Virtual School Meanderings

March 9, 2021

Announcing the 2021 Virtual Aurora Institute Symposium & Call for Proposals

And from the neo-liberals.

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Aurora Institute - A New Dawn for Every Learner | Stay Connected
March 8, 2021

Aurora 2021 Will Be a Virtual Experience

Presentation Proposals Now Being Accepted through March 26, 2021
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The Aurora Institute Symposium 2021 will be a virtual experience, due to ongoing health and safety considerations around travel and large events. The annual call for presentations was launched today and will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on March 26, 2021.

The event, previously known as the iNACOL Symposium, is the field’s largest gathering of education innovators working in schools, districts, and statehouses to transform the future of teaching and learning and create personalized, competency-based education pathways and student-centered, next-generation learning. It will run October 25-28, 2021.

The convening is a chance to draw on the collective wisdom and expertise of field leaders from around the globe who are building knowledge and honing practices that will usher in the future of learning.

The demand for education systems change is growing, and exponentially so in the wake of massive school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to anywhere, anytime learning models. To that end, we seek proposals that offer lessons from the leading edge of education transformation. Education innovators are invited to submit proposals about ensuring high-quality, powerful personalized learning experiences that are equity-driven and student-centered. All proposals should be founded on the belief that all students can learn at high levels on personalized pathways based on demonstrated mastery rather than seat-time.

Visit our proposal submission page to learn more. You can also download all the questions in the submission form to review ahead of time.

Continue to watch the Aurora Institute Symposium 2021 website for future updates and announcements about the event’s format, program, speakers, pricing, and additional presentation opportunities. Direct questions about the Symposium to Aurora Institute Strategic Partnerships Director Natalie Slocum.

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November 6, 2020

Plugged In | 11.06.20 – Symposium Videos Available, Upcoming Webinars and More

And from the neo-liberals to end the week…

Web Version
Aurora Institute - Plugged In
2020 Symposium Keynote & Breakout Session Videos Available 
We’ve just experienced an incredible three days of intense learning, sharing, and networking at the first virtual Aurora Institute Symposium, which took place October 26-28, 2020. In the spirit of democratizing knowledge, we’re pleased to share all of the video content from the event. Follow these links to view:

The collective energy and the renewed sense of purpose toward systems change in K-12 education was rejuvenating. We hope we made you proud and equipped you with the resources to keep leading the future of teaching and learning.

It is time to rethink K-12 education in the context of an ecosystem for lifelong learning, driving equity, and thinking big on the challenges that await humanity. That’s what these three days have been about, and it was all grounded in real work happening around the country and around the globe.

We encourage you to watch and share your learnings with your colleagues. We also request your feedback to support our improvement. Please take our survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AuroraSymposium2020.

CompetencyWorks Releases Report on Professional Learning Strategies to Strengthen Local Assessment Systems for Proficiency-Based Education
Strengthening Local Assessment Systems for Personalized, Proficiency-Based Education: Strategies and Tools for Professional Learning
The Aurora Institute’s CompetencyWorks initiative released Strengthening Local Assessment Systems for Personalized, Proficiency-Based Education: Strategies and Tools for Professional Learning. The report is authored by Pat Fitzsimmons, the Proficiency-Based Learning Team Leader at the Vermont Agency of Education and a former public school teacher and science specialist.

The report describes a series of professional convenings in Vermont to support schools and districts seeking to create high-quality local comprehensive systems of assessments (LCAS). It can serve as a resource for schools, districts, and states that are working toward improving their own assessment systems. Readers will learn about formative, summative, and student-designed performance assessments as well as essential components of assessment systems and their rationales. The report also features tips for conducting the convenings remotely, as Vermont has continued offering them during COVID-19 school closures.

