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The Learner FIRST Virtual Summit

Purchase Access Until October 1st

What is the Learner FIRST Virtual Summit?

“What Does Learning Look Like Moving Forward?”

Does this question sound familiar to you and your school district? The current COVID-19 crisis has put teachers, teachers assistants, administrators and school boards in an unprecedented position to figure out how to best support learning during times of uncertainty. The answer to the question posed is pretty straight forward: “we have no idea!” We “have no idea” because it’s impossible to know the future as things are changing globally on a daily basis.

Schools have done a tremendous job adjusting to the circumstances of virtual learning in a short amount of time, but really were not given the proper training and time to ensure the impact on learning they are aiming for with today’s learners. However, when schools open back up in Fall (whether in person or virtually), resources need to be available to help support our schools in all scenarios of what learning looks like moving forward.

With in-person events being cancelled or delayed across the globe, our team at FIRST Educational Resources has committed to making professional learning a viable and affordable option to ALL schools and stakeholders. We know the number one problem with in-person events is cost and accessibility, so we have created an event that addresses that problem!

Join colleagues and schools from around the world at the Learner FIRST Virtual Summit. This Virtual Summit has been designed to give educators access to resources, thought-leaders, educators and solutions to the problems that exist both in virtual learning as well as when schools are back to operating as close to pre-COVID-19 as possible.



Live Breakout Sessions


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Purchase Access Until October 1st


What to Expect

Actionable and Relatable Content

COVID-19 has put educators in a position they have not experienced in their careers. This virtual summit is designed to provide schools with a variety of resources and information to help address the current realities each district is working to improve upon.

Topics that will be covered throughout this virtual summit include, but are not limited to: assessment, social emotional learning, co-teaching, questioning, feedback, differentiation, PLC 2.0, collective teacher efficacy, literacy structures, math structures, instructional strategies, engagement, equity, instructional design, leadership and many other topics to choose from.


Given the current circumstances with COVID-19, educators have worked tirelessly to support learners in a new environment. This has taken a social and emotional toll on everyone.

This summit has been designed to provide inspiration to each and every educator that serves students across the globe so they know they are confident in the educational support they provide to each and every learner they serve.

Access Beyond the Live Event

Every session from this summit will be recorded and provided to your schools after the July 20-21st live event. Schools and districts registered for this event will have access to ALL 68 recorded sessions until October 1st.

That’s 10 weeks to review each session and figure out how to best use them leading into the 2020-21 school year. If you want access to certain videos after October 1st, there will be an affordable option to purchase them on an individual basis as well.

Get Instant Access Today

Your Access to The Learner First Virtual Summit Includes

8 Keynotes

Access 60 Live and Interactive Sessions

Access to ALL 68 sessions provided in video format after the summit to be used by your school until October 1, 2020


What makes this Summit Unlike Others!

Complete Access to ALL 68 Recorded Sessions

Every session from this summit has been recorded and provided to the schools who regestered for the July 20-21st live event. If your school did not register for the event, you can still purchase acccess to ALL 68 recorded sessions until October 1st.

That’s 10 weeks to review each session and figure out how to best use them leading into the 2020-21 school year. If you want video after those dates, there will be an affordable option to purchase them on an individual basis as well.


What People are Saying About Working with FIRST?

“Thank you so much for this experience! I feel empowered and excited to return to my classroom, my grade level team, my school and my district!”

Verified Attendee

First Education

“Without a doubt, Learner FIRST is one of the strongest professional learning opportunities our School District has been a part of. The positive energy in each session was contagious and the powerful messages developed by FIRST Educational Resources each year are inspirational and relevant to our entire staff.”

Verified Attendee

First Education

“The keynotes and breakouts were amazing! This conference is invaluable and super timely-a fantastic way to get energized for another school year. Thank you!”

Verified Attendee

First Education

“Absolutely fantastic event! So many great speakers and wonderful ideas. It really made love my profession again-and I’ve been questioning it. THANK YOU!”

Verified Attendee

First Education


Keynote Presenters

Cale Birk

COVID or not–here we come! Using what we have learned to develop an observable Vision of a Learner in Today’s Schools.

There is no doubt that the COVID crisis changed the way we think about education around the globe. Whether we were ready or not, the COVID pandemic has demanded each of us to think differently when teaching our students and partnering with our school communities. It has also given us an incredible opportunity to empathize with our students: WE have had to learn to be empathetic, resilient, adaptable, and creative in the ways we think critically about information, how we communicate and how we collaborate–some of the very skills and attributes that we ask of our students through our school vision statements. But just like our vision statements, demonstrating these attributes is easier said than done!

In this upbeat and uplifting keynote presentation join Cale Birk, author, District Head of Innovation and PLC 2.0 imagineer to reflect on the process of change in a time of challenge, and to reimagine the challenge of the COVID crisis as an opportunity apply what we are learning to co-create an empathetic, equitable, realistic and vision for learning that leads to OBSERVABLE IMPACT, the changes in that are visible and lead to positive outcomes where it matters the most–in ALL of our students.

Marc Brackett

Permission To Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Achieve Optimum Well-being and Success

Emotions matter. What we do with our emotions is especially important. The goal of this presentation is to (1) inspire a new mindset around the power of emotions to transform our lives, (2) describe the five key underlying skills of emotional intelligence, known as the “RULER” skills, and (3) provide innovative strategies and tools for developing emotional intelligence so that our emotions help, rather than hinder, our well-being and success at home, in school, at work, and in everyday life.

