Thursday, February 13, 2020
at The Westin Waltham Boston

AISNE room block available at The Westin: $189/night + taxes and fees
Reserve rooms as part of our room block by Sunday, January 12, 2020


Register Here

Conference Agenda

  • Register, Network and Enjoy Breakfast: 8:00 - 8:45 a.m.
  • Welcome: 8:45 a.m.
  • Opening Keynote Address: Jessica Lahey: 8:50 a.m.
  • Breakout Session I: 9:50 - 11:05 a.m.
  • Facilitated, All-Attendee Working Session: Afrika Afeni Mills: 11:10 - 11:50 a.m.
  • Cross-School Networking Lunch at Tables by Ages of Children You Educate (General Tables Also Available): 12:00 - 12:45 p.m.
  • Breakout Session II: 12:50 - 2:05 p.m.
  • Closing Keynote: Marc Brackett: 2:15 - 3:15 p.m.
  • Reflections and Farewell: 3:15 p.m.



Opening Keynote Address

The Gift of Failure | Jessica Lahey


In the tradition of Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed and Wendy Mogel’s The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, New York Times best-selling The Gift of Failure focuses on the critical school years when adults must learn to allow children to experience the disappointment and frustration that occur from life’s inevitable problems so that they may grow up to be successful, resilient, and self-reliant adults.

Modern life is defined by an unprecedented level of overprotectiveness: parents who rush to school at the whim of a phone call to deliver forgotten assignments, who challenge teachers on report card disappointments, mastermind children’s friendships, and interfere on the playing field. As teacher and writer Jessica Lahey explains, even though these parents see themselves as being highly responsive to their children’s well being, they aren’t giving them their children the chance to experience failure—or the opportunity to learn to solve their own problems. This has the potential to ruin a child’s confidence and undermine their education.

Providing a path toward solutions, Lahey lays out a blueprint with targeted advice for handling homework, report cards, social dynamics, and sports. Most importantly, she sets forth a plan to help adults learn to step back and embrace children’s failures. Hard-hitting yet warm and wise, The Gift of Failure is essential reading for parents, educators, and psychologists nationwide who want to help children succeed.


Choices: Breakout Session I

9:50 - 11:05 a.m.

A) Utilize Montessori's Practical Life Curriculum to Develop Independent Learners

Facilitated by: Melanie Roake, Teacher and Toddler House Program Director, and Nancy St. John, Teacher and Children's House Program Director, Inly School, Scituate, MA

Maria Montessori believed children engage thoroughly in real life work, which creates a foundation in how children learn over time. We will explore Montessori’s Practical Life Curriculum, which develops concentration, coordination, organization and independence in young learners. Join us to experience hands on lessons, a fully developed curriculum, and the art of presenting these materials, which will inspire ideas to help transform your classroom using real life work.

Applicable School Division(s): Early Childhood

- - - - -

B) Integrate Learning and Differentiate Instruction Through a Themed Central Subject

Facilitated by: Aneesa Sen and Katherine Hesko, Co-Directors of Shady Hill's Central Subject Institute and 6th Grade Teachers, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

Learn how to leverage a theme or central subject to achieve an integrated learning experience and teach with differentiated instruction. This hands-on approach appeals to all learning styles and serves the wide range of abilities represented within today’s classrooms.

Applicable School Division(s): Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle

- - - - -

C) Curriculum Redesign: The Path Towards Implementing 21st Century Skills and Social-Emotional Learning in the Classroom

Facilitated by Charles Fadel, Founder and Chairman of the Center for Curriculum Redesign (CCR)

Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Biotech, etc. are redefining what it means to be human, and to succeed in life and work. The world of the 21st century bears little resemblance to that of the 19th century, requiring learning to be deeply redesigned for versatility and adaptability. Educators are also expected to have enhanced competencies in the areas of knowledge, skills, character, and meta-learning. The load on teachers continues to increase, with these competencies being added on top of established duties to teach content and differentiate learning. This session will explore mechanisms for teaching these new competencies as embedded within the teaching of disciplines, and also through curriculum redesign.

