Come to AERO's 2015 Annual Conference!
May 20-24, at LIU/Post, near New York City!
You can download the Conference flyer HERE.
We feel that this is the time for the education revolution, to empower all students, to make learner-centered education possible everywhere. This year we will again have keynotes and presentations that are connected to our mission "to help create an education revolution to make learner-centered education available to everyone." As always, we will have many workshops that explore and demonstrate effective programs in educational alternatives. This includes any learner-centered approach, such as home education, Montessori education, Waldorf education, democratic Education, progressive education, charter schools, magnet schools, etc. If you would like to join us as an attendee and a presenter! If you are interested in hosting a workshop, see below for instructions on how to submit.
The Long Island University/C.W. Post campus is located at 720 Northern Blvd., Brookville, NY 11548.
AERO was founded in 1989 and this will be our 12th annual conference.
AERO networks all forms of learner-centered educational alternatives. The AERO conference is unlike any other conference you are likely to attend in the USA. Many attendees have described the conference as "life-changing," so you won't want to miss it!
The 2015 AERO conference will run from May 20 to May 24th.
We are still accepting registrations for the AERO Conference. If you need financial assistance, please call the AERO office at 516-621-2195 or write to Jerryaero@aol.com to discuss your options.
$275/student$175/students & workshop presenters
$175/child$100/child ($50 for each additional child, ages 3-11)
- See registration page for special package deals.
Deposits are nonrefundable. All other conference fees are refundable at a rate of $.75 to every dollar through March 30th. No refunds for any conference fees will be returned after April 1st. Conference attendees should pay off their balances in full by April 15th.
Mitra discusses a world of unstoppable learning through the creation of a worldwide cloud – where children pool their knowledge and resources in the absence of adult supervision to create a world of self-promoted learning. He also has a ted talk about "Child Driven Education"
Hole In The Wall
Zoe Weil (pronounced “Zoh While”) is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE), and is considered a pioneer in the comprehensive humane education movement. Zoe created IHE’s M.Ed., M.A. and graduate certificate programs, as well as IHE’s acclaimed humane education and MOGO (most good) workshops.
Zoe is the author of six books, including the Nautilus Silver Medal–winner “Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life” (2009) and two books for young readers, including Moonbeam Gold Medal-winner “Claude and Medea” (2007). She has written numerous articles on humane education and humane living, and given interviews to such outlets as Forbes.com and numerous radio and television stations.
Zoe speaks regularly at universities, conferences and schools, and in communities across the United States and Canada and periodically overseas. She has also served as a consultant on humane education to people and organizations around the world, and serves on the board of directors of Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART).
In 2012, artist Robert Shetterly painted Zoe’s portrait for his acclaimed Americans Who Tell the Truth series. Also in 2012, Zoe was honored with the Women in Environmental Leadership award at Unity College. In 2010, she was inducted into the Animal Rights Hall of Fame.
Zoe received master’s degrees in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School in 1988 and in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983. She is also certified in psychosynthesis counseling.
Zoe lives with her husband and several rescued animals in a home adjoining the Institute for Humane Education in Surry, Maine.
She has done a number of Ted Talks which you can find here.
We are pleased to announce that Jeremy Stuart, director of the new blockbuster documentary on unschooling, Class Dismissed, will travel to the AERO conference from his home in California to present it on the opening night. The documentary has shown to full houses all over the country. It is very skillfully put together and, among other things, follows to lives of actual unschoolers for years a la "Boyhood." We're very excited to be able to feature this.
Yaacov Hecht is an internationally distinguished leader and visionary in democratic education, learning theory, and societal change. In 1987, Hecht founded the Democratic School in Hadera, Israel, the first school in the world to call itself democratic. Due to the school’s success, Hecht helped to establish a net of democratic schools all over Israel. In 1993, he convened the first International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC); an annual conference that continues to connect educators, schools, and organizations. Shortly thereafter, Hecht founded the Institute for Democratic Education in Israel (IDE), which focuses on making change in the public schools system through democratic education principals. Within IDE, Hecht created an academic faculty for DE teachers. He served as the organization’s chairman from its beginning in 1995 until 2010. In 2005, “The Marker”—Israel’s largest economic magazine—named Hecht one of the 10 most influential people in the social and educational areas in Israel.
Most recently, in 2010, Hecht co-founded “Education Cities-the Art of Collaborations,” an organization which focuses on turning educational systems into a central growth instrument for the cities in which they exist. Hecht continues to be a sought after speaker and consultant, and plays an essential role in the movement for democratic education in Israel and around the world.
