March 2017

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Registration Begins November 1

Keynote Speakers

Paul Tough

Paul Tough | Thursday, March 23

In his latest book, Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why (2016), Tough offers a practical guidebook for improving the lives of children growing up in adversity, containing all-new strategies based on the emerging science of success. A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine, education speaker Paul Tough is also the author of Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America, which focuses on the steps necessary to improve the lives and education of underserved children. Through the case study of the Harlem Children's Zone, Tough describes the inspiring struggle to establish a way to combat poverty that could be replicated nationwide. Tough has also contributed to This American Life and The New Yorker, where he has honed his focus upon education, poverty, parenting, and politics. The film rights for his New York Times Magazine cover story A Speck in the Sea, about the rescue of fisherman John Aldridge, have been acquired by Harvey Weinstein for production by The Weinstein Company.

How Children Succeed

Diving Deeper and Q&A

Sarah Martin

Sarah Martin | Friday, March 24

Sarah is the Foundation Principal of Stonefields School. She is a passionate, forward-thinking educator and has a real commitment to improving outcomes for all learners, not just those within her school community. She has held leadership roles in a number of schools. As both a teacher and leader, she has a particular strength in collectively building change momentum, enabling collaborative high functioning teams, future visioning, embracing student voice, and re-imagining what learning matters.

She is enthusiastic about the following:

  • Ensuring all students develop the necessary competencies to strengthen their capacity to learn
  • Focusing on student engagement and success in learning that matters
  • Questioning the effective teaching practice that causes learning

Focusing On What Matters

Realizing a vision for learning "What learning matters now? What learning is essential to ensure our children are ready, willing, and able for their future?" Hear about Stonefields Schools "strategically organic" journey in realizing a vision for learning. A vision that in practice develops learners' comfort in being uncomfortable, builds learners strategies to advance learning, makes progress visible, and importantly designs learning that is "real."


Transformational change and continuous improvement have been enabled at Stonefields School through intentional leadership work on creating the conditions and a culture that people want to be a part of. Hear about some of the tools and frameworks that have been developed to "onboard" new staff and grow highly synergetic teams that have collective impact.


Richard Paul Evans | Friday, March 24

When Richard Paul Evans wrote the #1 best-seller, The Christmas Box, he never intended on becoming an internationally known author. Officially, he was an advertising executive, an award-winning clay animator for American and Japanese markets, a candidate for state legislature, and most importantly, a husband and father. The Christmas Box was written as an expression of love for his (then) two daughters. Though he often told them how much he loved them, he wanted to express his love in a way that would be timeless. In 1993, Evans reproduced 20 copies of the final story and gave them to his closest relatives and friends as Christmas presents. In the month following, those 20 copies were passed around more than 160 times, and soon word spread so widely that bookstores began calling his home with orders for it.

His quiet story of parental love and the true meaning of Christmas made history when it became simultaneously the #1 hardcover and paperback book in the nation. Since then, more than eight million copies of The Christmas Box have been printed. He has since written 12 consecutive New York Times bestsellers and is one of the few authors in history to have hit both the fiction and non-fiction bestseller lists. He has won three awards for his children's books including the 1998 American Mothers book award and two first-place Storytelling World awards. Evans’s latest book, The 5 Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me About Life and Wealth, is now available.

During the spring of 1997, Evans founded The Christmas Box House International, an organization devoted to building shelters and providing services for abused and neglected children. Such shelters are operational in Lucre, Peru, and Moab, Vernal, Ogden and Salt Lake City, Utah. To date, more than 16,000 children have been housed in Christmas Box House facilities. As an acclaimed speaker, Evans has shared the podium with such notable personalities as President George W. Bush, President George H. W. and Barbara Bush, former British Prime Minister John Majors, Ron Howard, Elizabeth Dole, Deepak Chopra, Steve Allen, and Bob Hope. Evans has been featured on the Today Show and Entertainment Tonight, as well as in Time, Newsweek, People, The New York Times, Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, USA Today, TV Guide, Reader's Digest, and Family Circle. Evans lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife, Keri, and their five children.

