Hosted March 30-31, 2017 | The Mayflower Hotel
1127 Connecticut Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Agenda for 2017:
Thursday, March 30, 2017
5:00 p.m.—6:30 p.m.
2nd Floor Session Rooms—The Mayflower Hotel
Join other school district leaders who share your area of interest and expertise for a deep conversation on some of the most important topics in K-12 leadership. These sessions will feature a former Leader To Learn From honoree who is an expert on the featured topic, and be joined by an Education Week journalist who will lead an energetic and highly interactive discussion with the whole group. Besides taking home some new ideas and strategies, you will forge new connections with other district leaders that you can tap throughout the next two days and for years to come.
“Making Your District a Learning System to Improve Student Achievement” Supt. Wendy Robinson, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Fort Wayne, Ind. New Hampshire Room
“Growing Teacher Leaders: Harnessing the Powerful and Pivotal Potential of Evaluation” Renee Pryor, Supervisor of Evaluation Programs and Professional Development, Lincoln County School District, Tenn. New Jersey Room
“3Rs of Modern K-12 Education—Redefine, Redesign and Re-imagine” Supt. Gail Pletnick, Dysart Unified School District, Surprise, Ariz. Virginia Room
Making Your District a Learning System to Improve Student Achievement Superintendent Wendy Robinson, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Fort Wayne, Ind. Education Week Leaders to Learn From 2016
To make professional learning for all educators possible across an entire school district–more aptly called “becoming a learning system”–district leaders must make sure there are robust systems and supports woven into the way they operate every day. Learn how Fort Wayne Community Schools, the largest school district in Indiana, has established structures under the leadership of Superintendent Wendy Robinson to ensure that its educators gain skills while on the job to improve instruction in the classroom.Fort Wayne’s system is designed for continuous improvement and adjustment as the needs of students change, with the ultimate goal of changing practice in the classroom.In this session, you will have the opportunity to engage with Dr. Robinson on how your district can become a learning system. Dr. Robinson will lead attendees in an interactive discussion that examines:
•The systems your district already has in place to lead to becoming a learning system;
•How you can modify what your district is already doing to strengthen your learning systems;
•What your district does that other districts can learn from or adopt.
At the end of the session, you should walk away understanding that what it takes to become a learning system is not revolutionary but rather, a structured way of looking at and implementing what you already do.
Superintendent Wendy Y. Robinson
Fort Wayne Community Schools, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Robinson is the superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools, Indiana’s largest school system with close to 30,000 students. She is a tireless advocate for public education. In her four decades in K-12 public education, she has developed close working relationships with some of the most prestigious educational organizations in the country. Robinson was honored as a Leader to Learn From by Education Week in 2016, is a member of the Redesign PD Partnership and was in the inaugural class of Broad Center Fellows. She was the recipient of the 2009 Joseph E. Hill Superintendent of the Year Award from the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) and has been awarded numerous other state and local awards. She has presented at state and national conferences on a variety of topics from the importance of working closely with school boards to sharing Fort Wayne’s success story.
Robinson is also an active member of the community, forming partnerships with state and local agencies and businesses and serving on several state and local boards, including Greater Fort Wayne Inc. and Parkview Hospital. She was named Superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools in 2003 after serving as a teacher, principal and central office administrator. Fort Wayne Community Schools is an urban district with 50 schools, nearly 70 percent of students qualify for free and reduced-price meals, and nearly 80 languages are spoken by a diverse student body.
