2015 National Seminar


Monday, April 20

The Core Story of Education with the FrameWorks Institute (For Community Members)
8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

How can advocates for change make the most powerful case possible? No need for guesswork when it comes to communications strategies. The Core Story of Education offers tested, reliable reframing strategies on multiple aspects of P-12 education. Try your hand as a framer in this interactive session for community members.

  • Julie Sweetland, FrameWorks Institute

New to the Beat Workshop
8:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

EWA’s new orientation and mentoring program debuts for journalists with less than two years’ experience covering the beat. Participants were chosen through a competitive process and will be paired with veteran journalist mentors for one-on-one coaching.

  • Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian
  • Louise Kiernan, Medill Graduate School of Journalism, Northwestern University
  • Claudio Sanchez, NPR
  • Debra Viadero, Education Week
  • Holly Yettick, Education Week Research Center

Data At Your Desk
8:00 a.m. – 11:20 a.m.

Produced in partnership with the American Educational Research Association, Data at Your Desk offers a series of deep dives into large data sets; talks by leading scholars on the uses and limitations of data reporting; opportunities to attend AERA conference sessions; and time to sit down with scholars for one-on-one interviews

Deep Dive on Solutions-Oriented Reporting
8:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

This workshop explores the emerging practice of “solutions journalism.” The interactive session focuses on tools for finding data and sources, as well as crafting packages, with insights from The Seattle Times Education Lab, a collaboration with the Solutions Journalism Network.

  • Sarika Bansal, Solutions Journalism Network
  • Claudia Rowe, The Seattle Times
  • Linda Shaw, The Seattle Times

How to Cover Campus Sex Assault
9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

As colleges struggle to address allegations of sexual assaults on their campuses, journalists face challenges in reporting all of the facts while displaying sensitivity to victims. In this session, reporters who have handled such stories offer their insights and advice to other journalists.

  • Kyla Calvert, PBS Newshour (Moderator)
  • Tyler Kingkade, The Huffington Post
  • Nicole Noren, ESPN
  • T. Rees Shapiro, The Washington Post

Fact-Checking Workshop (For Journalists)
10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Media organizations across the country are preparing for a volatile 2016 campaign season, and education is likely to be at the front of the debates. This session focuses on how to improve fact-checking for the elections and beyond, using research, training, resources and best practices.

  • Jane Elizabeth, American Press Institute

The 68th National Seminar Welcome
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

  • Scott Elliott, Chalkbeat Indiana
  • Caroline Hendrie, Education Writers Association
  • Cornelia Grumman, The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute
  • Robert J. Zimmer, The University of Chicago

Keynote Address
1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

  • Gov. Bruce Rauner, State of Illinois

School Finance: Formulas for Fairness?
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Fights over public school funding – how much money is needed and how to distribute it fairly – have been waged for decades. Yet budget disparities between wealthier and poorer schools remain. What is being done to address those gaps? How much do they matter for student success? What are the latest research and policy trends in school finance?

  • John Fensterwald, Ed Source (Moderator)
  • David Plank, Policy Analysis for California Education
  • Marguerite Roza, Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University
  • Natasha Ushomirsky, The Education Trust
  • Kim Anderson, National Education Association

The Community College Promise
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Earlier this year, President Obama announced an ambitious proposal to make two years of community college free to all students who maintain good grades, a practice that already has launched in Chicago and Tennessee. What could be the effects if this practice were to spread nationwide? Is it better implemented at the state or federal level?

  • Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed (Moderator)
  • Sandy Baum, The George Washington University
  • Sara Goldrick-Rab, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Cheryl Hyman, City Colleges of Chicago
  • Ted Mitchell, U.S. Department of Education

Opening Doors: Helping Students Make Their Way to College
3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Research suggests that many students who could succeed in college never get the chance to enroll. But studies also show this circumstance can be overcome by getting students more information about options in colleges, scholarships and financial aid. Gain insights from experts on what approaches help these students succeed.

  • Alix Coupet, The University of Chicago Charter School  (Speaker)
  • Harold Levy, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
  • Jenny Nagaoka, The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research
  • Oscar Sweeten-Lopez, Dell Scholars Program
  • Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times

Textbooks and Common Core: Out of Sync?
3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Five years after the Common Core standards were finalized, what’s the state of the marketplace for instructional materials? Have publishers done enough to ensure alignment? Where are schools turning for textbooks and other materials? Hear about recent developments, including a new, Consumer Reports-style evaluation system for Common Core materials.

