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One-Hour Workshops: The Student Experience Track

​Designed for all educators and academic leaders, these workshops focus on the student experience, including equity and justice issues, bullying, student wellness, families, and character development. 

  • Block 1 (Thursday, February 26, 8:00 - 9:00 AM)
    • Learning by Doing: Sustainable Habits 101

      105

      How can schools integrate sustainability practices within the learning context? Waynflete’s lower school has established an ethos based around three central tenets: take care of yourself, others, and our environment. The learning community engages all students in sustainability efforts as all students model and practice lifelong habits as members of the learning community.
      Presented ByBen Thrash, Kai Bicknell, and Jess Keenan, Waynflete School (ME)
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      LevelIntroductory
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      Explore How do schools develop norms to promote sustainable thinking? How can school communities integrate everyday routines within big picture sustainability efforts?  What role can schools play in fostering eco-literate students?
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    • Simple Practice, Big Impact: Bringing Mindfulness Training to School Communities

      101

      Consider the implications the current research on mindfulness meditation has for independent schools and learn how an independent 6 – 12 school designed a training and practice program that is generating strong enthusiasm among faculty, administrators, students, and parents. Get a brief introduction to mindfulness and consider how the practice may benefit your school and how to successfully introduce and promote it.
      Presented BySam Shapiro, The Athenian School (CA)
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      LevelIntroductory
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      Explore What is mindfulness? Why does mindfulness matter to schools? How can I get my school community excited to offer mindfulness training?
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  • Block 2 (Thursday, February 26, 12:00 - 1:00 PM)
    • Design Thinking for Change: Creating Global Student Leaders

      313

      Hear from schools that have partnered with EF Education First to create opportunities for high school leaders to connect and collaborate with their peers around the world to develop innovative solutions to our most pressing global issues. Through the use of design thinking, students link the local to the global and implement their ideas in the real world.
      Presented ByGeorge Stewart, Education First (MA); Devon Ducharme, St. George's School (RI); Kelly Neely, Brimmer and May School (MA); Walter Swanson, Wilbraham & Monson Academy (MA)
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      LevelIntermediate
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      Explore How do you teach leadership and creativity skills while addressing the challenges of the 21st century global world? How have these schools incorporated the Global Student Leadership Summit into their leadership program? How can the design thinking process be incorporated into mainstream curriculum?
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    • From Stonewall to Gay-Straight Alliances: GLBTQ Students in Independent Schools

      102

      Learn about the experience of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer students in independent schools from a senior school administrator and experienced legal counsel. Gain information to keep you in step with current and evolving practices in this area of student well-being.
      Presented ByWilliam Hannum, Schwartz Hannum PC (MA); Jon Cassie, Sewickley Academy (PA)
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      LevelIntermediate
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      Explore What laws related to protecting the rights of GLBTQ apply to independent schools? Must an independent school prioritize the rights of a GLBTQ student over those of other students at the school? What types of alterations to an independent school’s program or facilities may be needed to ensure that GLBTQ have a positive educational experience?
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    • The Gratitude Project: How a Schoolwide Focus on One Character Trait Transformed a Community

      206

      Friends’ School in Boulder celebrated its 25th anniversary with The Gratitude Project, a yearlong focus on the positive power of gratitude. Share the story of the project and the lessons the school community learned. Learn how to create your own schoolwide project and how Friends' School used The Gratitude Project to launch subsequent themes on character education.
      Presented BySteve de Beer, Friends' School (CO)
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      LevelIntroductory
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      Explore How can I incorporate gratitude into school culture? How can I successfully make character education a school-wide theme? What are the takeaways from Friends' highly successful Gratitude Project?
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    • The Mindfulness Revolution Arriving at Your School

      204

      Experience a comprehensive survey of mindfulness programs at independent high schools nationwide. Take an in-depth look at one successful mindfulness program as you uncover tools and immersion opportunities to develop your own mindfulness program.
      Presented ByPatrick Cook-Deegan, Patrick Cook-Deegan Mindfulness Mentoring and Consulting (CA); Jessica Morey, Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (MA); Douglas Worthen, Middlesex School (MA)
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      LevelIntroductory
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      Explore What is happening with mindfulness at independent high schools across the country?  What does a successful mindfulness program look like?  What organizations, resources, and immersion opportunities exist for my school?
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  • Block 3 (Thursday, February 26, 1:30 - 2:30 PM)
    • Empowering Youth to Engage in Smart, Sustainable Change Through Global Service Learning

      109

      For 23 years buildOn has worked with thousands of students to train them in advocacy, fund-raising, and leadership skills, as well as the in-depth knowledge necessary to effect long-lasting change in the developing world by building schools and improving access to education. Explore the journey from igniting a passion for sustainable change in our youth to empowering them with the tools to accomplish and assess their impact.
      Presented ByJennifer Lishansky and Tom Silverman, buildOn (CT); Paul Benney, St. Ann's School (NY)
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      LevelIntermediate
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      Explore How can we harness the passion, enthusiasm, and idealism of youth into creating smart, sustainable change around the world? How do we engage young people in critical service learning:,looking at sustainability, utility, and effectiveness as essential components of meaningful service? What tools do young people need to successfully galvanize their peers and communities around sustainable development?
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    • Social Media and the Middle School Student : How to Navigate and Educate

