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).

Filmmaking for Teachers

Anna Walker-Roberts

Work with students and faculty of SLA’s CTE Digital Video program to learn the technical and artistic techniques of communicating through video. This three-hour interactive workshop has a limit of 30 participants.


Session 1
Anneke Radin-Snaith

What responsibility do schools have to grow truly empathetic people? How do we help our students connect and build positive relationships with diverse populations in this increasingly divisive political/social climate? How do we help our young people “ listen to others deeply enough to be changed by what they learn?”

Beyond Boxes, Borders, and Binaries: Thinking with More Complexity

Session 1
Thomas Jones

It seems we’re all trapped within our ideological “bubbles,” victims to believing and spreading “fake” and fast news. Let’s start doing something about this lack of nuanced thinking in our classrooms by providing texts that do not reduce ideas down to soundbites. You’ll leave this session thinking about how to help students articulate their ideas with depth and sophistication.

Book Chat! The New Education by Cathy Davidson

Session 1
Lee Finkelstein

Cathy Davidson writes in her new book, The New Education, about the origins of our current educational system, and compellingly that this system no longer serves its students or society well. The focused solutions she recommends are aimed at higher education institutions.

Using Technology to Help Students Explore Mathematical Concepts

Session 1
Brad Latimer, Nicole Gasser

This conversation will focus on using technology (specifically Desmos and Geogebra) to help students explore mathematical concepts through interactive and engaging online activities. Participants in the conversation will explore several Desmos/Geogebra activities (and hear from current students who have used those activities in math classes), and then will work in small groups to re-design a current unit plan to include technology-based activities that create a more student-centered, inquiry-driven math experience.

What does it mean to be a graduate?

Session 1
Matthew Riggan

What should it mean to graduate from high school? In this conversation, I am going to convince you that 1) high school graduation requirements are the Most Interesting Topic in the World, and 2) they are a really good place to begin radically reshaping schools.

Build it Up! Connecting Assignments to Projects in World Languages

Session 2
Melissa Moran

Session aimed at providing World Language educators with various tools for increasing whole class engagement and student responsibilities through role-play, multi-layered activities, and purposeful assignments leading to larger projects. Through language immersion, clear roles and engaging assignments - students will be able to produce higher levels of interpersonal communication, presentational speaking and presentational writing.

How do we DO science in our schools?

Session 2
Eileen Glassmire

What is science?.... observing the natural world, questioning, making hypotheses, designing and performing experiments, and drawing conclusions from evidence. Many, if not most, of the "labs" done in grades 9-12 focus on demonstration of properties and building lab and analytic skills. Let's talk about ways to make science in our schools better reflect the true nature of the discipline. We face limitations including class size, content requirements, resources, safety concerns and time constraints. How can we make this work at our schools?

So, how was your trip?": The Impact of Student-Led Interdisciplinary Field Studies

Session 2
Pearl Jonas, Steph Sessa

"So, how was your trip?" Is a question that our students prepare to answer as they close out their field experience. We anticipate the one minute window that students have to capture the attention of their family and friends when they first see them after such a life-changing experience to convey the impact of their trip. This session will explore those experiences. Students in SLA's International Cultures elective have been working on a student-led, inquiry-driven interdisciplinary project culminating in a field study in Costa Rica. Students will be telling their stories and the inquiry process they went through to compile and complete their projects. Last year, students created their own projects culminating in a field study in Cuba. Last year's students will discuss and reflect on the impact of an international experience on how they understand the world.

Teaching in the "Age of Trump"

Session 2
Steve Goldberg

Donald Trump’s presidency means my US History students pay far more attention than usual. Opportunities abound for teaching about checks and balances, human rights, and the role of America in today’s world. Our conversation will consider what it means to “teach Trump” in a fair and balanced way.

Vive la "Différance”

Session 2
Maggie Osman, Patty Rich

Join in deconstructing sex and gender using Jacques Derrida's "différance” thinking for truly comprehensive sexual education. Deconstructing gender defies the confines of health class. Challenge your assumptions and join the braintrust exploring limitless cross curricular opportunities in teaching and learning to infuse your practice from pre-K to adult with "différance".