  • Erik Robelen, Education Writers Association (Moderator)
  • Diane Briars, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
  • Dana Cartier, Illinois Center for School Improvement
  • Eric Hirsch, EdReports.org
  • Andy Isaacs, The University of Chicago
  • Morgan Polikoff, University of Southern California

Trends in Charter School Finance
3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Funding for charter schools is a complex and divisive issue. Do charters get an equitable share of public dollars? How do school facilities fit into the equation, as well as private sources of support for the charter sector? What are recent evolutions in policy concerning charter finance and facilities, and what’s on the horizon?

  • Sarah Carr, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (Moderator)
  • Kathy Hamel, Charter School Growth Fund
  • Thomas Toch, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
  • David Welker, National Education Association
  • Todd Ziebarth, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Poster Session with Education Authors (Part 1)
3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Authors of new books on education discuss their sometimes controversial perspectives on various aspects of the educational landscape. The writers include researchers and journalists who have looked at digital education, federal education policy, cage-busting teaching, and other cutting-edge topics.

  • Goldie Blumenstyk, The Chronicle of Higher Education (Speaker)
  • Daphna Oyserman, Pathways to Success Through Identity-Based Motivation

Game On: New Frontiers in Digital Learning
3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Digital gaming is often seen as a bane to learning rather than a boon. Yet educators and game designers are finding innovative ways to leverage gaming as a powerful teaching tool. With the iCivics curriculum, even former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is getting into the game. Should play replace work as the new paradigm for learning?

  • Greg Toppo, The Game Believes in You (Speaker/Moderator)
  • Louise Dubé, iCivics
  • Nancy Nassr, Chicago Quest
  • Allen Turner, DePaul University
  • Connie Yowell, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Foundations of Change: Education Philanthropy and How to Cover It
3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Foundations pour millions of dollars into education annually. The money they contribute is a drop in the bucket when you look at how much is spent on public schools. Do foundations have an outsize impact on the education landscape? Does the media do a good job of covering the role of philanthropy in education? What should journalists ask?

  • Dale Russakoff, author of The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools? (Moderator)
  • Kevin Corcoran, Lumina Foundation
  • Frederick M. Hess, American Enterprise Institute
  • Sarah Reckhow, Michigan State University
  • Christine Tebben, Sapient Solutions LLC

Deeper Learning: Beyond the Buzzwords
3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

What is deeper learning? What does it look like in practice? How can journalists tell if schools in their communities are truly promoting “deeper learning,” or just paying lip service to the idea? Experts and educators offer guidance.

  • Katrina Schwartz, Mindshift at KQED Public Radio (Moderator)
  • Jeff McClellan, SOLE CLE
  • Johnna Noll, West Allis-West Milwaukee School District
  • Stephan Turnipseed, LEGO Education

Looking for Leaders: The Impact of Principal Turnover
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The turnover rate for principals is increasing. What can be done to prevent principals from burning out? Is it preferable to have a certain amount of experience in the classroom before they become leaders? What does the research say about the impact of a principal’s departure? This is a new avenue for reporters exploring school effectiveness.

  • Kate Schimel, Formerly of Chalkbeat (Moderator)
  • Heather Anichini, The Chicago Public Education Fund
  • Joe Nelson, Pass Christian Middle School (Mississippi)
  • Steve Rivkin, University of Illinois at Chicago

Keeping Track of For-Profit Colleges
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The collapse of the Corinthian Colleges chain in 2014 showed the very real effects students face in postsecondary institutions that are vulnerable to market forces. As the federal government seeks new ways to regulate these schools, what facts should journalists be following and sharing with their readers?

  • Goldie Blumenstyk, The Chronicle of Higher Education (Moderator)
  • Rohit Chopra, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Steve Gunderson, Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities

Interviewing Youth Chi-Style
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Students of color from Chicago talk about their school experience and the intersection of race and education. We touch on discipline, teacher expectations and disparities among schools. Students tell reporters what stories they are missing and what questions they should ask. Get ideas for how to let student voice propel your stories.

