Conversations

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).

An Interdisciplinary Educational Lab - the “Constructionist” Approach

Melissa Rosenblatt, Michelle Bernstein, Patrick Kerrigan, Jen Blum, Nitzan Resnick

In our interdisciplinary lab for innovation where every voice matters, students implement their learning from multiple disciplines into new domains (Constructionism). Through their mastery based projects, students create digital portfolios, reflecting on their growth, product, and performance. Through digital escape rooms, participants of this session, based on their level of mastery, will try hands-on how to design a similar course/project.

Asset Mapping for Sustainable Classrooms and Side Hustles

Samuel A. Reed III

This interactive panel presentation will demonstrate the power of Asset Mapping to incubate school projects and sustainable educator and students side hustles. It will discuss how educators and students responded to the pandemic and racial unrest by developing cause-oriented businesses/side hustles. The presentation will focus on an entrepreneurial mindset and leadership development program based on design Connected Learning principles and the Arts and Business Council’s Creative Exchange program.

Building meaningful partnerships and adaptive toys

David Ingenthron

How a summer Design Camp that brought together members of local hospitals, private practices, artists, and universities to develop a network for children with mobility challenges can inspire real-world collaboration and professional development at your school all year round.

Challenging Traditional School Leader Pathways and PD: Growing and Sustaining Equity-Centered Leaders

Katie Culver, Brandon Cummings, Lauren Miller, Michael Farrell

In alignment with our districtwide equity framework, our vision of an equity-centered school leader is a leader who cultivates prosperity and liberation for students and staff, starting with historically marginalized populations, by increasing access and inclusion, building trusting relationships, removing barriers, and creating a shared culture of accountability. This vision reflects the transformative leadership orientation which focuses on equity, inclusion, and social justice. In this session, we will share the actualization of this vision, organized around three core drivers: increasing the accessibility of pathways to potential leaders committed to equity; sustaining aspiring and current principals with transformational coaching; professional learning that is responsive to equity considerations.

Codesign and the Liberated Spirit of Your Learning Community

Pam Moran, Ira Socol

What if the spirit and nature of a learning community was grounded in codesign, not hierarchy? When young people construct experiences through codesign, the streetscapes of learning change, leading to unanticipated relationships, social connections, emerging strengths and talents, new expertise, and self-actuated learners. We’ll share codesign stories and explore codesign together.

Creating a Learner-Centered School Through Personalized Learning

Joel Johnston

Connect authentically with learners by assessing learning behaviors and cataloguing their metacognition. Join an interactive session exploring how self-awareness and personalized learning can be used as approaches to meet the challenges you face. Discover how a common vocabulary describing learning can make a measurable difference in instruction and student support!

Creating and Strengthening Resilient Communities through PK-12 School Design and Partnerships

Sean O'Donnell, Bruce Levine, Katrina Struloeff, Rebecca Milne, Lindsay Fischer

How can a school’s design and programming enhance learning, resiliency, and wellness for not only students and teachers, but the community as a whole? Exploring one promising strategy, this session will share on-going research into community school models and environments that offer a wider array of services than conventional schools.

Critical creativity for global learners: Tricks and tips for creative expression in any classroom

Jacqueline Gardy, Dan Ryder

How might we provide learners around the world opportunities to develop deeper concept understanding, dynamic communication skills, and agile problem-solving mindsets? In this interactive workshop, explore 40+ strategies for creative expression in any classroom, whether an ESL class in Egypt or a civics seminar in New England. Collaborate with colleagues as we practice and plan for applying these methods, designed to foster equity and accessibility for all learners and educators alike.

Design Thinking Beyond the Classroom

Chris Loeffler, Julie Rodowsky

Participants will consider how to use the design thinking model on a school wide level. Learn from our experiences as administrators from redesigning Back to School Night to reframing student support. Participants will explore how this model can center empathy, purpose, and a prototyping mindset to improve your school.

Designing and Refining a Makerspace/Innovation Lab at the Middle Level

Thea MacFawn, Catara Vinson-Westbrook, Mark Kaercher

Are you interested in building a learning community where everyone is a teacher, students learn how to fail forward, and creativity is celebrated? Our middle school is in year two of operating six different Innovation Labs that 6th graders visit daily. Come reflect on our journey to challenge and plan your own.

Developing a Sense of Place, Peace, and Purpose: Using Urban Neighborhoods as Classrooms and Textbooks

Virginia Friedman, Michael Friedman, Alyssa Ripley, Olivia Vazquez

The STRIPES program at Belmont Charter High School in the Parkside section of Philadelphia highlights how an urban neighborhood can become a powerful extension of the classroom. This conversation will discuss ways that teachers can connect with their neighborhoods in the service of inquiry-driven learning and culturally responsive teaching.

