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Last week's annual Public Policy Institute offered collaboratively by the Graduate School of Education and Human Development and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) featured noted guest speakers, training, and discussion for educational practitioners committed to promoting safe and healthy school environments. Presentations explored the impact of policy on students and addressed difficult subjects ranging from bullying and sexually exploited youth to school climate and behavioral issues.
Speakers included Jack Jennings, founder of the Center on Education Policy; Susan Swearer, nationally recognized bullying expert; Michael Usdan, senior fellow and past president of the Institute for Educational Leadership; and Paul Weckstein, director of the Center for Law and Education.
The institute focused on building a foundational knowledge of grassroots advocacy and federal education policy, and examined the impact of legislative and administrative policy on school systems and students. Participants screened and discussed the new film, Who Cares About Kelsey?, a documentary tracking the lives of students with emotional and behavioral issues. The film, by Dan Habib, shows educational approaches that help these students to succeed while improving the school climate. In addition to sessions led by nationally recognized experts and educational policy makers, participants also experienced a full day on Capitol Hill where they met elected officials and observed Congress in session.
A reflection on historic school reforms and current shortcomings by Jack Jennings served as a capstone to the Public Policy Institute. Jennings is the founder of the Center on Education Policy, which is now housed at GW’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development.
Senior Associate Dean Carol Kochhar-Bryant and Dr. Pamela Leconte led the Public Policy Institute, along with Stacy Skalski, director of professional policy and practice at NASP.