Webinar: 2021 Virtual Legislative Education Forum

This year’s forum will feature a keynote address from John B. King Jr., president and CEO of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps, from preschool through college. Mr. King will discuss the nation’s current educational landscape and offer insight on the road ahead for education post-COVID-19.

After the keynote address, Mr. King will join a panel discussion with Illinois education stakeholders to discuss how the state can foster creative leadership to further build upon the heroic efforts of so many across Illinois and develop a statewide learning recovery plan with equity at its center.

Participants will leave the event with a better understanding of how Illinois students have been impacted by the pandemic, energized to work together to not only meet our children’s immediate needs but also find ways to rebuild better and stronger.

Mar 16, 2021 05:30 PM CT

REL Southwest Event: Rethinking Data for Improvement, Accountability, and Support Under COVID-19

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the collection and use of data for district and school improvement, accountability, and support. In addition, educators have faced new challenges because of COVID-19’s impact on the communities they serve and students experiencing trauma and greater social-emotional needs that can affect their abilities to engage in their education. REL Southwest is collaborating with REL Appalachia, REL Mid-Atlantic, and REL Northeast & Islands to explore how districts and schools are changing their approach to data to identify needs and challenges in schools and communities and provide the appropriate support and guidance.

Audience: This webinar is designed for a broad national audience of state and district education leaders and other educators who are interested in the topic.


  • Brian Gill, PhD, JD, Director, REL Mid-Atlantic
  • Susan Bowles Therriault, EdD, Managing Researcher, REL Northeast & Islands
  • Victoria A. Schaefer, PhD, Principal Education Researcher, REL Appalachia
  • Erica Champagne, Director, Office of Effective Practices in Turnaround, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Amanda D. Mote, Attendance Director, Pleasants County Schools, West Virginia

March 18, 2021 Time: 3–4 p.m. ET

Register here

Webinar: Being An Effective Pre-K-3rd Grade Principal

This webinar will provide an overview of NAESP’s newly released and updated Leading Learning Communities: A Principal’s Guide to Early Learning and the Early Grades (Pre-K—3rd Grade). This guide is intended to encourage elementary principals to deepen their own knowledge and skills related to Pre-K-3rd grade, and to provide specific guidance for principals to become more effective leaders on behalf of young children. Effective leadership of Pre-K-3rd grade requires substantive expertise about child development and instructional practices that support young learners.

Presenters: Dr. Kristie Kauerz, Director, National P-3 Center School of Education and Human Development, University of Colorado Denver; Roberta Ballard, Research-to-Practice Associate for the National P-3 Center at the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Education and Human Development; and, Dr. Jeannie Allen, Innovative Projects & Assessment Director, Pre-K – 3rd Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning, Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education.

Facilitator: Dr. Gracie Branch, NAESP Associate Executive Director for Professional Learning;

Mar 23, 2021 04:00 PM ET

REL West Event: Joyful Reading at School and at Home: Creative Expression Activities

Join REL West for the next webinar in their series of free events that provide opportunities to learn a routine for storybook reading and explore ideas for home-family connections. During this webinar participants will learn about: moving from a joyful reading routine to creative expression activities, the evidence about the relationship between creativity and language and literacy development, and how to integrate creative activities into their own practice in partnership with families and caregivers.

Audience: The primary audiences for this event include teachers (preschool, transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade), LEA staff (e.g., instructional coaches, principals, staff developers), and teacher educators.

Speakers: Pamela Spycher is a Senior Researcher at REL West. Thea Fabian is Vice Principal at Wawona K–8 School in the Fresno Unified School District
Danielle Garegnani is Principal at Horton Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District.

March 25, 2021 Time: 2–3:30 PST

Register here

The Big Leap: Building Anti-racist Practices in Leaders

Disrupting the status quo of inequity in education requires all of us to take action and embrace risk. We can embrace the uncomfortable work as a pathway to equity and create the beauty of what we want for all children.

When we talk about building anti-racist practices in leaders, it’s an open call for everyone to participate. The bottom line is that every classroom is a space to live into equity more deeply. Taking action isn’t just limited to schools with BIPOC communities. It’s an invitation for all of us to dismantle systems that don’t work for every student.

Our session will explore how two NYC educators engage in this challenging and exciting work each day. You’ll hear their approaches (and barriers) to start building a culture of anti-racist practice in classrooms and school communities. And we’ll learn how professional learning communities provide support, accountability, and shared knowledge.


  • Dr. Dawn Brooks DeCosta, Principal
    Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School
  • Marques Rich, Assistant Principal of Administration
    The Metropolitan Soundview High School
  • Keisha Rattray, Director of Program Strategy and Delivery
    New Teacher Center

Mar 30, 2021 10:00 AM ET

Summer Learning Programs Addressing Learning Loss in 2021: A Conversation With Statewide Leaders

Join ACT Now on March 30, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. for an engaging conversation with state leaders to discuss the role of summer programs in supporting youth and families this year as our communities continue to address academic loss, food insecurity, isolation, and more. Panelists will include Secretary Grace Hou (Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services), Tim Verry (Director of Division of Family & Community Services for the Illinois Department of Human Services), Krish Mohip (Deputy Operational Educational Officer at the Illinois State Board of Education), Cara Wiley (Director of Regulatory Support and Wellness and Acting 21st CCLC Supervisor at the Illinois State Board of Education), Representative Aaron Ortiz (Illinois General Assembly), and Fanny Diego Alvarez (Program Officer for the Grand Victoria Foundation)

Tue, Mar 30, 2021 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM CDT

2021-22 National Signature Project Award

The NATIONAL SIGNATURE PROJECT AWARD is awarded annually to an outstanding and innovative classroom project that exemplifies the very best in rural, place-based education. The National Signature Project Award is open to any rural classroom teacher in the United States, and it is jointly funded by the Rural Schools Collaborative (RSC) and the National Rural Education Association (NREA).

The grant application deadline is FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2021 11:59 P.M. The maximum award is $2,500.

Reimagining Early Care and Education

The need for an early care and education system that works for all children and families has gained tremendous urgency. And yet the crises of 2020 have brought to light just how fragile and inadequate the existing policies and systems are in the U.S. With new federal leadership, the time is ripe for a bold post-pandemic agenda for a strong, functioning early care and education system that prioritizes equity, embraces whole child approaches, and connects smoothly with elementary education and systems that support family wellbeing.

We need bold changes to early care and education policies and practices at all levels. We invite you to join us for an event where we examine why reimagining and investing in early care and education must be a national priority now and explore how to make it a reality for all children.

Mar. 30, 2021 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Annual Conference on the VALUE of Play

The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual educational conference presented by the US Play Coalition.

We are thrilled to announce the 2021 VIRTUAL Conference on  the Value of Play kicks off this spring!  This conference format, in response to the continued concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic, features LIVE headliners, dozens of recorded educational and research presentations and weekly networking events – all online from April 1 through June 30, 2021.

The latest research and practices in the field of play are presented at the conference, which brings together play researchers, park and recreation professionals, camp professionals, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond.