Advocacy Institute Online 2021 web hero image

Colleagues from across the country registered for this robust online event focused on unifying state school board associations and their districts’ leaders around our advocacy priorities. Results from a national poll on public schools was released as part of the event. Attendees also heard from U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, country superstar Trisha Yearwood (who spoke on music education), Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Acting Chairwoman, Maureen Tracey-Mooney, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy, Domestic Policy Council, The White House, and several members of Congress.


Session Recordings

After each day of sessions, attendees will receive an email with a link and passcode to access the recordings. These recordings will be available through July 23, 2021.

Schedule Overview

Wednesday, June 2

1–2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

Pre-Conference Webinar

Special Training—Best Practices for Lobbying Capitol Hill
Learn how to advocate during COVID-19 from the experts at the Congressional Management Foundation. (Open to all registered Advocacy Institute Online participants.) 

Tuesday, June 8

12–5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

Welcome Remarks

General Session—Release of the 2021 National Public Education Public Opinion Poll
Speakers: Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners; Bob Carpenter, President of Chesapeake Beach Consulting; and Chip Slaven, NSBA Chief Advocacy Officer, Federal Advocacy and Public Policy

Two well-known political pollsters present their new national findings on Public Education and Schools.

Celinda Lake is an author, prominent pollster, and senior advisor to President Biden. She has been a key player in campaigns launched by numerous influential progressive groups and works with innovative messaging projects that help redefine language on the economy, inequality, big money in politics, climate change, public schools, teachers, criminal justice reform, and race and class. Bob Carpenter has over 35 years of political experience, most of it in the research arena working for Republican candidates, corporations, and associations, as well as on women’s, environmental, and education issues.

The results of the poll can be found on

NSBA Federal Advocacy Update—State of Play in Congress and the Biden Administration
Speakers: Deborah Rigsby, NSBA Program Director, Lobbying and Federal Legislation; Jane Mellow, NSBA Managing Director, Federal Advocacy and Public Policy; and Leah Fliter, Director of Governmental Relations, Kansas Association of School Boards and Chair of the Conference of State Association Legislative Staff

Presentation Slides

Remarks by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona


NSBA Legal Advocacy Update—Legal Issues and Recent Developments in the Courts
Speaker: Francisco Negron, NSBA Chief Legal Officer
Get the latest updates on recent legal rulings impacting schools and school boards.

Presentation Slides

Messaging Advocacy Session—Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act
Speakers: Deborah Rigsby, NSBA Program Director, Lobbying and Federal Legislation; and Jennifer Smith, Director of Government Relations, Michigan Association of School Boards

Talking Points  Presentation Slides

Exclusive Training: Understanding Rulemaking and the Regulatory Process
Speakers: Sonja Trainor, NSBA Managing Director, Legal Advocacy; and Jordan Cooper, NSBA Senior Attorney

Presentation Slides

Messaging Advocacy Session—Building the Teacher Pipeline: Recruitment, Retention, and Professional Learning
Speakers: Reg Leichty, Founder and Partner, Foresight Law + Policy; and JT Kessler, Government Relations Specialist, Virginia School Boards Association

Talking Points

Special General SessionMusic Education
Speakers: Trisha Yearwood, Country Music Artist, Actress, Author, Chef, Personality, and Entrepreneur; and 
Sarah Trahern, CEO, Country Music Association (CMA)
Watch a special thank you video by Trisha Yearwood to school board members across the country. 

Wednesday June 9

12-5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

Q and A on President Biden’s Domestic Policy Agenda
Maureen Tracey-Mooney, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy, Domestic Policy Council, The White House; and Anna Maria Chávez, Executive Director & CEO, NSBA

Messaging Advocacy Session: Fighting for Public Schools in Funding and Resources
Speakers: Jane Mellow, NSBA Managing Director, Federal Advocacy and Public Policy; and Debbie Elmore, Director of Government Relations, South Carolina School Boards Association

Talking Points

NSBA Center for Public Education Report—Funding School Innovation
Speaker: Jinghong Cai, NSBA Senior Research Analyst, Center for Public Education

Presentation Slides

Special General Session—Build the Connections: Close the Homework Gap
Speaker: Jessica Rosenworcel, Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman; Keith Kruger, Chief Executive Officer, Consortium for School Networking; and Anna Maria Chávez, Executive Director & CEO, NSBA 

For more information on the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, visit the FCC's page. 

Common Sense Media's digital divide publications.

The Alliance for Excellent Education's Homework Gap report.

Slides from CoSN's student home connectivity study. Lear more about


Messaging Advocacy Session: The Homework Gap and Education Digital Divide
Speakers: Ralph Forsht, NSBA Director, National Grassroots Advocacy; and Dan Rossmiller, Director of Government Relations, Wisconsin Association of School Boards

Talking Points

Exclusive Training—Leveraging Social Media in Advocacy Communications
Speaker: Jason Amos, NSBA Communications Director

Presentation Slides

Messaging Advocacy Session: Building Stronger School Infrastructure
Speakers: Deborah Rigsby, NSBA Program Director, Lobbying and Federal Legislation; and Ruben Longoria, Jr., Assistant Director, Texas Association of School Boards

Talking Points  Presentation Slides


Closing General Session—Public School Transformation Now!
Speakers: Richard M. Long, Executive Director, Learning First Alliance; Thomas C. Murray, Director of Innovation, Future Ready Schools, Alliance for Excellent Education; Dr. Valerie Kinloch, Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Education and Remake Learning Council Co-Chair; Nathan G. Mains, Chief Executive Officer, Pennsylvania School Boards Association; Chip Slaven, NSBA Chief Advocacy Officer; Rishabh Chatterjee, Leadership for Educational Equity Foundation Fellow, NSBA, and a Remake Learning Days Representative

Learning First Alliance's Public Schools Week
Digital Learning Day
Future Ready Schools
Remake Learning Days

Thursday, June 10

12-1:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

Keynote Congressional Session
Speakers: Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott,  Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee; U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary CommitteeU.S. Senator Susan Collins, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committeeand Anna Maria Chávez, NSBA Executive Director and CEO

Representatives Hayes and Scott, and Senators Grassley, Collins, and Markey, will speak with NSBA Executive Director and CEO Anna Maria Chávez about COVID-19 recovery efforts, supports to address learning loss and provide extended learning opportunities to students, school infrastructure, the federal investment in special education, steps to address teacher shortages, and more.

Virtual Visits to Capitol Hill
Hill Day goes online! Join your local colleagues in a series of virtual appointments with your representatives on Capitol Hill. Virtual visits with Members of Congress and staff will be organized by individual state school board associations and will take place throughout the day.


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