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).

Four Perspectives on Navigating the Student Privacy Landscape

Session 1
Fran Newberg, Jim Siegl, Jeff Graham, Bill Fitzgerald

Over the last few years, awareness of student data privacy and information security within educational technology has grown. While significant improvements have been made, no one feels that the job is done, or that the issue will recede into the background. This session pulls together four distinct perspectives on best practice and experiences ensuring that good educational technology use is grounded in an awareness of student privacy needs.

How can we ensure our school culture welcomes our students’ racial, ethnic, and cultural identities?

Session 1
Natalie Zwerger, Chemay Morales-James, Khalilah Brann

This conversation will center on environmental cues in our school cultures that trigger, perpetuate, and rely upon stereotypes of the identities of our culturally and linguistically students. We will dialogue how we can combat stereotypes and negative value messaging by intentionally fostering inclusive cultures for all of our students.

What are they thinking? Understanding the Adolescent Mind

Session 1
Carl Ackerman

Have you ever wondered, "What is going on inside their heads? Why do they put themselves at risk when they understand and know the consequences involved? Why aren't they focused? How can I motivate them?" This conversation will explore brain research to understand how changes in the adolescent brain impact their decisions and what interventions can be taken to help teens develop a healthy mind while and boost their learning.

When will IEP Meetings be student led?

Session 1
Megan Hayden, Emilia Giordano, Adin Michelen

How is a conversation about your education a conversation without you? What are the benefits of having a student led IEP meeting where the students actually ask for what they need and what they want? How will this change compliance and implementation?

How Teachers Can Co-Opt the Lean Startup Model for the Classroom

Session 2
Mary Jo Madda (with help from Leonard Medlock)

When it comes to teaching, being able to quickly understand whether or not students are learning—and then adjusting practice accordingly—is crucial to the profession. So how can educators co-opt “Lean Startup” methods, with series of rapid testing processes designed to test and scale businesses popularized by Eric Ries—to design the best possible classroom? This conversation will follow a step-by-step process to demonstrate how educators can turn classrooms into hotbeds of experimentation.

Street Art and World Languages

Session 2
Melanie Manuel

During the session, participants will investigate street art's potential as a viable and powerful teaching and learning tool. The presenter will model activities and a SCRATCH game using street art that increase engagement, integrate the arts and move students to experience the 5C's particularly Communities, Culture and Connections. The purpose of the session is: - to provide authentic material and instructional strategies using street art - to share lessons designed collaboratively with Chilean educators and artists - to promote arts integration in the world language classroom - to elevate appreciation of street art not only for its aesthetics, but its cultural value

Accelerating Expectations

Session 3
Will Ehrenfeld, Joel Duran, Kevin Garcia

Join some of the founders--staff and students--of a pioneering public school that has been celebrated by President Obama for a discussion on the value of school culture. We will discuss the unique impact of the 9-14 public-private partnership school model that raises expectations for underrepresented youth by preparing them for careers in the tech industry. Also, we will share ideas for how to improve school culture through external partnerships.

Educon U 2017?

Session 3
Joshua Spodek

How about an Educon for university educators? Educon mainly serves the K-12 community, but its educational principles apply at all levels. Let's consider making an "Educon U." for university educators and if it makes sense to plan one (next year?).

From the Horse's Mouth: Talking with Kids about Influential Media

Session 3
Douglas Herman, Josh Weisgrau and a panel of SLA students

In a follow-up to "Empowering Critical Relationships with Media" (Educon '14, '15), this conversation opens up a dialogue with a diverse panel of students from SLA regarding the media they consume and find influential. Hearing from this group of active media consumers will help teachers develop engaging educational approaches and materials with, rather than, for their students.

How to Build Teacher Tools That Work

Session 3
Larissa Pahomov

When visitors come to SLA, our tools of the trade get lots of attention, from our school-wide rubric to our peer observation forms to our student surveys. Come learn about our design process and workshop your own ideas to create effective tools for both classroom and administrative purposes. Conversation participates will be invited (but not required) to actually build an online tool that they will take back to their school. Copious examples will also be shared during the session for reference.

