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

This schedule is tentative and subject to change. The main conference runs from Monday, May 6, to Wednesday, May 8. Click on the tabs below for a list of currently planned sessions for each day. We are also offering a special pre-conference workshop Sunday afternoon (May 5) on issues at the intersection of the health and education beats. EWA does not accept walk-in registrations.

Sunday May 5, 2019 (pre-conference workshop)

Reporting at the Crossroads of Education and Health (Homeland Room)

This half-day workshop is being co-hosted by the Education Writers Association and the Association of Health Care Journalists. It will explore issues at the intersection of the health and education beats. Participants will learn about promising sources of data while gaining insights and fresh story ideas for their beats.

This pre-conference event is open for free to participants registered at either the EWA 2019 National Seminar or the AHCJ Health Journalism 2019 conference.

Separate registration is required to attend.

1:00 p.m.
Welcome and Icebreaker

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Reading, Writing, and Medical Check-ups? Schools as Health-Care Providers

Many underserved children fail to receive regular medical care and face elevated risks of developing chronic health problems. To respond, a growing number of public schools are looking beyond their traditional role to become primary providers of medical, dental, and vision care through school-based health clinics.

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
What Journalists Should Know About Teen Sexuality and Sex Education

Recent data provides both good news and bad when it comes to teenagers’ sexual activity. Fewer teens are having sex than 10 years ago, but fewer of those who are sexually active use condoms. Experts share statistics and assess the state of sex education in public schools today.

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Drinking, Driving, Drugs: Using CDC Data to Inform Reporting on Youth Behavior

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention produces a biennial survey with details on how often students smoke, exercise, drink soda or alcohol, and use drugs and birth control, among other information. A CDC expert shares key findings and walks reporters through how to mine the data.

  • J. Michael Underwood, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Daniel J. Willis, EdSource (moderator)

5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Registration and Welcome Reception
(Watertable Ballroom & Foyer)
Hosted by the National Education Association

Monday May 6, 2019

7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Registration Open
(5th Floor Atrium)

8:15 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
(Maryland Ballroom A-D)

9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
(Maryland Ballroom A-D)

  • Caroline Hendrie, Education Writers Association
  • Christopher Morphew, Johns Hopkins University

9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
How Schools and Colleges Can Support Student Success
(Maryland Ballroom A-D)
Education is supposed to help launch all students into “successful” lives. But how should that success be defined or measured? And which educational practices and other supports seem to help students the most? Some of the nation’s most thoughtful researchers and practitioners discuss the latest findings and trends.

  • Rucker Johnson, University of California, Berkeley
  • Donna Linderman, City University of New York
  • Sonja Santelises, Baltimore City Public Schools
  • Andy Smarick, The R Street Institute
  • Meghan Irons, The Boston Globe (moderator)

10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Dropout Prevention: What Works and What Journalists Need to Know (Homeland)
What factors drive students to drop out of high school? Why is ninth grade seen as a make-or-break year? What strategies best keep students on the path to graduation? And what are red flags that a district’s graduation data may be unreliable? Panelists offer answers and share guidance for journalists.

  • Robert Balfanz, Johns Hopkins University
  • Rebecca Charles, City Year Philadelphia AmeriCorps member
  • Emily Krone Phillips, The Spencer Foundation
  • Virgil Sheppard, City Year
  • Kate Grossman, WBEZ (moderator)

Gun Violence in Schools and Communities: A Conversation With Journalists (Maryland E)
Reporters engage in a candid conversation on covering school shootings and their after-effects. They also discuss how student voices are reshaping the narrative around accountability and advocacy for gun safety.

  • Dave Cullen, freelance journalist

  • Akoto Ofori-Atta, The Trace
  • Scott Travis, South Florida Sun Sentinel
  • Greg Toppo, Inside Higher Ed (moderator)

Higher Ed Datapalooza: Finding and Using Free Data About Colleges (Maryland F)
Four experts on higher education data provide a one-hour tour of the best, easiest, and most trustworthy data sets on accountability, crime, sports, and finances in the postsecondary realm.

