Conversations

During each of the six breakout sessions throughout the weekend, a large number of conversations will take place. This site will help you organize your plan for the weekend and provide the relevant information for each conversation. After signing in, search through the conversations below and mark the sessions you are interested in to populate your personal schedule on the right (or below if on your mobile phone).

Learning Through Community Engagement

Session 6
Casey Cohen, Laurie Doran, Dr. Sheri Hanna

We will share projects and courses that utilize the community of Philadelphia to provide unique and challenging learning opportunities for students. Examples from STEM, the arts, and humanities courses will be highlighted. We will focus on the process: reaching out to the community, creating a project, and student commentary and reflection.

Projects in Math Class Revisited

Session 6
Morgan Bushnell, Brad Latimer

SLA has been a project based school since its inception, and we have been developing and revising math projects since 2006. This session will focus on how we develop these projects, how we revise them/create new projects, and what different structures for the projects look like. During the session, students and teachers will present projects that they used in the past, with a focus on the process of project development/revision. There will also be significant time for participants to develop/workshop projects for their own math classes, so please bring an outline for a math project, or a project description that you'd like to revise. By the end of the session, all participants should walk away with a project that they intend to use during an upcoming unit.

TAKING IT BACK- Reclaiming Media Integrity

Session 6
Douglas Herman- Founding Director, Rough Cut Media; Susan Poulton- Chief Digital Officer, The Franklin Institute

Now more than ever our society depends on the development of deep and nuanced relationships with media. In an era of deliberately misleading news, false narratives and an utter lack of social media responsibility, it feels imperative that we prepare our students for what comes next. Yet, in many ways it is the other way around with our students having more savvy and versatility when it comes to interactions with media from multiple sources. Regardless of where we receive our information we still must ask ourselves "Who made this?" "Who paid for it?, "Who does it target?", "How will this impact the public?", "Who benefits from widespread consumption and belief?" We also have to consider new ways, or perhaps reapply tried and true standards, to media discourse both online and in print media.

A Modern Commonplace Book

Session 5
Wendy Eiteljorg, Tania O'Donnell

For hundreds of years thinkers used commonplace books to collect knowledge. People recorded ideas along with their own commentary. How can we think about digital tools as contemporary commonplace books? How might we encourage students not just to collect but to comment, come back to, and use their collections?

Learning by design: (Un)professional development in innovative schools

Session 5
Matthew Riggan and Tom Gaffey

No matter how clever or innovative you are, a school design is only as strong as your capacity to implement it. And implementation is more about adapting and evolving a design than executing it. As leaders in new schools, we’ve learned that the key to being able to evolve and adapt is to involve the whole staff in that work. School design is an ongoing, collaborative process. It’s also an amazing professional learning experience. Traditional professional development assumes that changes in schools or classrooms follow from professional development. We believe that learning is a byproduct of change work. This session introduces participants to “Design-based PD,” an approach we’ve piloted in Philadelphia's Innovation Network schools over the last two years.

But I Just Want You to Tell Me How!: Introducing Inquiry Based Learning to Students in 5th Grade

Session 4
Hilary Hamilton, Nancy Ironside, Tim Boyle

In this conversation, we will be thinking about how to establish a self-sustaining culture of student driven inquiry in middle age students and/or students who are new to project based learning. In our first (half!) a year, Science Leadership Academy Middle School (SLA-MS) we’ve worked to lay the groundwork for students to ask and explore meaningful questions in a variety of thought strains. As is to be expected, some students are catching the “inquiry bug” and are eagerly following their interests. For others, though, this is significantly challenging due to a variety of factors including age, developmental level, current stamina and skill level, and a generally slow adjustment to our “unschooling.” By looking at a few case studies from our school, and learning about experiences in your school settings, we’re eager to think together about how we help students to become more independent and self-sustaining learners. How do we find and ask follow up questions? How do we stick with a line of thinking long enough to reap its benefits? How do we utilize our peers rather than funneling our work through the teacher? And, perhaps most importantly, how do we transfer what we learn from one exploration into a new, or novel, situation?

