Agenda

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.

SATURDAY, JULY 23, 2022

6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Welcome Reception

Sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers

SUNDAY, JULY 24, 2022

8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast

9:00 – 10:15 a.m. Opening Plenary

Politics 2022: Education as an Election Issue

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?

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.

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?

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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

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?

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.

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.

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?

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. Coffee Break

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. Concurrent Sessions

Must-do Stories on Community College Today

Almost half of undergraduates attend community college, but these schools typically don’t get half of our higher education coverage. Get background and resources for three great community college story ideas.

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.

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 a recognized and widely embraced alternative pathway for students?

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.

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.

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.

Covering College Students’ Impact at the Polls

Millions of college students will be eligible to vote 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.

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.

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.

Shop Talk — Feature Stories

Feature writing is hard! Get tips on ideas, interviewing, ledes, structure and kickers from journalists who were honored for their feature stories in the National Awards for Education Reporting.

6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Awards Banquet

8:30 – 10:00 p.m. Reception

MONDAY, JULY 25, 2022

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

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 data documenting the impact across student groups and subjects. And hear from experts about promising recovery strategies.

10:15 – 10:45 a.m. Coffee Break

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

School Facilities in the ESSER Era

HVAC improvements and other upgrades to school facilities are a popular use of federal pandemic-relief dollars. Some experts say such projects are a smart use of one-time funding and may improve student learning, via healthier schools. What do reporters need to know to effectively cover such facilities issues?

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?

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.

The Well-Being of LGBTQ Youths

A wave of state legislation, such as so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bills, and actions by school boards are sparking concerns about the climate in schools for LGBTQ youth as well as such students’ well-being and mental health. Learn how educators and schools are responding, and get tips on covering these issues well.

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.

12:00 – 1:15 p.m. Lunch

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Concurrent Sessions

Eye on Federal Higher Education Policy

Speakers discuss and answer questions about the U.S. Department of Education’s approach to federal postsecondary education policy.

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.

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?

Lightning Talks: Flash Tips From Fellow Reporters

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

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.

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. Coffee Break

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. Concurrent Sessions

Eye on Federal P-12 Education Policy

Speakers discuss and answer questions about the U.S. Department of Education’s approach to federal elementary and secondary education policy.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

Should Microcredentials Go Macro?

The growing interest and support for “microcredentials” is running into concerns that many, if not most, have no value to employers. How can reporters help the public separate the wheat from the chaff?

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.

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Reception

Sponsored by the National Education Association

TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2022

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Site Visits

9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Deep Dives

Deep dives feature three, hour-long segments designed to build attendees’ skills and deepen their understanding of important topics on the education beat. At the 75th anniversary National Seminar, EWA is planning morning-long deep dives on the following topics:

  • K-12 education finance, including a session on tracking federal pandemic relief spending.
  • Systems that contribute to structural racism in higher education.
  • Practical advice for featuring student voices in education reporting.
  • Topic of special interest to EWA’s Supporting Community Members

12:00 – 2:00 p.m. Lunch