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).

Forge The Route

Jamie Bricker

Today's learners must be valued for their ability to think, far more than for their ability to remember. Sustainable learning is driven by active exploration, not simply passive exposure to new material. Students need to be encouraged to forge the route, not simply follow the rote!

Building space in schools for Black girls to explore their identities and close the leadership gap

Session 1
Rebecca Coven, Swetha Narasimhan, and Workshop School students

This conversation follows the implementation of an afterschool program whose goal is to help young women of color confront the compounded racism and sexism in their lives. Student participants will engage us in a exploration of how Black girls might be uniquely impacted by school policies and how schools can support the healthy development of Black girls.

Designing Classrooms That Teach Humans

Session 1
Tim Comer, Phil Linder

“What is the purpose of our classrooms?“ “How closely aligned is our practice with our vision?” “In what ways can the unintended consequences of our decisions contribute to systemic inequities that marginalize underperforming students?” Let’s realign our practice to our visions and create classrooms that are more effective for all of the little people in front of us!

IQ+EQ+AQ = The Innovation Experience

Session 1
Bill Brennan, Phil Greco, Jessica Zanco

The Innovation Experience. How one school designed a program to build on students’ intellectual, emotional and adaptive capacities through a strengths approach to education. Join us for an engaging dialogue aimed at expanding the way we think about student talent development, teacher collaboration and journey development.

Opening Our Eyes to What We Can’t Imagine: Storytelling

Session 1
Tom Jones

Truly dynamic educational experiences help students break out of the boxes society puts them in; as teachers, we can help by empowering them to tell their stories. You’ll leave this session with some ideas about how to help your students tap into and share their most powerful memories and experiences.

Project Based Math in Middle School: Balancing Content and Creativity

Session 1
Nancy Ironside, Monique Carter, Heather Lisle

Developing mathematical thinking and proficiency is hard. Practice and structure are necessary and yet many teachers see them as barriers to project based learning in math. What tasks support both skill development and projects? How can standards drive project design and mathematical understanding? Join Middle School teachers from SLAMS and SLA@B to discuss the challenges and opportunities of project based math.

The Future of Education: A students perspective

Session 1
Horace Ryans III, Taj Walter, Miranda Sosa, Tamir Harper

In our Session, The Future of Education: A student’s perspective, we will be analyzing Education as it stands in the past, present and future. Using Student experiences from the UrbEd team and other students present in the room will share their experiences with teachers to hold space for discussion about what we want Education to look like in the future.

Timeless Learning: Learning Together in Natural Communities

Session 1
Pam Moran, Ira Socol

Humans have been learning for a long time, but formal education systems are only approaching the 200 year mark. Children still learn through timeless pathways: play, stories, movement, imitation, and distractions that spark curiosity. Let’s chat deep mapping of routes to timeless learning that bring us to context-driven, child-determined learning.

Transforming traditional assessments in the science classroom

Session 1
Kristen Brown

Have you ever felt like your assessments aren’t really measuring the skills that students will need to prepare for a rapidly changing society and workforce? Come join a conversation about revamping your assessments to provide students with the opportunity to show mastery of what really matters.

What Does It Mean To Teach For Justice

For educators, it is often a challenge to understand how to apply a social justice lens to classroom instruction. In this conversation, educators will use the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards as the starting point to what it means to teach about justice in for K12 students in all content areas.

Adjusting School Systems by Walking the Talk: Leadership and Reflective Dialogue with All Stakeholders

Session 2
Walter Brown, Kate Spence

In urban public schools committed to providing quality education to all students, school leaders and professional learning opportunities play a key role in advancing this goal. Principals, assistant principals, and school coaches support the development and implementation of social-justice oriented practices. This collaborative, interactive workshop will explore leadership and coaching practices that have contributed to the creation of a place where these practices could flourish.

