CEO, Curriculum
Looking at Patterns of Success, Not
Failure, in Communities of Color – In the efforts to get more African-American men and other minorities through
college, the emphasis is often on what goes wrong. But what makes things go
right? A researcher shares his views on the mistakes journalists make and how
they can better approach this topic, and journalists respond.
Harper, associate professor, University of Pennsylvania
Lederman, co-editor and founder, Inside
Story Lab – Chronic Absenteeism:
Focus on the Data – How
can reporters examine the data around absenteeism? Do school districts take
absenteeism seriously? A new study indicates they probably do not, even though
sizeable numbers of kids miss 10 percent or more of school. Experts will help
you break down the numbers, while journalists will describe how they obtained
data on absenteeism and how they ran their own analyses.
Reporting on Turnaround Schools
– School districts across the country – under pressure from the federal
government – are revamping schools, sometimes through wholesale staff
replacement or conversion to charter status. Journalists who have tracked
turnarounds for years offer advice on how their peers can cover this complex
Moderator: Emily Richmond, public
editor, Education Writers Association
investigative reporter, The Denver Post
staff writer, The Hechinger Report
staff writer, Education Week
K-12 education reporter, The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.
A Philadelphia Story: Helping Public
High School Graduates Succeed in College –Increasing the numbers of low-income and
first-generation students who enroll and succeed in postsecondary education can
prove a daunting challenge. Hear from speakers working on projects, such as the
Philadelphia Postsecondary Success Program, that are making headway in the push
to get kids from urban public high schools to and through college.
executive director, Philadelphia Futures
director for postsecondary success, FHI 360
director, First Year Writing Program at Temple University
Lessons in Listening: StoryCorps Stories Celebrating Teachers and Students – Since 2003, the independent nonprofit organization StoryCorps has helped more
than 80,000 people capture, preserve and share – via National Public Radio –
some of the most meaningful moments of their lives. StoryCorps team members
discuss and share audio clips from their National Teacher Initiative and
Introduction: Stephanie Banchero,
national education reporter, The Wall Street Journal
associate manager of community engagement, StoryCorps
associate director of education and special projects, StoryCorps