Piedmont Education Speaker Series (past events)

2018-2019 Series

Teens & Screens: Parenting in the Age of Tech
September 25, 2018
Jean Twenge, Ph.D. is a professor of psychology at San Diego State University and the author of iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood. Dr. Twenge has been interviewed on NPR, featured in The Atlantic, and quoted in the New York Times article, Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety? She will share her findings and offer real-world tips for helping parents manage screen time and navigate a wired world.

About Homework
October 30, 2018
Denise Pope, Ph.D. is a co-founder of Challenge Success, a Stanford-based initiative that seeks to promote a balanced and academically fulfilling life for kids. She is the author of Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students and a three-time recipient of the Stanford University Graduate School of Education Outstanding Teacher and Mentor Award. Dr. Pope returns to Piedmont to share her insights on how parents and educators can help students at all grade levels find meaning and motivation in their studies.

Talking with Kids about Healthy Relationships, Sex, and Porn
December 4, 2018
Teens and pre-teens are exposed to unhealthy attitudes and behaviors about sex and relationships through the internet, pop culture, and online pornography. Narda Skov, MPH, an adolescent sexuality educator and reproductive health specialist with over 25 years experience working with young people, will share information about the current landscape and how parents can start meaningful conversations with their kids about their values and safety as it relates to sex and relationships.

Coping with Anxiety
January 29, 2019
Psychologist and author Michael A. Tompkins, Ph.D. specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders. An assistant clinical professor at the University of California, Berkeley and founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, he has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and on The Learning Channel, KQED, and NPR. Dr. Tompkins returns to Piedmont to share advice and tools parents can use to help an anxious child.

Parenting Boys
February 26, 2019
Rosalind Wiseman is the author of the bestsellers Queen Bees & Wannabes, Masterminds & Wingmen and the publisher of a social/emotional learning curriculum that she created in collaboration with middle and high school students. Ms. Wiseman returns to Piedmont to offer parents insights and advice about helping boys and parents navigate aspects of boy world such as rebellion, bullying, relationships, and the ways technology and social media have profoundly altered the ways boys and girls communicate.

The Critical Importance of Sleep
March 26, 2019
Matthew Walker, Ph.D. is professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and the founder and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science. He is also the author of the book Why We Sleep. Dr. Walker will address the serious consequences of too little sleep, including problems in concentration, memory and the immune system, and will offer specific advice or parents of teenagers, who may have a chronic sleep deficit.


The Spirited Child
September 12, 2017
Dr. Mary Sheedy Kurcinka is a parent educator and the best-selling author of Raising Your Spirited Child, Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles, and Sleepless in America: Is Your Child Misbehaving or Missing Sleep?. Dr. Kurcinka incorporates child development research into her talks to help explain common behaviors, and provides insights and practical strategies for parenting.

Raising Kids to Thrive
October 18, 2017
Dr. Ken Ginsburg, a nationally known pediatrician in adolescent medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, is the author of Building Resilience in Children and Teens and Raising Kids to Thrive. His work focuses on how building the seven “Cs” – competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control – helps parents raise successful kids.

Changing the Game in Youth Sports
November 7, 2017
John O’Sullivan writes and lectures about nurturing positive, healthy, and supportive relationships between parents and their young athletes. He is the founder and CEO of the Changing the Game Project and the author of Changing the Game: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes, and Giving Youth Sports Back to our Kids.

The Importance of a Liberal Arts Education
Janurary 30, 2018
Dr. Brian Rosenberg, President of Macalester College, champions the value of a liberal arts education to establish critical thinking skills that are essential to being a good citizen and necessary in every field of study and occupation. Dr. Rosenberg is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Higher Education Working Group and the Presidents’ Trust of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Teen Use of Tobacco and Marijuana
February 13, 2018
Dr. Danielle Ramo is a Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UCSF with expertise in adolescent and young adult substance abuse. Dr. Ramo will talk about teen drug use trends in the Bay Area, share her research and clinical expertise, and provide tips on how to have productive, thoughtful conversations with your teen.