Download
We’re delighted to announce that the Association for Educational Communications & Technology  (AECT) has awarded Susan Patrick, Aurora Institute President and CEO, its 2020 Systems Change Leader Award. AECT bestows this award to acknowledge individuals or groups making significant contributions to the evolution of learning, demonstrating systems thinking and positive impacts that are aligned to 21st century needs. The award was conveyed yesterday in a virtual ceremony.
Events & Webinars
The “All Fall” Webinar Series Continues

The learning continues. Please join us for the remaining webinars in our “All Fall” Aurora Institute Symposium webinar series. Below are links to descriptions and information about how to register.

Register
Education Domain Blog
Layla Avila
Aurora Institute Mourns the Loss of Board Member Layla Avila

We are grieving. It is with profound sadness that we announce that Layla Avila, a member of our Board of Directors, has passed away. On behalf of our board and team, we extend our deepest sympathies to Layla’s family and friends and colleagues, and all who love her. The education world has lost a remarkable leader in Layla Avila, and we have lost a dear friend and colleague.

Read More
The Learner Promise: A Paradigm Shift Whose Time Has Come

Fewer than one in five American students follow a clear and uninterrupted path from high school through college to career. What’s more, no matter the path they take, they are shackled to a siloed, linear, and time-bound system that was designed more than 100 years ago to intentionally create the inequitable outcomes we observe today. We can do better.

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Grading Policies Need to Be Re-Examined to Support the Shift to Competency-Based Education

The second blog in our new blog series highlighting the recently released Education Policy Issues for the COVID-19 Era: Policy Actions and Responses to Leverage the Moment for Future Readiness focuses on moving away from seat time to credit flexibility.  With the transition to remote learning during COVID-19 school closures, it is time for states to seriously rethink how to redefine how students earn credits by demonstrating competencies.  Seat-time is a poor invalid proxy for learning.

Read More
Featured Resource
Educator Competencies for Personalized, Learner-Centered Environments

New Edition of Educator Competencies for Personalized,  Learner-Centered Environments Published

The second edition of Educator Competencies for Personalized, Learner-Centered Environments is now available. Published by KnowledgeWorks and CCSSO, the new competencies build on the previous edition with a vision for how teaching can evolve to meet the changing needs of learners and society. This framework highlights the teacher competencies that are most applicable to and essential for preparing students to succeed and thrive in an increasingly complex world. The framework also closely examines the skills and dispositions educators need to foster antiracist learning environments and close longstanding opportunity gaps.

Download

Plugged In Headlines: News About Education Transformation


Beyond reopening schools: How education can emerge stronger than before COVID-19
Emiliana Vegas and Rebecca Winthrop, The Brookings Institution

Pandemic opportunity: Rethink education accountability
Tom Vander Ark, Forbes 

How deeply will digital learning transform K-12 long term?
Roger Riddell, Education Dive 

OPINION: Why we need a new pedagogy for our post-Covid future
Eric S. Singer, The Hechinger Report

Waite: Will the positive changes schools make now last into the future? New Framework Helps Leaders Plan for Tomorrow
Chelsea Waite, The 74

Which states have the biggest home internet access gaps for students?
Mark Lieberman, Education Week

For students with disabilities, a return to schools means more learning and needed services — even if nothing’s normal yet
Kalyn Belsha, Chalkbeat

Finding your entry point to mastery learning
Chris Sturgis, Getting Smart

Aurora Institute in the News

The Mastery vs. Seat-Time Debate Takes Center Stage Under Remote Learning – via Education Week
“History may prove the situation with COVID-19 as a watershed moment of true transformation for K-12 systems,” said Susan Patrick, president and CEO of the Aurora Institute, which helps schools develop and refine online and personalized learning programs. “The structures that traditional systems rely on are just not built to support all students’ needs at a personalized level.”

Will the pandemic make us better educators?– via MultiBriefs
For years, my staff have been working hard to get better at a student-centered, personalized learning model known as competency-based learning. In this model, according to the Aurora Institute’s latest 2019 definition, students are empowered daily to make important decisions about their learning experiences, how they will create and apply knowledge, and how they will demonstrate their learning.

