Preparing educators for school closings and a new learning environment

Presenters: Kathleen Walts, Leona Smith-Vance, and Robin Lake

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What schools are getting right during the Coronavirus closures In this uncertain time and with new school system closings being announced daily, Learning Forward is bringing together experts from practice, research, and policy to discuss the impact on educators and students and to offer potential resources, insights, and ideas for continuing the strong teaching and learning that our members provide every day. In this webinar, we will hear from Robin Lake, the Director of the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), a non-partisan research and policy analysis organization developing transformative, evidence-based solutions for K–12 public education. Robin has been tracking and writing about school systems’ response to COVID-19 and is collecting information on school districts that are closing and how they are supporting that response. She will share what she is learning with our

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Kathleen Walts, Executive Director, Professional Learning and Family Engagement, Fairfax County Public Schools
Walts provides leadership and supervision for Professional Growth and Career Development, Title I, Family and School Partnerships, and the Parent Resource Center. Walts joined FCPS in July 2005 as principal of Kings Park Elementary School, where she led a highly effective staff to increase student learning and achievement, and served as one of the first principals to implement the district’s instructional coaching program. She then served as Principal in Residence, providing professional development and coaching support for new principals. Most recently, she served as Director of Professional Learning and School Support within the Instructional Services Department.

Leona Smith-Vance, Director of Equity and Family Engagement, Fairfax County Public Schools
Smith provides leadership and advocacy through an equity lens to the Title I team, Family and School Partnerships, and the FCPS Equity and Cultural Responsive. A team that provides division-wide professional development on cultural proficiency, culturally responsive teaching, and bias. Smith, joined FCPS in August of 2004 as a classroom teacher. Since then, she has held several positions within FCPS to include School-Based Technology Specialists, Assistant Principal and most recently Principal of Forest Edge ES.

Robin Lake, Director, Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE)
The Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) is a non-partisan research and policy analysis organization developing transformative, evidence-based solutions for K–12 public education. Lake’s research focuses on U.S. public school system reforms, including public school choice and charter schools; innovation and scale; portfolio management; and effective state and local public oversight practices. Lake has authored numerous studies and provided expert testimony and technical assistance on charter schools, district-charter collaborations, and urban school reform. She is the editor of Unique Schools Serving Unique Students: Charter Schools and Children with Special Needs and editor of Hopes, Fears, & Reality: A Balanced Look at American Charter Schools. She co-authored, with Paul Hill, Charter Schools and Accountability in Public Education. She has provided invited testimonies to the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee as well as various state legislatures.


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Learning Forward is the only professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development. We help our members plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so they can achieve success with their systems, schools, and students.

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