  • Dan Bauman, The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Steve Berkowitz, USA Today
  • Robert Kelchen, Seton Hall University
  • Annie Waldman, ProPublica (moderator)

How States Are Rethinking Accountability & Report Cards (Baltimore A)
States have revamped their school accountability systems and recently rolled out new report cards in response to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. How ambitious are state plans, and how useful are the report cards for families? Experts offer guidance on what to watch for this year and key questions to ask.

  • Dale Chu, education consultant
  • Paige Kowalski, Data Quality Campaign
  • Pedro Rivera, Pennsylvania Department of Education
  • Trisha Powell Crain, | Alabama Media Group (moderator)

Mental Health: A Hidden Crisis in Schools? (Baltimore B)
One in five school-aged children faces mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, or addiction, data shows. Yet nearly 80 percent of those children never receive the treatment they need, according to the National Institutes of Health. Experts explain how to identify the barriers preventing kids from getting assistance and how some places are working on solutions.

  • Pia Escudero, Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Michael Lindsey, New York University
  • Tamar Mendelson, Johns Hopkins University
  • Lee Swain, The Jed Foundation
  • Steve Drummond, NPR (moderator)

School Climate and Safety for LGBTQ Students (Fells Point)
Learn from researchers and an educator about the environments that LGBTQ students walk into everyday and how some schools are actively working to provide a more welcoming and inclusive environment, regardless of students’ sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Joshua Dantzler, American University
  • Maren Greathouse, Rutgers University
  • Joe Kosciw, GLSEN
  • Robert Rigby, West Potomac High School (Alexandria, Va.)
  • Debbie Truong, The Washington Post (moderator)

Noon – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch and Keynote
(Maryland Ballroom A-D)
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, one of President Trump’s longest-serving Cabinet members, discusses her agenda and priorities. Following opening remarks, she sits down for an interview with EWA board member Erica Green, an education reporter for The New York Times.

1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Complicating the Narrative: Rethinking Coverage of Controversies (Maryland E)
At a time of deep political polarization, how might journalists play a role in bridging the divides among Americans? One approach, suggests veteran journalist Amanda Ripley in a recent piece for the Solutions Journalism Network, is to complicate the narrative. Ripley and Peter Coleman of the Difficult Conversations Lab explore how—and why—to do this.

How to Better Understand and Cover Student Suicide (Homeland)
Youth suicide is one of the most emotional and dangerous topics for journalists to cover. Accounting for about 4,600 youth fatalities annually, suicide is a leading cause of death for American children. But the wrong kind of coverage can lead to a “contagion” effect. Learn about techniques to cover suicide responsibly without causing further harm.

  • Max Kutner, freelance journalist
  • Francis Mondimore, Johns Hopkins University
  • Holly Wilcox, Johns Hopkins University
  • Allison Ross, Courier-Journal (moderator)

The Scandals and Reform Proposals Affecting Student Loans (Baltimore A)
Since roughly 44 million Americans have student loans, it’s no wonder news stories about the the topic get huge traffic. Recent events, such as state servicer lawsuits and allegations of federal foot-dragging on forgiveness, continue to spark headlines. Get up to speed on the latest student loan news from policy experts and veteran journalists who have broken important stories.

  • Jason Delisle, American Enterprise Institute
  • Rachel Fishman, New America
  • Cory Turner, NPR
  • Adam Harris, The Atlantic (moderator)

What Are the Financial and Emotional Costs of ‘Safe’ Schools? (Baltimore B)
Maintaining campus safety is taking a financial toll on districts. And as lockdowns and active shooter drills become common, it is arguably taking an emotional toll on students as well. How should student privacy factor into pushes for enhanced electronic monitoring? How can reporters hold districts accountable for billions of dollars spent on preventative measures and emergency response?

  • Pia Escudero, Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Sheldon Greenberg, Johns Hopkins University
  • Elizabeth Laird, Center for Democracy & Technology
  • George Roberts, Baltimore County Public Schools
  • John Woodrow Cox, The Washington Post (moderator)

What Students of Color Need From Their Teachers (Maryland F)
Students of color make up more than half the U.S. public school population, but most teachers are white. Even as some efforts are underway to diversify the teaching force, others aim to address biases teachers may unintentionally bring to the classroom, such as underestimating students of color. What can teachers do to overcome implicit biases and deal with race issues in the classroom?

  • Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng, New York University
  • Virginia Forcucci, Sussex Technical High School (Georgetown, Del.)
  • Matthew Kay, Science Leadership Academy (Philadelphia)
  • Chastity Pratt, Bridge Magazine (moderator)

Community Member Track
2019—What’s In? What’s Out?
(Fells Point)
The Kardashians. Twitter. Bryce Harper. Newsletters. Op-eds. Teacher strikes. Hear education’s leading communicators and journalists make the case on what’s in and what’s *so* out in 2019.

  • Jeff Frantz, University of Pennsylvania
  • Nicolle Grayson, The Education Trust
  • Elise Hill, Rocketship Public Schools
  • Michelle Lerner, Lerner Communications
  • Adam Shapiro, Adam Shapiro Public Relations
  • Patrick Riccards, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (moderator)

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Charter Schools 101: Guidance From Journalists for Smart Coverage (Baltimore B)
Journalists with significant experience covering the charter schools sector offer a primer, plus share advice on effective coverage and how to navigate charged debates over these publicly funded, independently operated schools of choice.

  • Ricardo Cano, CALmatters
  • Craig Harris, The Arizona Republic
  • Lori Higgins, Chalkbeat
  • Erik Robelen, Education Writers Association (moderator)

Experience the Way the Best Teachers Teach (Fells Point)
Educators want to prepare students for the modern world. Yet many instructors still use traditional-style lectures despite growing scientific evidence that less-passive approaches are more powerful. Harvard Professor Eric Mazur demonstrates how active engagement—both inside and outside the classroom—stimulates higher-order thinking and motivates students to learn.

  • Eric Mazur, Harvard University
  • Dan Berrett, The Chronicle of Higher Education (moderator)

Money for Mobility: Education Philanthropy and Economic Success (Maryland F)
Amid concern about dwindling prospects for young people to outearn their parents, private foundations are devoting greater attention — and money — to the link between education and upward economic mobility. What’s behind this interest? How are philanthropies trying to address growing income and opportunity gaps? And how much impact can they realistically have on this aspect of student success?

  • Gabriella Gomez, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Danette Howard, Lumina Foundation
  • Sandra Liu Huang, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
  • Jason Quiara, The Joyce Foundation
  • Marc Sternberg, Walton Family Foundation
  • Caitlin Reilly, Inside Philanthropy (moderator)

The Gifted Gap: Reporting on Disparities in Access to Advanced Coursework (Maryland E)
Racial and economic disparities in access to gifted education programs may stymie the academic prospects of high-ability students of color and those from low-income families, experts say. The divide may also have larger societal costs. A researcher and educators discuss why the disparities occur, best practices for closing gaps, and the challenges of dealing with pushback to proposals for change.

  • Kurshanna Dean, Montgomery County (Md.) Public Schools
  • Renee Foose, former Howard County (Md.) Schools superintendent
  • Jonathan Plucker, Johns Hopkins University
  • Erica Green, The New York Times (moderator)

The State of Civics Education in 2019 (Homeland)
The election of Donald Trump and a surge in youth activism have sparked renewed interest in civics education in America’s public schools. But what does it look like to teach civics effectively? Are schools taking it seriously? How can educators navigate controversial issues? Panelists discuss trends, points of tension, and data on schools’ efforts to promote civic knowledge and engagement.

  • Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)
  • Viviana Perez, Democracy Prep Public Schools
  • Shelina Warren, Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School (Washington, D.C.)
  • Kevin Mahnken, The 74 Million (moderator)

Community Member Track
Reporter Roundtable
(Baltimore A)
EWA’s ever-popular session with veteran reporters takes a new twist this year as seasoned communicators pitch their story ideas to a panel of experienced journalists. Learn what captures their attention—and what doesn’t.

  • Steve Drummond, NPR
  • Sarah Garland, The Hechinger Report
  • Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times
  • Benjamin Wermund, Politico
  • Debbie Veney, NewSchools Venture Fund (moderator)
  • Barbara McKenna, Learning Policy Institute (moderator)

4:45 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Top 10 Higher Ed Stories You Should Cover This Year (Maryland E)
The editor of Inside Higher Ed delivers his popular rundown of the hottest stories emerging on the higher education beat this year.

  • Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

Reporter Caucuses
Colleagues with common interests come together in this collection of community-building meetings. Conference participants share tips, discuss challenges, and get to know one another.