Let’s Talk Competency-Based Education– via U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology
Efforts to expand the quality of CBE systems are continuously growing as a result of contributions from various organizations, state leaders, districts, and schools have invested in this education reform. Organizations like the Aurora Institute, Digital Promise, The Learning Accelerator, and more all have worked to advance and expand the CBE framework. For this blog, I sat down with Eliot Levine, an expert on competency-based education from the Aurora Institute. The Aurora Institute focuses on advancing policies, best practices, and research on quality learning through initiatives like CompetencyWorks.

Join Our Community
Our Center for Policy  leads the multi-stage evolution of policy necessary for the growth of effective student-centered learning models toward the goals of high-quality learning and equity. Our policy priorities are designed to ensure the nation’s education system is fit for purpose and help move states forward from their current state of education to future systems.
CompetencyWorks
CompetencyWorks is an online resource dedicated to K-12 competency-based education. Drawing on lessons learned by innovators, we share knowledge through a practice-focused blog, research reports on emerging issues, policy advocacy, and resources curated from across the field.
The Aurora Institute hosts a resource library containing more than 200 materials. Working collaboratively with diverse experts in the field, the Aurora Institute produces reports, books, policy briefs, blog posts, webinars, and related resources on key topics and tough issues that equip and empower educators and leaders to catalyze and scale personalized, next-generation learning models.
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Aurora Institute

The mission of Aurora Institute is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all.

This email was sent by: Aurora Institute
1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350, Vienna, VA, 22182-4040 United States

October 31, 2020

Thank You for Being Part of the 2020 Aurora Institute Virtual Symposium

Another neo-liberal item.

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About
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OCTOBER 26-28, 2020
2020 Virtual Symposium
A New Dawn for Every Learner
Take Our Survey
Thank You

It was just a few months ago that we knew with all certainty that we wouldn’t be able to host our annual Symposium in person. The Symposium is such a big part of our work at the Aurora Institute. W, we see how so many innovative educators are challenging the status quo and remaking education to be learner-centered, equity-driven, and it inspires us all to take our work to the next level. We know and deeply care about what the convening means for the field.

Because the ramifications of COVID-19, racial awakening, and economic justice on K-12 education were so great, many of you encouraged us to convert the Symposium to a virtual event. We heeded the call, with great trepidation because although we host many webinars and meetings, we’d not conducted a virtual event of this magnitude and scale before. We wanted to serve you with the same caliber of experience of symposia past.

We’ve just experienced an incredible three days of intense learning, sharing, and networking at the first virtual Aurora Institute Symposium. I’m blown away at the responses from the field, such as, “this was exactly what we needed right now” and “because this was virtual, my whole team was able to participate and learn together.” The collective energy and the renewed sense of purpose toward systems change in K-12 education was rejuvenating. We hope we made you proud and equipped you with the resources to keep leading the future of teaching and learning.

It is time to rethink K-12 education in the context of an ecosystem for lifelong learning, driving equity, and thinking big on the challenges that await humanity. That’s what these three days have been about, and it was all grounded in real work happening around the country and around the globe.

Our hope was to help unleash the power of the collective. We know that many of you have been working tirelessly in the classroom, in administrative offices, in policymaker circles, in community spaces, and at philanthropic tables to transform our one-size-fits-all system toward student-centered models that prepare every single child for success in the next stages of their life. You have a home here with us at the Symposium. We are your people, your tribe, and you can count on us to help make connections, amplify voices, and support your work.

The field is moving, but we have so much more to do.

Let me repeat the charge I gave you in the closing keynote. In these difficult times, it’s important to come together to rise up to find our allies and be the change the world needs and lead with light, love, and resilience on behalf of all learners. Thank you. Thank you for your collective commitments and contributions. Go forth and rise up.

We’re looking forward to a time when we can all reconnect again in person. Please save October 25-28, 2021, for the next Aurora Institute Symposium. We don’t know entirely what the future holds for in-person gatherings, but we certainly remain committed to being the space needed for learning, recharging, strategizing, and growing.

