Competence, Confidence, and Growth:
Re-imagining our learning environments

Brought to you by Newsela and Turnaround for Children

In this series on paradigm shifts in education, we’re harnessing the momentum of educator-led movements, and examining how
they can serve as a blueprint for transformational change.

Explore past sessions and other resources below.

Missed our latest webinar? No problem. You can watch on demand.

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Safety, Belonging, and Learning: An Inextricable Link

In this session, Newsela’s Chief Academic Officer, Dan Cogan-Drew and Dr. Pamela Cantor of Turnaround for Children were joined by Dr. Jawana Johnson of the NYCDOE and Dr. Melissa Kim of DC Public Schools for a discussion on how to create safety and belonging in the classroom so every student can learn and unlock their full potential.

Featured Speakers

Pamela Cantor, M.D.
Founder, Turnaround for Children

Pamela Cantor, M.D. is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, author, and thought leader on human potential, the science of learning and development, and educational equity. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, she founded Turnaround for Children, which translates scientific insights into tools and services that help educators establish the conditions for all students to thrive.

Dan Cogan-Drew
Chief Academic Officer, Newsela

Dan brings twenty-plus years of professional experience spent working towards a more perfect union of teaching, learning and technology. Prior to Newsela, Dan was the founding Director of Digital Learning at Achievement First Public Charter Schools, where he spearheaded the integration of digital learning technologies across the network. He began his education career in Teach for America and went on to teach in public and private schools, as well as in the US Navy.

Dr. Jawana M. Johnson
Chief of School Culture, Climate and Well-Being


Dr. Jawana M. Johnson is the New York City Department of Education’s Chief of School Culture, Climate and Well-Being. In this role, she leads all initiatives related to student wellness and school climate, including safety, physical and emotional well-being, and community school initiatives. Dr. Johnson previously served as the Chief Achievement Officer for the Eagle Academy Foundation, where she supported principals, district leaders, and teams from local and national partner schools through strategic solutions, leadership coaching and capacity building, targeted instructional and operational support, and crisis management. Dr. Johnson is a career educator and school leader. Over the past 20 years, she has worked at the DOE and at Harlem Children’s Zone in a variety of instructional roles, including principal, resident principal, director of curriculum and instruction, assistant principal, and teacher.

Dr. Melissa Kim
Deputy Chancellor of DC Public Schools


Dr. Melissa Kim is the Deputy Chancellor of DC Public Schools. In this role, she leads the district’s 116 schools as well as all programs including academics, interventions, innovations, equity initiative, and family engagement to ensure that DCPS provides rich and rigorous experiences for all students. Dr. Kim has been an educator in DC for more than 20 years, and she previously served as Chief Academic Officer for KIPP DC, where she worked closely with secondary schools and special education services to ensure student success.

Zaretta Hammond
Educator and Author

Zarretta Hammond is the author of “Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain” and founder of the “Ready 4 Rigor” blog. She is a former English teacher and, for nearly two decades, has worked at the crux of instructional design, professional development, and achieving equity. Hammond’s research explores and analyzes the brain functions that inform how we learn and think.

The latest from the series. Catch up on what you missed.

Reimagining the role of the teacher in K-12 education (with guest speaker Zaretta Hammond)


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Accelerating the student engagement flywheel



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The future of education: A panel discussion featuring Dr. Pamela Cantor


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Or see what's on social

Featured blog posts

Empowering teacher growth in K-12 education

Today’s educators face unique challenges, but they also have an unprecedented advantage: More than ever, they understand the astonishing potential that every learner brings to the classroom – including those learners who might once have been overlooked.

Read more

How Motivation Influences Student Engagement


Educators are tasked not only with addressing learning recovery but also with supporting students with a wide range of their own personal emotional needs.

Read more

The future of education: How relationships influence learning

For educators, the transition from remote learning back to in-person classes has significantly impacted the perceptions and approaches there were with regard to learning and education.

Read more

From Learning Science to Learning Recovery: A Forward-Looking Framework

With millions of dollars being invested into recovery plans as students return to the classroom, it’s time to invest in re-engaging our students.

Read more

Additional Resources

Design Principles for Schools Interactive Playbook

Putting the science of learning and development into action. Read more.

Design Principles for Schools Implementation Tools

View all resources here.

Turnaround for Children Toolbox

Science and equity-driven tools for whole-child school redesign. Explore the framework here.

Whole-Child Design Inventory

Assess and reflect on your school’s alignment with whole-child design. Learn more.

Well-Being Index

Assess and reflect to become more attuned and responsive educators. View the index.