Helping Your Students and Yourself Reach Your Highest Potential

Featured Speakers

Rich Allen

Rich Allen

Dr. Rich Allen is a highly regarded educator with more than 30 years experience working with teachers and administrators around the world. Founder of Green Light Education, he is the author of over a dozen popular books in the field of education, including Green Light Classrooms: Teaching Techniques that Accelerate Learning; High-Impact Teaching in the 'XYZ' Era of Education, and most recently The Rock 'n Roll Classroom. He has taken his unique teaching strategies beyond the United States to such diverse countries as Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Russia, Jordan, and Brazil. His primary goal is to help teachers and schools embed effective, dynamic, and engaging teaching methods into all classrooms.

Igniting A Passion For Learning:

The students walking into classrooms today are radically different than those we taught 20, 15, even 10 years ago. Having grown up with the Internet, digital TV, and computer games, even young kids arrive with a very different idea of how they learn and new expectations of information delivery. To draw these learners in and help them maximize their potential, we need to use instructional strategies that more closely match their fast, exciting, and instantly gratifying world. In this practical, energetic, dynamic session you'll both hear about and experience dynamic teaching strategies you can instantly use to seize—and hold—their attention and achieve the best possible results.

Making Material Memorable: The Heart of Effective Instruction

As the proverb states, If they can't remember it, then they never learned it! Optimal retention is achieved when instructional methods are used that fit the way the brain learns. Yet is teaching being conducted in a brain-compatible manner? Through audience participation and demonstrations, this practical session provides an overview of methods for improving learning and retention based on how the brain stores information.

Dylan William

Dylan Wiliam

Dylan Wiliam is emeritus professor of Educational Assessment at University College London. In a varied career, he has taught in urban public schools, directed a large-scale testing program, served a number of roles in university administration, including dean of a school of education, and pursued a research program focused on supporting teachers to develop their use of assessment in support of learning.

Embedding Formative Assessment

There is now a large and growing evidence base to support that helping teachers develop their use of minute-to-minute and day-by-day assessment is one of, if not the most, powerful ways to improve student learning. However, adopting formative assessment involves far more than adding a few “quick fixes” to teachers’ classroom repertoires. It involves a fundamental shift in focus, from what the teacher is putting in to the process to what the students are getting out of it. In this workshop, participants will learn the following:

  • Why formative assessment needs to be the priority for every school
  • What formative assessment is (and isn't)
  • Practical techniques for implementing formative assessment

Leadership for Teacher Learning

There is now substantial evidence that there is a knowing-doing gap in education. The problem is not that we do not know how to improve schools. The problem is implementing what is known to work in more classrooms. This is why approaches based on sharing good practice have been relatively ineffective. Helping teachers develop what they do in classrooms is more a process of habit change than of knowledge acquisition, which requires different kinds of teacher professional development and draws on a different research base.

Ken O'Connor

Ken O'Connor

Ken O’'Connor is an independent consultant on grading and reporting. A graduate of the University of Melbourne (BA Hons) and the University of Toronto (M Ed), he has been a staff development presenter in 47 states in the USA, nine provinces and one territory in Canada, and 22 countries outside North America.

His 23-year teaching career included experience as a geography teacher and department head at six schools in Toronto and Melbourne (grades 7–12) starting in 1967. Ken was a curriculum coordinator responsible for student assessment, evaluation, and geography for the Scarborough Board of Education (and then the Toronto District School Board) from March 1990 to June 1999.

He is the author of The School Leaders Guide to Grading, A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades, andHow to Grade for Learning: Linking Grades to Standards.

The Way Ahead in Grading K–16, Not Just K–5

Grades should be accurate, meaningful, consistent, and supportive of learning. Significant change has taken place widely at K-5 but is still lacking at 6-16. This session will present the six musts in grading practices that should be in place at all levels.

