Agenda: EWA 75th National Seminar
July 24-26, 2022

The Education Writers Association’s 75th anniversary National Seminar will provide a long-awaited opportunity for the community that cares about high-quality education journalism to gather in person for three days of networking, training and inspiration.

As the country comes to terms with the impact of the extended COVID-19 pandemic on learning at all levels, the 2022 National Seminar will offer a varied and fast-paced program on how to cover the most pressing issues of the day. Traditionally the nation’s largest and most influential gathering of education journalists, leaders, experts, and communicators, the conference will start with a welcome reception on Saturday evening, July 23, and conclude at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26. 

The conference is open to EWA journalist members, supporting community members, and student members who pre-register. If you wish to participate in this exclusive opportunity to meet with movers and shakers in the education and journalism sectors, it only takes a few minutes to join EWA, and membership is free for journalists and students. Find more information about attending here

This agenda is tentative and subject to change. 

All times are Eastern Daylight Time.


6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Welcome Reception

The American Federation of Teachers invites you to kick off the 75th EWA National Seminar. These last two years have been trying for us all, and the AFT is proud to honor the education writers who have chronicled the journey — charting the challenges that teachers and their students confront every day. Sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers.

6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Registration Open (Registration Desk 3)

SUNDAY, JULY 24, 2022

7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Registration Open (Registration Desk 3)

8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast

9:00 – 10:15 a.m. Opening Plenary

The Politicization of Education: What’s Ahead in 2022

U.S. education has never been insulated from politics. But what’s the impact on learning communities when education practices become fodder for partisan electioneering in local, state and national races? How can reporters responsibly navigate coverage without contributing to an atmosphere of division?

  • Sonya Douglass, Columbia University
  • Andrew Kelly, University of North Carolina System Office
  • Heather Schwartz, RAND Corporation
  • Adam Harris, The Atlantic (moderator)

10:15 – 10:45 a.m. Coffee Break

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

The Struggle to Staff America’s Schools

The pandemic has posed severe difficulties for staffing in schools, including teachers, support staff, bus drivers, and more. Also, some teacher prep programs have reported declining enrollment, creating worries about the pipeline. Experts discuss the situation and highlight promising practices to address it.

  • Vatricia Harris, Mesa Public Schools (AZ)
  • Julia Kaufman, RAND Corporation
  • Brent Maddin, Arizona State University
  • Neal Morton, The Hechinger Report (moderator)

Causes and Consequences of College Enrollment Declines

Continuing downward trends in college enrollment are casting a shadow across higher education. What are the consequences of lower enrollment among men, low-income students, and students of color? What is the outlook for 2022-23 and beyond — for students and colleges themselves?

  • Keith Curry, Compton College
  • Elizabeth Gaskin, Indian River State College
  • Kelly Field, Freelance Reporter (moderator)

How I Did the Story — K–12

Expert reporters share insights from covering stories at the K–12 level exploring questions involving race, including educational equity, school finance, the impact of the pandemic, and more.

  • William Melhado, The Texas Tribune
  • Jennifer Smith Richards, Chicago Tribune
  • Samantha Smylie, Chalkbeat Chicago
  • Christina A. Samuels, The Hechinger Report (moderator)

Coping With Student Mental Health Needs

Surveys and hospital admissions show that a growing number of young people are experiencing serious mental health challenges. Learn how well the education sector is addressing adolescents’ unique mental health needs, and how this trend is affecting schools, colleges, and students.

  • Marty Swanbrow Becker, Florida State University
  • Sandra Chafouleas, University of Connecticut
  • John MacPhee, The Jed Foundation (JED)
  • Jamaal Abdul-Alim, The Conversation (moderator)

Community Member Session: Communicating Through Pandemic Controversies

For two years, much education communication and coverage has focused on the pandemic and its effects – from missed learning to mental health implications. But as these stories grow repetitive, what new ideas are worth pitching? What fresh challenges should educators be ready to address in an endemic world?