The Myth of the Math Brain
April 17, 2018
Dr. Jo Boaler is a professor of mathematics education at Stanford and the co-founder of Youcubed, a project that seeks to improve math teaching for all children. Her book, Experiencing School Mathematics, won the Outstanding Book of the Year award for education in Britain. She is also the author of Mathematical Mindsets and What’s Math Got to Do with It?

The Hidden Logic of Teenagers
March 27, 2018
Back by popular demand, Dr. Mike Riera – the head of the Brentwood School in Los Angeles and former head of Redwood Day School in Oakland – will share his insights about the challenges of both being a teen, and parenting a teen, particularly in the age of technology. He has written or co-written five books, including Uncommon Sense for Parents With Teenagers and Staying Connected To Your Teenager.

2016- 2017

Talking With Your Kids About Race
September 13, 2016
How can parents and educators best address children’s concerns and questions about race and racism? Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith is a child psychologist and professor at the Wright Institute, whose research has focused on how children understand race, and how racial socialization plays out at home and in the classroom. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Harvard University and a clinical psychology Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley

Developing Independent Executive Function Skills
October 3, 2016
Children and teens who have trouble with executive function may have challenges in planning ahead, taking initiative, inhibiting impulses, managing time, completing tasks, and seeing “the big picture.” Sarah Ward is a nationally-recognized expert on the topic of executive function. She regularly hosts workshops for a variety of professional and parent organizations, school and lay groups. She has presented to, and consulted with, over 350 public and private schools across the United States. Ward will share ready-to-use strategies and tools for teaching children how to develop independent executive function skills.She is a former Graduate Fellow at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

How to Talk With Your Kids about Money
October 18, 2016
Ron Lieber writes the Your Money column for The New York Times. In his 2015 book, The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money, Lieber explains how talking openly with children about money can help them develop into financially wise young adults. In his popular talks,he helps parents understand the basic financial behaviors that are not only increasingly important for young adults but that also imprint lessons about what the family truly values. Lieber’s advice is applicable to parents with children of all ages.

“Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age”
November 15, 2016
Join ESS for a screening of the award-winning 2016 documentary by physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston, who takes a deeply personal approach as she probes the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics, and internet addiction. The one-hour viewing will be followed by a panel discussion led by Piedmont Unified School District Wellness Center Clinical Supervisor of Interns, Alisa Crovetti.

How to Raise an Adult
January 17, 2017
In her bestselling book, How to Raise an Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims draws on research, conversations with admissions officers, educators, and employers, and her own experience as a mother and former student dean at Stanford University to explore how over-helping harms children. While empathizing with the parental hopes and fears that lead to over-helping, Lythcott-Haims offers practical alternatives that allow children to make their own mistakes and develop the resilience, resourcefulness, and determination necessary for success.

Girls & Sex in the Digital Age

February 14, 2017
Peggy Orenstein, the New York Times best-selling author of Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape, explores how casual sex, pornography, alcohol, celebrity culture, and social media are impacting the intimate lives of girls. Even in this age of helicopter parenting, parents have little idea what their daughters are up to sexually, or how they feel about it. Orenstein will discuss her findings and explain how parents can help their sons and daughters balance the risks and dangers of sexuality with the pleasures and the joys.

Supporting a Student who Struggles in School
March 21, 2017
How can parents help and support students with issues such as dyslexia, ADHD, low motivation, or behavioral disorders? Rick Lavoie is a nationally-known expert in special education who will help parents better understand the struggling child and present specific techniques for improving parent/teacher communication, student motivation, reading skills, and more. Lavoie has administered programs for children with special needs since 1972 and is well-known for his award-winning films on special education and the social implications of learning disabilities.


Mindful Parenting & Mindfulness in Education
September 15, 2015
Santa Clara University professor Shauna Shapiro, Ph.D, has studied meditation for over 20 years, published over 100 journal articles, and authored the critically acclaimed books,The Art and Science of Mindfulness and Mindful Discipline: A Loving Approach To Setting Limits And Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child. Dr. Shapiro, whose work has been featured in Wired, USA Today, Oxygen, and the American Psychologist, will explore how mindfulness can play an important role in both parenting and in the classroom.

