“Fantastic Opportunity to Learn and Grow – thank you!”

Jim Rickabaugh presentationOur 3rd Annual Convening is behind us and we now have some time to take a few deep breaths and look back on the 2-day event. First of all, we want to send out a big thank-you to all the presenters and attendees for their participation over the two days. This was our third fall convening, and with over 300 registered participants, was our biggest gathering to date. For the first time we opened registration to districts outside the CESA #1 region and had school personnel from several non-CESA #1 districts in Wisconsin as well as district staff from Minnesota and Iowa.

The Convening started with a presentation by our Executive Director, Jim Rickabaugh. He connected the dots regarding the work of the Institute @ CESA #1 to provide a baseline for those new to personalized learning and an explanation of new thinking and research for those veteran districts that have been with us since the beginning. Following Jim’s presentation, Scott Jones, the Special Assistant to the State Superintendent, spoke about DPI’s Agenda 2017 and the Wisconsin Innovation Lab Network.

“Many take aways!”

Our keynote presenter for the first day was Gene Wilhoit, Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, the organization that established the Innovation Lab Network, of which the Institute @ CESA #1 is a part. Gene challenged the audience to be bold, to think systematically and to act with focus and urgency as they pursue their work around personalizing learning for all students. Jim then presented to Gene our Transformation Trailblazer award in appreciation of his vision, leadership and support.

The afternoon started with a panel of middle and high school students from area schools who are learning in a personalized environment. They shared their experiences and insights on how this approach is enabling them to engage in deeper learning and to take ownership of their education. Following the panel, we heard from a representative from each of four districts in SE Wisconsin, in a TED-like format. These districts have been engaged in this work for some time and are at what we call the model stage, where they are integrating elements of personalized learning across the district and bringing it to scale. Following the talks, participants had the opportunity to attend a break-out session of one of those four districts. These break-outs featured multiple levels of district staff and were a chance for participants to hear more in-depth about the projects.

“The best convening yet!”

Day two began with a keynote presentation by Ramona Pierson of Pierson Labs. Ramona was a keynote at our last convening where she shared her compelling personal story, and this year she spoke of the exciting things on the horizon related to technology, big data and predictive software, and how these are and will continue to be used in K-12 education. The Convening wrapped up with another set of break-out sessions where participants were again able to self-select from five options.

Check out more photos from the Convening on our Facebook page. A Twitter backchannel was established and judging by the over 300 tweets that were exchanged during the two days, participants were highly engaged. As one attendee summed it up, “Great ideas – my head is spinning!” We look forward to working with participants over the next several months as they develop and grow their personalized learning modules and models in their schools and districts.