Jenni Donohoo

Collective Teacher Efficacy in the Time of COVID-19

To improve student learning, collective teacher efficacy is the most powerful influence educators can avail. At a time when efficacy beliefs may be waning based on challenges posed from COVID-19, it’s important to consider the role of collective efficacy in relation to educator’s capacity to confront and adapt to the consequences of the pandemic. It’s ever so important to capitalize on the sources of efficacy so that we can harness its power and remind educators that together we have what it takes to overcome challenges.

Myron Dueck

Covid or No Covid…It’s Time We Rethink a Few Things in Education

Throughout history, whenever a system gets a significant shakeup some things change forever. In what seemed like an instant, the COVID pandemic resulted in our students and teachers stepping out of our schools for spring break, and stepping into completely uncharted waters – literally a new world. We suddenly needed to adapt to remote learning situations, to define essential outcomes and connect virtually, digitally, distanced.

We will undoubtedly have learned a few things through this experience. Some of our epiphanies have involved innovative instructional, grading and assessment practices. Appropriate digital literacy skills were brought into sharp focus, and we were again reminded that relationships are central to all that we do. What we’ve learned will undoubtedly shift our landscape to some extent when we do return to a ‘new normal’. Join this keynote for a positive and hopeful conversation around rethinking a few things before, during, and after a shake-up.

Rufus Lott III

The brain on relationships? Why SEL, and ACES matter, how is your shepherding?

Overwhelmingly, schools are embracing models that implore the power of relationships to manage student behavior, academics, mental health and social needs. Join Rufus Lott III from Lott Educational Consulting as he illustrates the brain’s natural response to relationships and how fostering and strengthening those relationships lead to schools where kids feel a sense of belonging, and are more likely to succeed by placing relationships at the center of every interaction.

Marcia Tate

Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Instructional Strategies That Engage the Brain

“If students don’t learn the way we teach them, then we must teach them the way they learn. Experience 20 brain-compatible strategies that maximize understanding and memory. Use music, metaphor, and movement to increase academic achievement for all students. Explore research that shows why these strategies are preferable to others. Ensure that brains retain key concepts, not only for tests but for life!

Kara Vandas

Developing Stronger Learners by Starting with Clarity

 If you desire self-directed, learners equipped to contribute to the learning of others, own their own learning, and reach their goals, this session is a must see. Join us to learn how clarity creates the conditions for meaningful learning and student empowerment. Without clarity, it is impossible for teacher to paint a clear picture of what is to be learned, why it is important, and how students can be successful. In such scenarios, students are unable to take ownership, rather they are relegated to passive participation. The polar opposite is to provide students with clarity around learning and equip them with the skills and desire to take risks in learning, monitor their own progress, provide feedback, rely on others, see themselves as their own teachers, and find success, no matter the route each takes. Come to this session to learn about five core practices that empower learners.

Greg Wolcott

COVID Slide…Enjoy the RIDE!

As the new school year approaches, one with many unknowns, educators across the globe are dreading what has been called the COVID slide, a fear of extreme learning loss and trauma due to the coronavirus crisis. Worried about the six month hiatus of face to face instruction as well as the potential social emotional and financial impact of the crisis has naturally left teachers hyper focused on what students won’t be able to do.

In this inspiring keynote, Greg Wolcott, author of the best-selling book Significant 72: Unleashing the Power of Relationships in Today’s Schools and Director of the Learner FIRST Center for Social Emotional Learning describes how educators can use this unfortunate event as a springboard to success for both students and staff.


Live Breakout Sessions

Anne Beninghof

Simple Strategies for Virtual Engagement

We’ve all multi-tasked during boring webinars or online meetings. How can we keep our students from doing the same? This session explores more than a dozen simple strategies that teachers can weave into online instruction, especially lecture-based sections of a virtual class. Strategies emphasize interactive engagement from students.

Effective Co-Teaching Models

Co-teaching is a proven instructional approach for reaching the wide range of student needs in today’s inclusive classrooms. This session will provide you with clear descriptions of the myriad of co-teaching models. Participants will see video clips of effective co-teaching and learn strategies that work well in co-taught classrooms.

Cale Birk

PLC 2.0: Practical Tools to move from Vision to Impact in Uncertain Times.

School visions are only visions if we can actually SEE them in action in our schools! Yet despite the time, effort and resources spent by our busy educators and leaders in professional learning and embedded collaborative time, vision statements can be more ‘rainbow’ than ‘reality’ when they don’t actually touch the ground in our classrooms. And in times of uncertainty like the ones schools are facing today, it is even more important to ensure that we make that vision ‘visible’ for everyone in our school community. Whether it is our vision for a learner, our vision for equity, our vision for assessment, or our vision for SEL, the more specific, descriptive and observable our vision is, the more likely we will know when we see it!

In this interactive session, participants will learn the PLC 2.0 Observable Impact model, and use practical, user-friendly virtual tools from the PLC 2.0 Toolkit to develop a process for a vision that is co-created, observable and differentiated for those who will be bringing our vision of learning and teaching to life in our classrooms.

Beyond ‘getting buy-in’ – Re-Thinking Resistance to Change in Our Schools

As school or district leaders, each of us has a bullet point in our job description that says something like ‘be the lead learner’, yet when it comes to the day-to-day realities of being in a school, the concept of instructional leadership seems to slip farther and farther down our ever-growing ‘to do’ lists. And when we do find the time to be an instructional leader, whether it is at the district level, school level or collaborative team level, we often have to work through frustration and resistance to the changes that will make the difference for all students. So how do we move from ‘aggravation’ and ‘getting buy in’ to ‘action’ and ‘impact’?

