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#AskExcelinEd: What education to workforce conversations are happening at #EIE19?

• Melissa Canney


Welcome to our #AskExcelinEd series on the National Summit on Education Reform (#EIE19)! Follow along for sneak peeks at the can’t-miss conversations we have planned for #EIE19 taking place in San Diego, CA November 20-21.

Today, Melissa Canney, ExcelinEd’s Director of Innovation Policy, highlights three strategy sessions on a variety of education to workforce topics, as well as overcoming challenges in rural education. Enjoy! 

My favorite thing about the National Summit on Education Reform is that it inspires me to explore how various policy approaches work together to impact students, schools and communities.  At last year’s National Summit, keynote speaker Senator Ben Sasse said something that stuck with me: “Schools are not factories, they are gardens. And students are not widgets, they are plants and they are alive… our role is to help nurture our kids.” Students and schools are not cookie cutter models and do not exist in isolation; we must consider the role communities play in improving student outcomes, as well as how student experiences and outcomes can positively impact communities.

I am excited to attend the three strategy sessions below, and reflect on how their intersections can help frame comprehensive approaches to ensuring that our students are prepared to be impactful members of their communities by leveraging the unique strengths of each community’s culture, history and economy.

Two Codes All Kids Need to Know

To succeed in school and life, students in every state need to learn about computer science and our nation’s Constitution. Computer Science helps students thrive in an increasingly automated world, and the Constitution empowers citizens to understand their government as well as influence it. In this moderated discussion, Hadi Partovi, CEO and founder of, and Stefanie Sanford, Chief of Global Policy at the College Board, share insights and strategies for developing engaged citizens with the skills needed for success in the technology economy.

Credentials Matter: Ensuring Students Earn the Credentials that Matter Most

Industry credentials can serve as a passport to high-skill, high-wage, in-demand careers. Or they can be a false promise that lead to low-wage jobs and dead-end careers. How can policymakers, educators and employers ensure their credential offerings provide the greatest value for students and economies? Explore new research and policy solutions that focus on investing in the credentials that matter most for students, employers and states.

Strength in Community: Overcoming Challenges in Rural Education

Rural schools face unique challenges, from the impacts of a national opioid epidemic to deindustrialization and limited infrastructure. Education policies that have proven successful in urban areas do not always translate into rural contexts. This panel highlights how rural communities have used their unique strengths to overcome challenges and what specific steps states can take to help.


Keep an eye on our #EIE19 Agenda in the coming weeks for complete details on panelists and sessions. See you in San Diego in November!

About the author

Melissa Canney

Melissa Canney is the Director of Innovation Policy at ExcelinEd. She previously served as the Executive Director of Divisional Operations and Communications in the Division of College, Career and Technical Education at the Tennessee Department of Education. Melissa’s experience in Tennessee included policy analysis and implementation, communication strategy development, grant management and data analysis related to college and career readiness. A Vermont native, Melissa earned a B.A in Sociology from Stanford University and an M.P.P. in Education from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her dog Moxie.