National Policy Training Conference

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Building on a
Legacy of Excellence 

February 15-17, 2017

Join us for our annual National Policy Training Conference in Washington, DC just weeks after the Presidential Inauguration and the beginning of a new session of Congress.

You don't want to miss this opportunity to find out what the results of the election will mean for K-12 public education and magnet schools.

  • Learn about the new administration's plans
    for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as it is rolled out for the first time next year.
  • Hear about the details of President-Elect Trump's plan to provide $20 billion in new funding to incentivize school choice programs including magnet schools in his first 100 days in office.
  • Spend time on Capitol Hill meeting with your newly elected Members of Congress to learn about their education policy priorities. 
  • Participate in Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant writing workshops.
  • Hear about emerging policy issues faced by educators in the classroom. 
  • Network with magnet school colleagues from across the country. 

Conference Overview

Wednesday, February 15

2:00 PM – 3:15 PM -  Check-In/Registration

3:15 PM – 5:30 PM - General Session

Opening Presentation, Gerard Robinson, Resident Fellow, Education Policy Studies, AEI

Keynote Presentation: 
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

Transcript of Remarks

Legislative Update, John Laughner, Legislative Manager, Magnet Schools of America

Presentation Slides 

5:30 PM – 7:00 PM - Networking Reception

Thursday, February 16

8:30 AM – 8:45 AM - Breakfast 

8:45 AM - 9:00 AM - Congressional Speaker Series

U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici

Congresswoman Bonamici is the co-chair and founder of the Congressional STEAM caucus. As a member of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, she successfully added provisions to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that encourages interdisciplinary educational programs that integrate arts and music into science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses. During her presentation, the Congresswoman will discuss how magnet schools can take advantage of the new STEAM provisions in ESSA

9:30 AM – 9:45 AM - Congressional Speaker Series

U.S. Representative Luke Messer, Chairman, Congressional School Choice Caucus 

Congressman Messer is the Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee and the founder of the Congressional School Choice Caucus. The Congressman serves on the House Education and Workforce Committee and has introduced legislation that allows states to use federal education funding to expand education choices. He will discuss the post-election landscape in Washington and how magnet schools can be an integral piece of the evolving school choice discussion. 

9:45AM -10:00 AM - Presentation of Champion
of Magnet School Excellence Award

U.S. Representative Robert Scott, Ranking Member,
House Committee on Education and the Workforce

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM - Panel Discussion: Implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) 

In 2015, Congress rewrote the nation's main K-12 education law, formerly known as the No Child Left Behind Act. It has been replaced by a new comprehensive law called the Every Student Succeeds Act or ESSA. This legislation was designed to give more flexibility and local control to states and school districts over a wide range of policy areas, including student assessment, curriculum and standards, teacher certification and evaluation, school improvement, and funding. ESSA will go into full effect during the 2017-2018 school year, which means states are now frantically drafting implementation plans.

ESSA will present both challenges and opportunities for magnet schools. During this panel discussion, policy experts from some of the most influential education associations in Washington will discuss the implications of this new law and how magnet school leaders can leverage provisions and grants included in ESSA to support theme-based magnet programs, school choice, and well-rounded learning opportunities for students.     


Sasha Pudelski, Assistant Director, Policy & Advocacy, AASA, The School Superintendents Association
Megan Wolfe, Government Relations Manager, ASCD
Jessah Walker, Senior Federal Relations Associate, Council of Chief State School Officers, CCSSO 

11:30 AM - 4:30 PM - Capitol Hill Meetings 

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM - Evening Debrief 

Friday, February 17

8:00 AM – 1:00 PM - Check-In/Registration

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM - Breakfast

8:30 AM – 9:15 AM - Keynote Speaker

Dr. Joshua Starr, CEO, 
PDK International

Understanding Public Attitudes About Schools 

Dr.  Joshua Starr will discuss new polling data that shows the public's current attitudes about public education; the overall quality of local schools; curriculum and standards; school funding and taxes; homework and testing policies; school choice; and more.

Presentation Slides

9:15 AM - 10:00 AM - Panel Discussion: Ensuring Equal Opportunities for All Students 

Discussion topics: school safety and bullying prevention, LGBT student rights, and providing proper services and support for students with disabilities.   


Joshua Civin, General Counsel, Montgomery County Public Schools, MD

Dr. Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach, Director of Government Relations, National Association of School Psychologists, DC

Dr. Angie Slatton, Director of Student Services, School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties, SC

10:00 AM - 10:15 AM - Break

10:15 AM – 11:15 AM - Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) Competition Update

Dr. Anna Hinton, Director, Parental Options and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education

Presentation Slides

11:15 AM - 12:00 PM - MSAP Grant Writing Workshop I

Deidra K. Honeywell, Ph.D., President, DKH Consulting Services, Inc.

Presentation Slides

12:15 PM -1:00 PM - MSAP Grant Writing Workshop II

David Kikoler and Elaine Rosales, Principal Officers, American Education Solutions, Inc. 

Presentation Slides

1:00 PM - Closing Remarks




Media inquiries, contact Hannah Berkman at