In this fun, upbeat and highly practical session, participants will examine the concept of resistance through a new lens, and utilize a tool to utilize common classroom challenges like student behavior and student engagement as drivers for engaging, meaningful and effective collaboration that leads to observable, impactful change.

Rachel Carillo-Fairchild

Reaching & Teaching English Learners in a Virtual Setting

Teaching English Learners requires utilizing and engaging students in all 4 domains of language, Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening. This can be challenging in a classroom setting but has become even more challenging in a virtual learning environment. This highly engaging session will provide educators with strategies that can be implemented immediately and that will help teachers engage even the most difficult to engage English Learners in purposeful virtual learning tasks that help English Learners develop language skills while learning content.

Reaching & Teaching ALL Students: Strategies to Engage Diverse Learners

Teaching a diverse student population means beginning first with honoring what ALL students bring to the learning by engaging them in self and peer assessment and establishing every student’s entry point. This hands-on, highly engaging session will provide educators with tools and strategies that can be implemented in the classroom immediately and that will help teachers establish a safe, equitable learning environment where students are highly engaged and feel safe taking the risks required for high levels of learning to take place. Teachers will leave the session with models and templates that can be personalized and used immediately.

Richard Cash

Critical Thinking: Developing Reasoned Thought Through Deep Content

“Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous,” Confucius. By using “a critical thinking approach, your students build background knowledge, strong academic vocabulary and enhanced content understanding. During this session you will learn how to construct challenges that develop critical thinking throughout any content area, especially in an on-line platform. Virtual learning should not eliminate the need to think deeply—it should enhance it!

Differentiating for Advanced Level Learners in All Content Areas

Differentiating for advanced level learners (gifted/talented/creative) poses a unique problem for most teachers. These students deserve a robust learning experience that goes beyond “adding more,” and/or “fun and games.” Learn how to create activities and lessons that will truly challenge your most advanced level learners by using your current curriculum. Learn how to expand your knowledge of differentiating for advanced/gifted/talented/creative students in the new educational landscape. Using interest-based strategies, students learn to hone investigation, research and presentation skills.

Rebecca Coda

Activating Student Voice Throughout Your School: The Gateway to Increasing Student Engagement

Educators across the globe work hard each day to make educational decisions for their students. Teachers work hard on creating lesson plans for their classrooms and school leaders work with stakeholders to create the best possible schools for our youth. But, what if we could make our classrooms and schools better by creating partnerships with students so that we learn the deeper intricacies about what they need to learn better? Students who are given opportunities to use their voice become engaged not only when learning, but making schools better for everyone. Known as the “Let Them Speak!” Movement, this session will provide practical examples on how to activate student voice, student choice, and student leadership opportunities in your school so students want to come to school to learn! Various free resources for this session include a 60-page implementation guide, research articles, and other resources to use after this session.

How to Create a One-of-a-Kind School: Building Equity that Our Communities Deserve

What do most schools have in common? The answer is that they have too much in common and that is what is in common. We strive to create unique schools for our students, but parents often do not have choices where their children attend school. In this session, you will learn how to reframe your learning environment from the top down, through board member involvement, creating powerful mission statements and creating unique one-of-a-kind schools where classrooms follow intentional practices to close the achievement gap. Based on the research of Marcus Buckingham from Gallup and Dr. Peter Loehr’s action research, you will learn how to create equity in lesson planning, school programming, and so much more. Free resources include student surveys, intentional practices charts, and much more!

Jenni Donohoo

A Model for Leading Collective Efficacy

Collective teacher efficacy, as an influence on student achievement, is a contribution that comes from the school – not the home nor the students themselves. Collective teacher efficacy is of interest to educators because it predicts a willingness, on the part of teachers, to invest the time and energy required to attain educational goals and increased student achievement. During this session, Jenni will share five enabling conditions within school environments that foster collective teacher efficacy. What is important to note is that these five enabling conditions are malleable – they can be shaped and modified. They are within a leaders’ scope of influence (both formal leaders and teacher leaders). Attend this session to discover ways to shape teachers’ beliefs about their individual and collective capability to impact positive change.

Achieving Quality Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices: The Role of Collective Efficacy

Successful educational reforms are defined by deep levels of implementation of what is known to work best in systems, schools, and classrooms. When educators share a sense of collective efficacy, it results in deeper implementation of high-leverage leadership and instructional practices. System and school leaders’ efforts toward successful change reforms are better served by strategically and intentionally considering how to foster collective efficacy throughout the enactment and assessment of improvement initiatives. In this session, Jenni examines the role of collective efficacy in achieving quality implementation of evidence-based practices. Highly efficacious teams do more than welcome new instructional practices into the mix; they find ways to bring theory and practice together in their unique environments in order to produce positive results – regardless of other circumstances. In this session, Jenni will share four processes used by highly successful learning communities in creating the conditions for mastery (the strongest source of collective efficacy) in schools.

Myron Dueck

Making Feedback Meaningful, Effective and Manageable

Feedback in educational contexts is information provided to a learner to reduce the gap between current performance and a desired goal (Sadler, 1989). Our grading and assessment decisions will have a massive impact on the quality and nature of feedback. Furthermore, feedback is not only reserved for students. John Hattie suggests that student achievement is a powerful feedback tool for teacher effectiveness. Looking through the lens of grading and assessment, key feedback topics of this session will include:Feedback in educational contexts is information provided to a learner to reduce the gap between current performance and a desired goal (Sadler, 1989). Our grading and assessment decisions will have a massive impact on the quality and nature of feedback. Furthermore, feedback is not only reserved for students. John Hattie suggests that student achievement is a powerful feedback tool for teacher effectiveness. Looking through the lens of grading and assessment, key feedback topics of this session will include: –

  • Building strong relationships and a culture of student voice and empowerment
  • Tools for assessing in student-teacher conferences
  • Ongoing Assessment – retest and redos
  • Assessing different! Alternative and non-traditional assessment ideas.