  • Linda Lutton, WBEZ Public Radio (Moderator)
  • Devonta Boston, Gage Park High School
  • Amina Henderson, Gage Park High School
  • Jordon Henderson, Lincoln Park High School
  • Xiao Lin, Jones College Prep
  • Andrea Mondragon, Benito Juarez Community Academy
  • Jennifer Nava, Brighton Park Elementary
  • Gabriel Portillo, Prosser Career
  • Jada Yolich, Lane Tech High School

How to Read School Budgets
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Think of budgets as blueprints. They may be the outline of how a district plans to spend its money, but the realities can differ greatly. A veteran data journalist walks through how to dig deeper into school district finances to find the important stories.

  • Tawnell Hobbs, The Dallas Morning News

Falloff in Aspiring Teachers: Where and Why?
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

A data analysis by Education Week showed a decline in applicants to education schools in key states. And some alternative routes are also seeing a dip in prospective candidates. A survey by ACT shows similar drops. Now that the Great Recession is history, are people who turned to teaching looking to other careers? What are the implications?

  • Stephen Sawchuk, Education Week (Speaker/Moderator)
  • Catherine Brown, Center for American Progress
  • Robert Floden, Michigan State University
  • Steve Kappler, ACT
  • La Vonne Neal, Northern Illinois University

Common Core in the Classroom: Teacher Voices
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

What are teachers experiencing as they implement the Common Core State Standards? Teachers offer insights on how well they were trained to teach the standards, what works to engage parents, and how they have prepared students for tests aligned to the standards. How have teachers’ own experiences shaped their support or opposition to Common Core?

  • Emmanuel Felton, The Hechinger Report (Moderator)
  • Mark Anderson, Jonas Bronck Academy (New York City)
  • Hen Kennedy, Carl Von Linne Elementary School (Chicago)
  • Charlene Mendoza, Arizona College Prep Academy (Tucson)
  • Ray Salazar, The White Rhino blog

Poster Session with Education Authors (Part 2)
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Authors of new books on education discuss their sometimes controversial perspectives on various aspects of the educational landscape. The writers include researchers and journalists who have looked at digital education, federal education policy, cage-busting teaching, and other cutting-edge topics.

  • Frederick M. Hess, The Cage-Busting Teacher (Speaker)
  • Jack Jennings, Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools: The Politics of Education Reform
  • Daphna Oyserman, Pathways to Success Through Identity-Based Motivation
  • Greg Toppo, The Game Believes in You

National Awards for Education Reporting
7:15 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.

The National Awards for Education Reporting winners and finalists are honored. Also, the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting is announced. EWA thanks the Edwin Gould Foundation for its generous sponsorship of this year’s contest and ceremony

Tuesday, April 21

Breakfast Talk: 10 Lessons To Take Home From Chicago
8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

Take home some lessons from Chicago’s sometimes exciting, sometimes tumultuous education experience. Learn from the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute what research, practice and experience tells us can be applied in other districts.

  • Linda Lenz, Catalyst Chicago (Moderator)
  • Timothy Knowles, The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute
  • Sara Stoelinga, The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute

RIP NCLB?: A New Role for Uncle Sam
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Experts and policymakers offer reporters the lay of the land and discuss how rewriting the No Child Left Behind Act may affect their school districts and states. What will happen to Title I funding? Will the testing requirements of NCLB continue? What should reporters think about as they cover the federal impact in their communities?

  • Alyson Klein, Education Week (Moderator)
  • Jack Jennings, Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools: The Politics of Education Reform
  • Sandy Kress, George W. Bush Institute
  • U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, Indiana
  • Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers

New Insights on State Funding for Higher Education
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

The Great Recession saw most states drastically cut their spending on public colleges, leading most of those colleges to increase their tuition. As the national economy continues to recover, how has state funding for postsecondary education fared and what does it mean for students and their families?

  • Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, The Washington Post (Moderator)
  • Daniel Hurley, American Association of State Colleges and Universities
  • Laura Perna, University of Pennsylvania
  • Ray Scheppach, University of Virginia

The Impact of International Students in Higher Education
10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

At one flagship public university, the number of undergraduate students from China jumped from 37 in 2000 to 2,898 this year. As public universities recruited more international students, what impact has the increased diversity had on students’ academic and social lives?

  • Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed (Speaker)
  • Peggy Blumenthal, Institute of International Education
  • Gil Latz, Association of International Education Administrators
  • Nicole Tami, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Too Many Tests?
10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

An ongoing “opt-out” campaign has stirred fresh debate over whether U.S. students are over-tested, and what kinds of tests are to blame. How much time – and money – do schools spend on testing? How have debates over “high stakes” testing shifted in the Common Core era? How can reporters gauge the amount of testing in their community’s schools?

  • Emily Hanford, American RadioWorks (Moderator)
  • Matt Chingos, The Brookings Institution
  • Scott Marion, The National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment Inc.
  • Robert Schaeffer, The National Center for Fair & Open Testing

The Economic Impact of Early Childhood Education
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The economic benefits of early childhood education have long been perceived to extend beyond individual students. What is the latest evidence for and against that premise? And what do we know about how to get the biggest bang for the early childhood buck?

  • Liz Willen, The Hechinger Report (Moderator)
  • James Heckman, The University of Chicago
  • John King, U.S. Department of Education
  • Diana Rauner, Ounce of Prevention Fund

Rethinking Career & Technical Education in a Global Context
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Amid worries of a “skills gap” for U.S. youths and young adults, some experts call for rethinking and ramping up career and technical education. Panelists explore the skills and achievement of American young people in an international context, and highlight ways to improve CTE with an eye toward promising practices in other countries.

  • Kirk Carapezza, WGBH Public Radio (Moderator)
  • Kate Blosveren Kreamer, National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium
  • Robert Schwartz, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Marc Tucker, National Center on Education and the Economy

Can Innovation Improve Higher Education?
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Higher education faces a major challenge: How to educate more students better as resources and funding at most colleges mostly stay flat. This discussion will examine whether new technology and new approaches such as competency-based education or MOOCs can make college more affordable and effective.

  • Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed (Moderator)
  • Goldie Blumenstyk, The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Kevin Carey, New America
  • Ryan Craig, University Ventures

Lunch Keynote
12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will take reporters’ questions in a free-form press conference.

  • Motoko Rich, The New York Times (Moderator)
  • U.S. Sec. Arne Duncan, U.S. Department of Education

Covering School Closures
2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Big-city school districts are increasingly shuttering schools, often citing low enrollment or poor performance. What happens when schools close, and how can reporters probe school officials’ assumptions about savings resulting from closures? How often do students end up at schools that are better than the ones that closed?

  • Dale Mezzacappa, Philadelphia Public School Notebook (Moderator)
  • Becky Vevea, WBEZ Public Radio
  • Molly F. Gordon, UChicago Consortium on Chicago School Research

Can FAFSA Be Fixed?
2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

How many questions does the crucial federal financial aid form really need? Proposals to simplify have ranged from trimming the form’s dozens of questions to replacing the form with just few queries on a postcard. This session illuminates how key questions can affect how much aid a student receives.

  • Kim Clark, Money (Moderator)
  • Michelle Asha Cooper, Institute for Higher Education Policy
  • Alana Mbanza, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Preparatory School (Chicago)
  • Jesse O’Connell, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
  • Ed Pacchetti, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Reporters take part in facilitated brainstorming and roundtable discussions on topics voted on by attendees themselves.

  1. Covering State Legislatures
  2. Digging into Charter Schools
  3. Investigating Bond Issues
  4. Public Records

Tapping the Tax Code for School Choice
2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

State policymakers are increasingly working to expand access to private-school choice through tax-credit scholarships and education savings account programs, what some call “neovouchers.” What’s the state of play in this area? How do they work, and how are they working for families? Is there sufficient transparency and accountability?

  • Lauren Roth, Orlando Sentinel (Moderator)
  • Robert Enlow, The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
  • David Figlio, Northwestern University
  • Kevin G. Welner, University of Colorado Boulder

Reporters Roundtable: Insights From Journalists (For Community Members)
2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

In today’s multi-platform newsroom, what’s the best way for community members to interact with journalists? How do you build relationships with reporters and help them “feed the beasts” of traditional and social media? How can you get your story told when so many others are competing for attention? Veteran education journalists offer answers.

  • David Hoff, Hager Sharp (Moderator)
  • Leslie Brody, The Wall Street Journal
  • Beth Shuster, Los Angeles Times
  • Kyle Stokes, KPLU Public Radio

How I Did the Story (K-12)
2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Hear from some of the recipients of this year’s EWA National Awards for Education Reporting on how they put together their winning stories.