How to Turn Iffy Assignments Into Great Stories (Baltimore B)
Facilitators: Linda Shaw, Solutions Journalism Network; Michael Vasquez, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Journalists With Babies Caucus (Homeland)
Facilitator: Tara García Mathewson, The Hechinger Report

New to the Beat Reporter Caucus (Fells Point)
Facilitator: Sarah Carr, The Teacher Project

Reporting on Trauma: Inside and Out (Maryland F)
Facilitator: Elana Newman, Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma

6:00 p.m.
The National Awards for Education Reporting Banquet
(Maryland Ballroom A-D)
The Education Writers Association announces and honors the category winners of the 2018 National Awards for Education Reporting.

8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Confections & Cocktails Reception
(Watertable Ballroom)
Hosted by Carnegie Corporation of New York

8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Family, Community, Opportunity Reception
(Baltimore Ballroom)
Hosted by The Annie E. Casey Foundation

8:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Purposeful Pathways Reception
(Maryland Ballroom E-F)
Hosted by Strada Education Network

Tuesday May 7, 2019

7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Registration Open
(5th Floor Atrium)

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Breakfast and Annual Member Meeting
(Maryland Ballroom A-D)

9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Big Promises for Little Learners: What’s Next for Early Education? (Baltimore A)
Across the U.S., many new and returning governors have pledged to funnel billions of dollars into pre-K and other early childhood programs. But the path to expansion is rife with political and logistical roadblocks. Panelists discuss the wave of new proposals and consider whether states are ready to go big on early learning.

  • Katie Hamm, Center for American Progress
  • Allison Muhlendorf, Alabama School Readiness Alliance
  • Kris Perry, California Health and Human Services Agency
  • Priska Neely, Southern California Public Radio (moderator)

Curricular Concerns: How to Cover What Gets Taught (Maryland F)
Recent research and initiatives are drawing fresh attention to the relationship between a high-quality curriculum and student achievement. And yet, in many states and districts, it’s hard to get clear information about the textbooks that have been adopted, much less what instructional materials teachers actually use. Experts share insights and advice for covering what gets taught.

  • Morgan Polikoff, University of Southern California
  • Sonja Santelises, Baltimore City Public Schools
  • David Steiner, Johns Hopkins University
  • Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, The Christian Science Monitor (moderator)

How Colleges Are Rethinking the Bachelor’s Degree (Homeland)
A university partners with a coding boot camp to launch a degree program in computer science. Elsewhere, students leverage knowledge from work to fast-track their degrees. How do new approaches to the bachelor’s degree track with federal rules on what colleges can do? What do accreditors think of these changes? Four top thinkers offer a dose of policy and practice.

Taking Stock of Teacher Walkouts (Maryland E)
A wave of teacher activism that ignited in 2018 has continued this year with more strikes and protests. Panelists discuss what’s driving the actions, how school systems and policymakers have responded, and what teachers have to show for their efforts.

  • Lily Eskelsen García, National Education Association
  • Shavar Jeffries, Democrats for Education Reform
  • Dov Rosenberg, Durham Public Schools
  • Katharine Strunk, Michigan State University
  • Madeline Will, Education Week (moderator)

Teaming Up With Researchers and Why Reporters Should (Baltimore B)
What’s the best way to analyze huge sets of data? If you’re lucky enough to work for a large news organization, you can rely on your data team. But there are other routes to take. Two journalists describe how they got help by joining forces with researchers to run the data.

Community Member Track
Keep Calm and Carry On: How to Handle Crisis Communication
(Fells Point)
Crises happen. Sometimes you know they are coming, but most times you don’t. A group of seasoned communications professionals discuss some of the biggest challenges they managed, messaging strategies they deployed, and lessons learned along the way. Come away with new tools and ideas to be ready for the next crisis.

  • Lydia Ramos-Mendoza, LLRM Creativa
  • Beth Shuster, University of Southern California
  • Stephanie Germeraad, XQ Institute (moderator)

10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Covering Virtual Charter Schools (Maryland F)
Online charter schools continue to draw scrutiny from policymakers, advocates, the news media, and others. Amid concerns about poor academic outcomes, financial mismanagement, and questionable enrollment practices, numerous states are rethinking policies. What is the current state of play? How widespread are the problems? What do reporters need to know about this small but growing sector?