  • John Dudley, University of South Florida
  • Tonya Harris, Council of the Great City Schools
  • Hanna Kim, City Year
  • Michelle Lerner, Lerner Communications (moderator)

12:00 – 1:15 p.m. Lunch

Lunch Break With Ms. Abbott

Ms. Joyce Abbott, the namesake for the ABC sitcom “Abbott Elementary,” joins EWA for a Q&A about her remarkable career as an educator in Philadelphia and the current landscape for public education.

  • Joyce Abbott, Philadelphia School District (retired)
  • Erica Green, The New York Times (moderator)

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Concurrent Sessions

Where Have All the Students Gone?

Student enrollment took a big hit in many public school systems during the pandemic, as students left for charter, private, virtual and home-based schools. Data is now revealing where students went and why. What are the implications for schools, families, and districts?

  • Alberto Carvalho, Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Thomas Dee, Stanford University
  • Daniel Domenech, AASA | The School Superintendents Association
  • Linda Jacobson, The 74 (moderator)

Making Up for Missed Learning in Higher Ed

Whether they are just starting their higher education careers or closing in on a degree, college students are suffering the effects of missed learning opportunities due to COVID-19. How are colleges trying to catch students back up as they strive for an academic recovery from pandemic-era disruption?

  • Katrina Arnold, Pitt Community College
  • Dhanfu Elston, Complete College America
  • Ryan Goodwin, University of Central Florida
  • Olivia Sanchez, The Hechinger Report (moderator)

Getting Real About Early Reading Instruction

Amid a backlash to popular but problematic strategies for teaching children to read, what’s changing on the ground in schools? Learn how programs to prepare and support teachers align or conflict with research evidence on effective practices in early reading instruction.

  • Aaron Bouie III, Youngstown City School District
  • Kymyona Burk, The Foundation for Excellence in Education
  • Timothy Shanahan, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Kathleen Manzo, Hager Sharp (moderator)

Shop Talk — Beat Reporting

How can you improve your daily beat coverage? Get tips from journalists who were honored in the National Awards for Education Reporting for their work on the education beat.

  • Erica Green, The New York Times
  • Mila Koumpilova, Chalkbeat Chicago
  • Olivia Krauth, The Courier Journal
  • Bianca Vázquez Toness, Associated Press (moderator)

Community Member Session: Doing It All? Traditional and Digital Communications

Today’s communications campaigns require traditional and digital approaches, but most career paths silo professionals into one specialty or the other. Whether working in house, at an agency or for yourself: How important is it to keep one foot in both? When is it best to outsource expertise? And what do you really need to know to move up the ladder?

  • Amy Bartner, Lumina Foundation
  • Sharise Johnson, SMJ Communications
  • David Park, Learning Heroes
  • Kamali Burke, Fenton (moderator)

Sponsor Session: Implications of College Consolidations for Higher Ed’s Future

Colleges and universities are recognizing the need to transform their educational and business models to advance student success. Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Chancellor Daniel Greenstein discusses his experience consolidating campuses amid a national effort to fund institutions willing to explore such partnerships. (Sponsored and organized by ECMC Foundation.)

  • Daniel Greenstein, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
  • Stephen Handel, ECMC Foundation
  • Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed (moderator)

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. Break

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. Concurrent Sessions

Ethics and Best Practices of Covering School Gun Violence

Education journalists play a crucial role in both reporting on school shootings and shaping their newsrooms’ policies on such coverage. Experienced journalists share their insights on such topics as what reporters need to know about the push to “harden” schools, how to responsibly address the emotional aspects of gun violence’s impact on school communities, and why threat assessment teams are gaining momentum as a preventative approach.

  • Jenny Deam, ProPublica
  • Silvia Foster-Frau, The Washington Post
  • Mark Keierleber, The 74
  • Kristen Taketa, The San Diego Union-Tribune (moderator)

Practical Training on Federal Higher Education Data

This session offers training on how to use new College Scorecard data that can serve as one yardstick of higher education’s return on investment. Experts on the College Scorecard show reporters how to use the vast database to evaluate the financial value of colleges and programs.