Hiring with a Maker Mentality

Session 3
Nick Fargnoli, Dan McAlpin

How do we hire great teachers? This workshop will walk participants through the process we used to create an alternative approach to hiring--one that is based on our interest in the Maker movement. Participants will have an opportunity to evaluate their own hiring practices and to collaborate with colleagues from around the nation to reshape the way that they attract and retain top talent.

HMW Create Sustainable Innovation via Personalized Professional Development Pathways?

Session 3
Kevin Moore

What if professional development was a way of storytelling? What if that story was strategically shared to empower a community? Personalized learning is often discussed while designing for our students, why not create a personalized professional development(PPD) program to enhance faculty? We will dive deep into the design process of creating a PPD program and the return on investment for the individual and team of faculty.

Participatory School Design for Participatory Democracy

Session 3
Michael McCabe, Sean Anderson

Many of our schools are disempowering and undemocratic by design -- as a result, our communities are disenfranchised and we struggle to enact our power together. We are failing at learning to live democratically. This conversation proposes a curriculum called Participatory School Design, in which youth work with facilitators to re-envision school, then to create the schools that will serve them and their communities.

Supporting Learner Agency Amidst Control

Session 3
Rafranz Davis, Knikole Taylor

As much as we all wish for widespread change and schools to be vastly different, some of us still work in schools that seem to operate behind a wall of tradition. For this conversation, we'd like to discuss ways to help others in places of power see beyond doing what we've always done.

Think Tank Challenge: A Model for Student Led Curriculum Design

Session 3
Robert Gulya, Amalu Jenkins, Karen Patwa, Arian Nakhaie, Priscilla Inoa, Gaylene Alexis, Crystal Montalvo

What does a high school education look like that engages students, involves the community, and prepares learners for the unknown possibilities of the 21st Century? At South Bronx Community, our students answer this question. We gave students the keys to the curriculum and supported them to design their own interdisciplinary projects.

When Grit Isn't Enough

Session 3
Linda Nathan

This conversation explores Linda Nathan's book, When Grit Isn’t Enough, which investigates five assumptions that dominate our thinking about education, revealing how these beliefs mask systemic inequity. Participants will gain greater understanding of these assumptions as they have been internalized and manifested in schools and organizations.

“This Is My Body”: Planning Rigorous, Relevant, and Accessible Humanities Curriculum Through an African-American Lens

Session 3
Michael Bolton, Steven Humes, Charlie McGeehan, Samuel Reed, U School students

U School Humanities educators create curriculum that is rigorous, relevant, and accessible for all students in our non-selective public school. Students and educators will share the process used to design our introductory “This Is My Body” unit, inspired by Opera Philadelphia’s “We Shall Not Be Moved”, and resulting argumentative poetry.

Conversations In and Across the Classrooms

Session 4
Hilary Hamilton, Nancy Ironside, Tim Boyle

Faculty from Science Leadership Academy Middle School will discuss the connection between conversation and comprehension. Participants will share questions and learn how conversation is embedded into the curricula and practices at SLA-MS and think about what it means to get better at conversation. Conversation with conclude with sharing of practices from participants who use conversation as a tool for growth and understanding.

Driving Curricular Shifts from the Inside-out

Session 4
Mary Kate Raytek, Tod Witman, (Howard Emerson)

We are at a pivotal time in education. We are changing the way that teachers teach and students learn. This vision is not always clear and supported by all parties involved. This conversation focuses on how we can make that curricular shift in a K-12 setting even when others do not see it. We will share our journey, successes, and pitfalls.

Entrepreneurial Mindset in Education

Session 4
Jenny Zapf

What constitutes an entrepreneurial mindset in education? This highly interactive session will ask participants to unpack and apply terms like "entrepreneurship", "innovation" and "mindset" and consider how these constructs can powerfully influence teaching and learning. Help shape this new work with our team of educators, researchers and social innovators!

National Parks: America's best classroom

Session 4
Mike Mihalik, Laura Witman

How do we create open-walled learning experiences that are socially, emotionally, and personally valuable? How can we leverage National Parks as one of America's best classrooms? How do we ensure that we are providing all students the opportunity to understand the interconnected and interdisciplinary nature of Earth Science to make informed personal decisions and potentially solve significant global problems in their future?

Restorative Practices in 21st Century Schools

Session 4
Aaron Gerwer, Zoe Siswick

How can we make sure that our schools’ systems are caring and how can we ensure that the caring ways we deal with community restoration are necessarily systematic? In 21st Century schools we don’t face the problem of humanizing institutions and we certainly don’t want to turn humane communities into institutions but we do want to make sure that all members of our community understand how restoration works and how to play a part in maintaining these places of shared values. In this session we will explore questions related to restorative practices in progressive spaces and personal experiences with these two, at times complementary and at other times competing, lenses.

Student Publishing and the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Session 4
Ross Cooper, Casey Cohen

We will discuss the significance of student publishing and writing for an authentic audience, the why behind student publishing, and how this connects to students developing an entrepreneurial spirit (and potentially being entrepreneurs). We will share authentic student examples and reflections, and explore relevant resources, such as: blog posts, TEDx Talks, publishing platforms, and more.

The Museum is the Project - opening historiography in the PBL context.

Session 4
James Elish

This session will investigate the place museums, those staid, oftenanachronistic institutions, have in an engaging PBL social studies curriculum. The proposal, to be expanded on below, asks teachers to understand museums as historical actors, rather than simply using them as glorified warehouses. In the PBL social studies classroom, students can engage with museums more actively by analyzing the storytelling role of the museum itself. In assessing questions of provenance, representation, and cultural sensitivity, the museum comes alive and provides a rich canvas for project integration. Museums are created by people and, as such, they are worthy of critique and analysis that goes beyond simply saying, “doesn’t that look cool.”

Your Personal Privacy Policy

Session 4
Adam Rosenzweig; Bill Fitzgerald

Privacy is relative. As our world becomes increasingly digitized and monitored, our attitudes toward privacy should evolve beyond just app settings and encryption. We can’t make the best choices for ourselves or our kids if we haven’t thought about what privacy really means to us.

Choosing to be Awakened and Awoke : A Conversation about Social Justice for All, in Schools and Beyond

Session 5
Ella Burrows, Tamir Harper, Sam Dennis and Christian Long

Join us for a SLA-student-led exploration of how to engage young people in authentic social justice discussions and actions. This session seeks to map out ways for all of us to authentically understand, engage in, and make a positive impact across the spectrum of of social justice within our schools. From here, we will seek to identify ways to share our own stories while ensuring that all others can and will have an equal voice, too. Finally, the (3) SLA student session leaders will also share their long-term plans for an innovative 'social justice' inspired event that will be influenced by your experiences, questions and ideas.

Graduation by Exhibition

Session 5
George Zeleznik, Ann Croxson, Gena Lopata, Laura Craig

Are today’s high school graduates prepared for post-secondary education? The Crefeld School’s Graduation by Exhibition (GBE) model better prepares students for a smooth transition to life after high school. Crefeld staff will share details about their successful progressive GBE process that is an essential component of the school’s program.

The Ethics of VR Usage with Children

Session 5
Lisa Castaneda & Marc Pacampara

As VR gains ground in education more teachers are finding ways to include it in their curriculum. In parallel, social science research suggests VR has an impact on the user beyond the scope of other mediums. Educators need to weigh VR’s costs and benefits and its impact on children.

EduGen Dialogues

Session 6
Jennifer Orr, Michael Doyle

Gender, in all forms, plays a significant role in how education does or doesn’t work for many, both for students and adults. This session will explore our identified and unidentified biases. We will identify issues in education impacted by gender and work to develop plans to address these issues individually, at the school level, and beyond.

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