Which Fixes Work—or Don't Work—for You?

A Repair Kit for Grading: Fifteen Fixes for Broken Grades was first published in 2007 and has been widely used by schools/districts as the basis for revising grading practices. This session will provide the opportunity for discussion of the Fixes—what works and what issues arise when implementing the fixes? This is a discussion session, not a presentation, and is intended for those who are familiar with the fixes.

Steve Shumway

Steve Shumway

Dr. Steve Shumway is a professor in the Technology and Engineering Education program in the Fulton College of Engineering and Technology at Brigham Young University. He is an active member of the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association and is a former president of the Utah Technology and Engineering Educators Association. Dr. Shumway has published in various education journals and is a regular presenter at state, regional, and national conferences. His research interests include student motivation in the classroom and developing and teaching engineering-related curricula to elementary, middle, and high school students.

Integrating the Engineering Design Process into the Elementary School Classroom: Best Practices and Lessons Learned

Dr. Shumway will discuss lessons learned and best practices from seven years of working with administrators, teachers, and students to integrate the engineering design process into the elementary school classroom.

Tony Frontier

Tony Frontier

Tony Frontier is an award-winning teacher, engaging presenter, and best-selling author. He works with teachers and school leaders nationally and internationally to help them prioritize efforts to improve student engagement and student learning. With expertise in student engagement, formative assessment, effective instruction, and strategic planning, Frontier emphasizes a systems approach to build capacity to empower teachers to improve each student's schooling experience.

Frontier is co-author of the ASCD books Five Levers to Improve Learning: How to Prioritize for Powerful Results in Your School with Jim Rickabaugh, Effective Supervision: Supporting the Art and Science of Teaching with Robert J. Marzano and David Livingston, and Making Teachers Better, Not Bitter: Balancing Evaluation, Supervision, and Reflection for Professional Growth with Paul Mielke. He is also co-author of Creating Passionate Learners: Engaging Today's Students for Tomorrows World with Kim Brown and Donald J. Viegut. Frontier is a frequent contributor to Educational Leadership and facilitates workshops on school improvement, student engagement, curriculum design, formative assessment, and standards-based instructional practices at international conferences and in schools and districts around the country.

In addition to his work as a consultant, Frontier serves as an assistant professor of doctoral leadership studies at Cardinal Stritch University. As a former classroom teacher in Milwaukee public schools, an associate high school principal, and the director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Whitefish Bay School District, Frontier brings a wealth of experience as a classroom teacher, building administrator, and central office administrator to his workshops, writing, and research.

He can be reached at

Building Student Engagement

We know that student attendance is too crude a measure to make accurate inferences about student engagement . . . but what else is there? How can teachers discern among students who are merely compliant as compared to those who are actually engaged? This workshop will build a shared understanding among educators of indicators of emotional, behavioral, and cognitive engagement of students in their schooling experience. Tools to measure student engagement and dozens of engaging instructional strategies to build student engagement will be modeled and shared.

Prioritizing for Powerful Results: Five Levers to Improve Learning

Where do we exert influence in classrooms, schools, and districts to obtain a desired goal? What are the characteristics of initiatives that have a transformational impact on student learning as compared to initiatives that require significant efforts and resources——yet merely perpetuate the status quo? This workshop will provide participants with a framework, resources and tools to guide classroom, school, and district improvement efforts as described by the author and presenter of the ASCD book Five Levers to Improve Learning; How to Prioritize for Powerful Results in Your School.

George Couros

George Couros

George Couros is a leading educator in the area of innovative leadership, teaching, and learning. He has worked with all levels of school (K––12) as a teacher, technology facilitator, and school and district administrator, and he is the author ofThe Innovator’s Mindset; Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity. He is a sought-after speaker on the topic of innovative student learning and engagement and has worked with schools and organizations around the globe. George is also the creator of, an initiative that brings educators and leaders together from around the world to create powerful learning opportunities for students.