  • Steve Drummond, NPR (Moderator)
  • Sara Neufeld, The Hechinger Report
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, ProPublica
  • Tim Lloyd, St. Louis Public Radio

Beyond the Rising Costs of Pensions
2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Pensions are causing serious budget issues across the country, including Illinois. But issues around pensions go beyond the rising costs, and the session will explore those questions, too. How can reporters generate lively stories on this important (but potentially dull) subject?

  • Diane Rado, Chicago Tribune (Speaker/Moderator)
  • Chad Aldeman, Bellwether Education Partners
  • Ralph Martire, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability

Covering the Business Side of Education
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Education is big business. Districts and states invest in curriculum, training materials, technology, and services. Charter schools may hire “outside” firms that actually profit insiders. We hear from Pearson, one of the biggest players in the business of education. And fellow reporters share tips on how to track business records.

  • Michele Molnar, Education Week (Speaker/Moderator)
  • Amar Kumar, Pearson
  • Dan Mihalopoulos, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Lauren FitzPatrick, Chicago Sun-Times

Crisis Management: Making the Best of Bad Situations (For Community Members)
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

How do you build relationships and work proactively before the big crisis hits? Experts guide community members through best practices for preparing for the worst.

  • Cathy Grimes, Virginia Tech (Moderator)
  • Collin Binkley, Columbus Dispatch
  • Elisa Crouch, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Larry Hincker, Virginia Tech
  • Melanie Powell-Robinson, Riverview Gardens School District (Missouri)

Speaking Up: Student and Teacher Voices on Student-Centered Learning
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

How does student-centered learning change the pupil-teacher working relationship? And what do we know about the longterm benefits of the educational approach? We’ll hear from a student who has graduated from a school that was an early adopter of student-centered learning, as well as teachers currently using it in their classrooms.

  • David DesRoches, WNPR Connecticut Public Radio (Moderator)
  • Josh Botterman, University of California, Berkeley
  • Jennifer Hayes, Revere High School (Massachusetts)
  • Stephanie Hernandez, Cesar E. Chavez Multicultural Academic Center (Chicago)
  • Lesley Perez, Cesar E. Chavez Multicultural Academic Center (Chicago)

Innovative Ways to Finance Early Education
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Efforts are underway to find new ways to provide and finance early childhood education. Chicago is the latest place to undertake social impact bonds; investors provide funding upfront and are paid back through savings from reduced special education costs. Other experiments include mobile preschool centers that travel between neighborhoods.

  • Melissa Sanchez, Catalyst Chicago (Moderator)
  • Anne Mitchell, Alliance for Early Education Finance
  • Fraser Nelson, Salt Lake County, Utah
  • Jayne Poss, Aspen Community Foundation

How I Did the Story (Higher Education)
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Hear from some of the recipients of this year’s EWA National Awards for Education Reporting on how they put together their winning stories.

  • Kirk Carapezza, WGBH Public Radio (Moderator)
  • Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times
  • Mike Hendricks, The Kansas City Star
  • Mará Rose Williams, The Kansas City Star
  • Brad Wolverton, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Guardians of the Gigabytes: Who Is Protecting Students’ Data?
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Children are the future, but they’re also the source of billions of data points, and the battle over that information has just begun. Startups are angling for a piece of the multibillion-dollar education market those kids represent, while government agencies are touting data collection to improve instruction. But who’s keeping student data safe?

  • Benjamin Herold, Education Week  (Moderator)
  • Khaliah Barnes, Electronic Privacy Information Center
  • Paige Kowalski, Data Quality Campaign
  • Keith Krueger, CoSN – the Consortium for School Networking

Covering Testing in the Common Core Era
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

This year marks the first time most states are assessing students on the Common Core. At the same time, many states abandoned plans for shared exams and have gone their own way. Where do states stand? What are key questions reporters should keep in mind as they cover the first round of testing, as well as the results?

  • Jeffrey S. Solochek, Tampa Bay Times (Moderator)
  • Chris Minnich, Council of Chief State School Officers
  • James Pellegrino, University of Illinois at Chicago

Ways to Examine School Discipline
4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Schools often say they suspend misbehaving students to restore order and keep others safe. But a recent study questions the link between suspensions and school safety. This session flips the script, as a researcher moderates a panel of reporters who have explored alternatives to the usual diet of suspensions and expulsions.

