2019 EWA National Seminar

Overview Rick Wilson

72nd EWA National Seminar
Renaissance Harborplace Hotel • Baltimore
May 6-8, 2019

EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This year's event in Baltimore, hosted by Johns Hopkins University's School of Education, will explore an array of timely topics of interest to journalists from across the country, with a thematic focus on student success, safety, and well-being.

EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This year’s event in Baltimore, hosted by Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education, will explore an array of timely topics of interest to journalists from across the country, with a thematic focus on student success, safety, and well-being.

This multi-day conference is designed to give participants the skills, understanding, and inspiration to improve their coverage of education at all levels. It also will deliver a lengthy list of story ideas. We will offer numerous sessions on important education issues, as well as on journalism skills. And we will showcase the city of Baltimore.

The conference, tailored primarily to working journalists at independent news outlets, also welcomes other education content providers and communicators. Special features include the presentation of awards that honor the best in education reporting, a track of sessions tailored to communications professionals, and training on digital and data tools and strategies. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Soft Skills Training Teaches Electricians to Fix Fuses, Not Blow Them
Community colleges award budding trades workers badges in empathy

Sure, a plumber should be able to stop a leak or fix a toilet. Those job skills are essential, and easily measured.

But what about the rest of the equation — the people skills customers also want? How does an employer really know if an applicant has what it takes? Can’t there be a test or something?

Blog: The Educated Reporter Erik Robelen

Why Tapping Education Researchers Pays Off
Reporters See Value in Teaming Up With Experts to Examine Data

From test scores to graduation rates, the education system is a world of numbers that can show how well policies and practices are serving students – if you know how to analyze the data.

“When there’s a data session here and you have to pick which category you’re in, I would be in the beginner category,” said Adam Tamburin, a higher education reporter for The Tennessean, during a panel at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 National Seminar in Baltimore.

Enter the trained scientists.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Erik Robelen

Redrawing the Map for Student Success

When Baltimore City Public Schools placed current education data on a map of the city’s historic racial redlining, it was apparent that not much had changed, as district CEO Sonja Brookins Santelises tells the story. The segregated neighborhoods created in part by policies that barred predominantly black communities from federally subsidized mortgages were the same neighborhoods that today showed lower academic outcomes.

Santelises said those findings motivated her district to take a closer look at what kind of opportunities it provides students.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Emily Richmond

Want Safer Schools? It Takes Human Capital.
Counselors, school resource officers, educators play key roles, experts say

During an assembly at the high school where she was principal, Liz Dozier once asked 1,000-plus students if they knew someone who had been shot.

Every single student raised a hand.

“When I first got to the school, I didn’t understand all the effects of trauma — I just knew that our school was in crisis,” Dozier said. “The whole ecosystem that we had set up around kids was dysfunctional.”

Blog: The Educated Reporter Rick Wilson

School Discipline Reform: Easier Said Than Done?

For years, kicking students out of school was a common discipline move for administrators. Now, suspending students, a practice that disproportionately affects black and Hispanic youngsters, is out of favor, as educators work to respond to bad behavior without cutting off educational opportunities.

But the change hasn’t been easy, and many educators are still grappling with how to handle discipline problems in ways that don’t hurt students’ education, according to a panel at the Education Writers Association’s annual conference this spring in Baltimore.

Tip Sheet Erik Robelen

EWA Tip Sheet: Covering College Certificates and Microcredentials
Here are resources for understanding non-degree higher education alternatives.

Students and workers looking to quickly advance their careers are beginning to seek shorter and cheaper alternatives to traditional college degrees. And colleges, worried about a decline in the number of “traditional” freshmen, are creating alternative programs to attract new tuition-payers.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Rick Wilson

The State of Early Learning in Your State
A pair of new reports shed light on the well-being of children across the U.S.

The best way to predict the future is to look at how children are faring. But the task is complicated given that the well-being of children varies widely from state to state. 

That’s what data presented by researchers Sarah Daily of Child Trends and W. Steven Barnett of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University show. The duo offered their takes on the state of early care and learning across the United States at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 annual conference in Baltimore. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter Caroline Hendrie

How States Are Rethinking Accountability and Report Cards
A Raft of New Education Data is on Tap

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act is about to unleash a flood of new data, on everything from school-by-school spending to chronic absenteeism and achievement results for vulnerable groups of students.

