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14th Annual MERC Conference

Public Education at a Crossroads:
Connecting Voices of Research,
Policy, and Practice in a Changing World

October 17th, 2017

Check out select photos below and
visit our full gallery from the event!

Crossroads in Education Podcast


Since the beginning of public education in our country, advocates have argued that schools are critical to the success of our national economy; are the central mechanism for individual social and economic mobility; and provide the foundational knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary for informed citizenship within our multicultural democracy. We are currently in a moment of rapid political and social change in our country that raises questions about the form and function of public schools.  This calls for a reconsideration of the goals of public education in the current context.

 The 14th Annual MERC Conference is designed to provide a space for key stakeholders across public education to share ideas and present work directly related to this theme. The conference will include an opening plenary discussion on the theme, a series of interactive sessions that address critical topics in PK12 education, and opportunities throughout the day for networking and connecting to ongoing projects.


The 14th Annual MERC Conference featured 14 sessions. Click on the session descriptions below to learn more and click on a the names of presenters to contact them. 

Achieving Racial Equity in School Disciplinary Policies and Practices 

Jesse SenechalAshlee LesterRachel Levy (VCU), Marcie Terry (VSU)

Conversations at the Crossroads: Cultivating Critical Dispositions to Promote Cultural Diversity 

Julie GorlewskiHillary ParkhouseTami SoberAshlee Lester, and Zoey Lu (VCU)

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Intervention in Urban Schools 

Ram Bhagat, Kiran Bhagat, Sydney Collier (Armstrong Freshman Academy-RPS), Evandra Catherine (VCU)

 Cultural Diversity and English Learners

Brenda Russ and Laura Faulcon (CCPS)

Implications of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) 

Lynn Sodat (VDOE), Jeremy Raley, EdD (GCPS), Bryan Shelly (CCPS),
Joshua Taylor, and Samantha Hope (VCU)

Innovative Learning 

Erin Anthony and Brett Chonko (CCPS), Marcie Walsh (VCU)

Policies and Practices for English Learners 

Melissa Cuba and Josh Martinez (VCU), Brenda Russ and Carolyn Waters (CCPS)

 Research Use in Schools

Jessica Mislevy (SRI International), Tinkhani WhiteAutumn NaborsDerek Wasnock
Janet GarlandLisa MicouPatty Fox (CCPS), and Lisa Abrams (VCU)

Rethinking Student Discipline and Intervention 

William Noel Sr. (Henrico Public Schools), JoAna Smith (CCPS)

School, Family, and Community Collaboration 

Amanda HallKim McKnight (VCU), Mike Hasley
Maggie Nuckols (Henrico County Public Schools)

Supporting STEM in Schools Through Research and Professional Development 

Elizabeth Edmondson (VISTA/ELIS), Melissa Cuba (VCU), Amy Cotten (CCPS), 
Krishan Agrawal (CHPS and VSU)

Supporting Teachers in High Needs Schools 

Tami SoberTerry DozierBrian ConditBrittany Jones (RTR, VCU, RPS), 
Jamie Stacy, and Jaime Schlais-Barnes (CCPS)

Teacher Morale and Professionalism 

Kimberly BowmanBrionna Nomi, and Jesse Senechal (VCU)

Who Gets to Go to College? Exploring Access in the Commonwealth 

Kate DalyDavid Naff (VCU), Paula Robinson (SCHEV), 
and Charleita Richardson (Partnership for the Future)


Morning Panel

Afternoon Panel



14th Annual MERC Conference