  • Michael Itzkowitz, Third Way
  • Jordan Matsudaira, U.S. Department of Education
  • Mikhail, Zinshteyn, CalMatters (moderator)

Apprenticeships: From Hype to Real Alternative?

Everybody seems to love the idea of earn-while-you-learn apprenticeships, but the number of on-the-job learning programs remains relatively tiny. What will it take to make apprenticeships and other forms of experiential learning a more recognized and widely embraced alternative pathway for students?

  • Chrystal Mingo, Citi
  • Joe Mitchell, Skillstorm
  • Stanley Omotuyole, Box
  • Divya Kumar, Tampa Bay Times (moderator)

Data and Resources to Track K–12 Efforts to Catch Kids Up

Journalists learn about a variety of valuable resources to inform their coverage of the education recovery, including a site that tracks promising efforts to help schools come back stronger and a growing collection of analyses on promising practices.

  • Carrie Conaway, Harvard University
  • Jim Cowen, Collaborative for Student Success
  • Dennis Roche, Burbio, Inc.
  • Melissa Taboada, The Boston Globe (moderator)

Shop Talk – Audio Reporting

Admit it: You want to do a podcast! Whatever your level of familiarity with audio journalism, get advice on using the medium from honorees recognized in the National Awards for Education Reporting.

  • Sasha Aslanian, American Public Media
  • Lee Gaines, WFYI Public Media
  • Nimah Gobir, MindShift at KQED
  • Jessica Bakeman, WLRN NEWS (moderator)

3:45 – 4:15 p.m. Coffee Break

4:15 – 5:15 p.m. Concurrent Sessions

Leveraging Learning in the Summer and After School

Fueled by federal pandemic-relief aid, many states and school districts aim to expand and even reinvent their summer and after-school offerings. Goals are to help re-engage students and make up for lost time. Experts and educators explore what’s happening, what’s on the horizon, and discuss promising practices.

  • Brodrick Clarke, National Summer Learning Association
  • Gia Maxwell, Breakthrough Miami
  • Jen Rinehart, Afterschool Alliance
  • Ramaya Thomas, Afterschool Alliance
  • Asher Lehrer-Small, The 74 (moderator)

Covering Young Voters’ Impact at the Polls  

Millions of young voters will be eligible to go to the polls in the crucial midterm election in 2022. Learn about the issues that appear to be motivating them to civic participation, and the campaigns to discourage or encourage them to vote.

  • Monica Clarke, Alabama A&M University
  • Andres Cubillos, Florida PIRG Students at Florida State University
  • Abby Kiesa, Tufts University
  • Rachel Leingang, Arizona Agenda (moderator)

The View From the Principal’s Office

The job of being a public school principal has been anything but easy during the pandemic. How have school leaders come through, and what are they expecting in 2022-23? Principals share their views on complex and pressing issues including academic recovery, mental health, politicization, hiring, school morale and more.

  • Trent Daniel, Oviedo High School (Florida)
  • LaMonica Davis, Helen Arnold Community Learning Center (Ohio)
  • Richard Gordon, Paul Robeson High School (Pennsylvania)
  • Aleli Vazquez, Village Park Elementary School (Florida)
  • Patrick Wall, Chalkbeat (moderator)

What Do Parents Want From Education News?

Recent survey data provide fresh insights on what parents value most in education news, especially families of color. How well — or not — do the findings align with what news organizations generally deliver? Panelists explore these issues and the implications for the work of education reporters.

  • Jesse Holcomb, Calvin University
  • Ashley McBride, The Oaklandside
  • Sonya Thomas, Nashville PROPEL
  • Eva-Marie Ayala, The Dallas Morning News (moderator)

Shop Talk — Feature and News Stories

Producing fantastic feature and news stories is not for the faint-hearted. Get tips on ideas, interviewing, ledes, structure and kickers from journalists who were honored for their feature and news stories in the National Awards for Education Reporting.

