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Collaborative Conversations: Join us weekly for a remote conversation about education during COVID-19

Note – The April 23 event has been moved to April 30 – thank you for being flexible with us! We made this change because we care about creating a safe space for our community and have changed our platform to Zoom Webinar which offers enhanced security. Unfortunately, this means that we will not be having breakout sessions. However, we are excited to announce that our event next week is a panel of excellent education leaders serving our state.

We are hosting this event on Zoom WebinarPlease sign up here, and you will be sent details on how to join the event closer to the event time.

Join our weekly “Collaborative Conversations” virtual event series:

  • Thursdays from 4:00-5:00 p.m. on April 9, 16, 23, 30. All events will be hosted on Zoom.
  • Sign up via Eventbrite, and the Zoom room and passcode will be sent out the morning of the event. Sign up here.
  • This event will be participant-led — your voice matters. This activity is a safe space to discuss where we go from here in education, and EdNC will not use specifics of the conversations without obtaining permission first from those involved. Students of all ages are encouraged to attend.

Without physical school buildings where educators can come together right now, EdNC is providing a virtual space where they can gather remotely during the time of COVID-19. Participants will have the chance to discuss not only what is happening in their world, but what can be learned during this time when education has been disrupted — and to plan how they can support our students and bring innovation out of this time of crisis.

On Thursday, April 2, we hosted our first virtual event for educators, administrators, students, and supporters to provide collaboration as classrooms have moved to remote learning. Almost 90 attendees joined to hear from education leaders and then moved into breakout rooms to discuss questions about thinking boldly during this time. This success prompted the event to become a recurring series that will be happening weekly on Thursdays from 4:00-5:00 p.m. until at least April 30.

“Little has hyper-visualized inequities in education like COVID-19 and little has hyper-visualized a demand to create a school system that works for all children like the COVID-19 crisis,” said Donnell Cannon, principal of North Edgecombe High School, during Thursday’s event. “Our entire NC school system has transformed the way we’ve used time, space, people, technology, resources in a bold pursuit of amazing outcomes for children. Little has hyper-visualized our capacity as a system to create something bold and different as this moment presents.”

Cannon was a “mini-keynote” speaker on Thursday’s call — and for the remaining events in the series, a number of leaders from across North Carolina will be sharing lessons they’ve learned during this crisis and a call-to-action for what is next.

“I’ve joined this call because I believe this moment offers a moment past just disruption,” Cannon said. “I don’t want our response to just be disruption. I believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to truly forge a radically different path forward in the public school model.”

Attendees were split up into 11 small groups to discuss guiding questions with each other based on the “bold ideas” theme. Along with educational thought partners Ben Owens, co-founder of Open Way Learning, and Daniel Riley, Leadership Coach at TFA Eastern North Carolina, EdNC will be creating guiding questions for small groups to discuss based on themes discussed during the events. This model for the event was inspired by a national virtual event series hosted by Fielding International for educators, and the recurring #COVID19ed Twitter chats held weekly by Student Voice, Open Way Learning, and Latent Talent.

The weekly theme will center around the idea of how educators can look forward to the future, and what we can learn from the experiment that extended learning through this crisis has brought.


  • April 2: Bold ideas: Where do we go from here? Featuring Principal Donnell Cannon
  • April 9: What are we learning from students? 
  • April 16: What are we learning from parents?
  • April 23: What are we learning from teachers?
  • April 30: TBD

“I think this is a time where we no longer have to make compromises because of the inertia of the status quo. This is a chance to be curious about our challenges and build something fresh and new and advance us towards a possible future in education,” Cannon said.

“I often share that I believe the status quo exists because we can’t imagine what to build in the emptiness once we’ve uprooted the systems that are longstanding. Guys, what a great lane we have to imagine what we could build in this place. This is a momentous opportunity to build something really different, really special for children, right now.”

Interested in joining the next event? Sign up on Eventbrite here, and we will email you the Zoom log in info before the event. Questions or comments? Email

Mary Willson

Mary Willson is the director of engagement at EducationNC.