But all those facts and figures don’t mean much if reporters can’t explain what they really mean to parents and the public.

That was the message from a trio of experts – and a veteran journalist – who spoke at a panel at the Education Writers Association’s recent national conference in Baltimore.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Rick Wilson

Can Education Philanthropy Lift Students Out of Poverty?
Upward economic mobility, long-term positive outcomes renewed focus of foundations

An increased focus by philanthropy on the link between education and upward economic mobility is not a fad but rather is central to the work of many foundations, according to representatives of leading grantmakers gathered at the Education Writers Association’s annual conference in Baltimore.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Rick Wilson

Restoring Trust in Journalism Takes Transparency and Baby Pictures
Journalists outline five techniques to rebut 'fake news' misconceptions

Louise Kiernan, the editor-in-chief of ProPublica Illinois, once had an illuminating conversation with a reader about anonymous sources. The person thought that an anonymous source was unknown to everyone, including the reporters. 

“It wasn’t about this person’s ignorance, it was about our arrogance” and failure to fully explain how journalists gather and present news, Kiernan said during a session at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 National Seminar in Baltimore. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter Rick Wilson

How Can Districts Find and Keep Effective Principals?

Effective school principals are hard to find and to keep, and turnover is a serious challenge. 

But school districts that put their minds to it can create a sustainable leader pipeline. Students score higher, and principals stay on the job longer in districts that make diligent efforts to select, prepare and mentor principals, according to a multi-year study, released in April, by the RAND Corporation, a public policy research firm.

Tip Sheet Kim Clark

EWA Tip Sheet: Covering Innovations to the B.A.

Driven by changing student demographics and demands from employers, colleges are experimenting with new, more flexible and affordable bachelors’ degrees, a panel of higher education leaders and experts told journalists at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 National Seminar.

Colleges are trying boot camps, competency-based education, credit for prior learning, and other strategies to lower costs, speed up and improve the value of bachelors’ degrees.

Tip Sheet Caroline Hendrie

EWA Tip Sheet: How to Cover Graduate Schools

Most journalists covering universities focus on undergraduate programs, even though, in many cases, the graduate student population is larger and has a bigger impact on the school’s financial health. So graduate schools can be a trove of fresh, under-covered story ideas, according to graduate student representatives and researchers who spoke at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 National Seminar.

Blog: The Educated Reporter DLoewenberg@ewa.org

The State of Civics Education in 2019

We’ve all seen the startling statistics.

Only a quarter of Americans can name the three branches of government. Only a quarter of high school seniors are “proficient” in civics, based on recent national assessment results.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Rick Wilson

How to Better Understand and Cover Student Suicides

After a 10-year-old boy died by suicide in the middle of doing his chores, reporter Allison Ross was tapped to interview his grieving mother.

Ross struggled with how to share the Louisville family’s story sensitively, without being sensational in her coverage for the Courier-Journal newspaper.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Rick Wilson

The Financial and Emotional Costs of School Security

School safety is an important part of every education journalist’s beat, as states and districts invest billions in preventative measures, including those intended to stop the next campus shooting.

But how much of those investments are reactions to public perceptions about potential risks rather than grounded in best practices? And what questions should reporters ask when it comes to not just the financial costs but also the potential emotional toll such efforts take on students and staff?

Blog: The Educated Reporter Rick Wilson

Gun Violence in Schools and Communities: A Conversation With Journalists

It’s probably every reporter’s worst nightmare: Your co-worker rushes over from the police scanner and blurts out, “Active shooter at Such-and-Such School.”

When that happened to South Florida Sun-Sentinel education reporter Scott Travis on Valentine’s Day 2018, “I headed there hoping more than anything that this was a false alarm,” he told EWA seminar attendees May 6. But he was headed to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Blog: The Educated Reporter Rick Wilson

Mental Health: A Hidden Crisis in Schools?

Mental health can influence all sorts of basic issues in education, from test scores to attendance and school discipline. Yet it’s a topic that education journalists often overlook.

That was the message of Steve Drummond, education editor and an executive producer at NPR, who moderated the panel, “Mental Health: A Hidden Crisis in Schools?” at this year’s EWA national conference. NPR chronicled the problem in a 2016 package called “A Silent Epidemic; The Mental Health Crisis in Our Schools.”