How We Go Back to School - Online Summit

Free Online Event: How We Go Back to School

District and school leaders are confronting difficult, high-stakes decisions as they plan for how and if they will reopen school buildings this fall as the global pandemic rages on. Safety for students and staff members is the chief priority. But with no vaccine or effective treatment yet against COVID-19, no one can be fully shielded from the risk. There are no playbooks for how to do this.

Many of the options and requirements for reopening schools will upend some of the most effective aspects of teaching and learning. Following public health protocols will cost a lot of money, even as school budgets are pummeled by the economic collapse. Managing the anxieties of teachers, students, and parents will require patience, compassion, and careful communication.

To help district and school leaders navigate these monumental decisions, our journalists and expert guests will discuss with you, the Education Week reader, some of the biggest challenges ahead and offer ideas and solutions that you can use and adapt for your districts and schools.

Thank you to those who joined us for this event, which took place on Aug. 19, 2020.


August 19, 2020
1-3 p.m. ET

Social Media


EdWeek on Facebook EdWeek on Twitter

Education Week can only provide 1 hour of professional development credit for online summits if the educator attends live. On demand viewing cannot be provided credit in your state because of the summit platform functionality. We look forward to seeing you live at the next summit.

  • 1:00–3:00 p.m. ET | Discussions Open

    The 'COVID-19 Slide': Measuring and Addressing Learning Losses
    Moderator: Lesli A. Maxwell, Assistant Managing Editor, Education Week
    ‣ New research is already showing major setbacks to academic achievement in the months of disrupted schooling forced by COVID-19, with estimates that some students will have lost as much as a full school year’s worth of learning gains. How can districts and schools effectively measure and diagnose the learning losses? What types of interventions and staffing changes can be deployed to address the losses?
    Luvelle Brown, Superintendent, Ithaca City School District, Ithaca, N.Y.
    Misael Ramos, Teacher, Springfield, Mass.
    Nathaniel Schwartz, Professor of Practice at Brown University and Leader in Brown’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform

    Supporting Students’ Social-Emotional and Mental Health Needs
    Moderator: Arianna Prothero, Staff Writer, Education Week
    ‣ Students will return to schools this fall with profound social-emotional and mental health needs. Some will be traumatized by COVID-19’s impact on their families and communities and many could be anxious about their health and safety. How can schools and districts prioritize and balance those needs with addressing deep academic losses?
    Stephanie M. Jones, Gerald S. Lesser Professor of Child Development and Education in the Harvard Graduate School of Education
    Ray Lozano, Executive Director, Student and Family Empowerment, El Paso Independent School District, Texas

    How Can Remote Learning Improve This Fall?
    Moderator: Mark Lieberman, Staff Writer, Education Week
    ‣ Even if most schools reopen with live attendance on some or all days, there’s almost no question that they will need to continue some remote learning—to protect high-risk teachers and students and as a way to manage numbers of people in a building at any given time. How can schools and districts be better prepared to deliver robust instruction more consistently? What are the major lessons from the spring’s abrupt and chaotic shift to virtual teaching?
    Jhone Ebert, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Nevada Department of Education
    Oscar Rico, IT Director, Canutillo Independent School District, Texas

    What Teachers’ Jobs Will Look Like
    Catherine Gewertz, Senior Contributing Writer, Education Week
    Sarah Schwartz, Staff Writer, Education Week
    ‣ Wearing masks or face shields. Smaller class sizes. One day in the building. Another day teaching from home. There are countless scenarios for how teaching will look this fall. What will teachers need most to be prepared to face an unprecedented start to an academic year and what can districts and schools do to support the transition back into the classroom?
    Emily Freitag, Co-Founder and CEO, Instruction Partners
    Scott Marion, President and Executive Director, National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment

    Creating an Equitable Return to School
    Moderator: Christina A. Samuels, Associate Editor, Education Week
    ‣ As classrooms reopen, how can districts and schools guarantee that the students who need the most support for their learning actually get it? What decisions should be made through an “equity lens?” and what strategies can administrators use to ensure that students who’ve fallen most behind by the prolonged closures of school buildings don’t lose even more ground?
    Stephanie Hawley, Chief Equity Officer, Austin Independent School District, Texas
    Ace Parsi, Director of Innovation, National Center for Learning Disabilities

    Accelerate Learning for Struggling Readers During Unprecedented Times
    Moderator: Terrie Noland, Learning Ally VP Educator Initiatives
    ‣ Join Terrie Noland, Learning Ally VP Educator Initiatives, CALP in Literacy and other K-12 leaders in an open discussion about how to support educators in meeting the needs of struggling readers this fall. She will be discussing strategies to quickly assess students' reading ability and to provide support so struggling readers can catch up and keep pace with their peers. Strategies around indicators, interventions, and accommodations will be discussed.
    Joelle Nappi, Dyslexia Therapist and Special Education Teacher, Freehold Township, Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School, N.J.