  • Melissa Brown, Indiana Connections Academy
  • Jessica Calefati, Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Greg Richmond, National Association of Charter School Authorizers
  • Benjamin Herold, Education Week (moderator)

How Districts Get and Keep Effective Principals—and Why Many Don’t (Fells Point)
Are principals the key to improving student achievement? A researcher presents new findings that suggest principal-focused reforms can boost student success and keep good school leaders in their jobs longer. Plus, a pair of principals discuss how they juggle the demands of the job and what makes an effective school leader.

  • Mary Beck, Nicholas Senn High School (Chicago)
  • Susan Gates, RAND Corporation
  • Robert Motley, Atholton High School (Howard County, Md.)
  • Matt Barnum, Chalkbeat (moderator)

How I Did the Story and What I Learned: K-12 (Maryland E)
Journalists share their stories and insights, including mining public records, narrative reporting, and making the most of the daily education beat.

Killing Remediation Before It Kills College Dreams (Baltimore B)
Remedial (a.k.a. “developmental”) courses were created with good intentions: Let underprepared students catch up on material needed to succeed in college. But studies show students suffer from badly designed placement tests and course sequences that trap them below credit-bearing work. Learn about the latest research as well as efforts to free students from the developmental doldrums.

School Discipline Reform: National Issues, Local Realities (Baltimore A)
Adopting new discipline policies is one thing — implementing them effectively is another. How can schools move away from suspension and expulsions without compromising safety and teacher autonomy? For reporters, are declining suspension rates a good indicator of success? Panelists discuss the promises and challenges of changing approaches to school discipline.

  • Abigail Gray, University of Pennsylvania
  • Ashley McCall, César Chávez Multicultural Academic Center (Chicago)
  • Michael Mulgrew, United Federation of Teachers
  • Rhonda Richetta, City Springs Elementary/Middle School (Baltimore)
  • Darryl Murphy, WHYY (moderator)

Community Member Track (Content also appropriate for journalists)
Education Data: Crunching the Numbers (Homeland)
From accountability metrics to school choice debates, data dominates education headlines. This session, designed for both community members and journalists, can help attendees unpack what good education data is and how to use it effectively.

  • Dahlia Bazzaz, The Seattle Times
  • David Hoff, Hager Sharp
  • Paige Kowalski, Data Quality Campaign
  • Emmanuel Felton, Columbia Journalism School (moderator)

Noon – 12:45 p.m.
(Maryland Ballroom A-D)

12:45 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
The National Awards for Education Reporting Ceremony
(Maryland Ballroom A-D)
EWA announces the winners of the Ronald Moskowitz Prize for Outstanding Reporting, the Edwin Gould Foundation Eddie Prize, and the Fred M. Hechinger Award for Distinguished Education Reporting.

1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions

How I Did the Story and What I Learned: Higher Ed (Baltimore B)
Journalists share their stories and insights, including mining public records, narrative reporting, and making the most of the daily beat.

How to Effectively Track School Spending (Homeland)
Forget the budget. To understand what is really happening to the dollars earmarked for education in your state and school district, track the spending. Good advice, but easier said than done. Experts offer tips on when to make expenditure comparisons and when not to, explore the impact of new federal education rules, and offer other practical advice.

How Will ‘Varsity Blues’ Change College Admissions? (Maryland F)
The biggest college admissions scandal in decades is generating plenty of salacious celebrity headlines. But will it result in any real change that improves the lives of applicants or makes admissions fairer? Get inside information on how admissions officers, testing organizations, and athletics departments are responding, and hear fresh ideas on how to spin this story forward.

  • Steve Bumbaugh, The College Board
  • Enrique Gimenez, Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC
  • David Hawkins, National Association for College Admission Counseling
  • Alia Wong, The Atlantic (moderator)

Restraint and Seclusion of Students With Disabilities (Baltimore A)
The practice of restraining or isolating students in public schools is generating scrutiny from policymakers, advocates, and news outlets. Federal data show that students with disabilities are disproportionately affected by such measures. Underreporting of seclusion and restraint also gives cause for concern. Speakers discuss the issues and offer guidance on how to cover them.