Although George is a leader in the area of innovation, his focus is always the development of leadership and people and what is best for learners. His belief that meaningful change happens when you first connect to people's hearts is modeled in his writing and speaking. You can connect with George on his blog, The Principal of Change (located at or through Twitter (@gcouros).

The Innovator's Mindset

Carol Dweck's work has focused on the ideas of fixed and growth mindset, yet educators will need to go a step further with these notions to create the learning opportunities that our students and schools deserve. We need to focus not only on what we know, but what we do with what we know. In this talk, George will discuss the idea and characteristics of The Innovator's Mindset” (as discussed in the book of the same title) and share powerful examples on why this is so crucial for all educators. George's presentations are known to be emotional and humorous all while pushing your thinking and will definitely connect to your heart first in a way that will last with you long after this keynote.

Things Students Should Have Before They Leave High School

In our world today, a resume and a cover letter aren’t going to support our students to create opportunities. To adequately prepare students for the world that they live in, it is important that we use the opportunities that are in front of us and help students develop a network to connect with others, a digital portfolio that shows their learning and growth, and an About.Me page to bring all of these things together. In this presentation, we will look at what these could look like and how we could implement this at the K–12 level.

Susan Brookhart

Susan M. Brookhart

Susan M. Brookhart, PhD, is a consultant and author. Her interests include the role of formative and summative classroom assessment in student motivation and achievement, the connection between classroom and large-scale assessment, and grading. A former elementary and middle school teacher, she was faculty member at Duquesne University from 1989 to 2003.

Dr. Brookhart continues to serve as a senior research associate at the Center for Advancing the Study of Teaching and Learning in the School of Education at Duquesne. She also serves on the Montana State Assessment Technical Advisory Committee.

She has been a columnist for National Forum and was editor of Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice. Dr. Brookhart serves on the editorial boards of several journals and is an author or coauthor of several books and over 50 articles on classroom assessment, teacher professional development, and evaluation.

Dr. Brookhart earned a bachelor's degree from Arcadia University and a master’s degree in religion from Lutheran Theological Seminary. She earned her teaching certificate in Ohio and a doctorate in educational research and evaluation from the Ohio State University.

Learning Targets: Helping Students Aim for Understanding

The first thing students need to learn is what it is that they are supposed to be learning. Sharing learning targets and criteria for success is the fundamental formative assessment method upon which all the others depend. Learning targets are often characterized as simply instructional objectives in student-friendly language. This is not true! A learning target is only a target if students are aiming for it, and a learning target is tied to what students actually do in an individual lesson. Participants in this session will discover strategies for helping students answer the question “What am I supposed to be learning?”

Feedback That Feeds Forward

Feedback is only effective if it is a catalyst for change in student learning. Effective feedback is timely, descriptive, and specific to both the work and the student’s needs. In effective feedback episodes, both the teacher and student learn something. Effective feedback is coupled with immediate opportunities for students to use it. Participants in this session will analyze examples of feedback and learn feedback strategies that help students answer the question, “Where am I now, and what do I do next?”

Ainsely Rose

Ainsely Rose

Ainsley Rose recently retired after 35 years in public education. As the former director of curriculum and instruction for the Western Quebec School Board in Gatineau, Quebec, Ainsley was responsible for initiating many systemic changes that continue to impact teaching and learning within the school board today. With experience as an elementary and secondary classroom teacher and principal, as well as an instructor of graduate-level courses for administrators and pre-service teachers, Ainsley shares perspectives that resonate with all educators. He is also a published author, keynote presenter, and facilitator. His presentations deliver practical school improvement strategies that work at every level, from within the classroom to district-wide support.

How Does a Teachers' Mind frame Make A Difference in Shaping a Visible Learning School?

