During each of the six breakout sessions throughout the weekend, a large number of conversations will take place. This site will help you organize your plan for the weekend and provide the relevant information for each conversation. After signing in, search through the conversations below and mark the sessions you are interested in to populate your personal schedule on the right (or below if on your mobile phone).

Visual Narrative for Teachers

Douglas Herman, Josh Weisgrau

In this three-hour intensive workshop, you will work with the students and faculty of SLA’s Rough Cut Productions to learn the technical and artistic techniques of communicating through video. The skills you will learn will be valuable both in creating great video content to help your students learn, and mentoring your students to create compelling video projects across disciplines.

School Transformation

Session 3
Diana Laufenberg

Schools engaged in the change process are challenged by a whole host of conditions - some of which are negotiable, some not. The path is incredibly challenging and rewarding. Our conversation will talk about allowing breathing room, playing the long game, paying attention to critical indicators and celebrate success.

Closing the Gender Gap in Innovation: Engaging Girls in STEM

Session 1
Jennifer L Scheffer, Mira Mehdi, Cat Hoyt, Kristin Johnson, Kelsey O'Brien

This conversation will focus on how to empower young women to enroll and succeed in STEM based courses. Here from a panel of four innovative young women enrolled in Burlington High School's Student Technology Innovation and Integration course. Learn about their programs best practices and leave with student generated ideas on how to increase enrollment among young women in the STEM courses offered at your own school.

Engaging Students in the College Application Process

Session 1
Karina Hirschfield

High school students often feel the pressure of not just getting into a college, but getting into the best college. With so many colleges to choose from, and technology making it easier to apply, the number of students' college applications continue to rise. High school counselors are increasingly challenged to help students access and sort through an influx of information in order to successfully complete the steps to college entry. High school counselors Karina Hirschfield from Science Leadership Academy and Tatiana Olmedo from Central High School recognize the value of engaging peer leaders in the college application process. Peers have a significant influence in decisions, behaviors and attitudes in youth. In the college process, peers can positively impact student outcomes. Ms. Hirschfield and Ms. Olmedo will share how they promote student leadership, foster a college-going culture, and widen college access opportunities for all students through their College Access Leaders (CAL) program. CAL students will also share their leadership experience and highlight the benefits and challenges they have come across while helping their peers navigate the college process. Lastly, intern, Olivia Antosiewicz, from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education will share her direct work in training the CAL students.

Mentoring Passion

Session 1
Jennifer Ward, Christina Brennan

Building mentorship relationships into passion-driven inquiry projects empowers learners of all grades and levels. Learn how an elementary librarian and a high school English teacher connected their student learners, establishing mentors for the inquiry process.

Rethinking the Purpose, Process and Promise of Professional Learning

Session 1
Kristen Swanson and David Jakes

Do we really need "PD" anymore? In a world where content and connections are limitless, why do we need to put restraints on professional learning? What if the only PD course a school ever offered was: How to Learn Something When You Need to Learn Something? In this conversation, challenge yourself to begin rethinking what professional learning means, how organizations can support more diverse and contemporary models of learning, and how schools can build a culture of sustainable professional learning.

Advisory at SLA

Session 2
Kristina Scalia-Jackson, Allison Kelly, Bella Beato

This presentation is dedicated entirely to advisory at SLA. We felt that focussing on this area gives a good depiction as to what makes Science Leadership Academy what it is, what makes it so different compared to other high schools around the country, and SLA’s impact on education.

Breaking the Grit Hammer: A Conversation about Paths to Abundance

Session 2
Pam Moran and Ira Socol

"I absolutely believe that "the grit narrative" damages our children because it lets society and the powerful off the hook. "Why change anything?" they'll ask, "the kids just need grit." "Grit" is one more excuse, its one more hammer to beat children with." Join us for a provocative conversation about an alternate to Angela Duckworth's narrative of grit, scarcity, and privilege. We'll share a few stories, ask a few questions, and circle up to share pathways that support children as makers of their own learning, voices of influence, powerful purveyers of personal agency by design.