    Addressing Gaps in Learning
    Holly King, Ph.D., Vice President, Improvement Services
    Amy McVey, Vice President, Improvement Services
    ‣ With the challenges that reopening schools brings, addressing gaps in learning needs dynamic discussion and customized solutions. In this booth, learn best practices that:
    • Examine the importance of the alignment of curricula to rigorous standards within and across grade levels
    • Explore how educators can use formative assessment processes to identify students' understanding and gaps in foundational knowledge as they begin a new year
    • Discuss differentiated instruction, with a particular focus on acceleration rather than remediation

    Connecting School and Home: How to Find Your Focus for Back to School
    Kathryn Simmons, Professional Development Specialist, Istation
    Tina Cole, Digital Professional Development Specialist, Istation
    ‣ Returning to school will be a journey for us all. But despite unprecedented circumstances, educators will continue to assess, monitor progress, teach and differentiate instruction while leading students toward skill growth.
    This interactive discussion will help equip educational leaders interested in strengthening the school-to-home connection. Join Istation professional development experts and former educators Kathryn Simmons and Tina Cole to learn how to make sound instructional decisions whether the learning takes place in person or remotely, discover best practices to get school-wide buy-in, and implement learning systems with ease. Plus, connect with peers in the booth to hear what’s working in other K-8 classrooms as well as share tips to improve parent communication and more.

    Developing a Brick-to-Click Learning Environment
    Moderator: Deborah Rayow, Vice President, Instructional Design & Learning Science
    ‣ Building a well-functioning brick-to-click learning environment—one that enables you to switch between in-person (brick) and virtual (click) instruction—requires innovation, planning, and adaptability. What training will teachers need? Will your curriculum enable you to switch between brick and click? What social and emotional supports are critical for your students and teachers? How can teachers motivate students in this new learning environment? Discover the steps you can take to reopen your school doors and prepare your school or district community with the support they need to continue learning in any setting.
    Heidi Kenworthy, Rio Rancho Cyber Academy Assistant Principal, RRPS District Administrator Online Blended Learning
    Wes Hurley, Dean of Students, Albuquerque Public Schools

    Focused on how to best support your students? We can help!
    ‣ Addressing your students’ needs holistically—academically from measuring and screening learning challenges to assessing and monitoring behavior and social-emotional capabilities—while ensuring equity throughout your classroom seems like a big task, but having the right resources and support in place will lighten your load immeasurably.
    Our team of experts is here to help with:
    • Screening guidelines for the return to school
    • Using SEL to build resilience
    • Benchmarking, assessing, and monitoring progress for behavior and literacy challenges
    • Putting an MTSS system together (and what tools to use)
    Chris Huzinec, M.S., Pearson
    Doug Maraffa, Ed.D., Pearson
    Liz Grose, SSP NCSP, Pearson

    How Diagnostic Tools, Interventions & Critical Thinking Guide Back-to-School Instructional Planning
    ‣ Overcoming learning loss and preparing students for success are critical. Join Mentoring Minds to discuss how diagnostic tools, interventions, and the 9 Traits of Critical Thinking™ can help address learning gaps and promote deeper thinking this year and beyond.
    Ladona Cook, M.Ed., Instructional Design Manager
    Charles Fuhrken, Ph.D., VP, Curriculum Development

    Driving Engagement While Teaching Remotely
    Moderator: Angela Ardoin, Head of Learning and Development, Promethean, North America
    ‣ Regardless of how we go back to school, driving engagement to make up for learning gaps will be critical. Let’s chat about best practices education consultants are seeing schools implement as they start the new year. In our booth, learn how to:
    • Evaluate your new remote/hybrid learning environments
    • Introduce rigor into lesson development and engagement
    • Leverage SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition) to help teachers adopt and embrace technology in new learning scenarios
    • Deliver the right level of assessment to the right students
    • Use polling to drive engagement
    • Introduce apps, add-ons, and extensions to improve workflows
    • Set teachers up for success in the NEW ‘school’