Shared Ownership – Welcoming students as partners in the assessment conversation

In their New York Times bestseller, ‘Extreme Ownership’ (2015), former Navy SEALs Willink and Babin describe the necessity of ‘Decentralized Command’, that ‘every tactical-level team member must understand not just what to do, but why they are doing it’ (pg 183).

If this principle is true for SEAL team members, it likely applies to learning environments. Research suggests the extent to which students understand the process of learning is likely linked to how much they care and feel empowered in the pursuit of it.

This session will focus on ways that we can invite students into the assessment realm as co-pilots rather than disinterested passengers. Key topics will include:

  • Sharing and co-creating learning targets based on standards.
  • Helping students understand and use performance assessments (rubrics).
  • Considering the right scale: Are 100 levels of reporting really necessary?
  • Student self-reporting – academics, behaviors and individual insights.

Erik Francis

Now THAT’S a Good Question!

What is a good question – or rather, how does a good question challenge students to demonstrate different levels of thinking and understand and use their depth of knowledge (DOK) in different contexts?  Learn how to rephrase the performance objectives academic standards and learning targets into good questions that can be used to assess and build background knowledge, set the instructional focus, serve as assessments, and personalize deeper, student-centered learning experiences.What is a good question – or rather, how does a good question challenge students to demonstrate different levels of thinking and understand and use their depth of knowledge (DOK) in different contexts?  Learn how to rephrase the performance objectives academic standards and learning targets into good questions that can be used to assess and build background knowledge, set the instructional focus, serve as assessments, and personalize deeper, student-centered learning experiences.

  • Recognize the 8 kinds of good questions that foster and promote cognitive rigor.
  • Understand how good questions challenge students to demonstrate different levels of thinking and communicate depth of knowledge.
  • Use good questions to assess and build background knowledge, set the instructional focus, serve as assessments, and personalize learning.
  • Rephrase the performance objectives of academic standards and learning targets into good questions that promote demonstration and communication of learning.

Inquiring Minds: Teaching and Learning with Good Questions

What is a good question – or rather, how can good questions be used to develop deeper, student-centered learning experiences that promote and encourage inquiry? Learn how to create and use good questions that will “hook” students curiosity and interest to learn, assess and build foundational knowledge, deepen understand and awareness, and develop talent and thinking into personal expertise.

  • Recognize what are the different levels of questions that promote cognitive rigor and inquiry.
    Understand the difference and connection between teaching and learning with questioning and for inquiry.
  • Use good questions to “hook” students’ curiosity and interest to learn, assess and build foundational knowledge, deepen understanding and awareness, and develop talent and thinking into personal expertise.
  • Rephrase the performance objectives of academic standards and learning targets into good questions that promote demonstration and communication of learning.

Knowing Is Half the Battle! Understanding and Using Depth of Knowledge

What is depth of knowledge? How does depth of knowledge define and determine the depth and extent students must understand and use their learning in a certain context? How does Webb’s DOK designate the level of depth of knowledge demanded by standards, lessons, and assessments? Why is the DOK Wheel inaccurate? Learn how to use Webb’s DOK Levels as a multi-tiered system of support to set learning goals and targets, identify and address gaps in learning, and guide students to demonstrate and communicate their learning up to and beyond the learning expectation set by standards.

  • Recognize what are the four levels of depth of knowledge according to Webb’s DOK Levels.
  • Understand how depth of knowledge defines and determines the cognitive demand of standards, lessons, and assessments.
  • Use Webb’s DOK Levels as a multi-tiered system of support to plan and provide instruction, intervention, and enrichment.
  • Deconstruct the learning expectations of academic standards to set DOK learning goals, targets, and ceilings of assessment.

Thomas Guskey

Collaborating and Improvising to Improve Grading and Reporting

What is depth of knowledge? How does depth of knowledge define and determine the depth and extent students must understand and use their learning in a certain context? How does Webb’s DOK designate the level of depth of knowledge demanded by standards, lessons, and assessments? Why is the DOK Wheel inaccurate? Learn how to use Webb’s DOK Levels as a multi-tiered system of support to set learning goals and targets, identify and address gaps in learning, and guide students to demonstrate and communicate their learning up to and beyond the learning expectation set by standards.

Establishing New Assessment Priorities

School closures and students learning from home have compelled teachers to think about student assessment in new ways. Why do we assess? What assessment information is most important? How can we make the assessment process easier, fairer, and more effective for students and for teachers? This session describes the important decisions teachers will have to make regarding their assessment practices and the implications of those decisions for both teaching and learning. Procedures will be outlined for economizing assessments practices, focusing assessments on essential learning goals, and using assessments as valuable learning tools at all grade levels.

Dennis Griffin Jr.

If We Create The Systems, Then Why Do We Allow The Systems to Define Us?

Kenneth Blanchard stated that humans create the systems, and then they allow the systems to define them. How does this ideology apply itself in terms of creating equitable educational opportunities for all students within our schools? This session will dive deeper into how we can move from theory and deliberation to action in the name of creating equitable actions for ALL STUDENTS!!!