Sincerely,

President and CEO,

Aurora Institute

Resources
Day 3 Agenda
A Promise for Equitable Futures: Enabling Systems Change to Scale Educational and Economic Mobility Pathways
Download
Zoom Links
Strengthening Local Assessment Systems for Personalized, Proficiency-Based Education: Strategies and Tools for Professional Learning
Download
Program Book
Educator Competencies for Personalized, Learner-Centered Environments
Download
SAVE THE DATE
2021 Aurora Institute Symposium
OCT. 25 – 28, 2021 | PALM SPRINGS, CA
SYMPOSIUM SUPPORTERS
Our Sponsors
Barr Foundation
Bush Foundation
Carnegie Foundation
KnowledgeWorks Foundation
The Leon Lowenstein Foundation
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The Aurora Institute Symposium was formerly the iNACOL Symposium.
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1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350 Vienna, VA, 22182-4040, United States

October 28, 2020

2020 Aurora Institute Virtual Symposium – The Moment You’ve Been Waiting for Is Finally Here

And from the neo-liberals.

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About
Agenda
Register
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OCTOBER 26-28, 2020
2020 Virtual Symposium
A New Dawn for Every Learner
Join Us
Finishing Strong | Day 3 Highlights
DAY 3 RUNS 11 AM – 3:00 PM EASTERN
Student Panel and Closing Keynote Speakers

Today, the Symposium starts at 11 AM ET with the highly anticipated student panel, “Students are Catalysts for Change: Youth Perspectives on Education,” featuring:

  • Nia Innis, Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
  • Ashley Lin, Union High School
  • Dayvon Woodard, Nashville Big Picture High School
  • Eloisa Trujillo-Carrillo, Denver Public Schools
  • Julius Pedro, Native American Community Academy
  • Chris Liang-Vergara, World Class Education

The Symposium ends with a forward looking keynote titled, “Top Trends for the Future of K-12 Education: A Path Forward & Equitable Futures,” which will feature:

  • Nicholas C. Donohue, President & CEO, Nellie Mae Education Foundation
  • Susan Patrick, President & CEO, Aurora Institute
  • Virgel Hammonds, Chief Learning Officer, KnowledgeWorks
  • Felicia Cumings Smith, Senior Director, US Regions, National Geographic

Between the student panel and closing keynotes are two sets of breakout sessions. You and your teammates can choose from the following sessions at 11:45 AM ET:

At 1 PM ET, the following breakouts are offered:

Learn More
Important Links
Day 3 Agenda
Today’s Agenda
View
Zoom Links
Zoom Links
Explore
Program Book
Program Book
Download
BREAKING
New Edition of Educator Competencies for Personalized,  Learner-Centered Environments Published
Educator Competencies for Personalized, Learner-Centered Environments
The second edition of Educator Competencies for Personalized, Learner-Centered Environments is now available. Be among the first to download the field’s most comprehensive guide identifying the set of behaviors needed by educators who are striving toward more equitable, personalized learning environments. Published by KnowledgeWorks and CCSSO, the new competencies build on the previous edition with a vision for how teaching can evolve to meet the changing needs of learners and society. This framework highlights the teacher competencies that are most applicable to and essential for preparing students to succeed and thrive in an increasingly complex world. The framework also closely examines the skills and dispositions educators need to foster antiracist learning environments and close longstanding opportunity gaps.

The new edition places educational equity at the forefront of the framework and was designed to make antiracism and decentering Whiteness a more explicit driving force. This is an intentional effort to enable educators to come to terms with and remedy the ways in which America’s schools have negatively impacted students from marginalized groups.

The competencies are organized into four domains: Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Cognitive, and Instructional. Included under each domain are both high-level competencies and detailed indicators citing specific ways educators can meet each competency in a personalized, learner-centered manner. This edition also highlights several cross-cutting themes that are instrumental to creating high-quality, personalized, learner-centered environments. In addition to equity and inclusion, these include foundational competencies, social and emotional learning, remote learning.

You may access Educator Competencies here.