    Sustainability and Management of a True 1:1 Technology Program for Students
    Erik Anderson, Vice President, Enterprise Sales and Public Sector, Stratix
    Bob Plant, Senior Mobile Solutions Architect, Stratix
    Jeff Reistad, Senior Vice President, Bark for Schools
    ‣ In today’s unprecedented environment, the education system is being asked to create virtual classrooms in situations where there may not be the technology or support systems in place. Whether you are deploying Chromebooks or tablets, managing a sustainable 1:1 technology program is complex. Once the devices go home, the "surprises" begin. What happens when a device breaks? What if a student needs help after hours? How can you make the program sustainable year-over-year? What considerations do you have in place for online safety of students using school-issued devices?

Guests, Speakers, and Moderators

Luvelle Brown
Superintendent, Ithaca City School District, Ithaca, N.Y.

Brown is the 2017 New York State Superintendent of the Year. He has served as superintendent of the Ithaca City School District since January 2011. Previously, Dr. Brown had experiences as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, school CIO, and district-level leader in Virginia.

Jhone Ebert
Superintendent of Public Instruction, Nevada Department of Education

Ebert is the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Nevada Department of Education. A lifelong educator, she began her career as a math teacher, before working as chief technology officer and chief innovation and productivity officer in Clark County School District and as a senior education policy advisor at New York State Education Department. Superintendent Ebert champions equity and accessibility, seeking to close opportunity gaps and narrow the digital divide. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, she has worked to provide support and flexibility to districts and schools, while ensuring that vulnerable students still receive the services they need, including nutrition services, broadband and devices, special education services, English learner supports, professional development for teachers, and social-emotional supports and resources for all community members. This work would not be possible without the relationships and knowledge gained during her 2019 Statewide Listening Tour, during which she visited all 17 school districts and the State Public Charter School Authority.

Emily Freitag
Co-Founder and CEO, Instruction Partners

Freitag is the co-founder and CEO of Instruction Partners, a nonprofit organization that works shoulder to shoulder with schools and districts to support great teaching and accelerate student learning. Prior to this role, she was the Assistant Commissioner of Curriculum and Instruction for the Tennessee Department of Education.

Catherine Gewertz
Senior Contributing Writer, Education Week

Gewertz covers curriculum and instruction. In recognition of her expert reporting on assessment, the National Council on Measurement in Education named her the winner of its 2019 award for Excellence in Public Communication. Since joining Education Week in 1999, Gewertz has been the lead reporter on the common core and assessment and has covered urban schools. Previously, she was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times and United Press International.

Stephanie Hawley
Chief Equity Officer, Austin Independent School District, Texas

Hawley is the chief equity officer for Austin ISD. Hawley came to AISD from Austin Community College, where she served as the Associate Vice President of Equity and Inclusion. Prior to her work at Austin Community College, she served in various leadership roles in City Colleges of Chicago, Morton College, Oklahoma City University, and Del Mar College.

Stephanie M. Jones
Gerald S. Lesser Professor of Child Development and Education in the Harvard Graduate School of Education

In addition to being a professor of child development and education at Harvard University, Jones is the director of the Ecological Approaches to Social Emotional Learning (EASEL) Lab, which studies the effects of social-emotional interventions on students’ development and academic achievement. Over the last ten years Jones’ work has focused on the impact of preschool and elementary focused SEL interventions on behavioral and academic outcomes and classroom practices; as well as new curriculum development, implementation, and testing. She also studies the effects of poverty and exposure to violence on children and youth’s social, emotional, and behavioral development. Jones serves on numerous national advisory boards and as a consultant to program developers, including Sesame Street.

Mark Lieberman
Staff Writer, Education Week

Lieberman is a reporter for Education Week covering technology and digital learning. He covers issues including cybersecurity, personalized learning, the future of work, e-learning, and virtual education. He previously covered digital learning and online education in the postsecondary world for the online publication Inside Higher Ed.

Ray Lozano
Executive Director, Student and Family Empowerment, El Paso Independent School District, Texas

Lozano has been the Executive Director for Student and Family Empowerment in the El Paso Independent School District since 2014. In his role, Lozano is dedicated to fulfilling the district’s goals of building strong partnerships between schools and families to support students’ social-emotional learning. He has 16 years of experience at the high school level, serving as a social studies teacher, assistant principal, and principal.

Scott Marion
President and Executive Director, National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment

Marion is the president and executive director of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, which advises states, districts and legislators about testing. He is a national leader in designing innovative and comprehensive assessment systems to support instruction and accountability.

Lesli A. Maxwell
Assistant Managing Editor, Education Week

Maxwell is an assistant managing editor for Education Week who focuses on the principal and school leadership audience and oversees coverage of school leadership and management. She writes The Savvy Principal, a weekly newsletter for school leaders. For five years, she oversaw Education Week’s annual Leaders To Learn From special report that showcases outstanding district-level leadership. Maxwell began working at Education Week in 2006 as a reporter. She previously was a state government and higher education reporter for The Sacramento Bee and The Fresno Bee in California. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Ace Parsi
Director of Innovation, National Center for Learning Disabilities

Parsi is the director of innovation at the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) where he works to ensure students with disabilities fully benefit from initiatives aiming to personalize learning for all students.

Arianna Prothero
Staff Writer, Education Week

Prothero covers student well-being and student engagement and motivation for Education Week. She delves into all facets that impact a child’s potential for success in school and beyond, including social-emotional learning, physical health, mental health, nutrition, housing and environmental factors such as family and economic stability and exposure to trauma and violence. Prothero formally worked as a radio reporter, anchor, and producer at WLRN, the NPR affiliate in Miami.

Misael Ramos
Teacher, Springfield, Mass.

Ramos has been a math teacher in Springfield, Mass., for his entire professional career. He is particularly invested in ELL academics and bilingual education, which were key components that shaped his own educational path as a student and ELL. He works also as a math coach to assist other teachers in their lesson plans and teaching craft, specifically with dual-language learning. As an educator during this pandemic, he is dedicated to investigating best practices for dealing with any learning loss that has occurred.

Oscar Rico
IT Director, Canutillo Independent School District, Texas

Rico is the IT Director at Canutillo ISD in El Paso, Texas. Through his work as a teacher, principal and Director and his research work studying disenfranchised groups, Rico strives to continue the fight to close the education gap. Recently under his leadership, Canutillo ISD teamed with Apple to deliver a 1:1 PreK-12 initiative as well as Cisco and Fluidmesh Technologies to provide a universal WiFi solution to his district.

Christina A. Samuels
Associate Editor, Education Week

Samuels covers educational equity for Education Week. She explores how schools and districts meet their mandate to serve the needs of all students and establish fairness in opportunity regardless of a student’s racial or ethnic background, disability, or English learner status. She started working at Education Week in 2004, after stints at the Miami Herald and The Washington Post.

Nathaniel Schwartz
Professor of Practice at Brown University and a Leader in Brown’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform

Schwartz is a professor of practice at Brown University and a leader in Brown’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform. At Annenberg, Schwartz started the EdResearch for Recovery project, which collects requests for pandemic-related research guidance from education leaders and identifies teams of researchers across the country to build out quick-response evidence synthesis. Schwartz previously served as the chief research and strategy officer for the Tennessee Department of Education. In this role, he led the department’s research and strategic planning teams and helped launch the Tennessee Education Research Alliance, an innovative state-level research partnership with Vanderbilt University.

Sarah Schwartz
Staff Writer, Education Week

Schwartz is a reporter for Education Week who covers curriculum and instruction. Before joining the staff, she was as an Education Week intern, covering education technology. She has also worked at a middle school in East Harlem, New York.

Would you like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities?

Sponsored by:

Learning Ally   Cognia   Istation   Edgenuity

Pearson      Mentoring Minds   Promethean   Stratix


Recognized by The NonProfitTimes as one of the 2020 Best Nonprofits to Work For.

Education Week has been selected as one of the 2020 Best Nonprofits To Work For by The NonProfit Times, a leading national business publication for nonprofit managers.

Partnering with Best Companies Group (BCG), The NonProfit Times recognizes and honors employers in the nonprofit sector that have excelled in creating quality workplaces. BCG puts organizations through a battery of surveys and employees are asked to answer 79 questions and statements.

“We are humbled and energized to be selected as one of the top fifty 2020 winners, particularly during these very challenging times.” —Michele Givens, President and CEO, Education Week

Keep up with Education Week by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

Participation certificates are provided for summits that occur after Sept. 19, 2019, and live viewers receive a post-event confirmation email.