Reinventing your PLN

Session 2
Andy Marcinek, Lyn Hilt

As a result of our learning together, participants will leave with clear strategies for utilizing social media for personal learning network development. We will take a critical look at popular social media services to determine effective ways to engage with other educators and sustain meaningful conversations focused on learning.

Anatomy of the wired history classroom

Session 3
Yolanda Wilcox-Gonzalez, Melissa Alkire, Geeta Jain, Rodney Yeoh, Kader Adjout

Sharing examples and looking at case studies of how technology enhances teaching and learning, this workshop will focus on a history/social studies approach to teaching with technology, but will present tools that can be used in any classroom environment. Participants will experiment tech tools that have worked well in our daily teaching and have been practical and efficient for students' learning, especially in a project-based learning environment.

Crafting a Digital Identity

Session 3
Rafranz David, Becky Fisher, Jeffrey McClurken, Jennifer Orr, Tim Stahmer

Everyone has a digital identity, like it or not. Responsibly developing and maintaining that identity are critical skills for educators and students. What role should educators play in developing these skills? What do educators need to do themselves to shape their digital identities and to serve as models for students?

Grades are stupid: Let’s promote and assess the process of learning, not just products.

Session 3
Reshan Richards

Emerging technologies, current research, and innovative pedagogies have supported the ways that students learn and demonstrate what they understand. Unfortunately, the archaic practices of grades and grading still dominate assessment conversations, even though assessment is much more than a static number or letter. Students now make their thinking visible more easily, and it is up to educators to recognize and harness the value in new approaches to assessment.

I abandoned my grading policy and you won’t believe what happened next: Mastery Tracking 101

Session 3
Sarah Prendergast, Michelle Leimsider, Lesly Lantigua, Tajanea Woodroffe, and Lissa Sangree-Calabrese

What does a student’s grade actually mean? Join a conversation led by NYC iSchool students and their teacher to learn how mastery-based learning and tracking can give students, families and teachers a genuine understanding of student knowledge. Find out what it’s like to really know what your students know while empowering students to take real ownership of their learning and walk away with plans (both big and small) to incorporate mastery tracking into your classroom.

Inquiry-driven project-based learning entrepreneurship at University

Session 3
Joshua Spodek

Two parts. One, since learning as much as I could about inquiry-driving project-based learning at Educon 2.6, I taught two classes in entrepreneurship at NYU that way and expect to teach a new class in leadership this Spring. I will give a progress report, open to constructive criticism, and look for ideas for teaching a brand-new leadership class. Two, assuming we want to spread the practice, let's find ways to do so, to find others practicing, and create community. Also, let's check that assumption. How does this style of teaching and learning differ in universities compared to K-12? What's easier or harder for the student, teacher, learning institution, etc?

Moving Beyond the Drive-By Model for Professional Development

Session 3
Eric A Walters

More often than not, professional development in schools follows the drive-by model: a guest speaker addresses the faculty, offering some practical advice for the classroom and then moves onto the next school. Faculty return to their classroom and then, eventually, are visited by another expert offering different practical advice. Without an opportunity for the faculty to fully engage in this professional development in a classroom setting, the lessons learned from each experience are often lost. How then do we reimagine professional development. We need a new paradigm in professional development as well as in teaching and learning. Instead of offerring self-contained workshops in blocks as traditional PD does, let's consider a new model that is continuous and sustainable (as evidenced by the highly successful Marymount School Making and Learning Institute). Participants immerse themselves as part of a making and learning culture in a variety of ways and choose from a menu of items that works best for the participant and not what is best for the PD organizers. Join us for a lively discussion to rethink PD models as we drive beyond the drive by.