Growing Teacher Leaders: Harnessing the Powerful and Pivotal Potential of Evaluation Renee Pryor, Supervisor of Evaluation Programs and Professional Development
Lincoln County School District, Tenn. Education Week Leaders To Learn From 2016
No one program, strategy, or pedagogy can create change that leads to academic success for schools and districts. School systems spend thousands of dollars on technology, online programs, and instructional training and professional development. And yet, they continue to be disappointed by the results.Led by Renee Pryor, supportive and meaningful teacher evaluation, along with strategies for teacher leadership and professional development, have brought about improved teaching and learning in Lincoln County. Pryor understands that teachers learn best from teachers and uses her influence as a district supervisor to strengthen the role of teachers as professional-development leaders in her district and across the state of Tennessee.In a conversation with Renee Pryor and other district leaders, you will learn practical tips and strategies about:
• Evaluation practices and meaningful feedback which supports teacher growth in pivotal school roles
• Importance of building your own professional learning for teachers based on state mandates and district needs
• Identifying best practice through evaluation and elevating teachers to deliver professional development in the district
• Developing teachers as leaders
Join Renee Pryor to glean lessons learned in a small, rural school district about the power of elevating teacher leaders to develop, design, and deliver effective professional development relevant to specific needs of all students and teachers.
Supervisor of Evaluation Programs and Professional Development, Lincoln County School District, Tenn.
Pryor is a career educator who has served as a classroom teacher, an elementary school reading interventionist/ coach, and a vice principal. In her current role, she is responsible for the evaluation and professional learning of more than 300 teachers in all disciplines. Pryor has created both an evaluation support system and a professional learning network that has allowed her current system to see three of its 7 tested schools honored as Reward Schools in 2015-2016. Selected as one of the first evaluation specialists employed under Tennessee’s Race to the Top grant, Pryor envisioned and created a culture of respect and empowerment for her teachers in an era plagued by distrust. Through her work with the Teacher Incentive Fund and a strategically planned and implemented program of empowering teachers, she began to be asked to share her vision statewide.
Pryor has been a presenter for the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents, serves in the Tennessee Teacher Leadership Collaborative for SCORE (State Collaborative on Reforming Education), serves as a coach for the Tennessee Department of Education’s Teacher Leader Cohort, and serves on the Tennessee Department of Education steering committee for Alternate Portfolio Assessment in non-tested grades and subjects. She was selected as a member of Education Week’s 2016 class of Leaders To Learn From.
3Rs of Modern K-12 Education—
Redefine, Redesign and Re-imagine Superintendent Gail Pletnick, Dysart Unified School District, Surprise, Ariz. Education Week Leaders to Learn From 2014
In one of Arizona’s fastest-growing school districts, Superintendent Gail Pletnick has led a personalized learning transformation that, in spite of limited resources, has engaged students and educators in new ways and improved overall achievement. Come to this session to engage with Superintendent Pletnick and other district leaders on how schools can make changes to meet the needs of a generation of learners who must succeed in the innovation age.Attendees should come prepared to discuss the challenges and opportunities schools face as embrace and adopt personalized education. Our conversation will include:
• Efficient and effective use of technology
• Student engagement and voice in the educational process
• Teachers as facilitators and mentors
• Integrated learning experiences, including makerspaces, genius hour, project-based learning, and online instructional strategies
• 24/7 access to learning
• What career and college knowledge, skills and dispositions are critical
• Transforming the learning environment beyond the walls of the classroom and the defined school day schedule
• Competency based curriculum to support mastery learning
The goal of this session will be for participants to take away new learnings from shared discussions and identify possible action steps to redefine, redesign, and re-imagine education in your schools.
Superintendent, Dysart Unified School District, Surprise, Ariz.
Pletnick has served as superintendent of Dysart Unified, a suburban Phoenix district, since 2007. Pletnick was recently elected as President of American Association of School Administrators (AASA) for 2017-18 and serves as Vice Chair of the EdLeader21 PLC Advisory Committee. She was named as 2016 Arizona Superintendent of the Year and is a member of Education Week’s 2014 class of Leaders to Learn From.
