Six NAIS Conference Sessions We Can't Wait to Attend

Will you be at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) annual conference in Atlanta? We will!

Jason Cummings, Eric Hudson, Bonnie Lathram, and Michael Nachbar from GOA are attending and presenting. As we review the list of workshops and speakers and start planning what sessions to visit, we’re seeing a number of trends emerge as important to independent schools:

  • Professional Learning that is Teacher-driven and Research-backed
  • Engaging in Conversations about Equity and Public/Private Partnerships
  • Changing the Culture of Grades
  • Understanding and Leveraging Data
  • Designing More Flexible, Responsive Learning Experiences
  • Integrating Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Below, we’ve identified six can’t-miss workshops, including a few we’re leading, that touch on these trends. What are you excited to see? Want to connect with us while you’re there? Let us know on Twitter or email us:

Six Sessions We Can’t Wait to Attend

Beyond In-Service Days: Building a Center for Teaching and Learning
Thursday, March 8, 8-9AM

Trend: Professional Learning that is Teacher-driven and Research-backed

What are the best ways to provide ongoing, supportive structures for the improvement of teaching in an independent school? Get an overview of a pilot center for teaching and learning (CTL) for PK-12 teachers. Learn how to launch a CTL, including strategies for encouraging teacher buy in, structuring workflow, setting up site visits, conducting interviews, and reporting findings. Find out how to develop a CTL mission statement, create a roll-out plan, market offerings to faculty, organize teacher cohorts, establish an instructional coach training program, plan a novice teacher mentoring system, and more.

Grace Limaye and Allison Schultz, The Episcopal Academy (PA)

Speed Innovating
Thursday, March 8, 11:15 AM-12:15 PM

Trend: Engaging in Conversations about Equity and Public/Private Partnerships

We’re really excited about the focus of the Speed Innovating session this year, where schools will share stories of their work on equity, public/private partnership, and civic engagement. The “speed-dating” format of 15-minute rounds at small tables lends itself to hearing many stories in one short session.

A few tables we’re planning to visit:

Atlanta’s Civically-Engaged, Design-Minded Semester School (Laura Deisley, Lab Atlanta (GA))

A Purposeful Partner for an Equitable Pittsburgh (Adam Nye, Winchester Thurston School (PA))

Innovating Private-Public Partnerships (Michael Magno and Ryan Welsh, Providence Day School (NC))

Managing a Movement: Bringing the Mastery Transcript Consortium to Campus
Thursday, March 8, 1:15-2:15pm

Trend: Changing the Culture of Grades

How do you take an innovative idea like the MTC and make it real for students, faculty, and families? Join academic leaders from Mastery Transcript Consortium member schools who will share their experiences working with the MTC, each other, and their communities to introduce mastery-based assessment to their schools. Review how the MTC uses in-person and online resources to support these leaders in their work and hear first-person perspectives on the work underway to change culture and practice around student assessment and crediting.

Eric Hudson, Global Online Academy (WA) and Patricia Russell, Mastery Transcript Consortium (MA)

Leading with Data
Friday, March 9, 8:00-9:00am

Trend: Understanding and Leveraging Data

From data dashboards to threaded discussion maps to leveraging learning management systems, the data schools collect and how we use it is critical to understanding how our institutions function — and even how our students learn. Hear from school leaders about how they’re analyzing data to better understand the story their school is telling, and how it’s impacting the decisions they make from systems to students. Explore what data you should track, how to track it, and what to do with it once you have it.

Michael Nachbar, Global Online Academy (WA); T.J. Locke, Episcopal Academy (PA); Cathy Hall, Noble and Greenough (MA); Keith Evans, Westminster Schools (GA)

Pop-up Courses: Flexible, Modern Learning Design for Digging into Real-World Issues
Friday, March 9, 11:15am-12:15pm

Trend: Designing More Flexible, Responsive Learning Experiences

How does your school respond when a new, challenging issue emerges locally or globally — a momentous election, an outbreak of disease, an attack, or a new phenomenon such as fake news? What if you could address this topic in a short course akin to a pop-up restaurant? We created a model for doing that: a 2-4-week, online, flex course that teachers can incorporate into existing courses. Hear about our experience offering two such courses to a total of 2,000 students in a global network. Adapt the “recipe” for your own school setting.

Jason Cummings, Global Online Academy (WA); Nelson Graves, News-Decoder; Tina Bessias, Durham Academy / Global Online Academy (NC)

Finding Common Ground Through Differences: Building Relationships and Authenticity Through Asynchronous Relationships
Friday, March 9, 1:15-2:15pm

Trend: Integrating Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Often educators ask students to focus on how they are similar to their peers — but what if we used cultural differences as a bridge for building more authentic student-teacher and peer relationships? Discover how to leverage student differences, design an environment that creates and fosters productive relationships outside of the classroom, and walk away with a plethora of teacher hacks. Learn from three school counselors who also teach in different states and build asynchronous relationships with their students at Global Online Academy.

Priya Singhvi, Greenhill School (TX); Leilani Ahina, Punahou School and Global Online Academy (HI); Lauren Gehman, Metairie Park Country Day School and Global Online Academy (LA)

For more, see:

Global Online Academy (GOA) reimagines learning to empower students and teachers to thrive in a globally networked society. Professional learning opportunities are open to any educator. To sign up or to learn more, see our Professional Learning Opportunities for Educators or email with the subject title “Professional Learning.” Follow us on Twitter @GOALearning. To stay up to date on GOA learning opportunities, sign up for our newsletter here.

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