The Proverbial Safe Space: How to Talk About Race In Schools

Education has always served as an impetus for social justice and change, however, we have now fallen into a false sense of reality and ask to wait for the PROVERBIAL SAFE SPACE to have difficult conversations. Why, because it is comfortable. Why, because it allows me to wait for someone else to lead me. Why, because we are afraid of the conflict that will ensue. The question is, while you are waiting for the creation of the “SAFE SPACE”, who is advocating for YOUR STUDENTS!!! Join me in learning how can we talk about RACE and inequity in schools in order to be the models of change our students deserve.

I No Longer Believe In Classroom Management

Yes, you read the title correctly. I no longer believe in classroom management. When I began my teaching career the emphasis was placed on having effective classroom management skills and strategies to implement within my classroom. Over time I had a revelation, the success of my classroom never depended on my classroom management skills. It was something much deeper than that. It was engagement!!! This session will seek to differentiate between the limited results of classroom management and the limitless potential of students and educators in highly engaged classrooms based on clearly defined relationships.

Tom Hierck

Moving Schools Forward: On Purpose

If we truly aim to have a culture that embraces “learning for ALL”, we must first begin with building effective relationships with all constituents of a school community as we carefully craft our collective commitment and purpose. As Viviane Robinson (2011) states, “Effective educational leadership is not about getting the relationships right and then tackling the difficult work challenges. It is about doing both simultaneously so that relationships are strengthened through doing the hard, collective work of improving teaching and learning” (page 16). Building our collective commitment starts with the “Why” and underpinning this critical step is the reason educators entered the profession – to make a difference and improve the life chances of every student. Connecting the overarching mission with the behaviors, decisions, feedback, and actions of all staff members requires meaningful, collaborative conversations. It also requires a focal point to connect the work.

  • Embrace the idea of defining your WHY
  • Align policy, procedure, and practice with purpose
  • Understand the impact of DNA

Pyramid of Behavior Interventions – Seven Keys to a Positive Learning Environment

Participants will walk through seven steps to align academic and behavior interventions to create a learning environment where all students can succeed. Designing a pyramid of behavior interventions may be new territory for many; it aligns to other system responses such as RTI and data.

  • Develop shared knowledge of research behind behavior and behavior supports.
  • Design school wide policies aligned to research on positive support and reinforcement.
  • Frame the components of a comprehensive pyramid of behavior interventions.

Garnet Hilmann

Effective Feedback to Drive Student Learning

Feedback is the heart of student growth and progress in the classroom. This session will focus on characteristics of quality feedback and how to deliver it to students. It is time to use feedback to inspire our students to grow and improve. Feedback must spark a call to action for students; it is the catalyst to create a culture that puts Learning First!

Different types of feedback, methods for delivery, and tools to streamline the process will be explored as teachers can feel overwhelmed with the amount of time spent providing quality feedback. Participants will learn how to increase efficiency and make the feedback process manageable. Well crafted feedback experiences build hope for students and support them in developing a growth mindset. Effective feedback is goal-referenced, timely, relevant, user-friendly, and actionable; participants will leave with easy to implement tools and strategies that build a hopeful and reflective classroom climate.

Moving Beyond Classroom Management – Leading to Create Positive Culturet

Positive culture is continuously created by both educators and students. When classroom management becomes classroom leadership a strong foundation for a positive culture is built. Educators look for opportunities to motivate and inspire their learners to act rather than requesting compliance. Students and teachers alike thrive when they have autonomy over their time, task, and team, and professional learning communities strive for consistency and a focus on student growth and achievement. Classroom leadership combines all of these – the desire for autonomy and the need for consistency in order to maximize student learning.

This session will explore how to create an environment centered on leadership and positive culture. Topics will include initiating a shift in culture, trading compliance for learning, how to create autonomous environments that provide consistency, and giving ownership to students to increase motivation to learn. When teachers work together to create consistency in professional learning communities, they can then take that information and make it come alive in their classrooms. From there, the students can chart their individual path to proficiency by taking a leadership role in their own learning. This process puts the focus of the culture squarely on learning.

    Rick Jetter

    Recovery Mode for Educators

    Based on a free resource brought to you by 16 educational experts and authors from Pushing Boundaries Consulting, LLC; this session will provide educators with deep reflections about what they need to plan for, consider and reflect on during this world health crisis. The COVID-19 curse has launched an attack on society and education has been impacted immensely–leaving educators to wonder about what schooling, classrooms and daily instruction will look like in the fall of 2020. This virtual offering for Recovery Mode: Educators Emerging from Unexpected and Rapid Change can be set up for one single one-hour session or up to a four-part series which will discuss:

    1. What will a “recovery” mission look like for your school? How do we lead schools and classrooms through a discourse of tackling a “new” normal? How can you leverage your planning and daily responsibilities for reentry into school with your staff and colleagues after the summer ends?
    2. What research-based practices for supporting learners through tried and true practices for emerging into a new school year should structure your classroom instruction? How do you balance in person and remote instruction or, at least, plan for it?
    3. What planning questions are necessary for you to be thinking about, right now, as you conceive your instruction for the 2020-2021 school year? What will you teach? How will you teach it? How will instruction be delivered?

    This pandemic of massive proportions will most likely carry on into the upcoming months and Recovery Mode will get you to think deeply about all that we might have to consider when placing our learners FIRST.

    The 8 CORE Intentional Practices for Planning Hybrid Learning Possibilities for Equity

    Whether teachers are carrying out face-to-face instruction or remote learning instruction, there are eight, research-based, essential teaching practices that can be addressed in both delivery systems of learning. Participants will explore how to engage students, assist them with self-directed learning and increase their positive perceptions for learning. The 8 CORE practices will create an equitable program for all students which is essential for the future of education. Topics will include: creating expectations, delivering expert instruction, providing student feedback and recognition and much, much more.