Prior to assuming her current position, Pletnick was an assistant superintendent in Dysart, director of school accountability and analysis for the Deer Valley Unified School District in Phoenix, and a principal in districts in Arizona and Pennsylvania. She has also served as a teacher in the classroom. Under Pletnick’s leadership, the Dysart Unified has earned recognition at the state and national levels, including being named as a model district by the Alliance for Excellent Education and being accepted into the League of Innovative Schools. The district has earned an A in the Arizona’s state accountability system.
Pletnick has been a presenter at national conferences including NSBA, AASA, Learning Forward, as well as presenting at a variety of state level conferences. She was selected to attend both the White House ConnectED Future Convening and Coding For All Convening. She is active in the Future Ready Schools initiative and is a member of the AASA Personalized Learning Cohort and the Digital Consortium, Pletnick serves on a variety of educational and community advisory boards and is a member of a number of leadership organizations.
Welcome Reception—Open to all attendees
Enjoy cocktails, light fare, and interactive activities with other K-12 leaders and our Leaders To Learn From alumni.
Friday, March 31, 2017
Grand Ballroom Lobby Level
7:30 a.m.—8:30 a.m. — Registration opens
Networking Breakfast in the Hall of Leaders
Time to register for today’s event and reconnect with your old friends, and come ready to make new ones.
8:30 a.m.—10:20 a.m.
2017 Leader Recognition
10:20 a.m.—10:35 a.m.
2nd Floor Session Rooms
10:35 a.m.—11:00 a.m.
Follow the Leaders
Join the 2017 Leaders in breakout rooms on the second floor of The Mayflower Hotel. They will lead concurrent sessions on the topic for which they are being recognized and discuss with you the pressing issues that affect the work you do.
Beginning 11:30 a.m., join a new set of 2017 Leaders who will lead concurrent sessions on the topic for which they are being recognized and discuss with you the pressing issues that affect the work you do.
2016 Leaders Steve Webb and Tom Hagley addressing the crowd.
11:55 a.m.—1:00 p.m.
Grand Ballroom Lobby Level
1:00 p.m.—1:10 p.m.
• Renaissance Learning
• Waterford Institute
1:10 p.m.—1:30 p.m.
Your chance to hear from this year’s EdTalk Leaders. We’ll examine more deeply the issues that matter to your districts later in your day.
1:30 p.m.—2:30 p.m.
GRIT: New Frontiers in the Research on Developing Passion & Perseverance
With Angela Duckworth, professor of psychology, University of Pennsylvania; founder and scientific director of the Character Lab; and author, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”
Who succeeds in school and in life? In this presentation, Angela Duckworth reviews her research on grit, the tendency to pursue long-term goals with perseverance and passion. She describes the predictive power of grit for performance in the National Spelling Bee, graduation from West Point, graduation from the Chicago Public Schools, and a variety of other contexts. She explains what makes gritty individuals different from others, and finally, she summarizes her thinking on how to cultivate grit.
Joining Duckworth in Conversation will be Elizabeth Rich, Commentary Editor, Education Week.
2:25 p.m.—3:30 p.m.
LEADING with FOCUS: How Leaders Can Accomplish More by Doing Less
With Mike Schmoker, Author, Leading With Focus
In this presentation, leaders will learn precisely where schools should focus their precious time and resources to ensure that all students are prepared for the demands of college, careers, and citizenship. They will learn about the three most essential elements of good schooling, and how to implement them on a clear, straightforward model. The three elements are:
Despite their unrivaled power for improving performance in any school, these elements continue to be misunderstood—and grossly under-implemented. For this reason, they should be our first and highest priority.
3:30 p.m.—4:00 pm.
Wine and Cheese Networking Break
4:00 p.m.—5:30 p.m.
Your chance to get up close and personal with this year’s EdTalks Leaders who you heard from at lunch. Examine more deeply issues that matter to your districts.
4:00-4:30 p.m. “Improving School Ecosystems for Underserved Students” Christopher Chatmon, Deputy Chief of Equity, Oakland Unified School District, Oakland, Calif.