Communities in Conversation

Session 2
Hilary Hamilton, Sarah Bower-Griceo, Sam Nelson, Jeffery Badillo, and to be determined students

How do learn from each other? What makes positive, productive collaboration? How do we help students to collaborate with each other? How do we authentically engage students in the past, present, and future of their communities? How do we as adults collaborate with our students to co-create curriculum/projects/classroom environments? How do school-based adults collaborate with each other? How might we collaborate across schools? In this session, we’ll use an in-progress partnership between Science Leadership Academy Middle School in Philadelphia, PA and Shelburne Community School in Shelburne, VT. This will work as a case study and a jumping off point to think about how we teach, learn and connect within and across communities, together.

Finding Motivation

Session 2
Diana Laufenberg; Zac Chase

Students often come to school out of compliance or expectation - and school often lacks attention to creating the conditions for intrinsic motivation to develop in learners. Join us to discuss the dynamics between compliance, engagement and motivation for learning.

Internet health in the classroom

Session 2
Chad Sansing

Internet health - what is it and why does it matter to teachers and students? Participants in this session will learn about the Internet health movement, visit Mozilla’s Internet Health Report (, and reverse engineer three online projects to brainstorm ideas for teaching Internet health in the classroom.

Not Light, But Fire

Do you understand WHY you should be leading powerful race conversations in class, but remain unsure about HOW? Join Matthew Kay, the author of Not Light, But Fire, as we discuss how to push our race conversations from being stale, predictable, and ultimately forgettable. We'll discuss how to lead race conversations that actually inspire our students.

Passion-Based Learning to Discover the Why for Learning

Session 2
Barbara Bray

Why do we have to change school and teaching? What is the why and purpose for learning? How does knowing the why impact students? In this session, participants will dive deep into authenticity, empathy, equity, self-regulation, and self-advocacy to discuss how to design meaningful, purpose-driven passion-based learning activities.

Social Justice Projects by 5th and 6th grade Students at Jubilee School

Session 2
Karen Falcon, Nick Gross, Julius Glover, Ade Forrest, Ella Adams, Hannah Roemer-Block, David Bannister

Over the years, students in fifth and sixth grades at Jubilee have organized many projects involving social justice and the arts. Three groups of graduates will present their projects; one involving learning to resist gun violence from veterans of the Civil Rights Movement, another through creating a book about the history of Haiti and the third through organizing a campaign against police brutality and applying for a historical marker for the MOVE bombing.

STREAM: Integrating Reading and Arts to STEM

Session 2
Dr Augusto Z Macalalag Jr

How can we effectively integrate reading, writing and the arts in STEM? In this session, we will explore ways to integrate the multiple disciplines while engaging in the engineering design process (ask, imagine, create, test, improve) of developing a model sail.

Student Engagement: How to Generate a Buzz About Learning

Session 2
Amy Gorzynski

Think back to high school...what do you remember? We all know it wasn’t that math worksheet about quadratic equations or an English quiz on grammar. So, what makes certain experiences in our lives more meaningful and memorable? Join teachers from Leyden High School, a public school just outside of Chicago, IL as we share our interdisciplinary model for teaching and explain how we created a richer learning environment for our students.

Voice, Choice & Multiple Learning Pathways: Professional Learning for the Modern Educator

Session 2
Michael Reichert, Amanda Matarese

Looking to change the culture of professional learning? Presenters will highlight best practices in professional development to promote growth in every teacher. This session will showcase the overall professional learning plan, as well as delve into successful professional learning experiences. Attendees will develop a repository of innovative professional learning resources.

Are CS and STEM really for all?

Session 3
Shana V. White

How do we democratize computer science and STEM as well as address the racial and gender disparities in CS/STEM? What are ways we can provide opportunities to engage in computational thinking, problem solving, and collaboration in K-12? Let's discuss ways we can really make CS/STEM accessible for all students.

Class-wide Projects: Mission Impossible?

Join a team of engineering educators who are grappling with the joys and pitfalls of class-wide projects. Learn from your peers about the challenges, triumphs, and best practices when working on a single long-term objective with a roomful of energetic youth.

Creating Learning Communities in 3-D: An Exploration of Life-long, Life-Wide, and Life-Deep Learning.

