Symposium 2019 Highlights

View highlights of the Symposium 2019 held in Palm Springs, California. Revisit keynote presentations and discover resources you may have missed.

Keynote Presentations

Opening Keynote
Broadening the Definition of Student Success: A Spotlight on Mental Health
Dr. Brooke Stafford-Brizard, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

As support builds for a more holistic approach to education for all students, urgency also builds for the same rigor and personalization that we apply to the design and implementation of academic instruction to be brought to non-academic areas. Across every aspect of a child’s education, we owe our students and educators access to quality supports grounded in the science of child and adolescent learning and development. Within this context schools are increasingly focused on how they can support students’ mental health. Parents name it as key to their child’s success and a priority on par with reading and math. Policymakers are passing laws supporting resourcing for mental health supports in states across the country. Teachers are advocating for professional development to address student needs as well as their own. With such strong demand and potential resources for systems, how will educators identify and implement personalized evidence-based mental health supports for students? How do the skills and mindsets connected to mental health correlate to and even predict academic outcomes? How does this connect to school efforts around social emotional learning? And how might a focus on mental health be key to improved outcomes for all students?

Tuesday Morning Keynote
Future Makers
Derek Wenmoth, CORE Education

We’re constantly exposed to stories of change on the horizon, from artificial intelligence to driverless cars; from the threat of war, to the shortage of food and fresh water; from the exploration of life on other planets to the slow degradation of the state of our own planet’s ecosystem. While awareness of these things has certainly been rising in recent years, the scale and scope of their impact is often not appreciated until the change has already occurred, and the sense of ‘helplessness’ to do anything about it is pervasive across all areas of society.

As educators, it is our responsibility to be thinking about how we prepare our young people for such an uncertain, constantly changing future. We must ask two important questions as we think about the organization of our schools, our curriculum and our approach to learning. They are:

  • What will learning be like in the future? And
  • What must we learn for the future?

Our response to these questions will be pivotal in determining what sort of future we want to see and how so many of the issues and concerns that currently confront us may be addressed.

Imagine the difference if, instead of seeing ourselves primarily as ‘instructors’, passing on the knowledge and skills to a new generation as we have for decades past, we were to see ourselves as ‘future makers’, investing in the development of the young people in our charge in ways that ensure they’ll be equipped to make decisions about how they will live and work in the future world, so that this change doesn’t simply happen to them, but they can feel empowered and enabled to do something about it, to live and to thrive, not simply survive into the future.

Drawing on his experience as an educator, policymaker and thought leader in the New Zealand context, Derek will explore some of the ways in which leaders and teachers may respond in order to ensure schools remain relevant and ‘future-focused’ in all areas of their activity. Derek will reference the work he’s done in monitoring global trends and influences, and suggest what we must do to ensure we’re preparing our students to be confident, connected and capable learners in a world where change is the constant, and how we might work together to manage the change required in our schools and in our communities in ways that honor the past and pursue the future.

Tuesday Luncheon Keynote:
Transforming Learning For A Brighter Future
Jackie Statum Allen, Bush Foundation
Supt. Kirsten Baesler, ND State Supt. of Education
Dr. James Lane, VA Supt. of Public Instruction

What would it take to ensure every student has the opportunity to learn in a student-centered education system? Three extraordinary leaders are illuminating a path forward to show how systems transformation can be done with a commitment to high-quality, student-centered learning for all and an emphasis on educational equity. Each speaker will provide short, powerful talks drawing on their journeys offering insights and inspiration on how the work they are leading is transforming education, connecting communities, and shining a light on the future of learning.

 “For every student to succeed, we need an education system that works for all students. This requires a more personal, more relevant approach to education. Creating real, sustainable change to the way we approach education will require a lot of people to think bigger and differently about what is possible. We know that in order to accomplish our goal, we need to inspire, equip and connect people who want to make student-centered learning an essential part of the education system.” – Bush Foundation

We are honored to welcome three leaders whose commitment to students and educational equity is evident in the work they lead and in the inspiration they provide to all who are seeking to transform education systems and make learning more personal and responsive to each student’s needs.

Wednesday Morning Keynote: Student Panel and Innovator Awards
Leading with Learners: Elevating Student Voice in Education Transformation
Student Panel facilitated by Virgel Hammonds, KnowledgeWorks
Aidyn Grice, Learner, Norris Academy (WI)
Alyssia Leach, Learner/Entrepreneur, GripTape and University of Louisville
Elias Hernandez, Learner, River Springs School (CA)
Landon Kreps, Learner, Alamosa High School
Victoria Borunda, Learner, ACE Leadership High School

This keynote provides a forum to amplify the most critical of all voices in the work of transforming learning – the voices of students. Joining us from diverse backgrounds and experiences, these students will share their personal journey on how student-centered approaches to K-12 education have changed the way they learn, fostered greater ownership of their learning, and opened doors to pursue their personal and academic goals.

Virgel Hammonds Chief Learning Officer at KnowledgeWorks will facilitate a panel discussion with our student leaders of tomorrow in an unfiltered and honest conversation. The students will provide their first-hand accounts of what it’s like to reimagine their own education and illuminate their own paths forward.

Wednesday Closing Keynote:
The Role of Leadership in Building the Capacity of Schools to Meet Student Needs
Dr. Pedro Noguera, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA

Educational leaders who succeed in serving the needs of all their students must find ways to pursue excellence and equity simultaneously and to create conditions in schools that address the academic and non-academic needs of children (i.e. health, nutrition, safety, etc). For this to occur, leaders must have a clear sense of how to systematically build the capacity of schools to meet the needs of the students they serve. This presentation will describe how such strategies are being implemented successfully at a small number of successful schools in the United States, even in the most disadvantaged communities where the needs are great. It will also provide concrete strategies for school leaders to develop effective partnerships with community organizations and parents that can help in furthering efforts to raise achievement and transform the culture and performance of schools.  

Images from the Event