Designing and Implementing Competency-Based Curriculum to Empower Self-Driven Learners

Session 4
Denis Anglim, Femi Johnson, Charlie McGeehan, Phil Nichols, Samuel Reed, Maggie Stephan, Kiera Williams, U School students TBD

This session is collaborative inquiry into a tension of teaching: building structures that support students’ growth with flexibility to accommodate diverse perspectives, interests, and needs in the curriculum. We will explore this dynamic in the context of a Humanities program at The U School, a Philadelphia public high school.

Speaking to Listen in the Age of Emojis

Session 4
Diana Potts, Karen Blumberg, Mike Ritzius

The skill of effective communication has powerful influence in shaping school culture. Teachers, students and leadership are surrounded by feedback on a daily basis from the classroom to meetings to the playing field. Understanding how to communicate can be the difference between listening to react and listening to understand. How one hears, processes and delivers feedback can be powerful in shaping the tone of personal and professional relationships. In this workshop theory, practice and your experiences will be used to examine what it takes to host effective and productive conversations with colleagues and students.

Student Voices: digital redlining and privacy

Session 4
Chris Gilliard, Bill Fitzgerald, Hugh Culik

Students from Macomb Community College examined the problematic status of privacy in post-secondary education. They identified standardized curricula, assessments, academic advising, and other forms of digital redlining that emphasize training over critical thinking. These findings are developing into a set of student-centered privacy principles that they will refine at Educon.

A Conversation about SPACESHIP EARTH

Session 3
Aaron Kaswell, Lynn Shon, Andrew Zimmermann

SPACESHIP EARTH is a design-based, project-based, blended learning curriculum developed by Aaron Kaswell, Lynn Shon, and Andrew Zimmermann of Middle School 88 in Brooklyn, NY. The conversation will discuss implementation of this multi-layered environment from classroom setup to curriculum to mindset shift for both teachers and students.

Building Better Ideas

Session 3
Adam Provost, David Jakes

The most important thing anyone can do to improve what they do is to become more capable of generating ideas. In this conversation, we’ll explore the role that ideas have in catalyzing innovative practice, and how you can become more conversant in ideation. Join us for a provocative conversation about how you, and your organization, can nurture, curate, incubate, grow, extend, and remix ideas to create the raw material for innovation that can lead to new conditions for student learning.

Real Talk with Emerging Leaders

Session 3
Gabriel Tanglao

‘RT’ will be a dynamic, energetic, and insightful conversation driven by participants. The purpose of this session is to harvest the collective wisdom of people new to the labor movement. They will discover ways to transform our unions and public school system toward the values of equity, inclusion, and diversity.

Google Classroom: An empowering tool in developing student voice

Session 2
Kilolo Moyo-White

How can teachers maximize the potential of Google Classroom and other Edutech mediums, while fostering an environment to empower youth voices with Common Core classrooms? As a aspiring master teacher Kilolo Moyo-White teaches through a pedagogy she calls TeachAkoma, from the heart. Join a conversation of using online mediums as an instructional tool to foster youth voices in culturally responsive classrooms.

Intentional and Unintentional Gender Bending as a Classroom Teacher

Session 2
Freda Anderson, Jonathan Estey

Most educators have agreed that strict gender roles are harmful to kids and make it more difficult for our kids to be comfortable in their own skin. Most of us have also agreed that any skill that we would like to see our students practice should be modeled by their teachers. As teachers who want to see our students grow into adults that feel comfortable being themselves and breaking gender roles, and standing up for others who do, we need to feel comfortable being ourselves and breaking gender roles as well. It is our duty to intentionally and purposefully plan visible gender role breaking on a regular basis, to make space four our kids to do the same.

Our "DREAM" Project: Deeper Learning, Race, Power and Privilege

Session 2
Rosanny Cuello-Ventura, Padraig Shea, Chris Wilson, Asia Cruz, Rick Lopez, Ava Thomas

The founding team of South Bronx Community will share our methodology for radical collaboration to design, kick-off, implement and celebrate an interdisciplinary deeper learning project: The DREAM Project. The founding team will also share experiences designing a project that addresses critical conversations on race, power and privilege.

