Past Events

Since January 2013, the Presidential Scholar has convened events featuring national experts at the top of their field providing access to the most up-to-date research for teacher preparation.  

Videos or Power Point presentations from the previous forums are often available to download from below and are often accompanied by additional resources. 


Fight. Flight. Freeze. The Life-Long Implications of Childhood Stress and Trauma (April 10, 2018)

Toxic psychological stress—violence, poverty, neglect, abuse—has negative effects on a child's brain. Research has shown that this trauma alters the brain, affecting behavioral, social, and emotional functioning. As a child ages, these effects continue to influence brain development, educational outcomes, and social activity well into adolescence and adulthood. Dr. Bethany Brand, one of the world’s foremost authorities in psychological trauma, will discuss brain function changes in adults due to childhood trauma and the repercussions for our society.

Supporting Baltimore’s Students from Pre-K through College (November 16, 2015)

It takes a village to raise a child.  That age-old saying has been reiterated across news cycles over and over again in the wake of Baltimore’s uprisings.  In the months that have past, we’ve seen stories of  communities coming together to support youth and their neighborhood schools; however, much remains to be done.  The statistics show those students coming from under-served communities — fall far below Maryland state averages and national benchmarks in terms of kindergarten readiness, high school completion, college entrance, and most importantly college completion. Fortunately, there are approaches, programs, and partnerships showing real promise. Panelists included:

  • Wes Moore, Author, Social Entrepreneur, Political Analyst, and Community Leader
  • Jason Botel, Former longtime Baltimore-KIPP Executive Director, Executive Director of Maryland CAN, and school choice expert
  • Moderator:  Dr. Nancy Grasmick, Past Superintendent of Maryland State Schools and Towson University’s first Presidential Scholar for Innovation in Teacher and Leader Preparation
  • View flickr album
What Makes a Teacher Great (September 29, 2015)

Author Elizabeth Green is co-founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief of Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization that covers  educational change efforts across the country. Her book “Building a Better Teacher”, a New York Times notable book, was published in July 2015. She has written for The New York Times Magazine, The New York Sun, and U.S. News & World Report. She was an Abe Journalism Fellow studying education in Japan and a Spencer Fellow in education journalism at Columbia University. She serves on the board of the Education Writers Association.

Following her talk, participants were able to talk to Ms. Green as she signed their books.

Autism 1:68 (October 22, 2014)

Rebecca Landa, PhD, CCC-SLP, is the founder and director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) and the REACH research program at Kennedy Krieger Institute. She is also a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Landa is a speech-language pathologist. She has practiced in the public schools, university clinics and hospital settings. Dr. Landa has consulted with schools and families on an international level to establish state-of-the-science educational programming for children with autism spectrum disorders.

Following a fascinating presentation on the application of research to the instruction of children with autism, Dr. Landa presided over a panel discussion that included parents, students with autism, and teachers.

Early Childhood Education (March 6, 2014)

Sharon Lynn Kagan is the Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy, Co-Director of the National Center for Children and Families at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Professor Adjunct at Yale University’s Child Study Center. Dr. Kagan works with foreign governments, research institutions, UNICEF, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank to analyze, plan, and establish early learning policies in over 75 countries around the world.

At the forum, Dr. Kagan presented data showing the benefits of early childhood education and discussed the nuances of implementing early childhood programs.

Leadership and the New Principles of Influence (October 15, 2013)

Daniel Pink is the author of several provocative, bestselling books about changing the world of work – including the long-running New York Times bestseller, A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future, the #1 New York Times bestseller, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, and his latest book To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others. His TED talk on the science of motivation is one of the 20 most watched ted talks of all time. In 2011, Harvard Business Review and Thinkers50 named him one of the Top 30 Business Thinkers in the World.

Using an arts education lens, Mr. Pink provided the audience with numerous ways to lead to inspire creativity and independence.  After some questions he treated the audience to a book signing.

View the video >

School Safety (March 26, 2013)

This forum was inspired by several tragic incidences of school violence.  Former Commissioner Bealefeld had a distinguished career as a leader of the 8th largest municipal police department in the U.S. He identified best practices in police training, invested in smart technology for officers on the street, used data driven policing strategies, and served as a legislative advocate for tougher penalties for gun offenders. His programs resulted in the lowest gun violence and homicide rates in Baltimore since the 1970s.

His talk described aspects of a specific profile often apparent in the perpetrators of school violence and discussed how many of their issues could be addressed prior to their violent acts.  

View presentation >

How Students Learn: An Inside Look at Neuroscience (January 17, 2013)

Part one of the first Signature Forum featured Dr. Ben Carson, a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon. He is a full professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he has directed pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for over a quarter of a century. He provided the audience with a detailed conceptual understanding of brain function.

The second speaker was Dr. Martha Denckla, a research scientist and Director of the Developmental Cognitive Neurology Clinic at Kennedy-Krieger Institute.  Dr. Denkla “translated” the neuroscience introduced by Dr. Carson and presented it in a away that teachers could apply it in their classrooms to enhance student learning.