Agenda: A Reporter’s Guide to Adolescent Learning and Well-Being

Feb. 27-28, 2020

This schedule is tentative and subject to change. The seminar is on Feb. 27-28 in Berkeley, Calif.


Day 1: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020

8:00 – 8:45 a.m.

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.

  • Caroline Hendrie, Education Writers Association

Friendship: How ‘Life’s Fundamental Bond’ Shapes Teens
9:00 – 9:45 a.m.

Forming relationships with peers plays an outsize role in teens’ well-being and development. A science journalist discusses elements of her just-published book — “Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond” — that specifically address adolescents. Reframing sleepovers, video games, and middle school lunch from an evolutionary perspective offers a fresh look at the promise of adolescence.

  • Lydia Denworth, author and science journalist
  • Aisha Sultan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (moderator)

Understanding the Adolescent Brain
10:00 – 10:45 a.m.

A developmental scientist (and pediatrician) offers an overview of the brain research on adolescents — especially at the onset of puberty — and its implications for the health, well-being and education of young people. He delves into the nature of learning in the teen years and the profound impact of peer relationships. Journalists also receive guidance on how to bring a skeptical eye to research.

  • Ron Dahl, University of California, Berkeley; Center for the Developing Adolescent
  • Emmeline Zhao, The 74 (moderator)

Are the Kids All Right? Addressing Mental Health
11:00 – 11:45 a.m.

Rates of depression and anxiety are rising among tweens and teens, and more youths are contemplating suicide. Meanwhile, African American and Latino young people are more likely to have their mental health needs unmet than their white peers. Experts explore the challenges, as well as promising models for communities and schools to help.

  • Edith Bracho-Sanchez, Columbia University Medical Center
  • Alexandra Papa, Acknowledge Alliance
  • Brooke Stafford-Brizard, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
  • Jocelyn Wiener, CalMatters (moderator)

Noon – 1:00 p.m.

Behind the Screens: Risks and Rewards of Teen Tech Use
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Digital technology offers young people a myriad of ways to be creative, socialize with peers, and express themselves. In this session, journalists get up to speed with the latest research on how adolescent well-being is affected — positively and negatively — by ubiquitous social media and device use. Speakers discuss the opportunities of such technology, as well as challenges related to cyberbullying, sexting, and setting limits with teens and tweens who yearn for screens.

  • Jenny Brundin, Colorado Public Radio
  • Sarah Domoff, Central Michigan University
  • Jeff Temple, University of Texas Medical Branch
  • Ki Sung, KQED Public Media (moderator)

Talking With Teens: A Fresh Approach to Your Next Interview
2:15 – 3:15 p.m.

Experienced education journalists share insights and practical advice on interviewing tweens and teens. How can reporters find fresh opportunities to include student voices in their storytelling? What are the ethical considerations when interviewing minors, especially on sensitive or controversial topics? What are effective techniques to draw out young people and engage with them? How does cultural sensitivity factor into these interactions?

  • Moriah Balingit, The Washington Post
  • Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times
  • Sarah Carr, The Boston Globe (moderator)

Addressing the Needs of LGBTQ Youths
3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Efforts are growing to better protect the health and well-being of LGBTQ adolescents. Learn how schools and communities are responding to emerging policy debates, rising awareness, and community anxieties. Panelists contextualize the specific needs and challenges LGBTQ students face with attention to growing data and on-the-ground practitioner experience.

  • Laura Edwards-Leeper, Pacific University
  • Jackie Jackson-Dean, Pasco County, Fla., Schools
  • Mauro Sifuentes, San Francisco Unified School District
  • Rob Todaro, The Trevor Project
  • Carolyn Jones, EdSource (moderator)

Wrap-Up for Day One
4:30 – 5:00 p.m.

Optional Happy Hour
5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Join us at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza’s Zino bar and lounge for some casual socializing and adolescent-themed icebreakers.

Day 2: Friday, Feb 28, 2020

8:00 – 8:45 a.m.

A Conversation With Linda Darling-Hammond
8:45 – 9:30 a.m.

The influential education researcher, tapped last year as president of the California State Board of Education, discusses what the growing body of research on adolescent development means for policy and practice in schools. She also addresses the challenges schools face, equity considerations, and more.

  • Linda Darling-Hammond, Learning Policy Institute
  • Erik Robelen, Education Writers Association (moderator)

Connecting Cognitive Science to Classroom Practice
9:45 – 10:45 a.m.

Educators and experts drill down on the opportunities and challenges of importing the lessons of cognitive and brain science into the classroom. They also show concrete examples of what this looks like in action, and offer insights on how districts can work to close the disconnect between research and practice.

  • Robyn Harper, District of Columbia Public Schools
  • Jim Heal, Research Schools International
  • Eric Kalenze, researchED
  • Caroline Hendrie, Education Writers Association (moderator)

Data Training Part 1
11:00 a.m. – Noon
Journalists choose from two options.

1) CDC Data on Youths (Crystal Ballroom Section I)

An expert walks reporters through invaluable data available in the CDC Youth Risk Surveillance Survey, looking at teen sleep, vaping, sexual activity, and more.

  • J. Michael Underwood, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Alex Harwin, Education Week (moderator)

2) Speed Teen Data-ing (Boiler Room C)

A reporter and researcher offer a quick tour of lots of helpful data sets journalists can use to document teens’ mental health, drug and alcohol use, and educational experiences and outcomes.

  • Tom Loveless, independent researcher​​
  • Aneri Pattani, Spotlight PA
  • Kim Clark, Education Writers Association (moderator)

Boxed Lunches
Noon – 12:45 p.m.

Data Training Part 2 (optional)
12:45 – 1:45 p.m.

1) CDC Data on Youths (Crystal Ballroom Section I)

2) Speed Teen Data-ing (Boiler Room C)