Applicable School Division(s): Middle and Upper

- - - - -

D) Tools for Students and Teachers to Navigate Political Discourse

Facilitated by: Kent Lenci, Educator

Polarization has scarred the country and, for some of us, brought on a form of educational paralysis; we no longer know what’s safe to say or do at school. This session embraces the opportunity to help students and teachers lean into the discomfort of our national divide by reaching across lines of ideological difference. We’ll practice a bit of civil discourse, discover resources and organizations that help adults and students reach across lines of ideological difference, and explore scenarios that help us plan our approach to messy situations at school. This session will have the most practical application for teachers and administrators at the middle and upper school levels, although lower school teachers may also find it helpful.

Applicable School Division(s): Middle and Upper

- - - - -

E) Identify Enrichment Opportunities for Individual Students and Groups Using The Aerie Program as a Model: Promote Creativity and Uncommon Energy

Facilitated by: Mark Harris, Liz MacMillan and Ange Strom-Weber, The Wheeler School, Providence, RI

The Aerie Program, in its fourth decade, offers school-wide enrichment through an extensive set of curricular and extracurricular offerings. It’s Wheeler’s unique way of being a school that adapts to a child’s natural strengths and interests. Aerie opportunities are often individualized to a student’s passion — whether that’s to learn Turkish or Polish in middle school, start an internet radio program as a 4th grader, dig into multivariable calculus with a Brown doctoral student, or sequence DNA for national publication while still in high school. Such examples illustrate the breadth of resources and connection Aerie finds for students and teachers. Learn from Mark Harris and members of his team about how they created and develop this innovative program.

Applicable School Division(s): Elementary, Middle and Upper

- - - - -

F) Embrace Opportunities to Fail in the Classroom and Within a School Community

Facilitated by: our Opening Keynote speaker, Jessica Lahey

With parents sheltering their children every step of the way, we have 'failure deprived' college students (as administrators at Stanford and Harvard call them) and entitled, anxious 20-somethings who can’t function in a world that’s sometimes cold or cruel or indifferent. How can teachers give children the necessary space to fail, within this larger social context? Lahey will provide tools and guidance for how to most effectively incorporate the gift of failure philosophy into your classroom.

Applicable School Division(s): Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle and Upper


Facilitated, All-Attendee Working Session

11:10 - 11:50 a.m.

If You See Something, Say Something | Afrika Afeni Mills

We live in a racialized society in which we will inevitably bear witness to prejudicial, stereotypical, and/or biased statements expressed to or about someone from a historically and currently marginalized group. We've come to know these comments as microaggressions, though there is nothing small about these interactions for those on the receiving end. It's difficult to transition from the role of bystander to upstander if we're not prepared. In this working session, all conference attendees will be equipped with the tools and experiences needed to effectively respond in these situations.

Afrika Afeni Mills is Senior Manager of Inclusive and Responsive Educational Practices at BetterLesson. Afrika has a demonstrated history of working in professional training and coaching, and providing culturally-responsive teaching and learning support to educators.


Choices: Breakout Session II

12:50 - 2:05 p.m.

A) Differentiate Teaching and Learning in the Early Childhood Classroom: The Work Tray Approach

Facilitated by: Allie Spurling, Pre-Primary Classroom Teacher, Moses Brown School, Providence, RI

Developing lessons and activities that meet the wide developmental range in a Pre-K classroom can be a challenge. How do teachers effectively reach, stretch and develop all these different learners? Young learners not only come with a wide range of skills but with very different learning styles. For example, some are very capable of rote counting but cannot identify numerals; others can hear letter sounds but cannot rhyme; some are highly capable but are most successful when only given a few materials at a time because organization can make things tricky; others are most successful when doing an activity on the floor but have a hard time sitting at a table. Teasing out what kids know and their opportunities for growth is key. The introduction of a personalized work tray into the classroom can allow children to engage with activities designed for them. Organizing activities based around math skills and concepts, letter recognition and sounds, handwriting, and fine motor work is an achievable task for teachers. There are ways to organize and scaffold activities so children may engage with the same materials in multiple ways. Assessments for this age group must be regular and ongoing. Introducing a work tray into your classroom offers a fluid and regular opportunity to observe and develop skills based on each individual child. Most importantly, kids think they are a lot of fun!