      Garth Larson

      Reversing Our Instructional Challenges

      Teachers and teams have seen so many initiatives come and go over the years that it has left them feeling a bit cynical and skeptical when it comes to supporting new methods for improving their instructional practices in the classroom. With initiative fatigue setting in all over the globe, what would provide teachers with the energy and motivation to get behind new ideas? When exploring this question with teacher teams throughout North America, we have found staff become invested when it solves a real problem that exists in their context or classroom. During this interactive session, Garth Larson will walk teachers/teams through a PLC 2.0 protocol called the “Team Impact Planning Tool.” This tool allows teams to identify an instructional challenge (a problem that currently exists for them in the classroom) and shows them how to plan for reversing that challenge so it moves from challenge to strength. Participants can then use this particular tool in the future to work through additional challenges they want to reverse within their classrooms and within their collaborative teams.

      What Does it Look Like in Action? Using the PLC 2.0 Process to Bring Our Standards to Life In Every Classroom or in a Virtual Setting

      One of the biggest challenges collaborative teams face today is making sure they know exactly what each priority standard looks like in action. Using the PLC 2.0 process, participants in this session will be immersed in a process to identify what students would be doing and demonstrating related to academic standards, what teachers would be doing and demonstrating within an academic standard and what would take place in our activities and assessments. At the conclusion of this breakout session, participants will know exactly how to use this process within all standards and turn, bring clarity to how they assess the standards within their classroom contexts as well.

        Danica Lewis

        High Impact Literacy Teacher Playbook

        The impact of at-home learning is likely to be felt in schools and by students for years to come. As literacy teachers, we have the unique opportunity to support our students in skills growth that will impact them across their learning day. In this fast-paced session, participants will learn 10 high impact strategies, along with tips and tools for implementation, that can be integrated into literacy instruction to improve reading, writing, and learning.

        Results that Last – Literacy Strategies for School Turnaround

        Principals, coaches, and teachers are often faced with the daunting challenge of turning around lagging student achievement results. The answer lies in systemic improvement, but how can an instructional leader create that big picture change in a way that produces both timely and long-lasting results? In this session, participants will learn about proven strategies that lead to literacy turnaround and will leave with a structure for considering their own next steps.

          Rufus Lott III

          Differentiated Discipline, The formula for Accountability

          Explore the formula for meaningful accountability, through a differentiated relational approach to student discipline that does not solely rely on the path to consequences.

          We walk the walk, but can we talk the talk?

          How we talk to kids determines the type of impact we have with them. Join Rufus Lott III to learn how using Affective Language when working with students is pivotal to keeping the relationship with them at the center of every interaction especially when correcting and addressing problem behavior.

            Amy Lubben

            Conferring with Confidence

            Purposeful, responsive instruction is how we move students forward, one goal at a time. Conferring is the heartbeat of the literacy block. In this session, participants will learn how to lean into a student’s strengths and needs. We will explore different types of conferring, how to make time for conferring and management systems to make conferring last. Participants will leave with a variety of strategies to get started in the fall, whether virtually or in the classroom.

            Coaching for Success

            Successful coaching relationships are built on trust and mutual respect. The most impactful coaching relationships are student-centered. Before the heavy lifting can happen, a relationship must be established. In this session, participants will learn strategies to foster positive coaching relationships. Secondly, participants will walk away with tools to engage teachers in coaching cycles that move students toward success while allowing teachers to grow and thrive.

              Michael McDowell

              The Busy Teacher- Creating Routines for Clarity

              The following session provides a step-by-step approach for designing clear goals and expectations of learning with students in the classroom or via distance learning. The session offers a myriad of examples from around the world on how teachers and students build and use learning intentions and success criteria to teach and learn.

              Rigorous PBL by Design

              The following session provides practical steps to support teachers in enabling students to give and receive accurate feedback between and among peers.

              The Busy Teacher-Making Feedback Mutual

              The following session provides practical steps to support teachers in enabling students to give and receive accurate feedback between and among peers.

                Katherine McKnight

                The Reading Gap and What we Can Do About It!

                You know the reality. Over 65% of our students are not reading on level. This is a staggering statistic, especially in light of the COVID 19 pandemic. What practices can educators leverage to close the gap? What does the research really indicate about grade level text and differentiated reading? This webinar will burrow into these questions and you’ll emerge with some concrete answers and vision to create engaged and proficient readers, in all disciplines.

                Developing Effective Lessons in an eLearning Context

                What makes effective instruction? How do I create engaging learning in an eLearning environment? Join Dr. McKnight as she provides models and steps in creating online instruction for grades k-12. This session isn’t about 50 tools you can use, it’s about how to leverage e-Learning resources to create effective and engaging online instruction.

                  Jay McTighe

                  Teaching for Deeper Learning

                  All educators want students to learn well and deeply. Yet far too often, students attain only a superficial level of knowledge that fails to prepare them for deeper challenges in school and beyond. Why is this the case? And what can we do about it? Join bestselling author, Jay McTighe, as he explores the answers to these important questions and preview content from his new ASCD book with Harvey Silver, Teaching for Deeper Learning: Tools to Engage Students in Meaning Making. In this webinar, Jay will discuss what deep learning entails, why teaching for deeper learning is more important than ever, and how you can promote deeper learning in your classroom, school, or district by making two simple instructional shifts. He’ll also preview some of the classroom-ready tools/strategies from their book that can help you put these two shifts into practice.