  • Trisha Crain, Alabama Education Lab at
  • Sarah Darville, Chalkbeat
  • Jo Napolitano, The 74
  • Dale Mezzacappa, Chalkbeat Philadelphia (moderator)

6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Awards Banquet

8:30 – 10:00 p.m. Reception

Join the EWA Board of Directors at a reception celebrating EWA’s 75th anniversary, as well as the finalists and winners of the National Awards for Education Reporting and Caroline Hendrie’s 12 years of EWA leadership. 

MONDAY, JULY 25, 2022

7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Registration Open (Registration Desk 3)

8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast and Member Meeting

The EWA Board of Directors recognizes the service of EWA staff, shares news about a memorial fund for late EWA member Sierra Jenkins, offers an update on the organization’s executive search, and answers member questions.

9:00 – 10:15 a.m. Opening Plenary

A Look Ahead at Academic Recovery

Schools at all levels are struggling with how to help students who fell far behind academically over the last two years. Learn about research and data documenting the pandemic’s impact, and hear from experts about promising recovery strategies.

  • Allison Calhoun-Brown, Georgia State University
  • Peggy Carr, National Center for Education Statistics
  • Daniel Domenech, AASA | The School Superintendents Association
  • Thomas Kane, Harvard University
  • Chastity Pratt, The Wall Street Journal (moderator)

10:15 – 10:45 a.m. Coffee Break

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

Tapping Federal Dollars to Make School Buildings Healthier

COVID-19 has put indoor air quality on the agenda of school officials like never before. Fueled in part by federal pandemic-relief aid, efforts to make school buildings healthier environments are on the rise. Experts say such steps aren’t just good for health but can also improve academics. What do reporters need to know to effectively cover this issue?

  • Joseph Allen, Harvard University
  • Hannah Carter, U.S. Green Building Council
  • Rodney Williams, Newark Board of Education
  • Kristen Graham, Philadelphia Inquirer (moderator)

Forgiveness, Fairness and the Future of Student Loans

The patchwork of payment pauses, flexible repayment options and forgiveness plans can’t seem to keep up with the continuing rise in borrowing and debts by students and parents. How can reporters investigate the reasons behind, impacts of, and solutions to the nation’s problem-plagued student loan system?

  • Sandy Baum, Urban Institute
  • Betsy Mayotte, The Institute of Student Loan Advisors
  • Wil Del Pilar, The Education Trust
  • Cory Turner, NPR (moderator)

How I Did the Story — Higher Education

Get advice and context from experienced reporters who have tackled controversial stories about racial incidents and such issues as critical race theory, policing, and disputes over teaching history.

  • Cassie Chew, Freelance Journalist
  • Eric Hoover, The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Camille Phillips, Texas Public Radio
  • Denise-Marie Ordway, The Journalist’s Resource (moderator)

The Well-Being of LGBTQ Youths

A wave of state legislation, such as so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bills, is sparking concerns about the school climate for LGBTQ youth. Experts fear such bills are further eroding students’ well-being and mental health, already damaged by the pandemic. Learn how educators are responding, and get tips on covering these issues well.

  • Charity Jackson, Magic City Acceptance Academy
  • Zee Nadeem, Ci3 Youth Advisory Council
  • Stephen Russell, University of Texas at Austin
  • Ian Siljestrom, Equality Florida
  • Beth Hawkins, The 74 (moderator)

Community Member Session: Partnerships and Coalitions That Work for You

In a world divided by everything from politics to the pandemic, how can communicators help their organizations maintain existing partnerships and forge ahead with new ones? This session explores how to get beyond sharing social media toolkits to collaborate effectively – even when you don’t always agree.

  • Kaitlyn Chantry, Education Resource Strategies
  • Nicolle Grayson, The Education Trust
  • Andy Smith, TNTP
  • Juan Elizondo, TNTP (moderator)

Sponsor Session: Investing in the Future of Work and a Skills-First Approach

To better serve today’s workers and employers, we need a system of training, credentials, and degrees acknowledging that the school-to-work journey is not a direct path ending with a degree. Panelists discuss the systemic challenges, opportunities, and best-in-class examples of a skills-first approach. (Sponsored and organized by IBM.)