  • Jenny Abamu, WAMU
  • Denise Marshall, Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates
  • Kevin Rubenstein, Council of Administrators of Special Education
  • Christina Samuels, Education Week
  • Mandy McLaren, Courier Journal (moderator)

School Choice: Shifting Policies and Politics (Maryland E)
Recent developments—including 20 new governors in 2019, a Democratic majority in the U.S. House, and a surge in teacher walkouts—are reshaping the political landscape for charters and school choice. As U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos continues to champion choice, from vouchers and charters to a federal tax-credit scholarship, what’s happening and what’s ahead?

  • James Blew, U.S. Department of Education
  • Jeffrey Henig, Columbia University
  • Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers
  • Lauren Camera, U.S. News & World Report (moderator)

Community Member Track (Content also appropriate for journalists)
Two Sides of the Story (Fells Point)
Far more goes into an article than the public ever sees. Hear how education stories developed, from the perspectives of journalists as well as the communications professionals and others interviewed for stories. This crossover panel for journalists and community members aims to pull back the curtain on the interviewing and reporting process.

  • Shaheera Jalil Albasit, student activist
  • Tyler Kingkade, freelance journalist
  • Nick Powell, Houston Chronicle
  • Dorie Turner Nolt, freelance communicator
  • Nicolle Grayson, The Education Trust (moderator)

2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Alternatives to College Degrees: Testing, Badging, and Microcredentials (Baltimore B)
Americans looking for an edge in the hiring race are seeking credentials such as certificates or badges as alternatives to associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. Learn about the boom in these alternatives, the research on their effectiveness (or lack thereof), and how employers are (or aren’t) using them.

Facebook as a Reporting Tool, Part 1 (pre-registration required) (Fells Point)
Despite Facebook’s many controversies and press-unfriendly algorithms, millions of Americans still get their news through the social media platform. So how can journalists use Facebook to connect with audiences and potential sources? Get hands-on training on making effective use of tools like Facebook Live, Groups, and CrowdTangle.

  • Lynn Walsh, freelance journalist

The ‘Who’ in Safer Schools: Resource Officers, Counselors, and Other Educators (Maryland E)
School resource officers, guidance counselors, and other educators are tasked with creating safe learning environments and identifying high-risk students who need help. Find out what’s changing in policies and expectations for school safety, and the evolving—and sometimes overlapping—roles for school personnel. Also, experts discuss approaches to improve school climate.

  • Liz Dozier, Chicago Beyond
  • Amanda Fitzgerald, American School Counselor Association
  • Akil Hamm, Baltimore City Public Schools
  • David Osher, American Institutes for Research
  • Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times (moderator)

Three Great Stories Hidden in Your Campus’ Graduate Programs (Baltimore A)
Reporters focusing on traditional undergraduate programs may be missing out on some of the most important conflicts and trends in higher education. Get context, sources, and story ideas about how graduate schools are Ground Zero for hot topics such as declining international graduate enrollment, unionization drives, and #MeToo.

  • Hironao Okahana, Council of Graduate Schools
  • Evelyn Smith, University of Michigan
  • Emily Yen, Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions
  • Vimal Patel, The Chronicle of Higher Education (moderator)

What’s the State of Early Learning in Your State? (Homeland)
Where does your state rank on supporting its youngest learners? A first-of-its-kind report provides journalists with a state-by-state snapshot of how infants and toddlers are faring in their communities. Plus, get the latest data on pre-K funding and quality in your state.

Community Member Track (Content also appropriate for journalists)
Freelancing for Passion or Profit: You Can Do It! (Maryland F)
Have you ever thought about consulting as a communications professional? Would you like to turn your side hustle or passion project into a business? Is fear of the unknown holding you back? Hear directly from communicators about how they got started and where they are now. Learn from their experiences and decide if it’s for you or not.

  • Stefanie Cruz, freelance communicator
  • Alan Richard, freelance communicator
  • Lynne Russo, freelance communicator
  • Massie Ritsch, freelance communicator (moderator)

4:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Facebook as a Reporting Tool, Part 2 (pre-registration required) (Fells Point)
Dig deeper into the use of Facebook as a reporting tool, and get a chance to ask questions and share your own tips and experiences.