For Us, By Us: Teachers of Color Leading Black and Brown Students in PBL

Matthew Kay, Alexis Clancy, Roger Bracy, Rea Gade

Too often, Inquiry-Driven and Project-Based learning are left out of conversations about what benefits students of color. These pedagogies are often sacrificed in the name of either rote skill development or the dryness that passes for "rigor." We'll talk about it, and figure out how to ensure that students of color aren't locked out of progressive education.

Foresight Thinking & Future Scenario Design for Human Beings

Christian Long

How might we as educators think 'like futurists and foresight strategists' so that we can best help our students purposefully respond to their unique futures? This interactive session will use recognized foresight strategies used by professional futurists to guide research and clients. Most importantly, it will help us consider ways we might adopt foresight practices and tools to empower our students.

From DEI to Antiracist

Katie Culver, Carissa Casey

What is the difference between DEI and Antiracist efforts in education? In this interactive workshop, participants will come together to support each other in furthering antiracist education and activism. Participants will work in groups to identify persistent racist policies and practices in education and brainstorm how to address these issues at the local, state and national level. We will examine data demonstrating inequity in education. Practices that are working to produce more equitable student outcomes will be shared and discussed. Participants will collaborate to set actionable goals and commit to holding themselves and their schools more accountable.

How is trauma present in your school?

Alex Shevrin Venet

Trauma-informed education isn’t about identifying "trauma kids" and providing certain supports to just those students. Instead, trauma-informed education asks "how is trauma present in our school?" with attention to students, teachers, community members, and more. Come to answer this question & discuss where to go from here.

Inclusive Classrooms

Dr. Tayibah Bemiah

This conversation will focus on the professional collaboration between special education and general education teachers. The presentation will foster conversation and provide electronic resources to assist with educating students with learning differences.

Let's Design a School!

Mary Beth Hertz

Students from SLA Beeber share their vision of what school could be and work with participants to design the ideal school.

Let's go to the Tape!: Breaking Down Two Filmed High School Race Conversations.

Matthew Kay

SLA Teacher and author Matthew Kay will lead educators in collectively breaking down film from two class conversations, one about the Confederate flag, and one about Colin Kaepernick. Both will force us to test what we *think* we believe about how (or if) such conversations should happen in our classrooms.

Making Meaningful Work or Making Work Meaningful?

Willa Deitch

Join me in discussing the question that serves as the title to this workshop. Is one more important than the other? Can a classroom be a place where there is both meaningful work being produced and how can writing act as a cathartic outlet for social emotional rigor? How can our classes offer a chance to bring students' most authentic selves into the classroom?

Meaningful Making With Middle Schoolers

Meredith Martin & Michael Franklin

How can we create a multi-year, hands-on program to engage and educate middle school makers? What best practices in STEM, STEAM, Makerspaces, Engineering, and more can be used to create an engaging and educational experience for our students? What outcomes do we value when creating these programs?

Navigating Mental Health in Schools

Melissa Bragg, Abraham Gutman, Kevin Kelly, Christopher Oswald, Stacy Schwab

With mental health resources overburdened, schools are increasingly finding themselves on the front lines of a larger mental health crisis. In this conversation, we will explore ways to meet the needs of our learners, support faculty and staff members, and continue to center joy.

New ways to assess learning in an engineering classroom

John Kamal

Join us in room 602 to discuss new ways of assessing what students learn and of encouraging academic growth. New approaches like Make-Your-Own-Midterm and Non-Linear Grading have been developed and implemented in SLA's engineering program, with some interesting and surprising results.

Perhaps We’re Past EdTech

Bud Hunt

EdTech has had its moment. Perhaps it’s over. Come let’s talk about what’s next and what never worked out.

Preparing our students for the careers of their future

Julian Cohen

What is a good job? Are we preparing ALL our students for access? We know that there are multiple pathways to high-demand careers - how do we discuss this with other educators, students and families? Let’s put our biases on the table and think through how we’re preparing all our graduates for the careers of their future.

Preparing Students For Meaningful Work: Moving Beyond College Readiness

Natalie Ferrell, Asia Cruz, Angela Aponte, Isaiah Williams

How do you move beyond a narrow focus on college to preparing students for meaningful work? At South Bronx Community a 60-hour internship is a graduation requirement. Learn how to weave career skills across student experiences from the classroom, to the internship, to the student capstone experience.

Re-identifying levels for Special Education Students

Frank Pinzarrone

The current method of identifying reading and math levels by grade association is archaic as compared to the levels used in ESOL. The WIDA scale identifies by ability and skill instead of grade level

Reclaiming Our Why

Walter Brown, Kate Spence

Participants, after discussing the importance of staying connected to our purpose for remaining in the profession, will reflect on (and maybe rediscover) their why. We’ll culminate with the opportunity to create a short video exclaiming our “WHY”.