  • Tameshia Bridges Mansfield, Jobs for the Future
  • Lydia Logan, IBM
  • Joel Simon, Emsi Burning Glass
  • Ramona Schindelheim, Working Nation (moderator)

12:00 – 1:15 p.m. Awards Announcement Lunch

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Concurrent Sessions

Eye on Federal Higher Education Policy

The Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education discusses and answers questions about the Biden administration’s approach to federal postsecondary education policy, including timely topics such as student loan forgiveness, Title IX, and accountability issues such as “gainful employment” regulations.

  • James Kvaal, U.S. Department of Education
  • Eric Kelderman, The Chronicle of Higher Education (moderator)

Building Math Momentum by High School

Long-standing gaps in mathematics learning by race and income grew worse during the pandemic, emerging data indicate. Against this backdrop, speakers explore efforts to fuel math engagement and achievement before high school, especially for students of color and those from low-income families.

  • Jill Diniz, Great Minds
  • Tom Loveless, Author
  • Lacey Robinson, UnboundEd
  • Alia Wong, USA Today (moderator)

The Push to Restrict Teaching on Controversial Topics

The rapid spread of legal limits on how teachers talk about issues like race and gender identity is not going unnoticed in the nation’s classrooms. The trend raises big questions: Who does — and should — control the curriculum? How much leeway do teachers have? Has the public lost trust in educators?

  • Francesca López, Pennsylvania State University
  • Michael Petrilli, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
  • Cecilia Robinson-Woods, Millwood Public Schools (Oklahoma)
  • Eesha Pendharkar, Education Week (moderator)

Lightning Talks: Flash Tips From Fellow Reporters

Conference attendees share their know-how during brief, high-energy presentations on practical reporting and writing skills.

  • Engaging, Expanding Audiences With Twitter Spaces – Eric Weddle, WFYI
  • Five Ways to Uncover Stories About Clashes Over Religion in Schools – Linda K. Wertheimer, Independent Journalist
  • How I **REALLY** Did This Story – Nirvi Shah, Independent Journalist
  • How (and Why) to Start a Newsletter – Rachel Leingang, Arizona Agenda
  • Journalistic Ethics and Education Reporting – Peggy Barmore, Freelance Journalist
  • New Approaches to Audience Engagement: Tools and Capacities to Counter Misinformation in Hispanic Communities – Maritza Félix, Conecta Arizona
  • So, You Have a Newsletter … Now What? – MJ Slaby and Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star
  • Marlon Walker, The Marshall Project (moderator)

Community Member Session: What’s Hot, What’s Not

Peddle an op-ed or promote a Twitter thread? Focus on creating brand content or on winning earned media? How can communicators use newer platforms, such as TikTok, to their advantage? A look at what’s in and what’s out in today’s education communications ecosystem.

  • Daria Hall, Fenton
  • Blair Mann, Data Quality Campaign
  • My Nguyen, Digital Promise
  • Carlos Zavala, Whiteboard Advisors
  • Patrick Riccards, Driving Force Institute (moderator)

Sponsor Session: The ABCs and RCTs of Using Research Findings and Survey Data in Your Stories

Research findings and survey data can be a key part of stories about education, health and wellness, workforce outcomes, and other important topics. In this session, two research experts will help you understand different research, evaluation and survey designs and a veteran journalist will offer writing and reporting tips. (Sponsored and organized by American Institutes for Research.)

  • Matt Barnum, Chalkbeat
  • Mary Ann Fox, American Institutes for Research
  • Julie Kochanek, American Institutes for Research
  • Jill Barshay, The Hechinger Report (moderator) 

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. Break

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. Concurrent Sessions

Federal Spotlight: Title IX, Special Ed and Other Civil Rights Issues  

The U.S. Department of Education’s assistant secretary for civil rights discusses and answers questions about the Biden administration’s policies on issues including the rights of transgender students, the conduct of sexual misconduct cases, and schools’ treatment of students with disabilities during the pandemic.