4:30-5:00 p.m. “Vision 2020: My Tomorrow” Superintendent Mary Ronan, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati, Ohio
5:00-5:30 p.m. “Community Schools Cultivate Hope, Opportunity and Agency” Superintendent Steve Webb and Chief of Staff Tom Hagley
Vancouver Public Schools, Vancouver, Wash.
Vision 2020: My Tomorrow Superintendent Mary Ronan, Cincinnati Public Schools Education Week Leaders to Learn From 2013
Vision 2020: My Tomorrow is a new, comprehensive school improvement plan that Superintendent Mary Ronan is spearheading to expand equity, access, and opportunity for all students to attend great schools. The plan builds upon Cincinnati public school’s groundbreaking “My Tomorrow” initiative to prepare students with the real-world knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the workforce. At the same time, Ronan’s plan outlines new improvement strategies, including specialization in arts and culture, student enterprise, gifted, high technology, and environmental issues, in to the district’s neighborhood schools.In a conversation with Superintendent Ronan and other district leaders, you will learn practical tips and strategies around how to:
• Build meaningful partnerships within schools and with your community
• Develop a continuum of services for students with disabilities
• Support gifted learners throughout your district
• Build effective pre-K services throughout the community and find the resources for early-childhood education
• Serve students with options that include single-gender education and dual-language opportunities
• Grow your curriculum beyond core subjects to include dynamic arts and culture offerings and compelling STEM, and more.
Join Superintendent Ronan in an exploration of how her district’s neighborhood schools improvement plan is evolving and what your schools can do to meet—and exceed—the expectations you and your parents have for the students you serve.
Superintendent, Cincinnati Public Schools, Ohio
Ronan has devoted more than three decades of service to Cincinnati public schools. A former mathematics and science teacher, she has a diverse background in administration in neighborhood and magnet school settings at both the elementary and high school levels. While principal of Kilgour Elementary School, the U.S. Department of Education awarded the school as a National Blue Ribbon School. After serving as assistant superintendent and director of schools for the district, she was appointed superintendent by the Cincinnati Board of Education in April 2009. In 2013, Education Week selected her for the inaugural class of Leaders to Learn From.
Under her leadership, the district’s lowest-performing elementary schools have made significant academic gains, and the Cincinnati school system became Ohio’s first and only urban school district to earn an “effective” rating on the Ohio Report Card for school years 2009-10 and 2010-11. Ronan’s priorities include enhancing collaboration and transparency while accelerating academic achievement. She introduced new strategies designed to increase student performance, including the “Elementary Initiative: Ready for High School,” which provides intensive supports at the district’s 16 lowest-performing elementary schools. At the high school level, Ronan focuses on increasing the academic rigor of course offerings and expanding college access. She also serves on numerous boards of civic, cultural, educational, and social service organizations.
Community Schools Cultivate Hope, Opportunity and Agency Superintendent Steve Webb and Chief of Staff Tom Hagley, Vancouver, Wash., Public Schools Education Week Leaders to Learn From 2016
Community schools are a strategy to unite and mobilize families, schools, and communities in educating the next generation. By leveraging an array of expertise and services, community schools can reduce barriers to learning, improve student outcomes, and build strong school and neighborhood assets. Led by Superintendent Steve Webb and Chief of Staff Tom Hagley, the Family-Community Resource Centers in 18 school sites in the Vancouver Public Schools in Washington state provide basic-needs support, parent and family engagement activities, early-childhood education and out-of-school-time programs. A mobile Family-Community Resource Center serves other sites year-round. The whole-child focus of the Family-Community Resource Centers has helped lift Vancouver’s on-time graduation rate and close achievement gaps. Through presentations and site visits, Webb and Hagley have assisted other public school systems in the local area and throughout the Pacific Northwest in designing a community schools approach and establishing their own centers.This interactive session, moderated by an Education Week staff writer, is designed to help you:
• Discover system- and ground-level strategies to identify, leverage, and retool assets into a community schools initiative;
• Apply a community schools framework that addresses key performance indicators, such as attendance, discipline, and on-time graduation, while cultivating hope, opportunity, and agency; and
• Enlist and engage families, community partners and supporters to help your schools reduce barriers to learning, improve student outcomes, and prepare future-ready graduates.
