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2016 Annual Educators Conference 

Session II (10:15-10:45 a.m.) - Change Sessions

Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Target Audience Key 
L - Lower SchoolM - Middle School
U - Upper SchoolE - Early Childhood
G - GeneralA - Administrators

Build It & They Will Come: Makerspace Movement from Dream to Reality (G, A)

Presenters: Denise Colpitts, Chris Cox, and Janet Vande Berg, Ravenscroft School

Target Audience: General, Administrators

Session Description: We all have great ideas about which we are passionate. How do we bring these ideas to fruition? Join Middle School leaders and innovators at Ravenscroft School as we share how we did just this with a makerspace. Hear the story of how our passion and vision started small and grew into a 21st century design lab and makerspace that engages students and faculty in inquiry-based, design thinking including, but not limited to, STEM.

Location: 4


Developing Young Children's Sensitivity to Design (E, L)

Presenters: Bebe Krewson and Jodi Turner, Summit School

Target Audience: Early Childhood, Lower School

Session Description: Having an awareness of the designed dimension of one's world and the propensity to notice and think critically about the parts and purposes of objects and ideas comes from engaging with designed objects. In this session, participants will discover ways to develop this mindset in students - including tinkering, making, experimentation, discovery and design math projects. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in a mini-tinkering design lesson. In addition to articles, websites and other resources, presenters will bring examples of student design projects that represent transformational design thinking. 

Location: 10

Eat-Play-Love (G)

Presenters: Ken Field, Kyle Gilmer, Gillian Goodman, and Karen Radecki, Greensboro Day School

Target Audience: General

Session Description: What began as a weight loss and nutrition initiative at Greensboro Day School evolved into a six week relationship-building, community-supporting, lifestyle-changing event. To participate, faculty had to bring a can of food each week to support Greensboro Urban Ministry. Three days a week, the teachers offered training sessions for anyone who wanted to come, free of charge. They also provided motivational communication, workouts for home and reviews of eating patterns to help make suggested adjustments. They made everything accessible to anyone who wanted to participate. The end result? We lost over 300 pounds in six weeks. More importantly, we know more about healthy living, and it is finding its way into our classrooms!

Location: 7 A



Finding Time for STEAM (G, M, U)

Presenters: Karl Schaefer, Durham Academy

Target Audience: General, Middle and Upper School

Session Description: Making, Makerspaces, and Design Thinking are powerful new instructional methods and concepts that many schools are adopting or trying to adopt. This session will focus on how a Middle School teacher started a STEAM by Design class in a schedule that did not have any room. Come to this session to find a place to add a STEAM by Design seminar in your school.

Location: 6



Lead From Here with Diversity and Inclusion: Preparing Students for an Interdependent World (G)

Presenters: Cori-Greer Banks, Wes Brown, Alphana Hobbs, Karrah Lewis, David Myers, and Susan Perry, Ravenscroft School

Target Audience: General

Session Description: At Ravenscroft, transforming our educational community happens through Lead from Here (LFH). Our Pre-K - 12 leadership development curriculum co-created with the Center for Creative Leadership develops citizen leaders and a culture of citizen leadership. One way we embody our commitment to diversity and inclusion is through our LFH advisory program. We seek to understand and appreciate differences and how to navigate the complexities of bias and effective communication. Attend, learn, and share with us!

Location: 3



Leadership & Culture: How can I have a positive impact on culture? (G)

Presenters: Doreen Kelly, Ravenscroft School

Target Audience: General

Session Description: Peter Drucker allegedly said, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." What does that mean for leaders and teacher/leaders in independent schools today? This session is an opportunity to explore ways to help shape your school culture with a practical exchange of ideas to help make positive meaning in independent schools. Participants will consider at least five things they can do to help shape culture.

Location: 5


Learning to Breathe: Mindfulness for Teachers and Students (G)

Presenters: Kristin Bennett, Summit School

Target Audience: General

Session Description: Studies have demonstrated the power of mindfulness training in schools to improve executive functioning, reducing stress, anxiety and aggression. Practicing mindfulness - committing fully in each moment to be present; with the intention to embody calmness and equanimity- offers a way to cultivate that awareness. Session participants will engage in several mindfulness practices, learn about the neuroscience behind brain downtime and take away easy-to-implement strategies.

Location: 7 B

Mind Over Yoga (E, L)

Presenters: Susan Boyer and Elizabeth Gibbs, Cape Fear Academy

Target Audience: Early Childhood, Lower School

Session Description: There's lots of buzz about the positive benefits of practicing mindfulness and yoga with children. This session highlights our experience in bringing yoga to our three to eight year old students at Cape Fear Academy through weekly guidance sessions.