  • Catherine Lhamon, U.S. Department of Education
  • Bianca Quilantan, Politico (moderator)

The Search for Solutions to Student Behavior Problems

From coast to coast, teachers report a rise in unsafe student behavior, from verbal disrespect to physical fights. Is it a temporary shift brought on by the pandemic? Or do schools need to rethink their approach to students’ emotional needs? Speakers discuss the crisis and opportunities for rethinking student services.

  • Jessica Kibblewhite, Chicago Public Schools
  • Alex Magana, Beacon Network Schools (Colorado)
  • Olga Acosta Price, George Washington University
  • Talia Richman, Dallas Morning News (moderator)

Covering Conflicts Over Academic Freedom, Tenure and Campus Speech

Pressure on faculty tenure and academic freedom has intensified, raising questions about the ability to tackle controversial subjects in higher education — in the classroom and beyond. What are the trends, and what should reporters know?

  • Ronald Crutcher, University of Richmond
  • Jenna Robinson, James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal
  • Meera Sitharam, University of Florida
  • Jeremy Young, PEN America
  • Sara Hebel, Open Campus (moderator)

What’s Next for Online Teaching and Learning

The research is becoming clearer: Online courses failed millions of students. Are there programs that worked well? Are there ways the pandemic-era experiment with remote learning can improve instruction, such as through personalization or hybrid teaching programs? Speakers explore lessons learned and look ahead.

  • Melissa Brown, Pearson Virtual Schools
  • Dyane Smokorowski, Wichita Public Schools (Kansas)
  • Joseph South, International Society for Technology in Education
  • D’Andre Weaver, Digital Promise
  • Alyson Klein, Education Week (moderator)

Shop Talk — Visual Reporting

Visuals are increasingly important to making impactful journalism. Get advice and tips from journalists who were honored for their visual journalism in this year’s awards program.

  • Justin Allen, EdSource
  • Kevin Armstrong, The Star-Ledger
  • Alec Fischer, Fischr Media
  • Daniel Willis, EdSource
  • LA Johnson, National Public Radio
  • Dana Roberson, WNET/Thirteen (moderator)

Sponsor Session: Reimagining the Role of the Teacher

Teachers are truly essential workers. As many struggled to balance the personal and professional during the pandemic, issues were forced to the surface that opened dialogue about the pressures that teachers face. How can we evolve narratives to better reflect and support our teachers? (Sponsored and organized by SXSW EDU.)

  • Elisa Villanueva Beard, Teach for America
  • Norma Castillo, Austin Independent School District (Texas)
  • Ron Reed, SXSW EDU
  • Kameeka Shirley, Countryside Montessori Charter School (Florida)
  • Madeline Will, Education Week (moderator)

3:45 — 4:15 p.m. Coffee Break

4:15 – 5:15 p.m. Concurrent Sessions

Rising to the Child Care Challenge

The pandemic took a heavy toll on the child care workforce, with many programs closing altogether. Hear from experts and practitioners about the fallout. How can we make early childhood education an attractive and financially viable profession for top-notch educators?

  • Laura Bornfreund, New America
  • Jackie Mader, The Hechinger Report
  • Alexandra Patterson, Home Grown
  • Albert Wat, Alliance for Early Success
  • Emily Tate, EdSurge (moderator)

Research Rendezvous: Q&As With Education Scholars

Education researchers offer lightning talks on important research and then talk with attendees in roundtable discussions. Scholars’ talks address such newsy topics as the school-to-prison pipeline, ethnic studies and student data privacy.

  • Thomas Dee, Stanford University
  • Artem Gulish, Georgetown University
  • David Houston, George Mason University
  • Nir Kshetri, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Theresa Morris, Texas A&M University
  • Barbara Oakley, Oakland University
  • Jamaal Abdul-Alim, The Conversation (moderator)

What K–12 Innovations and Experiments Are Taking Hold?