Learn how enterprising leadership at Vancouver Public Schools is creating a dynamic network of community schools lauded by the National School Boards Association as a multi-year Magna Award recipient and featured in an Economic Policy Institute “Broader, Bolder Approach” case study. Return to your district with on-the-ground and system-level methods to identify, leverage and retool assets into a community schools movement.
Superintendent, Vancouver Public Schools, Wash
Webb became superintendent of Vancouver Public Schools in July 2008. He joined the district as deputy superintendent in 2006. Webb has a distinguished 32-year career in public education, serving in Washington and California as a superintendent, deputy superintendent, assistant superintendent for secondary learning and technology, principal and assistant principal, high school teacher and coach. He is the 2016-17 president-elect of the Washington Association of School Administrators.
Webb was named the 2016 Washington State Superintendent of the Year and was one of four finalists for the National Superintendent of the Year. Also in 2016, Webb was named a Leader to Learn From by Education Week, and he received the Community Schools Superintendent Leadership Award from the Coalition for Community Schools, the Institute for Educational Leadership and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). In addition, the Education Research and Development Institute presented Webb with the 2016 Mike Kneale Educational Excellence in Leadership Award. In 2015, Webb was selected for the Horace Mann League Ambassador Award and was named a Future Ready Leader by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2014, he was one of eight public school leaders in the nation selected by eSchool News as a Tech-Savvy Superintendent. In 2011, he was honored, along with his colleague, Tom Hagley, with the Leadership Through Communication Award given by AASA, the National School Public Relations Association and Blackboard Connect. Webb also received the 2011 Robert J. Handy Most Effective Administrator Award from the Washington Association of School Administrators.
Chief of Staff, Vancouver Public Schools, Wash.
Hagley Jr., joined Vancouver Public Schools in August 1992. He advanced through several central administrative positions to his current assignment, which focuses on internal and external communications, community and government relations, issues management, organizational culture, strategic plan development and implementation, and partnerships, including a liaison role with the district’s non-profit foundation. For six years, he also led an initiative to establish Family-Community Resource Centers in schools serving neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty and mobility.
In 2016, Hagley received the Robert J. Handy Most Effective Administrator Award from the Washington Association of School Administrators, and he was named an Education Week Leader to Learn From. The Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce selected him for the 2014 Community Champion Leadership Award. In 2011, he was a co-recipient, along with Steve Webb, of the Leadership Through Communication Award given by the American Association of School Administrators, the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) and Blackboard Connect for demonstrating exemplary leadership in the enhancement of communication within the Vancouver school system and the community it serves.
He was a Vancouver Business Journal “Top 40 Under 40” honoree in 2003. And, he received the 1996 Gen. George C. Marshall Public Leadership Award, a special recognition presented annually to a young adult in the greater Vancouver area for community service, education, vision, leadership and professional excellence. Throughout his 24-year career, Hagley has received numerous awards from NSPRA, including the prestigious Gold Medallion, for outstanding school communication products and programs.
Improving School Ecosystems for Underserved Students Christopher Chatmon, Deputy Chief of Equity, Oakland Unified School District Education Week Leaders to Learn From 2015
Every district must learn to differentiate supports and resources to ensure that all students have what they need to reach their full academic potential. As the founding executive director of the Office of African American Male Achievement in the Oakland, Calif., district, Chatmon has worked to identify and interrupt patterns of institutional bias. His team developed concrete academic and socio-emotional support strategies to help African American boys – and have seen promising results. Now, as the district’s deputy chief of equity, Chatmon is applying those same principles to identifying institutional barriers to success for other students in the district and crafting strategies to address adult behaviors that perpetuate inequity. His pioneering work on supports for African American male students has made Oakland a model for other districts and made Chatmon a sought-after expert.
