STEM and Beyond: Agenda

STEM and Beyond: Strengthening the Skills of Students and Journalists


Optional Morning Site Visit

12:00 –12:45 Lunch and Welcome

12:45 – 1:00 Framing Remarks 

  • Executive Vice Provost Michael W. Quick, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, University of Southern California

1:00 – 2:00 STEM Achievement Gaps: From Problem to Solution 

Plenty of data show a gap in STEM attainment along racial and socioeconomic lines. But do test-score disparities point to problems with students, schools, the curriculum, or something else? What do we know about narrowing STEM achievement gaps? And how can you give the numbers a narrative that makes sense for your audience?

  • Alicia Dowd, Center for Urban Education, University of Southern California
  • Andresse St. Rose, American Association of University Women
  • Katy Murphy, San Jose Mercury News (Moderator)

2:05 – 3:05 Covering STEM Education Without Losing or Offending the Audience

Reporting on education is more than just the numbers; it’s also quantifying the success and progress of demographic groups. Yet with relentless deadlines and constant pressure to “do more with less,” taking heed of how stories are viewed by those we cover can get lost in the shuffle. What are the best practices for covering achievement gaps without patronizing groups that are behind? How do we elegantly write about emerging and dominant ethnic groups? And what can stories from the past teach us about education journalism going forward?

  • Robert Hernandez, Annenberg School of Journalism, University of Southern California
  • Bill Celis, Annenberg School of Journalism, University of Southern California
  • Beth Shuster, Los Angeles Times (Moderator)

3:05 – 3:15 Break

3:15 – 4:15 Are Math Teachers, Ed Schools and Publishers Ready for Common Core?

With the rollout of the Common Core State Standards well underway, much is riding on how faithfully the new standards are reflected in the classroom—both in the lessons teachers lead and the classroom materials schools provide. Recent research suggests that neither the education schools that prepare most teachers nor the publishers that create most textbooks are particularly in sync with Common Core.

  • William Schmidt, Education Policy Center, Michigan State University
  • Morgan Polikoff, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California
  • Michael Alison Chandler, The Washington Post (Moderator)

4:15 – 5:00 Climate Change and Evolution: Teaching in the Face of Controversy

What are the challenges for teachers in handling topics that scientists may see as settled questions but that still stir contention in society at large? USC professor Gale Sinatra will explore the challenges educators, students and the community face when dealing with controversial science topics such as evolution and climate change.

  • Gale Sinatra, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California
  • Greg Toppo, USA Today (Moderator)

5:30 p.m. Light Food and Drinks at the Los Angeles Times

7:30 Day One Ends


8:00 – 8:45 Breakfast

8:45 – 9:00 a.m. Welcome

  • Dean Karen Symms Gallagher, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. STEM Worker Shortage: Does It Exist and Is Education to Blame?  

The National Science Board’s biennial book, Science and Engineering Indicators, consistently finds that the U.S. produces many more STEM graduates than the workforce can absorb. Meanwhile, employers say managers are struggling to find qualified workers in STEM fields. What explains these apparently contradictory trends? And as the shortage debate rages, what do we know about the pipeline of STEM-talented students from kindergarten to college, and what happens to them in the job market?

  • Michael Teitelbaum, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School
  • Linda Rosen, CEO, Change the Equation
  • Ben Herold, Education Week (Moderator)

10:05 – 11:05 a.m. Preparing Future Workers: High School Redesign and Career/Technical Education

Big changes are afoot in how schools prepare students for the knowledge economy. Career and technical education is no longer a byword for tracking, and districts are exploring ways to make science and technology learning hands-on. Learn about the trends and challenges in preparing students for a meaningful place in the highly skilled workforce.

  • Jim Stone III, Director, National Research Center for Career & Technical Education, University of Louisville
  • Abraham Orozco, Heart of Los Angeles
  • Steve Rockenbach, Ernest McBride High School (Long Beach)
  • Stephen Ceasar, Los Angeles Times (Moderator)

11:10 – 12:10 p.m. The Science of Learning Science: Lessons for Schools

Cognitive science has made great strides in understanding how students learn science, but that knowledge has yet to be reflected in most classrooms. How can the latest research on how individuals absorb STEM subjects be effectively rolled out in schools? And what steps have been taken to bridge the divide between scholars and practitioners? A world-renowned physicist shares insights with a senior administrator responsible for STEM instruction in the nation’s second-largest school district.

  • Helen Quinn, Board of Science Education, National Research Council
  • Todd Ullah, Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and School Support, Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Jackie Mader, The Hechinger Report (Moderator)

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. Lunch

1:20 – 2:25 p.m. Creating Coders: Building Computer Science Skills in K-12 and Beyond

Spurred by well-heeled entrepreneurs and a cadre of education groups, more states are examining scaling up computer science instruction in their K-12 schools. Is computer science a suitable math or science course? And are there enough to instructors to bring computer science to the masses? What trends are emerging K-12 classrooms and at the postsecondary level?

  • Chris Stephenson, Computer Science Teachers Association
  • Debra J. Richardson, University of California at Irvine
  • Leslie Aaronson, Technology Academy, Foshay Learning Center
  • Ana Hernandez, Foshay Learning Center (Student)
  • Annie Gilberston, KPCC (Moderator)

2:30 – 3:45 p.m. Games and Learning: Scoring Points for Art and Science

The arts aren’t just for painters and writers. The creation of video games is ripe for fusing artistic expression with the hard sciences, where a detailed eye and compelling story go hand-in-hand with computer engineering. Hear from a seasoned game designer who now leads a gaming innovation lab at USC about the talent and skill needed to cut it in video game design. What STEM background do students need going into college to study gaming, and is the industry healthy enough to reward STEM-talented creatives with good jobs?

  • Tracy Fullerton, USC Game Innovation Lab, University of Southern California
  • Alex Matthew, USC School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California
  • Erin Reynolds, Creative Director of the biofeedback-enhanced game Nevermind
  • Greg Toppo, USA Today (Moderator)