      201

      It is inescapable that social networking sites are a significant part of the middle school student’s life. It is incumbent on schools to both recognize that this medium of communication is here to stay, and to work with students and parents on educating appropriate and respectful use. This workshop will share our approach to opening up dialogue and partnering with families in creating a community of responsible and respectful users.
      Presented ByJason Lewis, Gus Haracopos, and Melissa Medeiros, Chase Collegiate School (CT)
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      LevelIntroductory
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      Explore How can schools create a culture of digital citizenship so that technology and mobile devices can be fully utilized as learning tools?  How can schools and families partner to educate children about digital citizenship and the acceptable use of social media both in and out of school?  Should schools hold students accountable for behaviors that take place on social media sites outside of school hours?
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  • Block 4 (Friday, February 27, 8:00 - 9:00 AM)
    • Imagining a Future-Friendly School: Student Voice, Global Citizenship, and the Environment

      111

      Schools around the world are working to drive student engagement by ensuring deep, relevant, and authentic learning. Future-friendly schools are part of a global network developing competencies and sharing practices around the values of global citizenship, environmental stewardship, and student voice, measured through a crowd-sourced set of indicators you can use to assess your school's progress. Join us to reflect and learn more!
      Presented ByMichael Furdyk, TakingITGlobal (CANADA); Michael Adams, American School Foundation of Monterrey (MEXICO)
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      LevelIntroductory
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      Explore Why are global citizenship, environmental stewardship, and student voice important for 21st century teaching and learning? What tools and resources can independent schools access support 21st century teaching and learning? How can independent schools assess their engagement in global citizenship, environmental stewardship, and student voice, and develop a roadmap to strengthen their work in these areas?
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    • Innovation by Design: Revolutionizing Student-Driven Learning

      310

      Berwick Academy has experienced exciting growth and national recognition of its Innovation Center. Its evolution has touched almost every aspect of strategic thinking and desired student learning outcomes. BIC utilizes elements of design thinking, collaboration, networking, and public demonstration. BIC has created substantial opportunities in marketing, hiring, community relations, and fund-raising. Learn how.
      Presented ByDarcy Coffta, Gregory Schneider, and Eric Rawn, Berwick Academy (ME); John Gulla, The Edward E. Ford Foundation (NY)
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      LevelIntermediate
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      Explore What is unique about Berwick’s Innovation Center and how does it encompass design thinking elements in a student-driven model? What are the key components of the program and how could they be implemented at my school? What is special about the student experience and what differentiates our students in the college application process?
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    • Mindfulness: How to Change Your School Culture by Doing Nothing

      311

      By practicing mindfulness (doing nothing – on purpose – for a given amount of time), we can reinvigorate and transform ourselves, our students, and our schools in positive ways. Benefits of mindfulness include improved academics and emotionally richer lives. See how cultivating mindfulness in schools is highly conducive to a design thinking culture.
      Presented ByLarry Kahn, Iolani School (HI); Christa Forster and James Houlihan, The Kinkaid School (TX)
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      LevelIntroductory
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      Explore What is mindfulness, why is it so popular, and how and why does it work? How do we cultivate a mindfulness practice for ourselves, our students, and our schools? How is mindfulness related and conducive to design thinking?
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    • Universal Values: Making Diversity Programming Accessible to All Areas of School Life

      304

      Find out how to creatively infuse diversity initiatives into the everyday life of a school using five qualities for success: creativity, ambition, universality, teamwork, and resilience. With examples of specific programs and practical steps, examine triumphs and failures on the path toward creating a welcoming, inclusive, and equitable school community.
      Presented ByRachael Flores and Carolyn Lewis, Episcopal High School (VA)
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      LevelIntermediate
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      Explore How does one lead or support diversity programs through an organic, unofficial, or unrecognized approach in an independent school? How can diversity work become integral to an institution’s mission and universal in its appeal to all constituents in a school community? Why does diversity work (and ideals like equity, inclusion, cultural awareness, dialogue facilitation, etc.) matter for independent schools?
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  • Block 5 (Friday, February 27, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM)
    • Cultural Competence and Educational-Relational Thinking: Bridging Learning and Community

      312

      Join us to extend our conversation from last year's panel on Cultural Competency and 21st Century Skills. Together we'll explore the connections between relational learning and inclusive communities and identify the kinds of resources that will help schools cultivate cultural competency for deeper learning in our schools of the future.
      Presented ByChris Thinnes, Center for the Future of Education and Democracy (CA); Gene Batiste, Independent Education (DC); Rosetta Lee, Seattle Girls School (WA)
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      LevelIntermediate
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      Explore What are the connections between teaching and learning and diversity and inclusion?  How might we leverage the interdependence of relational learning and inclusive community?  What resources would help schools cultivate cultural competency for deeper learning in our 21st century schools?
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    • No Snoozing Classroom: Incorporating Movement to Enhance Student Learning