Amy Valens taught in public school in Dayton, Ohio and at Modern Play School and Play Mountain Place in Los Angeles, but spent most of her career teaching elementary grades in the Open Classroom of the Lagunitas School District in Northern California, where both of her children were students. Her first film with husband Tom Valens, AUGUST TO JUNE, www.augusttojune.com followed her last year of teaching. She was on the other side of the camera holding the microphone at Boston’s Mission Hill School. That led first to an internet series titled A Year At Mission Hill www.ayearatmissionhill.com and then to the hour long documentary Good Morning Mission Hill the freedom to teach, the freedom to learn www.GoodMorningMissionHill.com Amy is also the author of two children’s books, JESSE’S DAYCARE (Houghton Mifflin), and DANILO THE FRUIT MAN (Dial).
Good Morning Mission Hill will screen at this year's AERO conference.
Good Morning Mission Hill shows a public school where academics connect to experiences, empathy and exploration are valued, and children with diverse abilities and backgrounds flourish. Mission Hill was founded in 1997 in the Roxbury section of Boston by noted educator Deborah Meier and her colleagues. Tom and Amy Valens followed the flow of the 2011/12 school year intimately capturing children and staff. Through interviews with Meier, current staff and alumni they explore the approaches the school has developed to support meaningful learning. An empowered school community models for young people that their voices matter!
"Another splendid piece of work, one that will be immensely useful to the cause of progressive education.” Alfie Kohn, noted author and speaker on children and school
“Good Morning Mission Hill is as lovely, joyous and wise as is the school itself. Permeated with a deep ethos of caring, both school and film show an urban school and its largely low-income community can refuse the ‘training in passivity and obedience’ demanded by the standardized testing regime and top down authority” Monty Neill, executive director of FairTest
Founder Deborah Meier and Filmmaker Amy Valens will expand on issues the one hour film brings up, in particular the approach to democracy the school has taken."
Deborah Meier is an American educator often considered the founder of the modern small schools movement. After spending several years as a kindergarten teacher in Chicago, Philadelphia and then New York City, in 1974 Meier became the founder and director of the alternative Central Park East school, which embraced progressive ideals in the tradition of John Dewey in an effort to provide better education for children in East Harlem, within the New York City public school system.
Meier then served as founding principal for two other small public elementary schools, Central Park East II and River East, both in East Harlem. In 1984, with the assistance and support of Ted Sizer's Coalition of Essential Schools, Meier founded the Central Park East Secondary School. The success of these schools has been documented in David Bensman's Central Park East and its Graduates: Learning by Heart (2000), and in Frederick Wiseman's documentary film, "High School II" (1994), among many other publications. During this time, and after, Meier helped to establish a network of small schools in New York City based on progressive principles. Among the many boards on which she has served was the founding board of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. In 1987 Meier received a MacArthur Fellowship, the first teacher or principal so honored.
In 1996 Meier moved to Boston where she became the founding principal of a small K-8 pilot school, Mission Hill School, within the Boston Public Schools system. She is currently on the faculty of New York University's Steinhardt School of Education, as senior scholar and adjunct professor, as well as board member and Director of New Ventures at Mission Hill, director and advisor to Forum for Democracy and Education, and on the Executive Board of The Coalition of Essential Schools.
Meier documented her story and experiences at Central Park East Secondary School in The Power of their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in Harlem (1995). Her other books include, Will Standards Save Public Education? (2000); In Schools We Trust: Creating Communities of Learning in an Era of Testing and Standardization (2002); with Ted and Nancy Sizer, Keeping School: Letters to Families from Principals of Two Small Schools (2004); and co-edited with George Wood, Many Children Left Behind (2004), all published by Beacon Press. She co-authored the book Playing for Keeps: Life and Learning on a Public School Playground (2010) with Beth Taylor and Brenda Engel, published by Teachers College Press. She serves on the editorial boards of The Nation, Educational Policy, Harvard Education Letter, and Dissent magazine, to which she has contributed many articles, including her essay in the 50th anniversary issue of Dissent, "On Unions and Education", in which she emphasizes the importance of union collaboration to her success in leading public schools in New York and Boston. Meier regularly speaks and writes on the connections between small schools, democratic education, education for democracy, progressive education, and public schooling.
Frustrated with the traditional school system, a family in L.A. pulls their two kids out of school and takes their education into their own hands. Class Dismissed takes a fresh look at what it means to be educated in the 21st century and explores the rapidly growing movement of parents providing an education outside a classroom setting.