Location: 15


A Passion for Words (L, M)

Presenters: Kate Hughey, Charlotte Latin School

Target Audience: Lower and Middle School

Session Description: Tired of the drudgery of vocabulary workbook pages and 'memorize-twelve-words-take-a-test-on-Friday'? Come learn how to create a vocabulary study using words from your class novels that incorporates pen-and-paper learning, technology, whiteboards, partner work, and physical movement. Your students will gain a deep understanding of the target words, show an increased passion for learning new words, and even months later, will display tremendous excitement upon finding the words in other contexts.

Location: 16

Primary science research for high school students: How is this possible and what value does it have? (G, U, A)

Presenters: Donna Campbell-Patrick and Tom Collins, Charlotte Country Day School

Target Audience: General, Administrators

Session Description: Is it possible to provide primary science research experiences to high school students and why should this be a focus for a school science department? This session describes programs that can be offered, what the logistics and stumbling blocks are to getting them off the ground and what the students get out of it. The programs described include arranging placements at university labs as well as starting a research program on the school campus.

Location: 13


The Purpose Driven Life (G, A)

Presenters: Bryan Brander, The Hill Center; Lee Hark, Durham Academy

Target Audience: General, Administrators

Session Description: Administrators and academic leaders lead increasingly complex schools with new challenges and demands. As a result, and through no fault of their own, many school leaders often approach their daily work without a clear sense of purpose or direction. This session will provide participants with a framework to create and articulate a values-based leadership vision. All attendees will leave with tangible next steps to deliver within their schools and a renewed sense of self.

Location: 8 A

Ravens in Action (M, U)

Presenters: Sarah Baker and Tim Phillips, Ravenscroft School

Target Audience: Middle and Upper School

Session Description: Ravens in Action (RIA) is the 8th grade capstone experience at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh. The project has transformed over the last fifteen years from a purely research-based project to become an invaluable service learning opportunity for students. RIA challenges students to uncover their passions, find a need within the local community, and go out and serve before presenting in a forum at the end of the year. Our ultimate goal is that our students leave 8th grade with the motivation to continue their service in upper school and beyond.

Location: 9


Standards-Based Grading in the World Language Classroom (U)

Presenters: Wendy Burgbacher, Cary Academy

Target Audience: Upper School

Session Description: Do your grades accurately reflect the true skill level of your students? Skills-based grading breakdowns bring a transparency to the practice of assessment, helping both students and parents see exactly what students can do and where they need to go next. Standards-Based Grading is based upon the philosophy that a student's grade should reflect proficiency/skill level only, with no grade buffers such as extra credit, effort-based grades, or scaling. In this session a SBG example grading system will be explored so that teachers can develop their own skills-based practice. See how evolving grading practices can support vertical AP preparation and help students move more deliberately from one ACTFL Proficiency level to the next.

Location: 14

Work Experience and Experiential Education at Cary Academy (U, A)

Presenters: J. Michael McElreath, Cary Academy

Target Audience: Upper School, Administrators

Session Description: Cary Academy embraces authentic engagement and experiential education as parts of its current strategic plan. The school envisions the creation of substantial internship opportunities for students in the next few years, but the creation of brief mentored work experiences this past year was an initial step in that direction. In this session, Dr. McElreath shares both the challenges and the successes of this foray, which involved placing 22 rising seniors in 2-week, unpaid positions at a range of businesses, government agencies, and non-profits.

Location: 8 B

Speed Sessions

You will get to choose two topics and attend two 15-minute sessions in a fast pace, small group setting.

Location: Ballroom A/B

Backing Passion with Data (M, U)

Presenters: Jaiwant Mulik, The O'Neal School

Target Audience: Middle School, Upper School

Speed Session Description: In the current political atmosphere of presidential elections and accompanying passionate debates many students are surprised when told the methodology used to compute unemployment rates, a perennial topic in election debates. This session with present our experience teaching students how to craft their own definition of unemployment and then use the DataFerrett tool from the US Census Bureau to access census data and compute meaningful and localized unemployment rates.

Blazing Trails with Charger Trails (M)

Presenters: Marti Jenkins and Kelly Wiebe, Cary Academy

Target Audience: Middle School

Speed Session Description: Programming that is relevant to a school's unique culture is ultimately more successful in addressing the social and emotional well-being of its students. This presentation will look at a dynamic faculty-created program that enriches and completes the education of middle school students. By walking participants through the planning and implementation process, attendees will return to their schools with tangible ways to create or enhance an educational model that supports the developmental needs of their students.

Brain Targeted Teaching: A Passionate Partnership! (M, U)

Presenters: Jennifer Mann, Providence Day School; Darcie TeVault, Forsyth Country Day School

Target Audience: Middle and Upper School

Speed Session Description: The presenters and students in the Mind, Brain, and Teaching cohort at Johns Hopkins University have partnered to bring their passion for Brain Targeted Teaching to practice in their independent schools through a series of professional development sessions. This session will include the framework of Brain Targeted Teaching, a practical hands on text, and feedback from teachers at their schools who have applied this research to instruction.