                  Designing and Using Authentic Tasks and Projects to Promote Meaningful Learning and Assess What Matters Most

                  Authentic performance tasks and projects serve as vehicles for meaningful learning, for integrating 21st Century Skills with academic content, and for providing evidence of students’ abilities to apply their learning in genuine contexts. Join bestselling author, Jay McTighe, as he explores key ideas from his latest book (ASCD, 2020). Jay will examine the characteristics of authentic performance tasks and projects, present a set of practical and proven design tools, explore ways of differentiating tasks and projects to allow “voice and choice” and share a set of excellent web-based resources. Suggestions for applying these ideas in virtual settings will be included.

                  Essential Questions – Opening Doors to Student Understanding

                  If the content represents the “answers”, then what were the questions that led to that content knowledge in the first place? What makes a question “essential”? How do we “uncover” the key ideas within a Standard or a topic, not just skim (cover) the surface? How do we “unpack” Standards using questions? How do we use essential questions to “map” a coherent, spiral curriculum? How can a classroom culture best support student engagement and inquiry?

                  A good essential question serves as a doorway for engaging student inquiry, helps teachers in “uncover” the big ideas of the curriculum, and lead students to deeper understanding. In this session, we will examine key ideas from the ASCD book, Essential Questions: Opening Doorways to Student Understanding (McTighe and Wiggins, 2013).

                    Thomas Murray

                    Personal & Authentic: Designing Learning Experiences that Impact a Lifetime

                    Recent work in the learning sciences has helped paint a detailed picture of what it is kids need to thrive. Grounded in relationships, and built upon a culture for learning, personal and authentic experiences respect the hidden stories within each child and are learner-centered by design. These experiences are filled with moments of awe, and the learning is inherently relevant and contextualized. Appropriate levels of flexibility in pace and path are granted so that agency can develop, while authentic feedback ensures fidelity in the learning process. To support the personal and authentic experience, spaces and tools are leveraged in evidence-based, meaningful ways. The work is hard, but our kids are worth it!

                    Leading with Purpose

                    What separates “leaders” from those who lead? As a school leader, are you walking in and towards your purpose? This session will help leaders explore their own personal WHY, connect their passion to their work, and empower those around them to rise up and lead. Participants will take part in a handful of culture building activities that they can back to those they serve to impact their schools and classrooms. Today’s modern learners need bold leaders who model the way and create a culture of innovation, and you are part of the solution.

                      Ken O’Connor

                      Assessment and Grading; Stop, Start and Continue

                      A good way to improve our assessment and grading practices is to consider what we should stop doing, what we should continue, and what we should start. Many lessons have been learned during the online crisis learning brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, so as (hopefully) we move to a new normal, this session will provide suggestions and opportunities to discuss what we should stop, start, and continue in assessment and grading.

                      In the New Normal we will still need Effective Grading Practices

                      From K to 16 there has been a significant move to Pass/Incomplete grading during the online crisis learning brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic but it is unlikely that this will continue in the new normal (whatever it is), especially in high schools. This session will provide guidelines for effective grading practices that schools should be implementing to support learning. Participants will be invited to share their opinions about these guidelines.

                        Becky Peppler

                        Creating High Quality Assessments

                        Writing high quality and meaningful assessments is essential to ensure that educators can accurately report student growth and achievement. This session will guide participants through the characteristics of high quality assessments, the process of aligning assessments to learning targets and how to score targets against proficiency scales. Examples of effective practices and procedures will be shared throughout the presentation. At the end of the session, time will be available for questions.

                        • Learn how to create high quality assessments.
                        • Learn how to align assessments to learning targets.
                        • Use proficiency scales to score assessments.

                        Designing and Implementing Effective Reassessment Practices

                        Reassessments play an important role in every learning journey, however, the idea of reassessment has sparked many questions among those in and out of the education world, primarily at the secondary level. This session will address one of the major concerns of secondary educators about how to create a learning environment using reassessments. Examples of effective practices and procedures will be shared throughout the presentation. At the end of the session, time will be available for questions.

                        • How to foster an environment conducive to reassessments.
                        • Develop effective reassessment practices and procedures.

                        LaVonna Roth

                        Engage Me, Please: No Matter Where I Am Learning!

                        Whether your students are in front of you physically or virtually, keeping their attention can be a challenge. Sprinkle in some extra distractions and yes, you begin to question if any of the teachings you are doing are sinking in! If you can relate to any of this, then this session is a great start, because there will be strategies embedded from the moment we begin to the moment we end. Learn about how the brain learns first, then experience specific strategies to embed into any content and any grade level…with ease…no matter where your students are!!

                        SEL must be F.I.R.S.T.: Classroom success through social-emotional learning

                        When your students return, they will have not been in school for months and have been through one of the most trying times we have faced collectively as humans. That means we have a beautiful opportunity to come together and create a school culture and classroom environment like never before. In order to achieve the best results among students with academic achievement and behavior, we must address social-emotional learning FIRST. This puts the brain in a state of learning, you teach, they learn, and we then naturally integrate SEL in with the content. Voila!

                        1. Forefront
                        2. Internal 
                        3. Response
                        4. Success
                        5. Together

                        Dominique Smith

                        Building Equity: Practices to Empower All Learners

                        Imagine a school with a diverse student body where every student feels safe and valued, and all students—regardless of race, culture, home language, sexual orientation, gender identity, academic history, and individual challenges—have the opportunity to succeed with challenging classes, projects, and activities. In this school, teachers notice and meet students’ individual instructional needs and foster a harmonious and supportive environment—and students feel empowered to learn, to grow, and to pursue their dreams. In this session we focus on the School Equity Taxonomy, a model to clarify the structural and interpersonal components of an equitable and excellent schooling experience, and the School Equity Audit, a survey-based tool to help leaders uncover equity-related issues and organize their efforts to better address:

                        • Physical integration.
                        • Social-emotional engagement.
                        • Opportunity to learn.
                        • Instructional excellence.
                        • Engaged, inspired, and successful learners.