Why They Should Be Doing The Work: The Power of Peer Feedback and Editing

Session 2
Elizabeth Gray

Grading student writing can feel like an exercise in futility when students fail to apply or even read feedback. Why does it often feel like the teachers are doing all the work? Peer editing and feedback allows students to better assess their own writing and gives them ownership over the revision process. In this session, we’ll talk about how to make peer feedback meaningful and how to create a classroom environment where students feel comfortable and capable of engaging in deep critique.

Building the Middle Schools We Need: The Story of one 8th Grader’s Accidental Preparation for Freshman Year at SLA

Session 1
Justin Siegel & Kevin Jarrett

This is the story of Justin Siegel (SLA class of 2021) and how a transformational 8th grade year at a public middle school in South Jersey prepared him for life at 22nd & Arch. Justin and one of his 8th grade teachers, Kevin Jarrett, will explore how Mr. Jarrett’s Design Thinking-based program, “Digital Shop,” and the school’s Edcamp Period disrupted Justin’s educational worldview and helped form his identity as a young adult in charge of his own learning.

Civility and Citizenry

Session 1
Diana Laufenberg

In the spirit of this year's theme, I'd like to spend some time investigating the role of civility and citizenry as it contributes to the sustainability of a learning community. We are, as a society, ever more connected and informed. That connection and information seems, though, to be having an interesting impact on our ability to civilly interact with other citizens. What role does a learning community play in developing these skills? What projects, programs and school norms are successfully infusing civility and citizenry into the school experience? How does technology both hinder and help the situation?

FACE-ing the Facts: Building Community through One-on-One Conferencing

Session 1
Tom Jones

One-on-one, face-to-face interactions between teachers and students have a demonstrated track record in improving student autonomy and growth, but it can be difficult to manage them with all of the other responsibilities that teachers face within a class period. In this session, we’ll consider how to incorporate these individual student conferences into your daily routine. You’ll leave our time together with concrete ideas on what to say to students in these meetings, how to track student progress, and when to use your findings to alter instructional decisions.

First, do no harm

Session 1
Laura Thomas

How can out-of-district consultants, coaches, and PD providers do a better job of serving teachers? What can they do to change the Death By Professional Development paradigm among teachers? Why are they still a necessary part of a balanced professional learning "diet?" What if we change the narrative around outside expertise in professional learning?

Race, Policing, and Student Agency

Session 1
Rusul Alrubail, Kelly Wikham Hurst, Shana White, Laura Thomas, Valencia Clay.

How can they expect to rebuild their communities when the experience of living in those communities is so hostile? Is it possible to instill (surface? reinforce?) a love and respect for the place that "made" you, while also recognizing and hating the things that made it a difficult place to grow up?How do we deal with the impact that police brutality, racism, and systemic inequity has had on our students' agency, voice, and existence? How do we come together to provide solutions, support, and resources to tackle these difficult questions?

Reimagining School Writing: Literacy, Agency, and Voice

Session 1
Joshua Block & SLA Students

There is a sad truth about the way that most students learn to write: They become boring writers. To write with clarity and insight involves struggle (regardless of age). When faced with this challenge, many students are taught to detach from content, to analyze with sterile language, and to develop ideas within a narrow formula. In this conversation participants and SLA students will share ideas and strategies to make school writing focus on reclaiming the joy and power of developing a unique, insightful writing voice.

So You Teach a Trans Student. Now What?: Fostering a Healthy Dynamic Between Teachers & Transgender Students

Session 1
SLA Students and Zoe Siswick, SLA Counselor

SLA counselor and students will lead information and Q&A sessions on life as transgender students. This session will include tips on appropriate terminology, a teacher's role, managing different home dynamics and navigating the professional world. Bring lots of questions! Note: this session contains especially sensitive topics. Please have an open heart and mind. If you have specific questions to ask or topics that you would like to have addressed, feel free to email zsiswick [at] scienceleadership [dot] org prior to attending.

SPOC Squad

Session 1
JoJo Farrell

A major obstacle that prevents the integration of new technologies in schools is managing the tech infrastructure. There are frequent opportunities for off-site professional development. The onsite support is where many schools get stuck. SPOC Squads are taking a new approach to PD in NYC Public Schools. Join them to discuss how.