Past Events April 13, 2023

Follow the Money: Great Lakes Region

Workshop for 6 Great Lakes States on Covering COVID-19 Relief for Schools

States and school districts had a unique opportunity to fuel education recovery for students after receiving nearly $200 billion in federal pandemic relief. Now, they are in the later stages of spending their portions. What happened to those dollars?

For journalists covering this topic, what do these expenditures look like, and what are the stories that best serve readers? Looking at the future, how are school districts responding to the fiscal cliff when the funding runs out? How are they communicating with or involving the public?

The Education Writers Association is holding its final Great Lakes states virtual workshop on Thursday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Eastern. The series, which includes three previous workshops, is for journalists in the region. The free workshop focuses on Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, and it will help the news media play a stronger role in answering key questions about pandemic relief funding. The half-day online event is also designed to help busy reporters get new information and insights on this topic and bring articulated story ideas back to their newsrooms.

Data experts, parents, and experienced journalists will share their thoughts, practical advice, relevant data, and ideas for future reporting. This event will dive into local examples and regional context. 

Reporters have a powerful watchdog role to play in helping the public and policymakers understand whether the unprecedented federal aid flowing into these Great Lakes states will live up to the promises of those in power. Join us for this free workshop.

This event has passed. Thank you for attending!

Photo credit: Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for EDUimages


For the Region–What to Know, How to Anticipate the Future
9:00 a.m. – 10 a.m. Eastern | 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Central

The federal government has allocated billions of dollars to schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Where have these monies been allocated; what resources have been bolstered, and what are some questions for the future and ways to measure “success”? Join EWA for a moderated conversation between a journalist covering the topic and a data firm leader who can provide journalists with the information they need to serve the public.

  • Dennis Roche, co-founder, Burbio
  • Mila Koumpilova, senior reporter, Chalkbeat Chicago
What Do Families Know? ESSER Funding and Public Input
10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. Eastern | 9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. Central

Large sums of money have been allocated to states and their school districts to assist with pandemic academic recovery efforts. How have school districts incorporated families into this process? What is most important about this communication? How are community needs assessed and addressed? Join EWA for a moderated discussion with parents and community representatives who have navigated these relationships, and learn where they turn for information.

  • Lesa Paddack, assistant director, In*Source
  • Khulia Pringle, Minnesota manager of organizing and outreach, National Parents Union
  • Jianan Shi, executive director, Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education
  • Jim Vue, school board chair, St Paul Public Schools (MN)
  • Lily Altavena, educational equity reporter, Detroit Free Press
Capturing Compelling Stories on COVID-Relief Spending
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Eastern | 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Central

Experienced journalists share insights and key takeaways from their reporting on federal-relief spending by states and districts, along with practical tips for digging into the data to find stories. With guidance from the Education Writers Association’s Kavitha Cardoza, the presenters help you brainstorm concrete plans for smart coverage in your community and troubleshoot reporting challenges along the way.

  • Lori Higgins, bureau chief, Chalkbeat Detroit
  • Kavitha Cardoza, public editor, Education Writers Association