Changing the World: Exploring Students' Desire to Make a Difference (G, M)

Presenters: Melissa Davenport, Michael Raskevtiz, and Leslie Williams, Cary Academy

Target Audience: General, Middle School

Speed Session Description: Want to motivate your students by creating real-world learning opportunities? Meet language arts and math teachers that integrated persuasive writing and statistics by having students brainstorm how they can make a difference in the world. Make language arts and math come alive for middle school students with this engaging, cross-curricular project.

Cultural Affinity Groups in the Middle School (M)

Presenters: Jeff Boyd, Tyrone Gould, and Cindy Moore, Durham Academy

Target Audience: Middle School

Speed Session Description: We are excited to share our experience initiating a series of racial/cultural affinity-groups for our seventh and eighth grade students at Durham Academy. Over the past eighteen months, we've established three separate faculty-sponsored affinity groups on our middle school campus (African-American, Jewish, and Asian-American). We plan to offer reflections, feedback, and advice for any practitioners interested in providing these resources for their students.

Dynamic Online Discussion (M, U)

Presenters: Kasey Short, Charlotte Country Day School

Target Audience: Middle and Upper School

Speed Session Description: This session will focus on designing online discussion forums that promote critical thinking, transform class discussions and engage students in sharing their ideas. It will include ideas that encourage student-to-student responses, reference the text, synthesize information and challenge their thinking about a topic. The session will provide practical ideas for implementation and strategies to help make online discussion forums successful.


Engage Your Community with a Smart Phone App

Presenters: Gulnaar Kaur and Patrick Rowe, Guidebook

Target Audience: General

Speed Session Description: 

Lots of people are talking about using a mobile app platform for schools, hoping to connect with their communities, whether faculty/staff, students, parents, or families, in a modern fashion. Is your school still emailing parents, hoping they will visit the school webpage, and sending home 'Monday folders' with students? Come learn about how to engage your community by connecting through smartphone apps and pop up notifications for events and announcements, without the need for your IT team!

How Flipped Learning Can Engage Students with Learning Disabilities (M)

Presenters: Erin Cawley, Noble Academy

Target Audience: Middle School

Speed Session Description: Flipped learning has been known as a viable tool used to benefit all learners in the classroom; no matter if the student struggles with a learning difference or not. This session will highlight some of the advantages of flipped learning for students who face challenges associated with learning disabilities and ADHD.  As well as expose the attendees to various methods for implementation of classroom content.

Lead from Here: Huck Finn and Character Education (G)

Presenters: Kevin Flinn, Ravenscroft School

Target Audience: General

Speed Session Description: Using the Lead From Here character education framework created by Ravenscroft School and the Center for Creative Leadership, this workshop details a resource essay for American Literature students that asks them to think about Huckleberry Finn and how he does (or doesn't) lead self, lead others, and change his world.


Sign Away! Bringing American Sign Language to Your Classroom (E, L)

Presenters: Tiana Walden, Greensboro Day School

Target Audience: Early Childhood, Lower School

Speed Session Description: Research shows that using ASL with hearing children improves visual discrimination, enhances early reading skills, and accelerates verbal communication. Find out ways to use American Sign Language (ASL) in your class! You will walk away with signs to use in your classroom immediately!


Teaching for Social Change (L, M, U)

Presenters: Kate Newman, Triangle Day School

Target Audience: Lower, Middle, and Upper  School

Speed Session Description: William Ayers argues that "teaching, at its best, is an enterprise that helps human beings reach the full measure of their humanity. It impels us toward further knowledge, enlightenment, human community and liberation." Independent school educators need to engage students, families and communities in conversations examining race, poverty and other social justice issues in order to prepare students to be active participants in a democratic society. Come explore how you can teach for social change and justice.

Using Data to Measure School Culture (G)

Presenters: Martha Baker and Carolyn Ronco, Durham Academy

Target Audience: General

Speed Session Description: We all seek to foster a culture of belonging and respect in our schools, but are we achieving this goal? Survey data from students can help determine whether or not our students are feeling safe and comfortable in their school environment. Gather to hear how our school uses student surveys to measure our school culture and bring about needed change.

Using Mentor Texts to Enhance Writing (L, M)

Presenters: Carolynn Klein, Duke School

Target Audience: Lower School, Middle School

Speed Session Description: Studying craft strategies utilized by authors is helpful when growing  young children into strong, confident writers. This speed session will highlight several mentor texts that can be used as read-alouds and to teach craft strategies that children can take and attempt in their own writing, such as narratives, informational, opinion, and realistic fiction.


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