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Speak Up 2022 Congressional Briefing: Release of the National Research Findings

Thursday, October 13, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

2022 Speak Up Congressional Breifing

Presented by Dr. Julie Evans, CEO, Project Tomorrow; Kristina Ishmael, Deputy Director, Office of Ed Tech, U.S. Department of Education; and a panel of K-12 students

Sponsored by Finalsite (new home of Blackboard K-12)

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According to 89% of district administrators, the pandemic and the resulting disruptions to traditional education have significantly and sustainably changed K-12 education. The steps undertaken to support continuity of learning have left an indelible mark on the ways teachers teach, parents engage, administrators lead, and students learn.

In this year’s annual Speak Up Congressional Briefing, we share the latest national research findings to support this conclusion that the long tail impact of the pandemic and the resulting shifts to more technology-based instruction have forever changed our schools – and there is no going back to the past despite any lingering nostalgia for how education was prior to March 2020. During the 2021-22 school year, over 75,000 K-12 stakeholders participated in the Speak Up Research Project representing urban, rural and suburban schools and districts across the country. Their insights and perspectives on how school has changed over the past few years – and what is needed to improve learning experiences for all students is important information for everyone to hear.

The 2022 Speak Up Congressional Briefing provides a unique opportunity for participation by a wide audience of K-12 education stakeholders. The research data comes to life with a panel of K-12 students from around the country who respond to the findings and provide their own recommendations for improving American education. Other speakers include Kristina Ishmael, Deputy Director of the Office of Ed Tech in the US Department of Education, and Lee Blakemore, President, K-12 Community Engagement at Finalsite, the sponsor of this year’s Congressional Briefing.

This recorded edLeader Panel is of high interest to school and district leaders, teachers, librarians, policymakers, and all who are interested in the potential of K-12 stakeholder ideas including from students to improve education.

Julie EvansAbout the Presenter

Dr. Julie A. Evans is the chief executive officer of Project Tomorrow and the founder of the heralded Speak Up Research Project, which annually collects and reports on the authentic views of 400,000 K-12 students, parents, and educators on key education issues. Dr. Evans serves as the chief researcher on the Speak Up Project and leads national research efforts on the impact of emerging learning models and interventions in both K-12 and higher education. Her work includes helping education leaders embrace change and innovation in education, and to recognize that the voices and views of their stakeholders, most notably students, are valuable leadership assets.

Prior to joining Project Tomorrow in 1999, Dr. Evans enjoyed a successful career in management within the technology industry including with two education technology startups. As a national thought leader and influencer, she brings to discussions about the future of education a unique perspective because of her experiences working in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors as well as within education. Dr. Evans is a graduate of Brown University and earned her doctorate in educational leadership from the University of California San Diego and California State University San Marcos. She is a frequent facilitator, speaker, and writer on new learning models within education, most notably around digital learning. Among her many accolades and awards, Dr. Evans was named in April 2020 the winner of EdTech Digest’s National Leader award. Dr. Evans is the author of the soon-to-be-published book, Free Agent Learning: Leveraging Students’ Self-Directed Learning to Transform K-12 Education.

Kristina IshmaelKristina Ishmael is an educator, learner, advocate, and agent of change. As the leader of the Office of Ed Tech, Ishmael executes the office mission of developing national edtech policy that enables everywhere, all-the-time learning and supports digital equity and opportunity.

Ishmael most recently worked as an educational consultant and Sr. Research Fellow at New America working at the intersection of open education, digital equity, and culturally responsive and sustaining education. She previously worked in OET leading the #GoOpen initiative, as well as serving the state of Nebraska as the Digital Learning Specialist. Ishmael started her education career as an early childhood and elementary teacher to emerging bilingual learners in Omaha, Nebraska.

Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the 21st Century Learning community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.


Finalsite is the preferred website and digital communications provider of more than 5,000 school districts across the country. We make it easy for schools and districts to transform community engagement, recruit staff and strengthen your online presence; while managing the complex requirements around data privacy, accessibility, hosting, and security.

With scalable solutions to meet every district’s unique needs, 24-7 support, in-house accessibility specialists and tactical website deployments, Finalsite (new home of Blackboard K-12) is equipped to help districts of all sizes launch and maintain websites that improve communications outcomes. For more information, please visit

Speak Up


Thursday, October 13, 2022
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
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