                        Creating Positive Relationships Through the Use of Restorative Practices

                        In this session we explore the philosophy of restorative practices and identify ways to systematically implement strategies that allow students and teachers to repair harm. The focus is on the school setting, with restorative practices being integrated into classroom structures. In addition, we will focus on building positive student teacher relationships to help create an environment that thrives with restorative practices.

                        Greg Wolcott

                        Unleashing the Power of Peers: Creating Opportunities for Students to be Resources for One Another

                        In his book, Big Potential, world renown positive psychology expert, Shawn Achor, shares research that shows that hills we need to climb look 20% less steep when we are standing next to a friend as opposed to alone. Why is this so? Is it because of the emotional benefits provided by working with a peer to conquer a task or maybe the leveraging of combined knowledge and resources that makes the task seem less formidable? Or both? No matter how one looks at it, an untapped resource for students in the classroom is sitting right next them.

                        • Discover why student success in the classroom is based on much more than direct teacher-student interaction and is highly impacted by the level of psychological safety students feel with and amongst each other. 
                        • Understand how peers can be leveraged to increase the social emotional and academic achievement of all students. 
                        • Leave with easy to implement, practical strategies and activities to implement the next day in the classroom.

                        Tools for Tomorrow: Strategies for Implementing Social Emotional Learning in the Classroom

                        Teachers today understand the importance of social emotional learning. But with limited budgets, most educators don’t have hundreds and thousands of dollars to spend on products and programs to increase student social, emotional and academic development. Educators without access to the district credit card want research proven, teacher tested, kid-approved strategies they can implement easily, effectively and cheaply.

                        • Discover a proven method for implementing social emotional learning in the classroom at any grade level. 
                        • Understand how to build the SEL skills of students daily within a packed schedule to enhance student wellness. 
                        • Leave with dozens of tools and techniques to increase student social, emotional and academic skills.

                        Rick Wormeli

                        Cultivating Tenacity, Motivation, and Self-Efficacy in Students

                        Tenacity is a virtue, but the personal fortitude to stick with an arduous task takes time and experience to mature. Many students grow impatient with content not parsed into soundbites, and reading extended, logical rhetoric through each argument to its ultimate conclusion is almost unheard of. On the other hand, if the story is good, students will read books of more than 700 pages. They play online games working their way through 12 levels of difficulty for six hours, and they stay after school into the evening to practice for theater productions, get ready for sports tournaments and conduct fun science experiments for the public. Join us for a compelling session on how to help students find the reserves to stick with projects and tasks, be they physical or intellectual. We will look at the role of dopamine, goal-setting, descriptive feedback that does not invoke ego, meaning-making, executive function, re-do’s, teacher-student relationships and more. There is no such thing as laziness; our students want to do demanding, complex learning, they want to persevere! To this, our students aspire; with this, our world was built. This generation is more than ready for what it takes to make the world their own. Let’s light this rocket!

                        Tiering and Scaffolding Instruction and Assessment

                        Some students are ready for the first steps of a topic and others are ready for advanced assignments and assessments in that topic—so how do we tier assignments and assessments to maximize their learning? Join us for a practical and thought-provoking look at what constitutes mastery, and how we can increase and decrease complexity in student assignments and assessments while meeting the needs of standards and their benchmarks, all within one class period. We will include two helpful lesson sequences: the Anchor and the Football, as well as great attention moves, student “orbitals,” personal agendas, tips on how to get students to work autonomous to the teacher and much more. This is a “how-to” and “why-we-do-it” workshop for those just getting their feet wet with tiering assignments and assessments or those already swimming in differentiated instruction who want more ideas.

                        Reflective Coaching for Teachers

                        When we critique and provide feedback to colleagues in such a manner that raises their defensive walls for self-preservation, there is little to be gained; the interaction is not constructive. The question, then, is how we turn such interactions with one another into analytical experiences that create thoughtful insights within the teacher instead of a sermon on teaching or a fight to justify one’s actions. The ultimate goal here is our self-efficacy: We can self-monitor/analyze/reflect, revise practices based on those reflections, grow professionally, and ultimately, improve student learning in our classrooms. And even better, we can use those skills to build that self-efficacy in our students—yes, they translate! Students and teachers having reflective coaches are like having an additional muse/facilitator on board, ‘an Obi-Wan Kenobi to our Padawan selves. This session provides dozens of practical tips for successful coaching interactions, and even more question/prompt stems to get teachers and students talking and analyzing, creating their own insights without feeling threatened. We honor what the other person brings to the table, and learn to facilitate their discoveries, not telegraph our judgments.

                        Rainey Briggs & Percy Brown Jr.

                        Reframing the Achievement Gap: Equity and Excellence for All (2 Hr. Session)

                        This enlightening and engaging workshop will provide a compelling overview of the key events leading to today’s racism, tying together the past and the present. It will delve into the historical factors nationally that have contributed to what we know today as the achievement gap.

                        Using the experience of the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, which serves rural, suburban and urban communities, the workshop will provide attendees with practical examples of how to address the opportunity gaps for their students. The district is proactively working to understand and change its current educational practices (both individual and systemic) that have perpetuated opportunity gaps.

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