Expanding on their internet series, A Year At Mission Hill, in GOOD MORNING MISSION HILL, the filmmakers of AUGUST TO JUNE: Bringing Life To School, give us an intimate look at the inner workings of a successful urban school, to further inspire our thinking about what meaningful education entails.
Cuba, 1961: 250,000 volunteers taught 700,000 people to read and write in one year. 100,000 of the teachers were under 18 years old. Over half were women. MAESTRA explores this story through the personal testimonies of the young women who went out to teach literacy in rural communities across the island – and found themselves deeply transformed in the process.
APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT dives head first into the inaugural year of the Teddy McArdle Free School in New Jersey, where all classes are voluntary and rules are determined by vote – adults and children have an equal say. Wilder is there from the beginning to end of the school year, documenting and observing founder Alex Khost and an indelible cast of outspoken young personalities as they form relationships, explore their surroundings and intensely debate rule violations, until it all comes to a head. APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT is a rare, inspired portrait of unfettered childhood.
Workshops and Presentations:
Aside from the keynote speakers at the AERO conference, there are more than 50 other workshops, presentations, and discussions that will occur on a great variety of issues related to educational alternatives.
This year we will have as our major strand Alternatve Education and Technology. This will include a server hosting a Mindcraft World to be creaed at the conference. But we will also have a large variety of workshops covering the spectrum of educational alternatives and learner-centered education. Plus the New York Distant Learning Association is partnering with us and making their Times Square venues available to us. Microsoft and others will have exhibitions at the conference and will give away free samples.
If you are interested in presenting a workshop, organizing a discussion or other activity at the upcoming AERO conference, please send us your proposal by January 15th. You can start by sending a paragraph about your proposed presentation. This year we plan to have fewer planned presentations and presenters at the conference so we can have more spontaneous presentations, so send your proposals as soon as possible. Regular workshops are now set, but spontaneous workshops can be announced in the daily schedule.
Please click here to submit your proposal online. The full list of workshops at AERO conference will be posted March 1st.
We will have visits to the following schools on the day before the conference, May 20th. Expect to arrive about 10 AM. It should be even better this year since this conference is during the school year. You will need to get there on your own, although some on the conference listserve are offering rides. Also, you can reserve a room on campus or at the Econolodge for the night of the 19th. You could then get to most of them by train and subway.
- Brooklyn Free School, 372 Clinton Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238
- Agile Learning Center, 115 East 106th St., Second Floor, New York, NY 10029
- Pono, 2002 5th Ave, Harlem, NY 10035
- Queens Paidaia School, 44-02 23rd St, Queens, NY 11101
- Longview School, 83 Main St, Brewster, NY 10509
We have a limited number of exhibitor’s display tables available throughout the conference. These will be located in Hillwood Commons, where all keynotes and presentations will be made. The tables the standard six foot size. People can bring their own freestanding displays and signs. If you are interested in having a table at the 2015 AERO Conference, email email@example.com or call (516) 621-2195.
AERO Conference Documentary
What is the AERO conference?
The most important activity at AERO conferences is the networking. There have been some very powerful and inspirational keynote speakers such as John Gatto, Riane Eisler, Alfie Kohn, Herb Kohl, Patch Adams, Yaacov Hecht and Sir Ken Robinson. The workshops, presentations and panels are often done by people who would have been keynotes at other conferences, but are also done by grassroots people, who are simple practitioners in educational alternatives, including homeschooling parents. Furthermore, unlike most conferences, AERO always reserves space in every time session for spontaneous workshops that are posted daily.
AERO was by far the most interesting and productive conference I attended last year–which I did as a first-time attendee. I highly encourage those of you who are interested in expanding their conversations about learning beyond traditional classroom and school discussions to consider attending. You will likely leave with lots of bold new ideas!
I found the AERO conference an incredibly diverse, divergent and sometimes challenging source of ideas and educational approaches. It can only open your mind.
That’s what I found, anyway.
I always feel rejuvenated and empowered every time I get the chance to go to the conference.
The AERO conference is where I can talk face to face with people following a similar road to mine in creating opportunities for people to self-direct their learning. There is no better place to exchange ideas and develop a supportive network for revolutionizing education.
Last year was the first AERO conference I attended and it felt like coming home. I met so many people who share perspectives about the need for an education revolution. The sharing of ideas, the gaining of even more knowledge about educational alternatives, and the ability connect with so many people who are out there making real changes made it an amazing and inspiring experience. I can't wait for this year's conference!