  • Elaine Allensworth, The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (Speaker/Moderator)
  • Sarah Karp, Catalyst Chicago
  • Claudia Rowe, The Seattle Times
  • Francisco Vara-Orta, San Antonio Express-News

4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Reporters take part in facilitated brainstorming and roundtable discussions on topics voted on by attendees themselves.

  1. Building Your Brand
  2. Balancing K-12 and Higher Education
  3. Digging into Charter Schools
  4. Public Records

Top 10 Higher Education Stories You Should Be Covering This Year
4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Inside Higher Ed Co-founder and Editor Scott Jaschik offers his insights on the most influential stories journalists should be following in the upcoming academic year. Jaschik is introduced by Felice Nudelman, the chancellor of Antioch University

  • Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

Testing, Testing: Trying Out New Assessments
4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

What’s on the new Common Core-aligned assessments? Meet with a testing expert, who will walk reporters through the new “performance tasks” on the tests and how they differ from the old model of standardized tests.

  • Daarel Burnette, Chalkbeat Tennessee (Moderator)
  • Andrew Latham, WestEd

Reporting on School Choice
4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

We bring together enterprising reporters from several communities where school choice has been a big issue to share their experiences and strategies for reporting on the topic, from day-to-day coverage to deeper, investigative pieces.

  • Beth Shuster, Los Angeles Times (Moderator)
  • Alan Gottlieb, Chalkbeat
  • Lori Higgins, Detroit Free Press
  • Erin Richards, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Advocating for Advocacy: Building the Case (For Community Members)
4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Some organization leaders need convincing that communications, whether with media or others, is mission-critical. For others, the question is how to divvy up the communications pie. How much time and money should be dedicated to media relations and how much to other forms of communication? How do you maximize your outreach?

  • Deborah Veney, Education Trust (Moderator)
  • Peter Cunningham, Education Post
  • Brian Herman, Stand for Children Illinois
  • Sarah Johnson, Reingold Inc.
  • Nina Rees, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Access to Schools and Classrooms
4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Journalists around the country are experiencing mounting problems in gaining access to schools. How can reporters convince schools to open their doors? Education reporters share their strategies, and a First Amendment expert offers legal advice.

  • Lauren Foreman, Bakersfield Californian (Speaker/Moderator)
  • Antoinette “Toni” Konz, WDRB (Louisville, Kentucky)
  • Frank LoMonte, Student Press Law Center

P-12 Reception
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

P-12 attendees are welcome to a reception hosted by EWA.

Higher Education Reception
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success Team. Remarks by Daniel Greenstein

Wednesday, April 22

Site Visits
7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

The Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, opened in 1996, is a private Catholic school that blends a college-prep curriculum for low-income families with a work-study program that has students in the workplace once a week. This model is being replicated through the 28-school Cristo Rey Network, which now serves 9,000 students nationwide.

Cesar E. Chavez Multicultural Academic Center educates a high percentage of English-language learners and students from low-income homes. Since implementing a longer school day in 2010, student test scores have seen dramatic improvement, and the school has achieved the highest ranking given by Chicago Public Schools.

Educare Chicago is a state-of-the-art school that serves approximately 150 at-risk infants, toddlers and preschoolers. The early childhood center was launched by the Ounce of Prevention Fund in 2000. It works to narrow the achievement gap for at-risk children. The model has spread across across the country, in at least a dozen states.

UChicago North Kenwood/ Oakland Charter School is one of the highest- performing non-selective enrollment public schools in the city. The UChicago charter schools’ college-enrollement rate is the second highest for public schools in the Chicago region. NKO was cited by Harvard University economist Richard Murnane as a model, including its teacher training and collaboration.

Nicholas Senn High School International Baccalaureate expanded its International Baccalaureate program to all new students who attend the school and went from the bottom third to a top-tier rating. A University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research study showed positive effects of Chicago’s IB program. Chicago Public Schools is now expanding IB throughout the district.

Noble Street College Prep, which opened in 1999, is the oldest campus in the 17-school Noble Network of Charter Schools. The school centers around the values of scholarship, discipline, and honor. Each year, more than half of its sophomores study in summer programs at prestigious universities such as the University of Michigan and Stanford University.