Technology & The Human Brain
October 20, 2015
Matt Richtel, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter and author of the bestselling book A Deadly Wandering explores the science of the human brain, the impact of technology on attention, impulse-control, and decision-making, and the fallacy of multi-tasking. He received the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a series of articles in the Times on the hazardous use of cell phones, computers and other devices while operating cars and trucks. His reporting stimulated widespread efforts to curb distracted driving. He explores the science of the human brain, the impact of technology on attention, impulse-control, and decision-making, and the fallacy of multi-tasking.

The Gift of Failure
November 17, 2015
Education reporter Jessica Lahey writes the bi-weekly column The Parent-Teacher Conference about “the intersection of education and parenting” for the The New York Times, and reports on education policy for The Atlantic and Vermont Public Radio. Lahey’s book, The Gift of Failure explores the principle that failure and disappointment are essential childhood and adolescent experiences. The ability to acknowledge and learn from mistakes helps children develop competence, autonomy and a lifelong willingness to take on challenges.

How Science Education is Changing
January 26, 2016
Dr. Elizabeth Stage, Director of Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, and Dr. Suzanna Loper, Middle School Curriculum Director at the Hall’s Learning Design Group, are national leaders in Science education. They will discuss the Next Generation Science Standards, and both why and how Science curriculum and instruction is changing.

Raising Resilient Girls
February 23, 2016
Girls Leadership Institute Co-Founder and Executive Director Simone Marean explores the challenges girls face today and what adults can do to help girls meet and overcome these challenges. Covering girl dynamics from preschool through high school, Ms. Simone addresses the skills needed for girls to: know who they are, what they believe, and how to express their feelings and beliefs constructively; and develop emotional intelligence and healthy relationships.

Rethinking the College Admissions Process:Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be
March 22, 2016
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni writes frequently about higher education. Bruni examines how Americans have turned college admissions into a terrifying and occasionally devastating process, preceded by test prep, tutors, and a conviction among too many young people that their futures will be determined — and their worth established — by college admissions. Bruni’s book, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, offers a fresh perspective on the college admissions process and a path out of the needless anxiety and fear associated with college admissions.

2014 – 2015

Preparing Students for the Age of Technology
September 30, 2014
A series of short talks followed by a panel discussion. Speakers include: Stephanie Griffin, PUSD’s Director of Instructional Technology; serial entrepreneurs Ali Partovi, Co-Founder of Code.org and Dion Lim, CEO of Next Lesson; and Kurt Fleischer, Senior Scientist at Pixar Animation Studios.

Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Parenting
October 21, 2014
Po Bronson, co-author of New York Times best-seller Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children, explores the science of parenting, contradicting conventional wisdom about parenting practices.

The Physiology of Sleep
November 18, 2014
Nationally-known sleep specialist Dr. Jerold Kram addresses specific, practical ways parents can promote healthy sleep habits, which are critically important for health, development and life-long wellness.

Why We Need to Change the Way We Teach Math
January 27, 2015
Education reform advocate Dan Meyer, one of Tech & Learning’s “30 Leaders of the Future” and an Apple Distinguished Educator featured on CNN and Good Morning America, discusses Common Core Math, and the importance and method of teaching students to formulate and solve problems rather than memorize and apply formulas.

The Social and Emotional Lives of Boys and Girls
February 24, 2015
Rosalind Wiseman, New York Times best-selling author of Queen Bees & Wannabes (2009) and Masterminds & Wingmen (2013), offers insights and advice about helping girls and boys navigate the realities of girl world and boy world. Wiseman examines cliques, frenemies, reputation, gossip, rebellion, bullying, crushes, and relationships, and the ways technology and social media have profoundly altered the ways boys and girls communicate.

Effects of Marijuana on the Developing Brain
March 24, 2015
During adolescence, the brain undergoes crucial development associated with judgment, critical thinking, problem solving, and memory. Abby Medcalf, Ph.D, will explore recent studies showing that use of marijuana during adolescence can disrupt this development, with long-term implications.


Coping with School-Related Anxiety
September 19, 2013
Psychologist and author Michael A. Tompkins, Ph.D. specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders. An Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California, Berkeley and Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, he has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and on The Learning Channel, KQED, and NPR.

