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Student Well-Being Online Summit

Character Education & COVID-19: How to Build Confident, Engaged Learners Now

This event occurred on September 22, 2020 2:30 PM EDT and is only accessible to those who originally registered.
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COVID-19 toppled every best-laid plan that schools had for the final months of the 2019-2020 academic year. Beginning in March, as educators scrambled to figure out their best instructional options, they often struggled to get a sense of whether their students even had some of their basic needs covered, like internet access or a space to work, in order to pursue remote learning. When in late May, as the pandemic continued unabated, the largest movement in U.S. history erupted with a national call for racial justice. Students and their educators stood up and took notice. This summit will explore how teachers and school and district leaders can encourage the development of agency, self-empowerment, and well-being among their students during the convergence of these two historic events.

Many stories are coming to light of educators working with young people, taking advantage of this inflection point to help define, build, and develop with students what it means to reflect on their own well-being, as well as serve the larger, collective good. There are also accounts of young people leading the charge in some instances, demonstrating motivation, leadership, commitment to community, and civic awareness in ways that no one could have anticipated. What does that look like? And who are the educators—and the students—who are leading this charge? What lessons can educators, researchers, and policymakers glean from these examples in order to apply them to learning going forward? And what might these promising approaches of elevating character have to say about the future direction of our schools, social institutions, and workforce?

This online summit will explore practical and promising approaches for incorporating elements of character education into educational experiences and why it matters.

Download a PDF of the Key Takeaways


1:00–2:30 p.m. ET | Discussions Open
1:00–2:30 p.m. ET

A Blueprint for Student Empowerment

1:00–2:30 p.m. ET

Civic Engagement and Student Leadership in a Virtual Environment

1:00–2:30 p.m. ET

Making Meaningful Connections in a Virtual World

1:00–2:30 p.m. ET

Why Sports Matter More Than Ever: A Case Study in Virtual Athletics

1:00–2:30 p.m. ET

Empowering Students to Cultivate Their Passions

1:00–2:30 p.m. ET

Strengthening Student & Adult Social-Emotional Learning Through SEL Measurement + Interventions


Janaan Ahmed
Former Student Representative Minneapolis Public School Board of Education
Patrick Burke
Principal South Burlington High School, Vt.
Maggie Di Sanza
High School Senior and Founder Bleed Shamelessly
Brandon Griggs
High School Senior and Student Activist Jacksonville, Fla.
Jill Gurtner
Principal Clark Street Community School, Middleton, Wis.
Michael Jabour
Student Activities Director South Burlington High School, Vt.
Azadi Mathew-Lewis
Freshman Hampton University
Voncia Monchais
Youth Engagement Director Mikva Challenge DC
Aaron Murakami
Senior South Burlington High School, Vt.
Saniya Sah
Freshman Northeastern University, Boston, Mass.
Nicole Williams Beechum
Senior Research Analyst University of Chicago Consortium for School Research
Dominique Bander
Kevin Bushweller oversees coverage of educational technology and learning environments for Education Week.
Mary Hendrie is the deputy opinion editor at Education Week.
Bess Keller is a senior contributing editor for the opinion section of Education Week.
Lesli Maxwell is managing editor of Education Week.
Stephen Sawchuk is an assistant managing editor for Education Week, leading coverage of teaching, learning, and curriculum.

Development of independent content for this virtual summit is supported in part by a grant from The Kern Family Foundation.

Education Week can provide 1 hour of Professional Development credit for online summits if the educator attends live. A Certificate of Completion will be emailed to you shortly after the summit has ended. On demand viewing of a summit cannot be used for credit. As with all professional development hours delivered, Education Week recommends each educator verify ahead of the online summit that the content will qualify for professional development in your school, district, county, or state with your supervisor, human resources professional, and/or principal or superintendent’s office.
Coverage of character education and development is supported in part by a grant from The Kern Family Foundation, at Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.