      306

      Get the blood circulating! Re-energize your students with large and small movements. Discover how to use everything from a short walk to finger motions. Learn the latest research on why to incorporate movement, as well as tested classroom strategies. Then get up and move, test each strategy, discuss what works, and how you can use it.
      Presented ByHadley Ferguson and Betty Ann Fish, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (PA)
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      LevelIntroductory
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      Explore How does movement, both large and small, enhance learning? What movements are the most effective for different kinds of learning? How can I include movement without disrupting my lesson plans?
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  • Block 6 (Friday, February 27, 1:30 - 2:30 PM)
    • Design Thinking for Identity-Safe Classrooms: Building Empathy and Diverse Book Collections

      206

      To packed crowds at POCC, Prospect Sierra School regularly shares ways to influence institutional change in support of diversity and inclusion. In 2014, the school began collaboration in design thinking with Equal Read to build more identity-safe classrooms using diverse book collections. Hear lessons learned on how best to facilitate design thinking for participants to seed development of their own programs.
      Presented ByTaun Wright and Dorothy Steele, Equal Read (CA); Katherine Dinh and Britt Anderson, Prospect Sierra School (CA)
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      LevelIntroductory
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      Explore How can I use design thinking to develop inclusive curriculum materials that foster empathy and understanding for all of a classrooms’ learners?  How does the development of diverse and representative book collections contribute to identity-safe classrooms?  What are three easy, effective ways to change classroom book collections to increase student engagement and reduce stereotype threat?
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    • Gender and Sexuality Diversity in PK – 12: Exploring Frameworks, Values, and Practice

      308

      Gender and sexuality are core aspects of the developmental process for all PK – 12 students, yet educators are unsure about how andwhen to engage with the daily social, emotional, and cognitive manifestations of these issues at school. Gender and sexuality diversity is a contemporary framework for understanding these parts of identity development and building language, skills, and curriculum. Bring questions, humility, and humor!
      Presented ByJennifer Bryan, Jennifer Bryan, Ph.D. (MA)
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      LevelIntermediate
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      Explore What is the Gender and Sexuality Diversity (GSD) framework and how can it be applied to PreK-12  schools? What does GSD look like in PreK-12 and what are age appropriate and pedagogically sound approaches for engaging with these issues? How is addressing GSD part of our educational mission?
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    • Genius Hour: Making the Most of One Hour a Day

      302

      Share our experience implementing our first-ever Genius Hour with our fourth and fifth grade students. We gave them one hour every day for 10 days to pursue their passions. Want to see what they came up with? Come join us.
      Presented ByPage Lennig and Tim Hebda, Waynflete School (ME)
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      LevelIntroductory
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      Explore What is Genius Hour? Why would I bring Genius Hour to my school? How can I bring Genius Hour to my school?
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      Related Documents
      GeniusHour (PDF, 236 KB)
    • ieSonoma: Innovate|Educate: A Unique Partnership Transforming Learning for All Children

      203

      ieSonoma: Innovate|Educate is a unique public-private partnership between an independent school, public K-12 schools, and a research university. ieSonoma holds events annually to spark conversations about the need to transform education, foster radical collaboration between the public and private sectors, and promote deeper learning. Find out the critical role played by each partner and how to build a partnership in your community.
      Presented ByBradley Weaver, Sonoma Country Day School (CA); Dan Blake,Sonoma County Office of Education;Paul Porter, Sonoma State University, School of Education (CA)
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      LevelIntroductory
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      Explore How can you overcome barriers in collaborating with "non-traditional" partners?  How can you market and brand your partnership to generate community interest and support?  How can you structure and organize large community events and follow -up with extended learning opportunities?
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    • The Future of Health and Well-Being: Multidisciplinary Strategies for School Communities

      304

      Imagine a healthy school.   Are students stressed?   Are they resilient?   Are food options nutritious and diverse?   Is there an approach to the “whole child”?   Are students engaged socially and emotionally?   Are families and faculty partners?   Is there an ethical awareness?   Engage with school and health and wellness leaders to learn how to implement innovative, multidisciplinary strategies to influence student, faculty, and family health alike.
      Presented ByMiguel Marshall, Independent School Health Association (CT); Amy Patel, Philips Academy (MA); Allyce Perret-Gentil, Hackley School (NY); Saint Philip's Episcopal School (FL); John Suby, Dana Hall School (MA)
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      LevelIntroductory
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      Explore What do we mean when we say health, wellbeing, and wellness, and how has our approach to these concepts evolved in schools?   How can I focus or enhance my school’s focus on health while maintaining a competitive edge and remaining committed to my school’s academic mission?   What are some innovative strategies schools are using to positively influence the health of the entire school community?
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