Pre-Conference Workshop Schedule

Pre-conference workshops offer highly interactive, focused sessions for administrators, educators and policymakers for personalized, competency-based learning. These highly individualized sessions are not included in the conference package and must be registered for separately here.

Pre-Conference Workshops | Monday, October 28, 2019

Morning Pre-Conferences: 8:00 – 11:00 am PT
Helping Schools Realize Their Unique Vision of a Personalized, Competency-Based System Using the Research of Dr. Marzano

Bill Zima, Director of Implementation, Marzano Academies
Paul Wright, Marzano Academies
Bob Marzano (Joining virtually), Founder, Marzano Academies

Marzano Academies is a place where all students will learn the content and skills they need for success in college, career, and beyond within a competency-based education program. Based on 45 years of educational research created by Dr. Robert Marzano, the Academies look to implement theories of assessment, instruction, and curriculum, in a culture that promotes learner agency and transforms the school into a high-reliability organization. The Marzano Academies’ model typically progresses through three distinct phases, which correlate with school academic years. Sixteen school level indicators and 10 focus areas of instruction comprise the three phases of Academy development. Come to this pre-conference session and immerse yourself in the model to learn the WHY and HOW schools can support the development of learner agency while supporting them to become competent in the concepts and skills associated with the content. 


Pathways to Personalization: A Framework Approach to Designing and Scaling Blended and Personalized Learning

Shawn Rubin, Chief Education Officer, Highlander Institute
Cathy Sanford, Director of Special Projects, Highlander Institute

Everyone wants to rethink schools right now. The movement toward increased personalization and student-centered learning is gaining momentum nationally, but many leaders don’t know where to begin, how to scale practices beyond early pilots, or how to start with more than a handful of willing teachers. In order to build momentum for whole-school change, stakeholders (including teachers, students, parents, coaches, and administrators) must be brought together as change agents to collaboratively define goals and create actionable steps. The Highlander Institute has created a linear, stepwise framework for guiding school redesign, which they recently published as a book through Harvard Education Press, called Pathways to Personalization: A Framework for School Change.

Join us for a half-day workshop as we dive deeper into the five phases of the Pathway to Personalization framework. This hands-on workshop will place attendees into simulated design teams working to drive school change. Leaders will have the chance to feel what it’s like to design and implement a grassroots change initiative in order to decide firsthand whether this approach would make sense in their own local context.


Sharing Learning from the Trenches: Developing a Successful Competency-Based Learning System in Your School or District with Competency-Based Learning Practitioners

Jonathan G. Vander Els; Project Director, Author, and Associate; V & S School Solutions
Brian M. Stack; Principal, Author; Sanborn Regional School District

Across the country, schools are breaking from tradition to adopt student-centered, personalized, and competency-based structures to support the learning for all students. In this pre-conference session, two New Hampshire school leaders, covering the K-12 spectrum, will guide participants through a self-assessment to determine their current reality utilizing a unique school design rubric tool. Participants will leave this session with concrete information about competency-based learning (CBL) and develop realistic and actionable steps toward developing a competency-based system in their own schools and districts. Workshop facilitators will guide conversations on the design principles of an effective CBL model, based upon their firsthand experiences leading this change-process in their own schools. Jonathan and Brian will also help participants generate ideas for implementing various CBL structures based upon their readiness and entry points unique to each school community.

Afternoon Pre-Conferences: 12:00 – 3:00 pm PT
Improving Professional Development with Mastery Learning, Micro-Credentials, and Game-Based Learning

Heather Staker, President, Ready to Blend
Allison Powell, Senior Learning Strategist, BloomBoard

Micro-credentials have been trending in recent years as a competency-based form of professional learning. If you’re curious to know what all the hype is about, this session is for you.

Join us for an interactive session where you’ll learn how micro-credentials (MCs) work, and just like a true MC, you’ll be learning by doing. During the session, we’ll provide an introduction on MCs with a specific focus on student-centered learning MCs. To help participants gain a deeper understanding, everyone will go through the exercise of completing an MC on “Introducing Your Best Self.” The goal is to take attendees through the real-life experience of completing an MC through a topic that is applicable to everyone. Participants will be guided through the process while we also incorporate principles of game-based learning by immersing everyone in a real-life game to seek buried treasure while mastering the basic principles of student-centered learning. This hands-on workshop is one you won’t want to miss.


Rigorous and Student-Centered Teaching: A Forum on Innovation (Capacity: 30)

Jaya Yoo, LEAP Innovations
Erin Figula, LEAP Innovations
Anne-Michele Harrington, LEAP Innovations

As personalized learning implementations continue across the United States, there is a growing body of learnings and best practices that foster rigorous classroom practices. This workshop will bring together leading practitioners to share learnings, tools, resources, and approaches to learner-centered practices.


The Power You Carry: How to Become a Brain Builder to Help All Children Thrive

Michael Lamb, Executive Director, Turnaround for Children
Joscelyn Reed, Leadership Development Coach, Turnaround for Children

The science of learning and development tells an optimistic story about what is possible for all children, no matter their start in life. In a highly-interactive workshop, educators, administrators, and policymakers will build a foundation of knowledge in the science of learning, including the impact of trauma on child development. Participants will be equipped with strategies and practices to build effective classrooms, schools, and systems that support healthy student development and academic achievement for all children.

The workshop will progress through an integrated arc of learning topics, including an introduction to brain science, the centrality of relationships, the stress response system, the science of trauma and adverse childhood experiences, why context matters, and Turnaround for Children’s Building Blocks for Learning framework for comprehensive student development. Participants will leave with new tools and practices to apply right away.

All Day Pre-Conferences:
8:00 am – 3:00 pm PT
K-12 Online and Blended Learning Research Community Meeting (Capacity: 75)

Saro Mohammed, Partner, The Learning Accelerator
Joe Freidhoff, Vice President, Michigan Virtual

This day-long research community meeting fosters a space for researchers, practitioners, and other stakeholders to come together to provide opportunities for networking, find funding opportunities and drum up collaborative prospects. It provides a chance for everyone to gain and give practical, applicable insights into measuring to inform and improve.

The morning includes panels and small group discussions on topics of interest to attendees, including personalized, blended, online, and competency-based learning. After lunch, attendees will hear about current research findings, including those from The Learning Accelerator’s (TLA) 2019 Measurement Fellows.

This meeting balances information sharing with engaging discussions. A 2018 participant said, “The MVU team knows their subject area well and listens to input to actively engage their audience…” and 91% of 2018 attendees rated the workshop as a “Good” or “Excellent” one that “Met” or “Exceeded” their expectations.

8:00 am – 1:00 pm PT
Pre-Conference Workshop for State Policymaker Teams – Invitation Only

Maria Worthen, Vice President for Federal and State Policy, iNACOL
Nat Truong, Policy Director, iNACOL
Alexis Chambers, Policy Associate, iNACOL

The purpose of this workshop is to engage teams of state policymakers and policymaker staff to learn about key issues in policy to advance personalized, competency-based education with a focus on growing and sustaining statewide implementation. Participants will have an opportunity to consult with leading experts in policy and competency-based education, and to collaborate with state colleagues to build shared understanding and action steps to advance next generation educational systems. This is also an opportunity to learn more about getting the most out of the iNACOL Symposium.