  • Lynn Walsh, freelance journalist

Journalists Lightning Talks (Maryland E)
Get quick story ideas and reporting tips from your colleagues, on everything from data reporting to investigating #MeToo claims, in these fun and fast skill-sharing presentations.

Reporter Caucuses
Colleagues with common interests come together in this collection of community-building meetings. Conference participants share tips, discuss challenges, and get to know one another.

Higher Ed Reporters Caucus (Federal Hill)
Facilitator: Jon Marcus, The Hechinger Report

Journalists of Color Caucus (Baltimore A)
Facilitator: Eva-Marie Ayala, The Dallas Morning News

Rural Reporters Caucus (Homeland)
Facilitator: Samantha Hernandez, Green Bay Press Gazette

Urban Reporters Caucus (Maryland F)
Facilitator: Julie Topping, Chalkbeat

Community Member Track
Lightning Talks
(Baltimore B)
Get lots of quick career-advancing advice from veteran professional communicators in these five-minute, skill-sharing presentations.

  • Truth Tellers in the Fight Against Fake News — David Hoff, Hager Sharp
  • Storytelling Strategy Screen: A Quick How-to — Jenni Kotting, National Public Education Support Fund
  • Owning Your Organization’s Story — Mark Land, Clemson University
  • Ban Your Blog — Dorie Turner Nolt, freelance communicator
  • Convincing Experts Why and How to Engage With Media — Maggy Ralbovsky, RW Jones Agency
  • Yes, Your Research Really Is Interesting — Rachel Zaentz, Finn Partners
  • Barbara McKenna, Learning Policy Institute (moderator)

6:00 p.m.
A Future for Everyone Reception
(Renaissance Courtyard - 7th Floor)
Hosted by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Wednesday May 8, 2019

7:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
(5th Floor Atrium)

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
(Maryland Ballroom A-D)

Site Visits
Join guided visits to local schools and programs. Pre-registration is required to attend. Start time indicates when participants leave the hotel.

9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School, is an experimental K-8 school through a partnership of the city of Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University, and Morgan State University. Responding to research showing the need for “wraparound” services, the school offers a preschool, family resource center, and food pantry.

9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus

Johns Hopkins offers a Blue Jay shuttle tour of its Homewood campus in North Baltimore, home to more than 5,000 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students. The Homewood campus is the main academic and administrative center of the Johns Hopkins University.

9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Western School of Technology and Environmental Science

Western Tech is a public magnet high school in Baltimore County. Earning the title of “Best School for Hands-on Education” by Baltimore Magazine, it offers a wide range of CTE programs for its students. Western also offers internships and dual enrollment for students in the 12th grade. Participants will be able to speak with school leaders, teachers, and students.

9:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Living Classrooms’ Crossroads School East Harbor Campus

The Crossroads School is a public charter middle school that focuses on experiential learning. The lessons take place at many “living classrooms,” including maritime museums and ships, and in neighborhood and community settings. The school is operated by the Living Classrooms Foundation through a contract with Baltimore City Public Schools.

9:00 a.m. – Noon
Deep Dives

Deep Dive: Covering Race on Campus (Maryland E)
Racial incidents and problems on college campuses can be among the most sensitive stories for education journalists to cover. This three-hour workshop offers tutorials on important trends reporters are likely to confront on the beat, introductions to important sources, and training on how to shepherd a story safely through the editing process.

9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.
A) Policy and Legal Action

Higher education is feeling the effects of state and federal policy changes — such as President Trump’s recent executive order on free speech — along with legal actions including challenges to affirmative action in admissions. Learn how these story-worthy developments are playing out at colleges across the country.

  • Wil Del Pilar, The Education Trust
  • Henry Reichman, American Association of University Professors
  • Karina Salazar, The University of Arizona
  • Deirdre Fernandes, The Boston Globe (moderator)

10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.
B) Understanding the Past, Improving the Present

A growing number of colleges and universities are exposing and examining past ties to slavery and racism while also grappling with new instances of racial strife and disparities. Hear from a historian and a university president about how universities are coming to terms with troubling pasts and working to foster more inclusive campus climates today.