The COVID-19 shutdown sparked a variety of creative responses to fill the learning void. What do we know about the current state of learning hubs, microschools, new models of choice, and the evolution of remote instruction and other technology-enabled education?

  • Michael Horn, Author
  • Bree Dusseault, Center on Reinventing Public Education
  • Tiffany Dudley, Black Mothers Forums
  • Emmeline Zhao, The 74 (moderator)

Should Microcredentials Go Macro?

The growing interest and support for “microcredentials” is running into concerns that we know little about their value to employers. How can reporters help the public separate the wheat from the chaff?

  • Christine Cruzvergara, Handshake
  • Shalin Jyotishi, ​​New America and World Economic Forum
  • Lisa Larson, The Education Design Lab
  • Amy Morona, Crain’s Cleveland Business (moderator)

Shop Talk — Investigative and Public Service Reporting

Investigative and public service reporting are at the heart of what journalists do. Learn from the best in this shop talk with journalists recognized in the National Awards for Education Reporting.

  • Laura Bauer, The Kansas City Star
  • Hannah Dreyfus, ProPublica
  • Mandy McLaren, The Courier Journal
  • Dilcia Mercedes, Big Local News
  • Samantha Smylie, Chalkbeat Chicago
  • Judy Thomas, The Kansas City Star
  • Ian Shapira, The Washington Post (moderator)

Sponsor Session: The Power of College Completion: The Evidence and the Policies

College completion transforms lives, but too often policies and funding focus just on getting students in the door. A growing body of research shows what colleges can do to boost completion programs. Find out about the programs, evidence, and potential state and federal policies and investments at this dynamic panel with experts in the field. (Sponsored and organized by Arnold Ventures.)

  • John Lane, State Higher Education Executive Officers Association
  • Shun Robertson, University of North Carolina System Office
  • Wil Del Pilar, The Education Trust
  • DeShawn Preston, MDRC
  • Nicole Siegel, Third Way (moderator)

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Receptions
Join fellow attendees for informal social networking while enjoying beverages and heavy hors d’oeuvres. 

Carnegie Cocktails and Conversation

Join us for a toast to express our appreciation for the essential reporting provided by EWA’s community of journalists, Caroline Hendrie’s 12 years of leadership, and the excellent work of the 2022 award honorees. Learn more about our foundation’s support for American public education at Sponsored by Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Reception With NEA President Becky Pringle

Join a reception hosted by Becky Pringle, president of the 3 million member National Education Association. NEA is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, health care workers, and public employees. Sponsored by the National Education Association.

TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2022

7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Registration Open (Registration Desk 3)

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. Coffee Break 

9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Site Visit

Site Visit to a Rosen Preschool in Downtown Orlando

Join a guided visit to the Rosen Preschool in Parramore, one of Orlando’s oldest historically Black neighborhoods. The preschool program combines private funding — primarily through the Rosen Parramore PS8 Foundation — and a partnership with the Orange County Public Schools to deliver free preschool education for local children between ages 2 and 4.

Pre-registration is required to attend. Start time indicates when participants leave the hotel.

9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Deep Dives

Deep dives feature three segments designed to build attendees’ skills and deepen their understanding of important topics in education and how it is covered. 

Dollars and Sense: Understanding School Funding

With billions of dollars in federal pandemic-relief aid flowing to schools, it’s more important than ever to understand how school finance works — and doesn’t. Experts discuss efforts to make P-12 funding more equitable and trends in ESSER spending plans, while a veteran journalist dispels myths on school finance. Return to your newsroom armed with fresh ideas on how best to cover this core but complicated topic. 

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. 
How School Funding Works – And Doesn’t

Experts discuss how and why inequities exist and persist in school funding, their impact on students, and efforts to make systems more equitable through revisions to state funding formulas and other measures. 