Understanding Teenagers
October 24, 2013
Educator and author Michael Riera, Ph.D. is an authority on understanding and parenting teenagers. He hosted the award-winning Life in Progress on Oxygen cable network, served as the parenting correspondent for the CBS Saturday Early Show for seven years, and appears regularly on television about parenting.

Kids, Food and Body Image
November 14, 2013
Psychologist and Piedmont parent Ariel Trost, Ph.D. specializes in the treatment of disordered eating and body image challenges. Drawing on research findings as well as her clinical experience, she will share specific and practical ways parents can support their children’s development of positive body esteem and healthy relationships with food and exercise.

Raising Healthy Athletes
January 23, 2014
More than half of youth sports injuries are overuse injuries, and nearly all of these are preventable. Bruce Valentine, PTA, ACT of the Sports Medicine Center for Young Athletes at Children’s Hospital will address what parents need to know about raising healthy student athletes and viewing athletics as part of lifelong wellness.

In Praise of Teachers: An Evening with Taylor Mali
February 25, 2014
Poet, author, performance artist, and former teacher Taylor Mali is the author of What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World, and the one-man show Teacher! Teacher!, which won the jury prize for best solo performance at the 2001 Comedy Arts Festival. Mali is a vocal advocate of teachers and the nobility of teaching, and has performed and lectured all over the world.

Character Education &; Service Learning: A Panel Discussion of Piedmont Educators
March 27, 2014
A panel of Piedmont educators will discuss how the Piedmont schools can and do provide opportunities for students to work with disadvantaged and special needs populations in the East Bay, and how these opportunities, which are integrated in curriculum, promote both character development and community-building within the schools and beyond.

2012 – 2013

Academic Integrity
September 20, 2012
A panel of Piedmont High School and Middle School teachers speak about how schools can — and do — promote a culture of integrity, and what parents can do to help. The panel will be moderated by Stephanie Rafanelli, a Piedmont parent, long-time educator and educational consultant, includes Susan Stutzman (PHS teacher-librarian), Joci Kelleher (PMS Core 6–Lang Arts/Social Studies teacher), Courtney Goen (PHS AP US History and regular US History teacher), Dave Keller (PHS History and Civics teacher), and Tom Huffaker (Chemistry and Biotech teacher).

An Evening With Madeline Levine
October 25, 2012
Madeline Levine, author of the best-selling book The Price of Privilege and the recently-released book Teach Your Children Well will discuss myths about good grades, high test scores and college acceptances. Her new book addresses how a parent’s hopes and fears about a child’s success can affect parenting, and offers strategies that allow children to find their own success — rather than conform to a narrow, academic definition of success.

Reading for Boys: Motivating with Time, Choice and Access to Good Books
November 29, 2012
Dr. Cheryl Wozniak, Havens’ new principal, loves getting books into the hands of children. When she came to Havens, she gifted to her faculty thousands of books from her personal classroom library. Join Dr. Wozniak as she discusses the key findings from her research on reading motivation, its implications on classroom practice, and her literacy vision for elementary schools.

Youth Sports & Lifelong Wellness
January 31, 2013
More than half of youth sports injuries are overuse injuries, and nearly all of these are preventable. Bruce Valentine from the Sports Medicine Center for Young Athletes at Children’s Hospital will address what parents need to know about raising healthy student athletes and viewing athletics as part of lifelong wellness.

Student Engagement: How to Foster a Healthy Love of Learning
February 28, 2013
Dr. Denise Pope, author of the award-winning book Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students, will share her insights on how parents and educators can help students at all grade levels find meaning and motivation in their studies.

The Innovator’s Mindset
March 7 , 2013
Glen Tripp, a Piedmont parent and the founder of Gallileo Learning, specializes in developing curriculum for and operating innovation-oriented summer programs. He will address how parents can promote innovative thinking and creative problem-solving — lifeskills that can help children navigate life’s challenges by empowering them to envision and realize their own goals.

New Developments in Early Childhood Learning

March 28, 2013
Stephanie Rafanelli is a consultant for Stanford’s Challenge Success and the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s Center for Childhood Creativity. She will share new research about how young children learn and why “zest” may be a skill worth cultivating.