Fri, Sep. 15, 2023
10 am - 4 pm
(GMT-05:00) America/Chicago


James A. Baker III Hall

Schools are still dealing with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which reversed years of educational gains among K-12 students and worsened the already-existing achievement gap between disadvantaged children and their wealthier peers. How can we help students catch up?

This conference brought together policymakers, educators, parents and researchers to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on student learning and ways to close the achievement gap. Participants took part in panel discussions on early childhood education, teacher stress and support, and lessons learned on mental health before breaking out into groups to develop action items for their broader communities to improve student academic performance and well-being. Robert Sanborn, president and CEO of Children at Risk, delivered the keynote address.

The conference was hosted on Sept. 15 at Baker Hall. It was free and open to the public.

This event is sponsored by the Baker Institute Child Health Policy Program.



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10:00 am


Rola El-Serag, M.D.
L.E. and Virginia Simmons Senior Fellow in Health Policy and Director, Center for Health and Biosciences, Baker Institute

10:15 am

Keynote Address

Robert Sanborn, Ed.D.
President and CEO, Children at Risk

11:00 am

Panel I — Early Childhood Education

Moderated by: Katarina Reyes, Research Analyst, Center for Health and Biosciences, Baker Institute

Erin Baumgartner, Ph.D.
Director, Houston Education Research Consortium, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University

Ethan Hunt, Ph.D., MPH
Assistant Professor, Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, UTHealth Houston

Tricia Zucker, Ph.D.
Co-director, Children's Learning Institute; Albert and Margaret Alkek Distinguished Chair in Early Childhood Development, UTHealth Houston McGovern Medical School

11:45 am Lunch

12:15 pm

Panel II — Teacher Stress and Support

Moderated by: Christopher F. Kulesza, Ph.D., Scholar in Child Health Policy, Baker Institute

Kenneth Brantley
Principal, Wisdom High School, Houston ISD

Len Brogan
Principal, Ridge Point High School, Fort Bend ISD

Grant Granquist
Assistant Principal, Tomball Memorial High School

Melissa Womack
AVID Coordinator and AVID III and IV Teacher, Ridge Point High School, Fort Bend ISD

1:05 pm

Panel III — Mental Health Lessons Learned for the Next Pandemic

Moderated by: Sandra McKay, M.D., FAAPHuffington Fellow in Child Health Policy, Baker Institute

Taiwo Babatope, M.D., MPH
Fellowship Training Director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Provider, Child Psychiatry Access Network, UTHealth Houston

Lilian Dindo, Ph.D.
Nonresident Fellow, Baker Institute; Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Health Services Research, Baylor College of Medicine

Ann Lê, Ed.D.
Assistant Director of Special Education, Willis ISD

1:50 pm Break
2:05 pm Workshop 1
2:35 pm Share-out 1
3:00 pm Workshop 2
3:30 pm Share-out 2
3:50 pm Closing


Fri, Sep. 15, 2023
10 am - 4 pm
(GMT-05:00) America/Chicago


James A. Baker III Hall