Ken Arkind: Youth Poetry Slam – What Happens when Hip Hop Culture, Young People, and Poetry Meet

What happens when one of the world’s oldest and most revered form of communication meets hip-hop culture? Magic. Explore how this modern version of poetry influences learning and helps students both think and communicate in new and powerful ways.

Bio: Ken is an American National Poetry Slam Champion, TEDx Fellow, Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam Champion and published author who has performed his work in 49 states, six countries and at more than 150 colleges and universities. He is the current Executive Director and head coach of Denver Minor Disturbance, an independent literary arts organization dedicated to helping Colorado youth find voice through the mediums of poetry and performance.

Martha Ashley: Environment, Justice and Empathy: An Inspiring Example of 21st Century Education

The future needs young people that are interpersonally and culturally empathetic, able to communicate across lines. How we teach these skills demands new thinking. In this example, a five-day camping trip in New Mexico culminates a course of study intentionally designed to teach students empathy, communication, and critical thinking skills by studying the traditions, values, history, and culture of the Cochiti people.

Bio: Martha is the middle school principal at St. Mary’s Academy. She has also served as assistant head of school at The Episcopal School of Dallas and as a math teacher. A graduate of Texas A&M, Martha also holds a Masters of Liberal Arts from Southern Methodist University and certification in math instruction grades 6-12.

Chris Barnes: The Merits of Risk                 

Some assume the merits of risk to be self-evident (no A’s without F’s). Yet, this isn’t a commonly shared value among students, parents, or even peer educators; they often don’t understand risk and rarely advocate for it, seeking only “safe” opportunities. All students must embrace risk if they want to reach their potential and be prepared for the future that awaits.

Bio: A passion for intellectual and outdoor pursuits led Christopher and his wife, Molly, to found the High Mountain Institute and HMI Semester in 1995. After graduating from Colorado College with a BA in Physics, he spent two years studying nature philosophy and apprenticing with a wide variety of outdoor programs in Scandinavia. Field experience with the National Outdoor Leadership School and Deer Hill Expeditions combined with two years of teaching physics at a small boarding school sowed the seeds for the dream of creating the High Mountain Institute.

Co Barry: Design Thinking – Maximizing Your Students’ Creative Talent

Design Thinking is a powerful approach to problem solving and supports schools in moving toward a more hands-and minds-on, challenge-based curriculum. Learn from Co ways that design thinking methodology can unleash student creativity and improve students’ ability to solve complex, real-world problems.

Bio: Co Barry is a former lecturer at Hasso Platner Institute of Design i.e., the “D” School, at Stanford and the director of KDT, a consulting firm specializing in helping educators develop creativity in students. Co has led design thinking workshops for schools and educators around the world.

Jonathon Best: Press Play – Gaming, Simulation and Achievement in the Classroom

Achievement and investment go hand-in-hand in today’s 21st century classroom.  By integrating design elements from modern video game frameworks and leveraging the impact of success in a technology-saturated and highly simulated world, teachers can better motivate and in turn, serve our digital citizens through their progression towards college and the professional world.  By the end of this talk, educators will walk away with concrete steps to help them integrate the modern world of video games and simulation in their daily practices.

Bio: Jonathon Best is an 8th grade writing teacher at KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy and the Writing Department Chair.  Through serving an at-risk community of primarily English-Language Learners, Jonathon has had the opportunity to explore unique and boundary-pushing teaching methodologies to ensure that his students make it to and through college. His personal interests in technology and video games have allowed him to meet his students where they are, which also happens to be where he is most of the time.

Dr. Marc Chun: Diving Into Deeper Learning

The complex issues we face today require a key set of problem-solving skills.  How can schools best prepare students to be ready to take on these challenges?  How can they help ensure students have the “deeper learning” skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and metacognition, as well as have the content knowledge they need?

Bio: Marc is currently an Education Program Officer at the Hewlett Foundation. In this role, he is working to develop and implement grant-making programs that embrace the mastery of core academic content, critical reasoning, and problem solving, collaborative work and effective communication. Marc holds a Ph.D. in education from Stanford University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in sociology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He holds three masters degrees in policy analysis, education, and sociology. Marc also has taught at Stanford, Columbia, and Vanderbilt universities, The New School, and Manhattan College. He has published extensively on topics related to education.

Jen Holladay: Multiculturalism in the Modern World

Understanding and embracing multiculturalism and teaching students cultural competency is critical for competing and succeeding in our diverse democracy. How can you ensure that cultural competency is an outcome of your students’ education?

Bio: Jennifer speaks from the perspective of a parent/guardian of a child enrolled in the Denver Public Schools. She is involved with both Highline Academy Charter Schools as its Board president and the Denver Green School as part of its PTA leadership team. Jennifer previously directed the anti-bias education division of the Southern Poverty Law Center called Teaching Tolerance, and her written work has appeared in Rethinking Schools magazine, Education News Colorado, and Gawker media.