I attended my first AERO conference last year and it was the first time I felt such a profound sense of belonging to a community of educators. The AERO conference connected me to a wide, passionate and extremely resourceful network of people determined to bring forth a education renaissance around the world. Definitely a stepping stone in my career as an alternative educator.
AERO Conference is always paramount to my continued energized work in education which can be summarized in two ways. One, AERO is the one place where I know a vast majority of the diaspora of authentic education alternatives will be represented; it is always refreshing to think about my philosophy and work within the context of Free Schools, Democratic Schools, Unschoolers, Home Schoolers, as well as Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Waldorf practitioners, amongst other nuanced approaches to education. Two, the energy and thoughtful reflection always provides me with a much needed “recharging the batteries”, reminding me that I am one small part of a massive global education transformation focused on the common ground of truly student centered learning.
I came out of the 2013 AERO conference with many interesting ideas, and one major epiphany. If I get out of the 2014 conference with a similar loot – it would be well worth my while.
-Amir Notea, Israel, high tech entrepreneur, author
“I enjoyed and profited greatly from the AERO conference. I was very interested in the concept of democratic schooling and also wanted to explore other “alternatives” such as unschooling, Waldorf and Montessori, and the conference gave a boost in getting more information and understanding of those concepts. The informality and potential for dialogue, both organized and spontaneous, was significant. It was particularly helpful to interact with some of the leaders in the democratic school movement, as well as the “troops on the ground” who try to make it work every day. It’s also gratifying to see people who are taking this idea seriously.”
“I so much appreciated your love, commitment, energy, compassion, thoughtfulness, bravery, and creativity in putting on the conference. It had a huge impact on me and my husband.”
“Amazing… to be among like-minded people from around the globe. One could write a book about the characters attending it. The topics discussed (sometimes into the wee hours) were exceptional. Fading into the past, but not from my mind. This portrayed a dream of the world I carry in my heart and soul. Not an impossible dream. May we wake soon to find these dreams a reality for all. Thanks!”
“What a great time… I am still on cloud 9 from the conference. Everything was so positive, sincere, and loving…”
“Thank you for causing a Major Ripple in my life. Thank you for the experience and my awakening.”
“I’d like to thank you all for sharing your energy. It was truly a memorable experience, and I have a feeling that many flowers will bloom from this gathering.”
“The conference was indeed a great event–from which I learned a multitude of both the conceptual and directly practical. I feel extremely fortunate in my life to have been able to experience it.“
“Being there was the high point of my life (other than the birth of my sons) and I will never forget the experience!”
Who should go to the AERO conference?
Our attendees are from an amazingly wide spectrum. We have had people from every state and dozens of countries.
Our conference has always been friendly to students and children, usually including presentations by and for children and students. Therefore many attendees bring their children and teachers bring groups of their students. Student and children’s rates are discounted.
There will be child care throughout the conference .
Attendees have been:
- Teachers, administrators, parents and students from public and private alternatives
- People from Democratic, Montessori, Waldorf, higher education alternatives and charter schools
- Homeschooling families
- Mainstream public school personnel interested in change
- Education writers
- and many others!
We will be providing childcare each day of the conference (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and half of Sunday) for children ages 3-11. Child care is included in the cost of your child's registration fee of $100. If you need financial assistance for your family to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are looking for a handful of superstar volunteers to help out at the conference. This will involve overseeing the meals, helping in the dormitories, working at the registration/conference info table, helping with the bookstore, helping put up signs, childcare, audio/visual, putting together conference packets (info about the hotel, NYC info, brief schedule). If interested, write to email@example.com. Volunteers will receive a conference discount.
This year’s conference will be held on Long Island University’s C.W. Post campus. The location is just a 45 minute train ride to Manhattan. The address is 720 Northern Blvd., Brookville, NY 11548. We have free WiFi in many locations on campus.
Here’s a link to the campus map. We will be having our keynotes and meals in Hillwood Common, #19. Socializing areas are also there. The dorms are just to the right at #54 and #55. The workshops will be in #21. So the conference is in a pretty compact area.
Lodging for most attendees is conveniently located in the dormitories on the POST/LIU campus, right next to the presentation/commons building and the cafeteria. The cost for a bed in a double room is $55/night and $75/night for a single room. Couples, parent with child 12 or over, or two teenagers is $79 a night. You can sign up for these here. Parking is free.
For parents or school groups with children under 12 we have made special arrangements with the nearby Econolodge. See below for transportation to and from the Post/LIU campus. To get the $80 room rate there call (516) 433-3900. Mention that you are going to the AERO conference. Of course all children can attend the conference and we are providing child care for those who need it.