  • Bruce Baker, University of Miami
  • Kimberly Jenkins Robinson, University of Virginia
  • Daniel Thatcher, National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Mary Niederberger, Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism (moderator)

10:15 – 11:35 a.m. 
Federal Relief Funds From Top to Bottom 

A senior official with the U.S. Department of Education talks about how federal pandemic relief dollars are being used to aid in education recovery. Plus, journalists learn how to mine district spending plans and expenditure data for stories about how this is playing out on the ground.

Part A

  • Roberto Rodríguez, U.S. Department of Education
  • Juan Perez, Politico (moderator)

Part B

  • Laura Anderson, Georgetown University
  • Phyllis Jordan, Georgetown University
  • Dahlia Bazzaz, The Seattle Times (moderator)

11:50 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 
Get Ready to Report 

An experienced journalist offers tips and insights about covering school funding, and participants reflect on session takeaways and action steps during a brainstorming exercise.

  • Matt Barnum, Chalkbeat
  • Emily Richmond, Education Writers Association 

Listen To Us: Effective Ways to Include Student Voice in Coverage

Journalists regularly quote educators and parents, but a critical source often overlooked are students themselves. In this deep dive, reporters get practical advice on incorporating student diaries into coverage and take part in interactive exercises on ethical questions when working with student sources. And students share insights about how to build trust with them and what stories they want to see.

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. 
Students Tell Their Stories

A panel of students share their perspectives on what stories they want to see, offer guidance on how to build trust with students, and offer other advice for reporters. 

  • Sarah Alli-Brown, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Orion Boone, Sickles High School (Florida)
  • Delta Flores, PBS Student Reporting Labs
  • Lia Guzman Genao, Young Invincibles
  • Nevaeh Nez, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
  • Sasha Aslanian, American Public Media (moderator)

10:15 – 11:15 a.m. 
The Narrative of a Teen Diary

Reporters can be instrumental in shaping student audio and video diaries into a narrative arc. A producer and a student describe how. 

  • Sarah Alli-Brown, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Anayansi Diaz-Cortes, Reveal News
  • Kalyn Belsha, Chalkbeat (moderator)

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 
Roundtables on Reporting Strategies

Journalists lead small-group breakout sessions on ways to creatively address practical and ethical issues that arise in interviewing students and incorporating their voices into education reporting.  

  • Peggy Barmore, Freelance Journalist
  • Mila Koumpilova, Chalkbeat Chicago
  • Taylor McGraw and Mira Gordon, The Bell
  • Victoria Pasquantonio, PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs
  • Jennifer Smith Richards, Chicago Tribune

Community Member Deep Dive: Messaging in a Polarized World

With education at the center of the culture wars, educators and communications professionals are struggling to engage parents and the public on complicated and divisive topics. What should messaging look like for different audiences on issues that are politically charged and often misunderstood? This interactive deep dive covers hot topics and lets participants craft their own messages during small-group work sessions.

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. 
Introduction and Overview of Topics 

Hear from journalists who are writing the first draft of history on the polarizing debates raging in school districts and states. While these topics may blend together in heated discussions in school board meetings and statehouses, we consider each separately to enable a deeper dive into each subject. 

  • Olivia Krauth, Louisville Courier Journal 
  • Camille Phillips, Texas Public Radio 
  • Beth Hawkins, The 74 
  • Nicolle Grayson, The Education Trust (moderator) 

10:15 – 11:15 a.m. 
Breakout Discussion Groups

Using messaging templates provided by session organizers, participants break into smaller groups to work on messaging with guidance from other community members. This interactive session is designed to enable each participant to take home messaging that will help them in their jobs. 

  • Breaking Through the Noise on Critical Race Theory and DEI — Daria Hall, Fenton 
  • Navigating School Safety — Michelle Lerner, Lerner Communications 
  • Lessons From Florida in the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Era — Lauren Roth, Orange County Public Schools 

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 
Large Group Sharing and Individual Work Time

Participants share takeaways and results of their breakout sessions, and continue to work through messaging development.

  • Michelle Lerner, Lerner Communications (moderator)

12:30 – 2:00 p.m. Lunch