8:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Registration / Exhibits Open
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Moderator: Meera Shah, Executive Director, Trey Education
Having quality curriculum is important. But even solid curriculum is only as valuable as how well it is taught and the fit it has within your school’s larger program and vision. This opening panel will explore the “how” and “why” questions around reviewing, selecting, and implementing curriculum. This thoughtful and effective panel conversation aims to empower attendees with questions and thoughts that will ensure a thorough exploration of curricular options at the symposium and beyond.
9:30 AM – 10:00 AM
10:00 AM – 10:45 AM
Speakers: Jared Colley, Head of Learning & Innovation; Krista Fancher, Director of Innovation Diploma; and Emily Wilcox, Associate Director of Innovation Diploma; The Mount Vernon School
What happens when we start with questions, listen with empathy, and operate with a bias towards action? What happens when we act on our belief that age does not equal ability? Learn about the Innovation Diploma at The Mount Vernon School, a program that culminates with high school students traversing all dimensions of community, cultivating long term professional relationships, facilitating positive change in partnered organizations and communities, and having an active role in changing the world around them. In this session, we will share our Innovation Diploma story and curricular framework for making school more reflective of real life. At Mount Vernon, we intentionally nurture a disposition in learners to question, empathize, design, iterate and act boldly to make a positive impact in their world now. Let’s fuel the passion to seek and explore together.
Speakers: Heather Bradford, Director of the PEAK Institute, and Daniel Forrester, Associate Director of the PEAK Institute, Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School
The PEAK Institute was launched in the fall of 2022 with the established mission to guide student exploration of emerging interests, passions, and broader career discovery supported by mentors and professionals.
In this session we’ll cover how we launched the institute from a strategic plan as well as the innovative teaching methods the instructors are employing to achieve the desired learning outcomes.
Using parents, alumni, and community members as partners in creating experiential learning opportunities for students, PEAK currently lives in the middle and upper school divisions with both curricular and extracurricular programming. In the coursework, students learn an Agile project management approach to solve real world challenges. Kanban boards are utilized to build trust, transparency, and accountability within student teams which alleviate student frustration often present in group projects. Student outcomes include leadership development, skill building, and an enhanced understanding of their interests and strengths.
10:45 AM – 11:15 AM
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM
Speakers: Jared Colley, Head of Learning & Innovation; Kevin Day, Impact Design Lab Coordinator; and Ann Marsh Rutledge, Executive Director, MV Ventures; The Mount Vernon School
Design thinking is not constrained by age limits. We empower all learners to be designers who make a positive impact in their world today. How might we nurture big ideas that turn into big actions – no matter the size of the learner – to design a better world? In this session, we will share tools for scaffolding design thinking across divisions to make learning relevant and meaningful to learners and consequential to others. Learn how Mount Vernon leverages design thinking across divisions to empower all learners to be designers and transform school into something more than a place to learn. Discover how school can become a place to make an impact.
Speakers: Stephen Addcox, Upper School English Teacher; Danette Morton, Executive Director of the Center for Teaching; and Torrey Williams, Chief Information Officer, The Westminster Schools
Join us as we share our early explorations into the use of AI in teaching and learning. Hear examples from our classrooms. Learn about our evolving approach to safety and security including our adoption of the Flint AI platform for schools. Lean in with us as we venture forward, holding the tension between caution and optimism.
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
1:00 PM – 1:45 PM
Speaker: Connie White, Director of Learning & Innovation, Woodward Academy
Backward design has been a cornerstone of curriculum development since its inception by Wiggins and McTighe in 1998. While it remains a vital aspect of education, our ever-changing world demands a fresh perspective on curriculum design. Join this engaging and interactive session where we will delve into modern, research-based curriculum frameworks aimed at facilitating the seamless transfer of knowledge to new and dynamic situations.
In this session, we’ll explore the development of “Portrait of a Graduate” skills and essential disciplinary skills through authentic performance tasks. We will share classroom examples and dive into innovative strategies for designing instruction that fosters student agency and engagement, forging stronger connections between students, their content, and their communities. Participants will walk away with a toolbox of resources that they can immediately use in their schools. We hope you will join us on this journey to reimagine curriculum development and prepare our students for a future filled with change, challenges, and opportunities.
1:45 PM – 2:00 PM
2:00 PM – 2:20 PM
Speaker: Liza Garonzik, Founder, R.E.A.L. Discussion
Join this session to get strategic about tackling one of the biggest challenges facing schools amidst our tech-centric, polarized world: how to support students and teachers in having rigorous, equitable, and meaningful discussions. Come experience what it’s like to design a custom strategy for teaching, measuring, and celebrating discussion skills – often from the lens of civil discourse, well-being in a screen-bound era, or teaching human skills in an AI world. At R.E.A.L., our methods are research-backed, built for independent schools, and used by independent schools across the country with grades 2-10, faculty, and even parents. Get started designing your strategy for teaching, measuring, and celebrating the F2F communication skills digital natives need for academics, citizenship, friendship, and life in a tech-centric world.
2:20 PM – 2:40 PM
2:40 PM – 3:00 PM
Speaker: Sohan Choudhury, Co-Founder & CEO, Flint
Chaos, uncertainty, potential? The dust is still up in the air about what AI means for independent schools, but one thing is clear: AI isn’t going away. As students increasingly rely on AI tools to augment their learning, what does that mean for the future of teaching? Learn how some of the most innovative schools in the country have adopted Flint – an AI platform built from the ground up for independent schools, designed to give teachers full control over AI.
Speakers: Julie Emory-Johnson, National Partnership Director, and Whitney Stovall, Partnership Specialist, Friendzy
Classrooms run smoother and are happier places when students respect and care for one another. Being intentional about helping them become friends means your students can work together, solve problems, and have fun at school. Join our session to learn how our Friendzy program can support students to build and maintain healthy relationships.