Agenda at a Glance

8:00 Breakfast
8:15 Introduction
8:45 Welcome & Awards
9:00 Spotlight on Students
9:30: Plenary Sessions
10:45 Break
11:00 Morning Breakout Sessions
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Afternoon Breakout Sessions
2:15 Keynote: Daniel Juday
3:00 Closing

Keynote Speaker: Daniel Juday
Teaching is (r)evolutionary

Teaching is really, at its heart, the act of creating space. It’s about providing safe space for growing, and learning, and failing. It’s about accepting students right where they are, casting vision for what they could become, and celebrating each moment along the way. As such, it’s of paramount importance that we are perpetual “evolvers.” We must be dedicated to creating the kind of space our students need to succeed, and tenacious about equipping and empowering our students to do the same for their peers. In his talk, Daniel will explore what creating that kind of inclusive space looks like in light of social, economic, racial, and other demarcations designed to categorize and control our students.

Plenary Sessions

Expand each section to read the session description.

Teaching is Social: Addressing Implicit Bias & Fostering Belonging

Presenter: Dr. Matthew Deevers, Educational Consultant & Senior Research Associate at Summit Education Initiative

Teaching and learning are social processes.  We all have experiences, perspectives, preferences and biases, some of which influence our interactions with students, colleagues and families in ways we do not see or understand.  This session will highlight the nature and consequences of unseen (implicit) biases in classrooms and schools. Learn how implicit biases contribute to persistent gaps in motivation and achievement, and the ways to combat these biases through awareness and a culture of belonging. 

Teaching is Forever: Using Passion to Build Lifelong Learners

Presenters: Eric Ling, Curriculum Coordinator, Director of the School of Business & Entrepreneurship, AP Economics Teacher at Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy; Carrie Soful, Biology teacher, Manchester HS; Rob Lane, Robotics teacher, Springfield Junior High

Think about the lessons that you are excited to give your students year after year. What is about these lessons, lectures, or activities that ignite your enthusiasm? How can you translate that same passion across every lesson you teach and use this enthusiasm to prompt a positive mindset in the classroom? Hear from three local educators who have transformed both their careers and classrooms by using passion as a compass to guide students to foster a love of lifelong learning. Their stories of motivation and transformation will leave your heart rate thumping and ready to unleash the potential for higher learning in areas that you and your students love. 

Morning Breakout Sessions (select one)
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Teaching is Resourceful: How to Green Up Your Classroom & Inspire a Healthier Community

Presenters: Carrie Soful, biology teacher & Julie Graef, French teacher, Manchester High School

No matter what subjects we teach, we can all teach our students good character traits by example.  This session will highlight ways teachers can find social issues they are passionate about and how to incorporate them in life lessons they share with their students. Find out how Manchester High School has been researching and experimenting with ways to contribute towards a more sustainable community through their recycling efforts at making Christmas ornaments for the Children’s Hospital Tree Festival, and composting efforts with local Acme Freshmarket.  You’ll leave with artistic (and smelly) ways to inspire students to reduce classroom waste and engage in authentic community problem-solving through affordable, hands-on activities.

Teaching is Believing: Growing Student Mindsets That Invite Excellence

Presenters: Dr. Sandra Wilder, Mathematics Educator & District Instructional Specialist & Jeanette Nativio
Instructional Specialist, Akron Public Schools 

Educators are often faced with challenges of motivating students to persevere when faced with obstacles and to embrace the belief that “the most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”  Educators often advise students to do their best and believe in themselves, but those statements alone may not support students as they stumble on their learning path. This session will demonstrate how Litchfield’s Growth Mindset Initiative was developed to overcome this challenge and identify effective approaches to motivate students and improve their achievement.  Explore the systematic approach to transforming students’ mindsets from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset and how this transformational approach is beneficial in all areas of students’ lives, not just academics. Leave with strategies for promoting and fostering growth mindset to motivate yourself and students.

Teaching is Empowering: Using True Authentic Problem Based Learning to Inspire Students to Change the World

Presenter: Eric Ling, Curriculum Coordinator, Director of the School of Business & Entrepreneurship, AP Economics Teacher, Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy

Someday, our students will change the world.  But what about today, as in right now? As educators, we owe it to our students to move away from the “not yet” or “someday” mentality by creating environments that can engage students in developing the self-confidence needed to embrace their talents and focus them on real-world challenges. In this session, Eric Ling will share simple steps and examples from his classroom that inspire students to think about the world around them. Learn how to support and engage students in these discussions,  how to engage the community to identify authentic problems related to content; and how to build solutions with students while being the eternal encourager and creative resourcer. 

Afternoon Breakout Sessions (select one)
1:00 – 2:00 PM
Teaching is Asking the Right Questions: Developing Powerful Questions to Encourage Teacher and Student Motivation

Presenter: Kristi Upole, School Psychologist, PSI/Seton Catholic School

Asking the right question at the right time for individual students can make all the difference- for those who need clarification, need to be challenged toward higher levels of processing the information, and need emotional support from a trusted, caring adult.  Self-reflecting questions can help keep you on track for your motivation, commitment, and approach to the challenges you face in teaching, with the by-product of activating strategies to cope with stress. Taking time during planning to consider what questions you might ask, then asking the right questions during instruction, has the potential to generate interest, enthusiasm, motivation, and curiosity for learning.  Learn how to identify new insights, extend knowledge of the topic, to applying this timeless, proven technique in individual professional roles.

Teaching is Expanding Boundaries: 360° of Engagement: Planning for Problem Based Learning Through Every Lens

Presenters: Christina Wooley, Curriculum Coordinator & Doreen Osmun, Assistant Superintendent, Hudson City Schools

Problem Based Learning projects can provide an immersive educational experience that balances academic skills with social-emotional learning and emerging technologies. But how do you begin the PBL brainstorming process? And how do you connect academic threads with a specific community focus in mind? This session will offers provide attendees the tools and strategies with a 360° view of PBL planning. Learn how to begin the brainstorming process for a PBL and to begin modeling the real-world problem-solving process through a 360 degree lens. Educators from Hudson City Schools will help kick start the brainstorming process for PBLs, and attendees will learn how to create partnerships and driving questions that will help develop engaging and collaborative PBLs for the classroom. create cross-curricular, cross-grade level PBLs that bring together partners from both inside and outside of the classroom. Educators from Hudson City Schools will share examples of successful PBLs that will inspire attendees to fully develop engaging and collaborative PBLs for their classrooms and communities.  360° view of PBL planning. 

Teaching is: Preparing Students for an Unknown Future

Presenter: Rob Lane, Computer Technology, Robotics and Physical Computing Teacher, Springfield High School and Junior High

One of the primary responsibilities of educators is to prepare for the future. Technology continues to move at unprecedented rates and the demands of the workplace are continually changing. Because many of the jobs and careers our students will find themselves in have yet to be created, teachers must  be diligent in creating environments that cultivate passion, spark creativity, and provide students with tools and skills to become lifelong learners. Meanwhile, educators must also focus on their own passion and purpose in order to help pave the way for students. Each time we show students how passionate we are about what we teach, students are one step closer to cultivating deep self-knowledge.  This session will take you on a journey of how one teacher found his purpose and passion and is using both to help students prepare for an unknown future.