 Paul Kim: Re•Designing the Classroom Experience

“Who cares?” and “Why do I need to know this?” are not just tired student mantras to be brushed aside by frustrated teachers. They are questions about significance that lay at the heart of education. Design thinking is a tool that allows both students and teachers to discover more significance and creativity in the curricular experiences that bring them together in the classroom. By redesigning the classroom experience, we can invigorate the learning process for students and teachers who want to reform education.

Bio: Paul is the history department chair at Colorado Academy and currently teaches a course titled “Global Perspectives in the 21st Century,” which contains a trimester of Design Thinking. Over the years, Paul has taught everything from Kindergarten to college, and he has received both teacher-of-the-year and coach-of-the-year honors. Paul also serves as the director of the CA Youth Philanthropy Program. With four of his former students, Paul co-founded Dot-to-Dot Children’s Books, a non-profit company that works with underdeveloped communities. Paul earned his B.A. in American Studies at the University of Oregon and his M.A. in American Studies at the University of Wyoming.

Grant Lichtman: What 60 Schools Can Tell Us about Teaching 21st Century Skills

The rate of change in the world demands that we re-imagine and restructure the foundational learning relationship among students, teachers, and knowledge. In September 2012, pursuing a decades-long passion for transformational education, Grant packed up his Prius and set off on a solo, nationwide research tour to discover what schools are doing to prepare students for an evolving future. Find out what he learned from three months on the road visiting 21 states, 64 schools, and the great ideas of 500 educators.

Bio: For almost 14 years, Grant has been involved with independent school education, as trustee, chief of finance and operations, teacher, parent, and volunteer at Francis Parker School in San Diego, one of the largest independent schools in the United States. He has consulted on 21st– century curriculum development and presented nationally on educational issues. Grant also is the author of The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. He is a graduate of Stanford University.

Ann Moore: Cowboy Ethics in the Classroom: The Great Experiment

How do you teach kids to embrace strong values, work hard, and believe in themselves? Students will tell you that traditional character education usually fails to engage them. But trying to instruct kids in character and values is a recipe for failure. If teachers want to change young lives, they need to focus on inspiring kids to look within and reach for the best in themselves. A long-running, Denver-based model program has shown how this can work, with measurable results.

Bio:  Ann Moore serves as an Educational Consultant to the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership spearheading the Center’s educational and youth programs. Additionally, Ann was the Executive Director for the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership for three years and is currently a teacher at Cherry Creek High School, one of Colorado’s top-ranked public high schools, where she specializes in working with at-risk students.

James P. Owen: The Try: Two Words that Can Change Your Life

These are tough times in which to launch a career or find a job, and what about all the young people who aren’t equipped for success? Intelligence, skills, and connections do matter, but, as any seasoned entrepreneur will tell you, the most critical ingredients in success have more to do with qualities of character, like grit, guts, and heart. The good news is the real-life evidence that these pivotal success factors can be taught.

Bio: After a successful 35-year business career, Jim Owen reinvented himself as an author, film producer, and social innovator. He also created the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership, a nonprofit foundation, to help spread the message that, “We can all be heroes in our own lives.” Jim’s book credits include Cowboy Ethics (2004), a best seller with more than 120,000 copies sold to date, and Cowboy Values (2008). His most recent book, The Try, addresses what students need to learn to be successful in an evolving world.

Richard Steckel: The Milestone Project – The Bonds that Unite Us

American journalist Linda Ellerbee reminds us that, “People are pretty much alike. It’s only that our differences are more susceptible to definition than our similarities.” Richard Steckel will explore the similarities among people and cultures demonstrating in the process our profound affinities and why they are so important to our collective future.

Bio: Richard is the co-founder and executive producer of the Milestones Project and internationally recognized as a consultant and speaker on nonprofit social enterprise and for-profit social marketing. He and his wife, Michele, conceived The Milestones Project in 1998 and have since traveled the world capturing the images and stories of more than 70,000 children in 30 countries. They produced more than a dozen nationally acclaimed photography-based educational resources with the Milestones Project.

Theo Wilson: Rise of the “We”

Change is coming, and the shape it will take is a change in consciousness captured in the difference between “I” and “We.” A new consciousness predicated on the ability to communicate and collaborate across cultures, between disciplines, and among countries will change the world as we know it.

Bio: Theo Wilson is a founding member of the Denver Slam Nuba team, who won the National Poetry Slam in 2011. He began his speaking career in the N.A.A.C.P. at the age of 15, and has always had a passion for social justice. He attended Florida A&M University, where he obtained his B.A. in Theater Performance. Upon graduating, he interned as a full time actor in St. Louis Black Repertory Company, where he was introduced to Slam Poetry, and has never looked back. In 2004, he returned to Denver, winning many local slams against Denver’s top competitors. Theo has opened for performers such as Dead Prez, The Flobots, Bahamadia, Saul Williams, Taylor Mali and Universes.