Session 3
David Jakes, Karina Ruiz

Almost every school vision or mission statement mentions lifelong learning. But what if breadth and depth were to this traditional and linear model? This conversation focuses on developing a more compelling model of learning that supports the deeper development of the skills and dispositions that can lead to the creation of a participatory and engaged community of learners.

Empowering Empathy in Education

Session 3
Dani Shylit

How are teaching and learning transformed by practicing empathy? Join us for a conversation that leverages both field expertise and our collective wisdom. Through Socratic inquiry and Empathy Mapping, participants will construct understanding of empathy and collaborate on ways to bring impactful practices back to their contexts.

Grades, Schmades: Less Grading More Learning

Session 3
Katie Rego, Weston Pondolfino, Brian Hodges

Grades get in the way of learning. There, we said it. Come to this conversation to figure out your philosophy of grading, see examples of non-traditional grading in action, and figure out ways to better align your grading practices with your philosophy.

Level Up: Improving school-based rites of passage to boost student agency and purpose

Session 3
Betty Ray

Join this conversation about the power of secular rituals to strengthen school and classroom community, and deepen students’ self-awareness and purpose. We’ll take an anthropologist’s approach to identifying the important transitions and rituals we’re currently implementing within our schools, and workshop some creative cost-effective approaches to deepening their positive impact.

Not by the Book: Re-imagining Today’s Middle School Science Program

Session 3
Jenna Chervenic, Kim Nightingale, Pat Killian

How can we engage ALL students in a way that leads to genuine learning, discovery, and conceptual understanding? Discuss with us the role of teachers and administrators in all-school programmatic design that scaffolds scientific competencies, creates a safe learning environment, and promotes a love of learning.

Open Educational Resources: A moral imperative

Session 3
Andrew Marcinek

In the past year, teachers have risen to the stage to fight for equitable resources for students, livable wages, and respect within their profession. These problems persisted because the status quo was enabled. It's time to flip the status quo and turn towards a disruptive, uncomfortable model of equitable resources for every student and teacher no matter their zip code.

Right to Read: Literacy and Social Justice for All

Session 3
Jennifer L.M. Gunn

Literacy is a social justice issue. The ability to read has long been a lever of oppression and social control, and literacy disparity is part of an “educational debt” owed to our students. This interactive and conversational workshop will explore the concept of "educational debt," literacy as a social justice issue and how Right to Read, our school's original literacy acceleration program, seeks to make systemic change.

Rigorous Whimsy: Critical Creativity in the Classroom

Session 3
Dan Ryder

We’ve the opportunity to turn our classrooms and impact areas into studios where students can transform whimsical ideas into purposeful action and meaningful products. How might we choreograph a short story, remix a political party, sketchnote an equation, costume a scientific phenomenon, or hashtag a nutrition plan? Let's discuss these ideas and more.

Seeing The Big Picture Using the Little Device in Your Pocket

Session 3
Tim Stahmer

You and your students probably take thousands of photos every year. But, besides adding a filter and posting them to social media, what do you with them? Join us to explore ideas for enhancing your professional practice and student learning using photography. Bring your smartphone to fully participate in the learning.

The Bridge! Building Community in the South Bronx

Session 3
Natalie Ferrell, Chris DeLaCruz, Delvon Glover, Sarah Bowen, Anthony Best, Jeannette Bautista

How do self-expression and vulnerability create connection in a new community? At South Bronx Community, we designed an intensive summer bridge experience, akin to summer camp, focused on building community and introducing social/emotional skills, self expression and vulnerability. Hear how we build students’ sense of belonging from the beginning.

Between the World and Us

Session 4
Michael Clapper

This fall, the eleventh-grade community of room 504 read Ta-Nahesi Coates and Walt Whitman together. Then we thought about our descendants and the extended pieces of non-fiction we'd like to create for them. This session explores that process and highlights the results.

Creating a Learner-Centered School Through Personalized Learning

Session 4
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!

Joyful and Meaningful Education: Its Power and Limits

Session 4
Jill Davidson

At your school, there’s joy, challenge, and real learning. You’re forging new futures for students, educators, communities, and perhaps the institution of schooling itself. Tell us the story of how your learning community is doing this work. We’ll consider the implications, best ways to share practices, and possible systemic limits.