In a conversation with Chatmon and other district leaders, you will learn practical tips and strategies around how to:
• Identify specific student groups whose needs are not being met;
• Work closely with principals and teachers to change adult behavior and provide conditions in which students who have historically struggled can thrive;
• Change system policies and practices that are barriers to students’ success—school discipline and access to culturally relevant pedagogy are two key areas;
• Engage parents to become involved in their children’s education and empower them to be advocates;
• Work with students through teachers and mentors to cultivate deep relationships and trust;
• Provide students with leadership and advocacy opportunities to build agency.
At the end of the session, you should walk away understanding that what it takes to become a learning system is not revolutionary but rather, a structured way of looking at and implementing what you already do.
Join Chatmon in an exploration of how his district is changing the narrative around African-American male students and empowering them to succeed in school and beyond. Learn how those lessons can be applied to serve your district’s most vulnerable students.
Deputy Chief of Equity, Oakland Unified School District, Oakland, Calif.
Christopher Chatmon joined Oakland Unified in 2010 to help launch the district’s African American Male Achievement initiative with former Superintendent Tony Smith. The program’s approach of focusing resources and policy efforts on its most at-risk student population inspired work in school systems around the country, especially after President Barack Obama launched his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which focuses on the needs of boys of color.
Chatmon has more than 20 years of experience working with youths and community organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. He started his career as a physical education teacher. After he completed his master’s degree at Brown University, he taught “history and herstory” at a San Francisco high school. Chatmon then worked for more than a decade with the YMCA in administration, launching after-school programs in 30 schools, and leading an alternative high school in Oakland.
Chatmon has been a participant in discussions hosted by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, and he is a frequent speaker at youth and education conferences.
7:15 a.m.–8:00 a.m. Networking Breakfast Join for breakfast with leaders who work in the fields of most interest to you. There’ll be tables for parent engagement, school climate, ed tech, and more!
8:00 a.m.–8:25 a.m. Welcome, Introductions, and Recognition Presentation Recognition of the work of 8 of the 15—2015 Leaders To Learn From selected by Education Week.
8:25 a.m.–8:40 a.m. Breakouts—Meet the Leaders First 8 Leaders will go to their subject matter tables located throughout the room to discuss with attendees their “Focus of Strength” and to answer any questions attendees have. (Attendees will be encouraged to find their table of interest based on the map of the room provided in the program).
8:40 a.m.–9:10 a.m. Recognition Presentation Concludes Recognition of the work of our final 7 Leaders To Learn From.
9:10 a.m.–9:35 a.m Breakouts—Meet the Leaders Second group of Leaders will go to their subject matter tables located throughout the room to discuss with attendees their “Focus of Strength” and to answer any questions attendees have.
9:35 a.m.–10:05 a.m. District Leader Snapshots (A selection of 2015 Leaders will come to the stage with their reporters and discuss their “Focus of Strength.”)
10:05 a.m.–10:30 a.m. Midmorning Networking Break
10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m. “Three Keys for Maximizing Leadership Impact” Michael Fullan, education leadership author and expert, and former minister of education, Canada (2003–2013).
11:30 a.m.–12:00 a.m. District Leader Snapshots (A selection of 2015 Leaders will come to the stage with their reporters and discuss their “Focus of Strength”).
12:00 a.m.– 12:30 p.m. “Ask the ED” Join in a Department of Education Lightning Round featuring Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education Deborah S. Delisle other Department of Education leadership who will take your questions.
Moderated by Virginia B. Edwards, Editor-in-Chief, Education Week
12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m. Networking Luncheon Uninterrupted time to mingle with those you’ve met at your tables and at the various tables set up throughout the room during our break-outs.