Reclaiming Project-Based Learning

Gary Stager

The growing popularity of learner-centered approaches, like project-based learning, are susceptible to being hijacked, trivialized, and then dismissed as "ineffective" by cynical critics. This session offers a coherent progressive vision of PBL, that withstands scrutiny and produces more productive contexts for learning. Practical strategies and learning adventures will be shared.

Redesigning the Process: Transforming Facilities and Culture with an Equity-based Approach

Karina Ruiz, Allison Brown

Historically, traditional community engagement processes to have served to reproduce inequitable learning environments. Join us as we explore case studies rooted in critical race-spatial praxis and Liberatory Design principles to identify innovative institutional planning strategies that promote racial equity and social justice and amplify the voices of BIPOC communities.

Self-Paced Learning For All Students

Jessica Solomon

Join a conversation about the benefits and challenges of a self-paced learning environment. We will begin with a case study,, identify the benefits and challenges inherent to this kind of teaching and learning, and brainstorm ways you can create and implement a self-paced unit of study in your own classroom.

Shifting to More Equitable Grading through Rubrics, Conferences, and Narratives

Hilary Hamilton, Sarah Bower-Grieco, Timothy Boyle

How do we assess students on what they know and can do instead of how they behave? This is the question we’ve been working through at Science Leadership Academy Middle School and are at the core of our new conference structure. We’ll discuss changes big and small that can center student knowledge in grading.

Student Engagement and the Creation of Student-Centered Space

Karina Ruiz

How do we make learning environments more engaging for students? Answer: Put students first. We will explore seven proven engagement strategies that position students to contribute in profound and impactful ways throughout the design process. Together, we will identify tangible, real-world solutions that directly leverage student perspectives, experiences, and insight.

Teacher Voice Without More Teacher Time

Paul Tritter

How can we ensure that educator voice is heard in critical conversations about teaching and learning and policy without adding yet another meeting?

The Attention Economy and Our Collective Responsibility

Chris Lehmann

Today, our devices are set to notify us about everything from a "Like" on Instagram to breaking news about the world. Attention has become a commodity, and schools are struggling to help students deal. Join a conversation around how we can help students learn in the Attention Economy.

The Case for Dreaming in Public

Timothy M. Boyle

The process of igniting, sharing, and documenting public dreaming can lead to durable change and an increased sense of community. Hear about how this happened at SLA-MS and try it out for yourself.

The Formula For Equity in Advanced Mathematics

Kelli Bateman

What does true equity look like in advanced math courses? This conversation addresses two essential questions. How do we help every student achieve readiness for college-level math, regardless of their background? How do we use an inquiry approach and standards-based grading to support students once they are in these courses?

The Formula For Equity in Advanced Mathematics

Kelli Bateman

What does true equity look like in advanced math courses? This conversation addresses two essential questions. How do we help every student achieve readiness for college-level math, regardless of their background? How do we use an inquiry approach and standards-based grading to support students once they are in these courses?

Thinking, inside-out: creativity in learning and life

Matthew Riggan

Just about everyone agrees that creativity is important in both school and life. This conversation is about where creativity comes from, how it relates to both inspiration and critical thinking, and how we can cultivate it in our learning spaces.

Using Community Based Partnerships to Foster Authentic Learning Experiences

Robert Gulya, Yohenni Evangelista, Angela Aponte, Maeve Montalvo

Coming out of a turbulent and traumatic school year, schools around the country were looking for ways to re-engage and reanimate students in the process of learning. In order to do this, South Bronx Community Charter High School formed authentic, community-based partnerships with local cultural institutions.

What in the World is Web3?

Mary Beth Hertz

In this session, participants will get an overview of what is meant by the term "web3" and learn how schools and educators can begin to think about what it means to incorporate aspects of web3 and the next wave of technology innovations in their classroom and beyond.

What works in education?

Laura Thomas

What works in education? The folks who know best are, of course, the folks doing the work- teachers, students, and school leaders. This session will focus on four big questions- What works? Why does it work? Wow does it work? and What if we had a platform from which to share what works?

Why it may be more important for schools to provide networks than knowledge.

David Berg

A recent article from the New York Times highlights how cross-class relationships are a key indicator of student mobility after high school. In particular the article pointed out: These cross-class friendships — what the researchers called economic connectedness — had a stronger impact than school quality, family structure, job availability or a community’s racial composition. The people you know, the study suggests, open up opportunities, and the growing class divide in the United States closes them off.

Wonder, Curiosity, Expeditions and Journeys

David Jakes

Join a provocative conversation about the role that wonder, curiosity and imagination plays in the design of a new learning journey for students. We’ll focus on understanding that journey, how it can emerge and be sustained, and how professional educators must challenge themselves to invent and lead a new experience worthy of serving our students' future.

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