Make Clubs Cool Again: How do we engage students in after school activities?

Session 4
Rosie Morrison, Faheem Akbar (student), Jamira Fitchett (student), Jaylah Long (student)

In our school, students leave the minute the bell rings--it's great for our custodians but not so great for our school community. This conversation's aim is to brainstorm solutions to building better school communities. How can we engage and foster unity for students who have one foot out the door?

Making Space for Leadership (Your Own and Others')

Session 4
Laura Blankenship

Are you a teacher who wants to develop leadership skills? Are you a school or district leader who would like to support and develop teacher leaders? In this conversation, we'll discuss how to lead with or without official leadership roles and how to craft opportunities that support leadership development.

Next Generation Presentation Skills: Rapid Prototyping and other techniques to help our students become competent.

Session 4
Kathleen Walsh

Our students are becoming adults in a world that demands that they have Next Generation skills. How do we prepare them? It doesn't matter what subject you teach. We need to get our students ready with presentation skills and collaboration skills for when students enter their careers and college. In this workshop all the teachers who have done this before got you covered. Let's go!

Promoting student civic action through a critical exploration of incarceration practices in the U.S.

Session 4
Rebecca Coven and Marina Isakowitz

For the third year in a row, Philadelphia students are hosting a public, city-wide Mass Incarceration Symposium. During a time when civics education is in a decline in our country, this work serves as a model for student civic action. Using this project as an example, we will discuss the importance of civics education and how educators can support student civic action.

Reflective Practice: The Relative Value of Ed Tech for Learning

Session 4
Lisa Castaneda, Tom Swanson

As educators, we are often encouraged to bring new technologies into classrooms to improve student learning. However, we do not always have opportunities to consider how to assess the relative value of these tools. Let’s discuss data, frameworks, case studies, and how we can think more critically about ed tech!

Whiteness: The elephant in our classroom

Session 4
Jose Vilson, Val Brown

What responsibility do educators have to disrupt the whiteness that is pervasive in many of our schools? How do we better understand and then dismantle the way whiteness is interwoven and resides within our practices, norms, policies, and curricula? Join us for critical and challenging dialogue about whiteness in schools.

Academic Conversations: What, Why, and How

Session 5
Jennifer Orr, Megan Kratz, Taylor Heil

Students engaging in conversations around content promotes deeper learning and student ownership of learning. What does it mean to have academic conversations in the classroom? Why is it worth the effort and energy? How can you overcome the challenges and make it happen?. Come help generate answers to these questions.

Black Men Read

Session 5
Samuel A Reed III, Mike Pflueger, Munier Abdul-Rahman (Student)

"Black Men Read" models the love of reading using conversations sparked from the book Forty Million Dollar Slave. The conversation will explore the intersection of sport, race, and economics. The session will crowdsource ways to engage Black male students and other affinity groups in book clubs at schools and out of school spaces.

Building Community Through the Advisory Model

Session 5
Stacy Schwab, William Griffin, Nicole Bourque, Kevin Kelly, Raymond Brettle, Denise Logan, Bethany Parker, Kelly McGrogan, student representatives

A panel of students and staff members will present the highlights of our middle school Advisory Model and answer your questions about the benefits and logistics of practical implementation of an Advisory Model in your school.

Changing School Discipline

Session 5
Micah Winterstein

School discipline has been constantly changing for all levels of schools. It is important to discuss the impact that has on teachers, students and administration. It is also important to not only discuss discipline in terms of shaping behavior day to day, but also its role in teaching long term skills students needs in order to navigate the world.

Implicit Bias and Exclusion: The Muslim American Experience in School

Session 5
Nagla Bedir, Luma Hasan

There are many misconceptions about Islam that lead to negative experiences for Muslim students and teachers alike. In the current political climate, being informed about our own biases, both explicit and implicit, and combating our misconceptions is part of the responsibility of being an educator. Students of color constantly suffer at the hands of ignorant educators and Muslim students have been bullied by their peers and their teachers. In this workshop, we will address the basics of Islam that are necessary for one to understand that it is not a monolith. We will also address types of implicit and explicit discrimination and racism against Muslims using specific examples and ways to address these situations. Lastly, we would like to describe and discuss how we can create safe and inclusive spaces in schools for Muslim students and educators alike.

