Six Can't Miss NAIS Sessions

The GOA team is gearing up for the National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference, where the focus will be on cultivating community. To make the most of this valuable opportunity, we've selected six sessions that we're most excited about and do not want to miss. Learn more about the sessions below and join us as we connect with other educators and learn about innovative approaches and trends in education.

1) From Lessons to Experiences: A New Vision for Course Design and Development

When: Thursday, February 23, 8:00 AM-9:00 AM

Workshop Summary: How do we design for experiences and not just instruction? How do we create courses that are outcomes-driven, goal-oriented, and human-centered? Join us for a deep dive into three primary threads embedded in Global Online Academy’s design process: focusing on usability and accessibility, starting with backward design, and collaborating within a responsive process. Consider how these strategies might level up your own learning design game as an educator. Get challenged to go beyond content-driven course creation in a move to more thoughtful, inclusive design practices.

Presenters: Amanda Burch, GOA; Jennifer Bray, Providence Day School (NC)

2) Developing Student Agency by Cultivating Community and Increasing Student Engagement

When: Thursday, February 23, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Workshop Summary: Explore cultivating community and student engagement through the lens of student agency. Research tells us that developing learning opportunities designed to foster student agency should be a priority to prepare students for the future. Join this interactive session to highlight examples from Woodward Academy’s Ethical Dilemmas in Science and Technology senior capstone course. Learn how to engage students in challenging learning experiences that incorporate elements of student agency such as decision-making, problem-solving, and student thinking. Share a toolbox of examples of what developing student agency looks like in a classroom and how to encourage its development.

Presenters: Connie White and Georgia Nigel Traylor, Woodward Academy (GA)

3) Beyond Strategic Planning–Progress Design for a New Era

When: Thursday, February 23, 1:30 PM-2:30 PM

Workshop Summary: Get the context and tools you need to gain a clearer picture of the future and to develop an effective strategy for a new era. Share insights on practical ways for heads of school, their boards, and leadership teams to approach problem framing and to engage in strategic design that supports long-term differentiation.

Presenters: Tim Fish, NAIS

4) Lifting Up Faculty Expertise: Centering Faculty Strengths and Modeling to Enhance Professional Development

When: Friday, February 24, 8:00 AM-9:00 AM

Workshop Summary: Bringing outside experts to campus can be transformative for faculty; however, professional growth approaches that give faculty the reins to share their learning and expertise with peers is both powerful and empowering. This teacher-centered professional development approach enables faculty leaders to model best practices. Share concrete examples of faculty-led workshops at three independent schools in using several professional growth models: collaborating during summer months, hosting a PD Day, and implementing a yearlong blended-learning approach. Additionally, take time to develop your own plan to support faculty-led professional development.

Presenters: Heidi Hojnicki, Kingswood Oxford School (CT); Stephanie Griffin, Trinity Episcopal School (NC); Julie Rust, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School (MI)

5) Do Your Students Need More Extensions, Too? Exploring Equity and Loving Accountability in Grading

When: Friday, February 24, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Workshop Summary: Following Zoom school, when teachers responded to student stress with increased flexibility, we have seen a marked increase in students struggling to meet deadlines and build good academic habits. Even before 2020, our schools have been appropriately responding to student overload by adding support structures, shifting grading, and interrogating inequitable systems. How might we balance flexibility and accountability? How do we encourage responsibility while also grading students equitably? How do standards and competency-based practices support accountability? Join us to unpack what accountability means for each of us and explore ways of building school cultures of loving accountability.

Presenters: Derek Kanarek, Catlin Gabel School (OR); Regan Galvan, Vistamar School (CA); Michael Peller, The White Mountain School (NH); Julia Griffin, Hawken School (OH)

6) Relationships Reset: Classroom Practices to Build Sustainable and Healthy Post-Pandemic Communities

When: Friday, February 24, 1:15 PM-2:15 PM

Workshop Summary: The social-emotional aftermath of the pandemic continues to resonate through relationships across schools. Teachers report a markedly higher percentage of emotional needs within classrooms brought on by pandemic-related developmental delays and anxieties brought on by home and societal-based stress. Join us to focus on the classroom and understand, collaborate, and imagine novel ways to use existing practices to meet emerging social-emotional needs. Engage in conversations and reflections on what is happening at your school right now and explore how to build engagement and kindness among constituencies who are rebuilding relationships as we re-create meaning in our in-person school communities.

Presenters: Mike Orlando, Helios School (CA); Jane Murphy, Almaden Country Day School (CA)

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GOA serves students, teachers, and leaders and is comprised of member schools from around the world, including independent, international, charter, and public schools. Learn more about Becoming a Member. Our professional learning opportunities are open to any educator or school team. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter. To stay up to date on GOA learning opportunities, sign up for our newsletter.

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