If the group of presenters lined up for the Martin Institute Summer Conference (June 12-13) were a March Madness team, the opposing players would take one look, give up, and run screaming back to the locker room. In the common tongue, this team is ridiculous. And they are going to do what great educators do best; model great learning. Sit-and-get is busted. Not only do we get to learn from the best, we will learn with the best. And that is a HUGE leap forward relative to most conferences you can attend. Another huge leap forward: the best of both public and private schools sharing in one place. Great learning is not about the label on the school…it’s about great learning,
Full disclosure: I have no interest in the success of the Martin Summer Conference other than I love to see great learning take place. Jamie Baker, Executive Director of The Martin asked me to help put this year’s program together, to reach out to some of the extraordinary educators I met on my EdJourney last fall, and invite them to share what it is that makes them extraordinary. It was a long list, which we whittled and pared, knowing that we could not possibly accommodate all of the folks we wanted to invite. We extended the invitations; the few who had conflicts all asked to be invited in 2014. The rest said yes!
All of the workshop sessions will be active learning, two-hour blocks of time. We asked the presenters to develop their extraordinary range of subjects around two basic goals: participants should leave with a new level of understanding about how learning can be truly transformative, and with a set of pragmatic ideas and skills they can incorporate the next day in their classrooms and offices.
I know some of the presenters personally, so will mention them here. Others I have not met yet, superstars like keynoter Will Richardson, CEO of Envision Schools Bob Lenz, and author/educator Gabriel Rshaid. I guarantee I will be sitting in on their sessions!
Pam Moran, Superintendent of Albermarle County Schools in Virginia will both keynote and give a two-hour session. She is proving that a large public school CAN find that sweet spot between standards based instruction and 21st Century learning. Also from Albermarle, John Hunter, creator of the World Peace Game and one of the truly iconic teachers of our generation, will talk about leading students with confidence into a future that is unknown. A team from Presbyterian Day School will give their first major public roll out of a differentiated learning program that promises to change how classrooms operate at the most foundational level. Master teacher Jill Gough from Atlanta will reprise her popular workshop on The Art of Questioning. Jim Foley from New York weaves leadership skills into every facet of curriculum. Damian Jones from Chicago will team with Shelley Paul from Atlanta to lead a session on learning from community resources, wherever they can be found. Bob Dillon from St. Louis can help turn any classroom leader into an expeditionary learner. Mary Cantwell uses the latest lessons of design thinking to develop teachers and students as co-creators of their learning environment.
More? Jeff Buck from the Denver Green School shares how his teaching team maximizes feedback for both assessment and curriculum development in a busy daily schedule. Greg Bamford leads a design thinking session that sorts out new views of student assessment. Eric Juli from Cleveland, one of the most courageous leaders I met on my travels, drills down to that foundational level of taking students from “doing” to “learning”. Bill Wolf-Tinsman and Dani Goldberg from Denver prove that even middle school students can own their learning. Don Wettrick from Indianapolis shares how his Innovations class is connecting with learners, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders all around the globe. And Bo Adams, one of the countries top thought leaders, rolls out his Pedagogical Master Plan, a game-changing tool for schools and school leaders.
Registration is open. Last year this conference drew about 500 educators; now it is expanding to a real national footprint. This is how you embrace transformative learning without packing up your Prius and searching it out on your own.