Project Stargazer: Student-Led Collaborative Design and Education

Session 3
Derrick Pitts, Alexander Wroblewski, Andrew Roberts, Michael Thayres, and Morgan Caswell

This is a conversation led by the students of Project Stargazer. Learn about the process high-school students can take to develop their own collaborative projects, based on the experiences of a group of Science Leadership Academy students who created a student-led project in collaboration with The Franklin Institute and Boeing.

Imagining Digital Spaces for Learning

Session 4
David Jakes

The Web now provides an infinite canvas for developing spaces that are boundless locations for learning. At the same time, the types of devices that students have and can use to connect online are exploding. Given these two ideas, and the potential they represent for learning, it is essential that schools begin to develop a dedicated digital spaces for learning. In this conversation, we’ll discuss potential models for the design of such a space while developing a manifesto that provides a declaration and invitation into digital learning.

Personalized, not Individualized

Session 4
Diana Laufenberg

Personalization is a hot button issue as of late. The prospect of a student centered, inquiry-driven approach is enticing and personalization is a critical piece of that puzzle. The manner in which personalization is used broadly often invokes technology as tool for efficiency and streamlining that definitely individualize, but may not actually attend to the 'person'. Please join me to discuss the promises and perils of personalization in modern schools.

Tech Still Matters: Youth Voices

Session 4
Paul Allison and Marina Lombardo

Tools come and go, but what remains? Teachers whose students use will talk about what we have learned about the technologies that seem essential to our pedagogy after twelve years of working together to build a social network that promotes youth voices and connected inquiry.

Getting our Kum-ba-ya On

Session 5
Susan Dreyer Leon

Mindfulness is the new buzzword in EduCircles these days. But what is it, exactly? What does it look like in different incarnations and different settings? Is it a relaxation technique, a stress reducer, or the feel good hit of the new school year? Is Mindfulness a passing fad or the key to powerful teaching and learning- or something in between?

Re-Languaging School

Session 5
Alex Shevrin

How do the words we choose to use in school impact our students, positively or negatively? How might we use language to empower, include, and reimagine? Let's dig in to the evocative lexicon of education and unpack how we talk the talk.

Self Care in a Challenging Educational Climate

Session 5
Zoe Siswick, Meenoo Rami

In the era of increasing teacher demoralization, how do teachers keep the momentum going? What are the most effective self-care ideas for teachers to implement in their teaching lives. This session will create a space for a dialogue and sharing of the strategies that have helped us along our professional journey. We are looking forward to hearing and learning from other participants in this session and creating a resource for other teachers to utilize as well.

The Readiness Project

Session 5
Chris Jackson

Quick: Define “college readiness”. Now: compare what’s in your head with definitions that have been established by standardized testing publishers, policy makers, and colleges themselves? Are they in alignment? Likely not. Let’s redefine college readiness and discuss innovative teaching and assessment practices (you’re likely already utilizing) that are aligned with our new, consensus-built definition.

Approaching Authentic Assessments

Session 6
Max Rosen-Long

Project-based learning gives teachers the opportunity to bring learning closer to students' real lives. But how can we make sure the final projects we ask students to create both require them to use real-world skills and spark their curiosity, inquiry, and imaginations? Instead of asking students to make projects that approximate real-life for the future, how can we ask them to do meaningful assessments that matter for real life today?

Forget FBLA...We're Creating Social Entrepreneurs Today

Session 6
Melissa Scott, Joey Starnes, Shannan Schuster, Lisa Williams, Karen Davis

Our conversation will address the missing yet essential elements of most schools’ curricular programs: innovation and social justice. We’ll discuss how the two can be combined in a Social Entrepreneurs class in which students merge their own passions with a need in their community to develop a student-run business.

Life Beyond School Walls

Session 6
Justin Lanier

The majority of human life and activity—and the vast majority of adult life and activity—happen beyond our schools' walls. Taking this as a starting point, how can we put our students in touch with the living and doing that's happening in the world? Like, for real.