The DEEP Practitioners Program: Pushing the Practice of Excellent Teachers

Session 3
Alexa Dunn (and DEEP Practitioner Members-teachers in the School District of Philadelphia

Research has shown that good teachers are leaving schools, particularly in urban settings, at alarming rates. Mentorship and coaching could work to retain our best teachers, help push their practices forward, and also engage school administrators in meaningfully aiding the growth of these educators. The DEEP Practitioners Program in the School District of Philadelphia is a specialized coaching program designed to reach talented educators. Come here what we do and collaborate with us on how to take a coaching program like this back to your school or district!

Transforming Silence into Genius

Session 3
Gregory Corbin

The award winning PYPM (Philly Youth Poetry Movement) creates safe spaces for young people to expand their critical thinking and enhance creative expression with a focus on literacy, youth development, life skills, using poetry, and spoken word.

Adding Value: A conversation on making difference

Session 4
Matt Baird

Each school year we begin with high hopes and plans to make our job and our lives easier or better. By the end of January, however, we as teachers are maxed out in what we can do because there are too many things pulling us in various directions. This conversation is an attempt to gain some traction in our teaching lives by reflecting upon the question of where can we make the most difference and how.

Create Something Great

Session 4
Mary Murphy, Russell Loucks

How do you bring the most innovative teachers in a school district together to network with experts in education, industry, and technology to shift instructional practice? You Create Something Great! Join the conversation about a think tank that ignited passion and enthusiasm for innovation with teaching and learning.

How to Use Creative Writing to Foster a Culture of Care in the Classroom

Session 4
Cait Miner

We all want our classrooms to be safe havens where imaginative risks are celebrated. We all want our students to be deeply invested in their peers. We all want to build confident writers and speakers. Join Cait Miner, Philly Youth Poetry Movement Program Director and Philadelphia Educator, for a conversation about using creative writing as a powerful tool for fostering a caring classroom community.


Session 4
Jessica Celli, Tamir Harper, Asher Swartz

This conversation will focus on understanding and teaching students in utilizing technology in classrooms. Hear from a panel of SLA sophomores speak about the use of technology, digital citizenship, trusting students, and communicating and collaborating with each other. Learn about youth views and challenge your creativity by creating a project.

Changemaker Education: Whole Children, Whole Communities

Session 5
Matthew Voz, Dawn Brooks-Decosta, Heather Baron-Caudill, Daniel Baron, Valentina Raman

What does it mean to educate the WHOLE child? How do we empower students to grow up with purpose, empathy, and agency? What collaborations and partnerships are critical for success? School leaders from three Ashoka Changemaker Schools will share how they are empowering whole children and whole communities, and equip participants to do the same.

Embracing Error in Math Class: The Power of Wrongness

Session 5
Brad Latimer, Erin Giorgio, Pam Chrissis, Helen Huang-Hobbs, Swetha Narasimhan

Math can be a polarizing subject for students. By the time they reach middle and high school courses, many students, particularly students of marginalized populations, have decided that they “just aren’t good at math”. Shifting the emphasis from product to process and exploring the value of wrongness in the classroom can encourage students to bring their existing understandings into the classroom to provide a richer experience for all students. We see this shift in mindset as crucial to any math classroom, and we bring perspectives from SLA and Masterman to explore this concept.This conversation will focus on the learning processes of student teachers and their mentor teachers, utilizing projects to emphasize both process and final product, and being able to adjust the trajectory of curricula based on the varying comprehensions that students bring into the classroom.

Silver Bullets, Panaceas and Elixirs: The False Prophets of Educational Reform

Session 5
Diana Laufenberg

Reforming, reimagining, re-visioning, recreating and refreshing schools are difficult work. There are no short cuts, there are no switches to flip it is just a long term commitment to fundamentally shift the focus of a community of learners. At times this can feel like winning the championship game and at times it can feel like a building full of people all trying to quit smoking all at once. This is not work for the faint of heart. Join me to talk about all the possibilities for long-term, sustainable and modern approaches to educational reform.