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SLU School of Education Leads Discussions on Vital COVID-19 Questions for Schools

by Bridjes O'Neil on 04/01/2021
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Bridjes O'Neil
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As educators wrestle with urgent questions surrounding the impact of COVID-19 on their student's educational progress and well-being, state and local leaders will join SLU experts to look ahead to next year’s challenges. 

The School of Education at Saint Louis University will host a webinar series, "One-Year Out: Before, During, and After COVID-19." The first webinar in the series, “Paradigm Shifts in Education: Successful Schooling and COVID-19” will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April. 7. 

Fitzgerald Hall. Slu file photo.

SLU distinguished fellow Art McCoy, Ph.D., who is superintendent of Jennings School District and the founder and president of SAGES, a non-profit whose mission is to address achievement gaps in education and attainment gaps in society, will moderate the discussions.

McCoy will retire from the Missouri public school system in 2021. In his role at SLU’s Research Institute and School of Education, McCoy will provide interdisciplinary support among other duties. He will also work with Gary Ritter, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education, to build partnerships with corporations and foundations to advance educational equity regionally and nationally.

The state’s top education official Margie Vandeven, Ph.D., commissioner of education at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, will share her insight. Vandeven received a doctorate of philosophy in educational leadership from SLU and has been recognized as a distinguished alumna. 

She will be joined by panelists Doug Thaman, executive director at the Missouri Charter Public School Association, Tamiko Armstead, president at Cardinal Ritter College Preparatory High School, and Melissa Grandel, educator at Fordland High School and Missouri’s 2020 teacher of the year.

This series of sessions will provide a foundation for leaders to create future-focused plans. In several ways, the 2021-22 school year may be more challenging than the 2020-21 as schools re-open and students are in desperate need of support and care, McCoy said. He encourages educators who are working to address these issues or those who would like to learn more to join state and regional leaders to explore short-term, mid-term, long-term strategies for successful schooling throughout this pandemic and beyond.

“It’s SLU’s mission to work with and for our neighbors in the community,” Ritter said. “In the School of Education, it’s our responsibility and privilege to support educators and students across the region and the state. One way that we can pursue this goal is by serving as a convener, bringing committed and talented people into a shared space to address common challenges.”

Session 1 will explore the paradigm shifts that happened in education over the past year, including highlighting how schools managed to adapt and provide schooling to students.

This event is open to the public. For more information, visit the SOE’s COVID-19 webinar series website.

About Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers more than 12,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.