Educators Discuss Public School Needs, Lessons from Pandemic

Public Schools Week 2021 marks new strategies for teaching and learning  

Alexandria, Va. — The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged public schools and their communities in many ways. But educators have continued working tirelessly for the best interest of all of our students, keeping them safe, learning, and growing, one student at a time. 

Public Schools Week 2021, held Feb. 22-26, 2021, once again will bring together national organizations and local schools to reflect on the past year, celebrate what we have learned and move to the future. It is hosted by the Learning First Alliance, a coalition of 12 national organizations representing 10 million parents, teachers, specialists, principals, superintendents, school board members and teacher educators.

This year, events will be virtual, including “Speaking Up for Public Schools: Educators Find Solutions in Uncertain Times,” a panel of exemplary educators who will discuss what has been learned and how public schools can move forward from the Covid-19 pandemic. The event will spotlight social-emotional learning and mental-health needs and the educators discuss their schools’ needs. The show can be viewed on LFA’s YouTube channel and Facebook page on Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. EST.

Participants include:

  • Kimberly White-Smith, Dean, College of Education at University of La Verne;
  • Olivia Carter, ASCA’s School Counselor of the Year;
  • Pete Just, an Indiana school technology specialist and CoSN president;
  • Rosamund Looney, a first-grade teacher from Louisiana;
  • Leslie Boggs, Texas businessperson, parent and National PTA president;
  • Charlie Wilson, Ohio school board member and NSBA president;
  • Lesley Bruinton, a school public relations manager from Alabama;
  • Kimbrelle Barbosa Lewis, a Tennessee elementary school principal and NAESP president;
  • Richard Gordon, NASSP Principal of the Year;
  • And closing remarks by Becky Pringle, a Pennsylvania teacher and NEA president.

The event will be moderated by LFA President Marla Ucelli-Kashyap, who is assistant to the president and director of educational issues department at the American Federation of Teachers.

LFA Executive Director Richard M. Long also has hosted podcasts about what we've learned about student learning, mental health, technology and other issues in a pandemic. LFA’s “Speaking Up for Public Schools” podcast series features:

  • Olivia Carter, who explains her approach to working with students experiencing trauma; 
  • Rosamund Looney in New Orleans, who is forging new paths online;  
  • Charlie Wilson, who has specific strategies to bring together parents and community members from a wide variety of backgrounds to shape his Ohio community's schools;
  • Becky Pringle on the most pressing issues related to race, equity, and inclusion;
  • Leslie Boggs on the impact of the pandemic on families and social-emotional learning. 
  • Richard Gordon on his journey to transform a Philadelphia high school slated for closure.

There will be more podcasts in coming days and weeks.

For more information about Public Schools Week or the #PublicSchoolProud initiative, visit us at

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