Read
SYMPOSIUM HASHTAG
Share Your Learning on Social Media
#AURORA2020
SYMPOSIUM SUPPORTERS
Our Sponsors
Barr Foundation
Bush Foundation
Carnegie Foundation
KnowledgeWorks Foundation
The Leon Lowenstein Foundation
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About
The mission of the Aurora Institute is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all.
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Contact
Aurora Institute
Symposium Website
(888) 956-2265
symposium@aurora-institute.org
The Aurora Institute Symposium was formerly the iNACOL Symposium.
This email was sent by: Aurora Institute
1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350 Vienna, VA, 22182-4040, United States

October 27, 2020

Here’s What Is Happening on Day 2 of the 2020 Aurora Institute Virtual Symposium

And from the neo-liberals…

Aurora Institute logo
About
Agenda
Register
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OCTOBER 26-28, 2020
2020 Virtual Symposium
A New Dawn for Every Learner
Join Us
The 2020 Aurora Institute Virtual Symposium | Day 2 Highlights
DAY 2 RUNS 11 AM – 2:30 PM EASTERN
Opening Keynote Plenary Speakers

Today, the Symposium starts at 11 AM ET with our opening keynote, “Lifting Up Best Practices for Quality and Equity—Even During COVID-19,” featuring:

  • Opening – Susan Patrick, Aurora Institute
  • Delivering on the Promise of Competency: Ensuring Equity, Student Agency, and Collaborations with Families – David Ruff, Great Schools Partnership
  • Showing the Way: A Provocation for Competency-Based Systems – Javier Guzman, Big Picture Learning

Plenary II is titled, “Bright Spots from Personalized, Competency-Based Districts and Schools Across the USA,” and will include the following brief talks:

  • Gratitude and Fortitude: Listening to Lead – Renee Hill, Riverside Unified School District
  • SBC2 – Accelerated Attainment Through Competency-Based Education – John Clemente, South Bronx Community Charter High School
  • Designing Peak Moments that Build Trust – Kristen Watkins, Dallas Independent School District
  • Relationships, Relationships, Relationships – Dr. Steve Kossakoski, Virtual Learning Academy Charter School
  • Building Community When You Have No Community – Cory Steiner, Northern Cass School District #97
  • Accelerating Educational Evolution by Prioritizing People, Passions, and Purpose –
    Brenda Diaz, Nashville Big Picture High School

Ten breakouts follow. You and your teammates can choose from the following sessions.

Learn More
Important Links
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Today’s Agenda
View
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Zoom Links
Explore
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Program Book
Download
SNEAK PREVIEW
Strengthening Local Assessment Systems for Personalized, Proficiency-Based Education: Strategies and Tools for Professional Learning
Strengthening Local Assessment Systems for Personalized, Proficiency-Based Education: Strategies and Tools for Professional Learning
Strengthening Local Assessment Systems for Personalized, Proficiency-Based Education: Strategies and Tools for Professional Learning is a forthcoming Competency Works brief that describes Vermont’s convenings to support schools, districts, and other education organizations seeking to create high-quality local comprehensive systems of assessments. Authored by Pat Fitzsimmons, proficiency-based learning team leader at the Vermont Agency of Education, the brief is intended to serve as a resource for schools, districts, and states working toward improving their own assessment systems. Readers will learn about the rationale and essential components, formative and summative performance assessments, and student-designed performance assessments.
Read
SYMPOSIUM HASHTAG
Share Your Learning on Social Media
#AURORA2020
SYMPOSIUM SUPPORTERS
Our Sponsors
Barr Foundation
Bush Foundation
Carnegie Foundation
KnowledgeWorks Foundation
The Leon Lowenstein Foundation
See More
image
About
The mission of the Aurora Institute is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all.
Follow Us
fb
fb
fb
Contact
Aurora Institute
Symposium Website
(888) 956-2265
symposium@aurora-institute.org
The Aurora Institute Symposium was formerly the iNACOL Symposium.
This email was sent by: Aurora Institute
1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350 Vienna, VA, 22182-4040, United States
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