Deep Dive: Science of Learning
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Is there an ideal way to learn? Decades of research in the fields of cognitive and social psychology, child development and the science of test-taking strongly suggest schools and colleges can take specific steps to boost teaching and learning. This three-part session explores proven research on how students from pre-K to college take in knowledge.

Deep Dive: Science of Learning (Part 1)
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

  • Lillian Mongeau, The Hechinger Report  (Moderator)
  • Natasha Cabrera, Family Involvement Laboratory at University of Maryland
  • Geoffrey A. Nagle, Erikson Institute

Deep Dive: Science of Learning (Part 2)
9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

  • Ki Sung, Mindshift at KQED Public Radio (Moderator)
  • Camille Farrington, The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research
  • Carissa Romero, Project for Education Research That Scales (PERTS) at Stanford University

Deep Dive: Science of Learning (Part 3)
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

  • Ki Sung, Mindshift at KQED Public Radio (Moderator)
  • Henry L. Roediger III, The Washington University in St. Louis
  • Bror Saxberg, Kaplan Inc.

Deep Dive: Student Loans
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

This deep dive into student loans will examine crucial issues of higher education debt from three different perspectives: the impact of national policies, the choices for students and families, and the stories reporters should explore.

Deep Dive: Student Loans (Part 1)
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

  • Kim Clark, Money (Moderator)
  • Debra Chromy, Education Finance Council
  • Jamie Malone, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation
  • Barmak Nassirian, American Association of State Colleges and Universities

Deep Dive: Student Loans (Part 2)
9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

  • Reyna Gobel, CliffsNotes Graduation Debt: How to Manage Student Loans and Live Your Life (Moderator)
  • Katherine Sydor, U.S. Department of Education

Deep Dive: Student Loans (Part 3)
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

  • David Attis, Education Advisory Board (Speaker)

Deep Dive: The Value of More Time for Learning
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Concern is growing that the standard school calendar does not offer enough time to close learning gaps between poor students and their better-off peers. Yet giving students more meaningful learning opportunities during and after school, as well as the summer, has not been easy. What should reporters make of the push to add more time for learning?

Deep Dive: The Value of More Time for Learning (Part 1)
8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Deep Dive: The Value of More Time for Learning (Part 2)
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Deep Dive: The Value of More Time for Learning (Part 3)
10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

  • Jackie Mader, The Hechinger Report (Moderator)
  • Martin J. Blank, Coalition for Community Schools
  • Nichole Pinkard, Digital Youth Network
  • Deborah Lowe Vandell, University of California, Irvine

Deep Dive: The Value of More Time for Learning (Part 4)
11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

  • Kathryn Baron, Education Week (Speaker/Moderator)
  • Sarah Butrymowicz, The Hechinger Report
  • James Vaznis, The Boston Globe

Community Member Social Media Workshop
8:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

We offer a two-part deep dive for community members on effective use of social media. Part 1 provides guidance on analytics and how to effectively gauge audience and buy-in. Part 2 is on communicating complexity in 140 characters or less.

Community Member Social Media Workshop (Part 1)

  • Michelle Lerner, Thomas B. Fordham Institute (Moderator)
  • Devin Boyle, Collaborative Communications Group
  • Bob Farrace, Marketing Design Group (mdg)
  • Jana Rausch, Milken Family Foundation

Community Member Social Media Workshop (Part 2)
9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

  • Dakarai Aarons, Data Quality Campaign (Moderator)
  • Hanna Frank, Education Post
  • Erica Lepping, Larson Communications
  • Blair Mann, Collaborative for Student Success

Content Creation for Communication Pros
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

“Content Creation” has become an increasingly important new approach for communications pros. Join us for a frank discussion, featuring panelists from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, the Data Quality Campaign and others, to learn best strategies and lessons learned.

  • Kat Stein, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (Moderator)
  • Jon-Michael Basile, Data Quality Campaign
  • Alicia Di Rado, University of Southern California
  • Mary Tamer, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Denise-Marie Ordway, Orlando Sentinel

Lunch Keynote
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Session Highlights Video

  • Catharine Bond Hill, Vassar College
  • David Attis, Education Advisory Board
  • Elaine Allensworth, The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research
  • Cornelia Grumman, The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute

Membership Meeting
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

EWA leadership discusses highlights of the organization’s recent history and invites members’ input on its future direction.