  • Freeman Hrabowski, University of Maryland - Baltimore County
  • Kirt von Daacke, University of Virginia
  • Delece Smith-Barrow, The Hechinger Report (moderator)

11:00 a.m. – Noon
C) How Not to Be Embarrassed by Your Story (Workshop)

How can reporters avoid embarrassing gaffes when reporting on issues that deal with race and racism? From reporting to editing to publication, there are plenty of opportunities for mistakes. Get expert advice on ways to develop diverse sources, avoid offensive captions or visuals, and question tone-deaf editing.

  • Issac Bailey, Nieman Reports
  • Keith Woods, NPR
  • Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist’s Resource (moderator)
  • Session Overview Slides

Deep Dive: Educating the Whole Student (Maryland F)
The idea that education isn’t simply about academic learning is nothing new. But a growing movement aims to promote a better balance in schools, to more explicitly address students’ social and emotional development and to foster strong character and civic engagement. What does educating the whole student look like? Is it just another fad? Will it advance student achievement or distract from it?

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
A) Policy, Practice, and Brain Science

Experts discuss the what, where, why, and how of educating the whole student, especially in light of work just completed by the broad-based National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. Speakers address the implications for policy and practice, the challenges ahead, and the brain science that has informed this work.

10:10 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
B) Social and Emotional Learning in Action

In this interactive segment, experts lead activities designed to help bring social and emotional learning to life, to move from the abstract to the concrete.

  • Melissa Schlinger, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
  • Ketia Stokes, Baltimore City Public Schools

11:10 a.m. – Noon
C) Reporter Roundtable: Covering Efforts to Educate the Whole Child

Social and emotional learning, as well as character education, can be tough issues for journalists to wrap their arms around, and to translate in clear and compelling ways. Veteran journalists offer insights and tips for smart coverage, including key resources, questions to ask, and how to make the most out of school visits.

  • Evie Blad, Education Week
  • Katherine Reynolds Lewis, freelance journalist and author
  • Erik Robelen, Education Writers Association (moderator)

Deep Dive: Journalism Transparency Boot Camp (Fells Point)
Journalists tell other people’s stories but too often neglect to tell their own. That can make reporting seem like a mysterious, and possibly nefarious, profession to the public. Learn how to rebuild trust with your audience and better engage with your community by providing more transparency about basics such as how you decide what to cover, who gets interviewed, and how you verify facts.

Community Member Track (Content also appropriate for journalists)
Deep Dive: Digital Tools Everyone Can Use (Homeland)
Anyone involved in any aspect of communications today needs to master social media. This three-part workshop features tools and techniques to build participants’ skills at connecting and engaging with their communities.

9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.
A) Building Newsletters, Building Engagement

Newsletters are great way to get audiences to engage with stories, reports, or policy briefs. Yet in a world inundated with emails, how do you get your newsletter to break through? In this session, journalists and community members learn how to craft must-read subject lines, create content that sparks curiosity, and use analytics to improve open and click-through rates.

  • Keith Curry, The Education Trust
  • Anya Grottel-Brown, Teach Plus
  • Kimberly Hefling, Politico
  • Brandon Wright, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
  • Lauren Roth, Orange County Public Schools (moderator)

10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.
B) Compelling Storytelling Through Video

Video is an increasingly important tool in conveying information. Join this session for help with coming up with visual stories and topics that resonate, and creating effective, compelling videos with limited resources.

  • Leah Clapman, PBS NewsHour
  • Nelson Eddy, DVL Seigenthaler/Finn Partners
  • Amy Wolf, Vanderbilt University
  • Kat Stein, University of Pennsylvania (moderator)

11:00 a.m. – Noon
C) Boosting the Reach of Advocacy Campaigns and Special Projects

How can you make sure your issues advocacy efforts and special projects are making your desired impact on social media? Learn from others’ mistakes and victories using case studies. And learn how to incorporate audience and industry insights into your planning and to evaluate campaigns or special projects based on actionable outcomes.

  • Jelena Hasbrouck, The Education Trust–West
  • Tyler Douse, Educators for Excellence
  • Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week
  • Emily Zeigenfuse, Hager Sharp (moderator)

Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Lunch and Lifetime Achievement Ceremony
(Maryland Ballroom A-D)
The Education Writers Association’s Board of Directors awards its first EWA Lifetime Achievement Prize inspired by the late Michael H. “Mike” Bowler.

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Reporter Showcase
(Baltimore B)
Journalists show off noteworthy reporting projects in small-group discussions with attendees.