In Visible Learning for teachers, Hattie expands on his notion of Mind frames for teachers. He contends that is what shapes their thinking and resulting behavior in the classroom that has impact on student learning. Rose contends that of equal importance is the mindframe the leader brings to the school as it is their behavior that shapes the directions, policies, and procedures. Along with the notion of mind frames, this session will explore the research of Dr. Viviane Robinson, who demonstrates five practices on which leaders should concentrate. The presentation will make the case that the practices and the leader's view of those practices shapes the leader's mind frames. It will be an opportunity for leaders to reflect on what mind frames they bring to their work and therefore their impact on learning in their respective schools.

Feedback: The Tipping Point in Student Learning Workshop:

In their landmark paper Inside the Black Box, Black and Wiliam first drew our attention to several important notions of formative assessment and the power it has in improving student learning, particularly for those students who struggle. Central to the value of formative assessment is the notion of feedback. Hattie says, “feedback thrives on error.” Unfortunately, schools driven to increase student achievement mistakenly create a mindset that error is bad and marks constitute feedback that will motivate students to achieve at higher levels. This session will enable participants to develop a new vision of formative assessment and how a model of feedback can actually double student learning, provided that teachers understand what constitutes effective feedback.

John Almarode

John Almarode

Dr. John Almarode is an assistant professor at the College of Education at James Madison University. As a teacher, he has worked with all age groups in education, from pre-kindergarteners to graduate students. John began his career in Augusta County, Virginia, teaching secondary mathematics and science to a wide range of students.

John has conducted staff development workshops, keynote addresses, and conference presentations on a variety of topics including student engagement, evidence-based practices, creating enriched environments that promote learning, and designing classrooms with the brain in mind. He has authored several articles, reports, book chapters, and two books including Captivate, Activate, and Invigorate the Student Brain in Science and Math, Grades 6-12 (Corwin Press, 2013) and a children's book, Dylan Discovers His Brain! (Author House, 2010), to help educators inform students about their amazing brains.

John is a member of the faculty at James Madison University in the College of Education. As a member of the Department of Early, Elementary, and Reading Education, John works with pre-service teachers and actively pursues his research interests, including educational neuroscience, the design and measurement of classroom environments that promote student engagement, interest and engagement in STEM disciplines, specialized STEM high schools, interventions for low socioeconomic populations, college and university laboratory schools, and the translation of American education pedagogy in international schools.

From Snorkelers to Scuba Divers! Building and Engaging Deep Thinking Brains

This action-packed, edge-of-your seat workshop looks at the latest research on student engagement, student thinking, and how to design classrooms that promote deep thinking and understanding. By practicing what we preach, audience members will take part in an "out-of-your-seat-and-on-your-feet" experience that models the rules we learn by to get deep thinking and understanding: simple to complex, concrete to abstract, and students only remember what they think about. This workshop will address classroom and student barriers to engagement and thinking by looking at learning differences in students in poverty and students with attention or processing challenges, such as ADHD or learning disabilities.

Tools for Teaching and Learning—Teacher Clarity

This workshop unpacks what is meant by teacher clarity. Teachers will take an in-depth look at how to make learning visible to each and every student in the classroom. This action-packed, edge of your seat workshop builds understanding of the relationship between teacher clarity and student learning in the classroom. By practicing what we preach, audience members will take part in an "out-of-your-seat-and-on-your-feet" experience that models the brain rules for deep thinking and understanding: simple to complex, concrete to abstract, and students only remember what they think about. This workshop will address classroom and student engagement in a cognitively rich environment, making sure that students remain engaged in relevant content, regardless of the medium. Topics include goals, learning intentions, success criteria, opportunities to respond, and effective feedback. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain how learning intentions and success criteria should balance surface and deep learning.
  2. Describe the relationship between success criteria and students' opportunities to respond.
  3. Create opportunities to respond that align with specific success criteria.
  4. Apply research regarding effective feedback to my classroom.