Keepin' it Real with Real World Learning

Session 5
Nina Bilynsky-Ristics

Real World Learning can take many forms, from internships to field trips, and a lot in between. How do you infuse the 'Real' into these experiences? They key is to keep things student-centered! This workshop examines the practices of the Real World Learning program at el Centro de Estudiantes High School in the heart of Kensington, and invites participants to dream up their own #rwlgoals.

Kids on Earth - The World Has Changed

Session 5
Howard Blumenthal

Ideally, a keynote connecting global citizenship, widespread technology use, and digital storytelling as learning. PLUS a recording session—through the whole conference—interviewing two dozen local students to add to a library that already includes Bulgaria, Sierra Leone, England, Slovenia, and the world.

MakerSpaces as HumanSpaces

How might we transform what we have come to know as MakerSpaces into spaces that meet the social, emotional, physical and vocational needs of student, faculty and community as well? We'll discuss the various looks of makerspaces in our schools and action steps for amplifying their purpose.

Reflecting on Reflection

Session 5
Anna Walker-Roberts and Amal Giknis

This session, led by SLA teachers, focuses on how we process and develop our work and growth as educators. The work we do in schools is both professional and personal -- how do we look back on that work to create meaningful pathways forward?

Creating Change and Scaling Innovation

Session 6
Julie Diana, Margaret Powers, Kimberly Walker

Flipping faculty meetings, introducing new communication and productivity tools for collaboration, and creating teams where the leadership is distributed, not hierarchical, are all ways of moving towards innovative teaching and learning practices. What have you done at your school that's been successful in creating change or scaling innovation?

Design Thinking In the Classroom

Session 6
Tim Best, Liam Gallagher, Michael Molina

How might we use design thinking in the classroom? Join us for a session that will explore various ways that students and teachers might use the habits and mindsets of design thinking in order to improve student learning.

Making Moves that Matter

Session 6
Noelle Kellich

Aligning our principles with our practice takes more than persistence. Finding the moves that matter emerges when we think systemically, support a culture of thinking, and hone responsive teaching practices. Bring a challenge you wish you could solve. We'll work together to consider how major levers and second-order thinking can open up unseen pathways forward.

Promoting Equity in Assessment

Session 6
Marc Ottaviani, Tricia Stanley

When implicit biases are not guarded against, how we assess can unintentionally promote racial inequity. Through transparent assessment systems and culturally relevant pedagogy, we can better prepare our students to be independent learners. In this session, participants will be guided through a series of interactions around assessment and bias.

The Open Classroom

Session 6
Chad Sansing

What does it mean to lead an open classroom? What dimensions and practices of open leadership best complement open-source content like OER? Drawing on the principles, practices, and skills of Mozilla’s Open Leadership Framework (, participants will consider how to make their classrooms democratic and equitable spaces for all learners.

The Role of Technology in Current and Emerging K-12 School Leadership Positions

Session 6
Dr. Casey Cohen, Dr. Margery Covello

Are a school leader’s technology knowledge and significant school improvement directly proportional? School leaders from urban, suburban, charter and public networks discuss the connection among technology, innovation, instructional leadership, student growth and school leaders familiarity with technology as the technology director and school leadership roles evolve as technology integration increases.

Translanguaging- Using All of Your Community’s Linguistic Resources

Session 6
Erin Franzinger Barrett

Ser bilingüe vale por dos, pero un bilingual person is not two monolinguals in one body. What languages do you and your students bring to the classroom? How can you empower your students (and yourself) to connect and grow in a multilingual world? All language backgrounds welcome - monolingual, bilingual, and beyond!

When do we stop the syllabus and start talking?

Session 6
Johara Tucker

What happens when a world event occurs and we don't know how to deal in our classrooms? Many educators don't want to be wrong and end up being silent on the social justice issues that matter to both them and their students, let's talk about the way we can put the syllabus down and engage in timely conversations.

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