Meals can be purchased on-site at LIU/Post's Hillwood Cafeteria. Paul, the director, said he will work with vegetarians, vegans and those who need gluten-free foods, but you must contact them beforehand with your needs. His phone is 516-299-3668. He also confirmed that they will have sushi. This is all on your own. You can order out or eat out if you want.
Hillwood Café (Information about meals provide by LIU/Post)
Located on the first floor of the Hillwood Commons Building, Hillwood Cafe is our largest retail food court on campus where we offer traditional popular concepts such as pizza, grill, made to order salads, entrees, and soup. TOPIO's Individual slices range from $2.49-3.39 TOPIO’S embraces trusted old world techniques that go back generations: fresh pressed dough for thin crusts, organic tomatoes and a classic blend of Mozzarella and Asiago cheeses. This pizza shop features slices of traditional favorites like traditional cheese, pepperoni, veggie and a daily creation along with insanely delicious Stromboli and calzones, and bread sticks with marinara sauce. Grille Works Combo meal range from $5.99 up depending on what you choose The overall strength of Grille Works lies in its simplicity. Burgers, fries and chicken sandwiches comprise some of the most enjoyable meals in the United States, and these items are the cornerstone of the Grille Works menu. Our daily offerings include grilled, crispy and spicy chicken sandwiches, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken fingers, cheese steaks, mozzarella sticks, veggie burger, French fries and curly fries. Produce Patch $4.49 up depending on how many toppings you choose The Produce Patch delivers on variety in the form of customization and mix-and-match menu options. The service model has salad “chefs” walk each customer through the build-your-own process. The salad built to order allows the customer to choose from a variety of freshly prepared ingredients. Our daily rotating offerings include two varieties of greens, sixteen toppings and five dressings.
Home Zone $3.69-$6.39
Classic comfort style food is offered form this station such as Roast Turkey, Meatloaf, Chicken Marsala, Mashed Potatoes and fresh vegetables daily.
Grab n' Go Express encompasses all menu items offered within our existing air screens allowing our customers to select convenient, high-quality offerings. The daily menu offerings include a variety of pre-made sandwiches, salads, fresh cut fruit cups, yogurt parfaits, Sabra Hummus cups, Dannon and Chobani yogurt cups, puddings and whole fruit. F'real $ 3.99 for any flavor shake F'real offers authentic milkshakes, smoothies and frozen cappuccino blended frozen beverages– all made from real ingredients – ice cream, fruit, milk and coffee. Consumers freshly blend our products in a blender. The daily offerings include cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, peanut butter and of course old favorites like choc, van and strawberry flavors. Kettle Classics Soups Choose from a rotation of our homemade soups or chili & rice which is offered daily.
It is easy to get to the LIU/Post campus by train. If you come by AMTRAK to New York City you end up in Penn Station. On the lower floor in Penn Station is the Long Island Railroad. You would take the train to Hicksville. That train runs every half hour or so. It is a 10-minute taxi ride from there. You could also go to Greenvale, which is slightly closer but that train runs less frequently (about every hour and a half).
If you fly into JFK you can take the monorail to the Long Island Railroad station at Jamaica and take the train from there to Hicksville. It is a short bus or taxi ride from there to the conference
If you fly into LaGuardia Airport you’d need to take a taxi or bus to the Jamaica train station.
If you fly to Newark, New Jersey there are easy busses and trains to Manhattan and Penn Station.
The Long Island Railroad Station at Hicksville is near the Econolodge if you are staying there.
We may be able to provide transportation to the train to NYC from the dorms or the Econolodge.
Bus from Hicksville
The N20 bus from the Hicksville railroad station leaves at 9:21 AM and should arrive at 9:35 AM at the CW Post campus.
If people in New York City take the 8:14 AM train from Penn Station, which arrives at 9:00 AM, we should be able to take the bus with no problem.
There's also a 8:28 AM train which arrives at 9:16 AM, but that's cutting it close, to catch the 9:21 bus, I think.
You can take a bus or taxi from the Econoledge to the campus:
To take the bus from the Econolodge to CW Post campus walk east on Old Country Road to the first bus stop and take the N24 for 8 minutes getting off at the Hicksville LIRR Station. Alternatively you can walk 1.4 miles east on Duffy avenue to the train station. Then Transfer to the N20 and ride for 17-20 minutes to the campus.
If you’ve attended the AERO conference before you know that hundreds of books are sold and some titles will be sold out. Most of the books on our website will be at the conference. If you want particular books reserved you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will hold them for you at the conference.