Applicable School Division(s): Early Childhood

- - - - -

B) Bridge the Gender Gaps in English and Computer Science Classrooms

Facilitated by: educators from Lincoln School, Providence, RI

How can you use The Handmaid's Tale to bridge gender gaps in Computer Science and English classes? Learn how these three educators weave the content of their coursework together to bridge gender gaps. Knowing gender gaps manifest in the differences between women and men in social, political, intellectual, cultural, or economic attainments or attitudes is the first step. This session will help you take this style of teaching and learning to the next step.

Applicable School Division(s): Middle and Upper

- - - - -

C. Mastery Transcript Consortium™ and Competency-Based Learning: Taking First Steps

Facilitated by: Josh Bubar, Assistant Head of School, Ben Riggs, 11th/12th Grade Program Director and Kelly Walsh, 9th/10th Grade Program Director, Chapel Hill - Chauncy Hall School, Waltham, MA

Mastery Transcript Consortium™ is a growing collective of nearly 300 high schools working together to design and implement a model of crediting and transcript generation that includes Mastery Credits and attached evidence of learning for both content areas and skills critical to success in college, career, and life. This session will share one school’s experience promoting and educating the community about MTC, developing a Portrait of a Graduate, implementing mastery credit areas into various classes during their on-going pilot program, and navigating a tricky compromise between CBL and issuing traditional letter grades.

Applicable School Division(s): Upper

- - - - -

D) Instructional Coaching: Ideation and Implementation and the Relationship to Faculty Professional Development, Supervision and Evaluation

Facilitated by: Shalini Rao, Director of Teaching and Learning, The Fessenden School, Newton, MA

Top performers and athletes have coaches, why shouldn’t teachers? Instructional coaching is a growing trend in schools, with the primary goal of helping teachers improve their practice in clear, measurable ways. Learn about the implementation of an instructional coaching model and its connection with supervision and evaluation in schools. Gain examples of common scenarios, strategies, and tools.

Applicable School Division(s): Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle and Upper

- - - - -

E) Transform Today’s Political Turmoil into a Catalyst for Enhanced Learning, Leadership and Culture with The “Can We?” Project

Facilitated by: Lowell W. Libby, Upper School Director and Co-Founder of the Third Thought Initiatives for Civic Engagement and Nicole M. Bradeen, Global Community Scholars Coordinator and The Can We? Project Facilitator, Waynflete School, Portland, ME; and Terry E. Brown, Communications Consultant and community partner for The Can We? Project and Director of Communications, Maine Heritage Policy Center

Imagine your school transforming today’s political turmoil into a catalyst for deepened learning, cultivated student leadership, and a strengthened school culture. With the 2020 election looming large, educators of all political stripes question whether engaging students in respectful and purposeful conversations is even possible within our schools. Last spring, Waynflete was awarded an EE Ford Leadership Grant to support the Third Thought Initiatives for Civic Engagement. An outgrowth of years of effort, Third Thought initiatives are community-based and include: the New England Youth Identity Summit, an annual event attracting over 300 students and featuring performances, student led workshops and keynote speakers; the Can We? Project, an experiment in political dialogue involving students from Waynflete and public schools in Maine; and the Summer Institute for Dialogue and Civic Engagement, an institute aimed at helping independent schools engage productively with even the most contentious current issues of our time. Come learn about how leaning into our turbulent times can be a powerful catalyst for learning and culture building, within your school and beyond.

Applicable School Division(s): Middle and Upper

- - - - -

F) Setting Intentions and Leaning Into Change

Facilitated by: our All-Attedee Working Session facilitator, Afrika Afeni Mills

In recent times, there has been an increase in the exploration of the history of systemic injustices in the United States and the current impact of those societal inequities. Though conversations about fragility and privilege are now more common, it's challenging to know how to go from knowing better to doing better. Gain the tools needed to move from awareness through envisioning a different way of being to enacting a changed mindset and new teaching practices.

Applicable School Division(s): Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle and Upper


Closing Keynote Address

Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help our Students, Ourselves, and our Society Thrive | Marc Brackett


This talk integrates psychological research, educational practice, and compelling stories, including Marc Brackett’s own life experiences, to make emotional intelligence come alive.

Marc’s book, Permission To Feel, an Amazon bestseller, examines the past 25 years of the science and practice of social and emotional learning (SEL). Marc will share tips and strategies as well as interesting and fun facts to help us create a world with more “emotion scientists” – at home, school, and the workplace.


Register Here

Teaching & Learning 2020 is generously supported by: