Conference Program & Schedule (with Workshops)

Click here to download the workshop program and schedule in PDF format (opens in a new window). The most updated list will always be found below. Click here to read descriptions of the workshops and bios of presenters.


Wednesday, June 25th

  • 12:00am-2:00pm – School Visits
  • 5:00pm-9:00pm – Registration
  • 7:30pm-9:00pm – Documentary: "If There is Reason to Study." A new documentary by teenaged Taiwanese alternative school student Adler Yang

Thursday, June 26th 

  • 8:00am-10:30am – Yoga, Breakfast, Networking, Tabling, Bookstore, Registration
  • 10:30am-12:00pm – Workshop Group A
  • 12:00pm-1:30pm – Lunch
  • 1:30pm-3:00pm – Workshop Group B
  • 3:00pm-3:30pm – Break
  • 3:30pm-5:00pm – Workshop Group C
  • 5:00pm-6:30pm – Dinner
  • 6:45-7:00pm – Comedy: 16-year-old Lucian talks about homeschool stereotypes
  • 7:00pm-8:30pm – Keynote: Lenore Skenazy
  • 8:30pm-9:00pm – Book Signing:  Lenore Skenazy

Friday, June 27th

  • 8:00am-10:30am – Yoga, Breakfast, Networking, Tabling, Bookstore, Registration
  • 10:30am-12:00pm – Workshop Group D
  • 12:00pm-1:30pm – Lunch
  • 1:30pm-3:00pm – Workshop Group E
  • 3:00pm-3:30pm – Break
  • 3:30pm-5:00pm – Workshop Group F
  • 5:00pm-6:30pm – Dinner
  • 6:30pm-7:00pm – Keynote: Justo Méndez Arámburu
  • 7:00pm-8:30pm – Keynote: Jerry Mintz
  • 9:00pm-11:00pm – Musical Entertainment

Saturday, June 28th

  • 8:00am-9:30am – Yoga, Breakfast, Networking, Tabling, Bookstore, Registration
  • 9:30am-10:30am – Workshop Group G
  • 10:30am-11:00am – Keynote: Ramchandra Das
  • 11:00am-12:15pm – Keynote: Zoe Redhead
  • 12:15pm-1:45pm – Lunch
  • 12:15pm-1:45pm  Gathering of Our America (ENA)
  • 1:45pm-3:15pm – Workshop Group H
  • 3:30pm-5:00pm – Workshop Group I
  • 5:00pm-6:30pm – Dinner
  • 5:00pm-6:30pm Discussion with Ramchandra Das
  • 6:30pm-8:00pm – Keynote: Ron Miller

Sunday, June 29th

  • 8:00am-10:30am – Yoga, Breakfast, Networking, Tabling, Bookstore, Registration
  • 10:30am-12:00pm – Workshop Group J
  • 12:00pm-1:30pm – Lunch
  • 1:30pm-3:00pm – Keynote: Brooklyn Free School
  • 3:00pm – Closing Evaluation

Lunch Meetings

Saturday, 12:15-1:45pm

Gathering of Our America (ENA) is a network of collaboration and promotion of alternative educational efforts for social
transformation throughout the American Hemisphere representing 19 nations. It originates in Caguas, Puerto Rico in 2012,
meeting a second time in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia in 2013. Currently has a Coordinating Committee composed of
entities of Puerto Rico, Bolivia and Guatemala. Nuestra Escuela leads its General Secretariat, and with Colegio Naleb they
will organize the 3rd Gathering of Our America in Guatemala. ENA has a close collaboration with Reevo, an Iberoamerican
network promoting alternative education. Gathering of Our America (ENA) workshop emerges in response to Jerry Mintz
interest in supporting Alternative Education in Guatemala and strengthening an alliance with the ENA 2014 hosts; the
Vizcaíno family of Colegio Naleb’.

Saturday, 5-6:30pm

Ramchandra Das, founder of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram/orphanage in Nepal, will follow up on his keynote. He will talk about how he founded and continues to lead the democratic, self-sustaining orphanage. 


Group A: Thursday, 10:30am

  • One man's journey from "in the box" rigid schooling to his own not-for-profit global warming organizationDouglas E. Wight
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Emile: Roots of Today’s Alternative Forest, Kirk Cunningham
  • Progressive Approaches to Standardized Testing, Zachary Katz
  • The Power and Potential of Holistic Education, Connie Giffin

Group B: Thursday, 1:30pm

  • Technology’s Role in Self-determined Learning, Rocco Ricci
  • Respect in The Early Years:  Learner centered education 0-5, Jennifer McDonald
  • Supporting Education Through Community Engagement, Sienna Wildfield
  • Supporting the Unschooling Journey, Amy Childs
  • Teaching Styles and Student Empowerment, Liz Simpson

Group C: Thursday, 3:30pm

  • Agile Learning Centers: Self-Directed Learning for the 21st Century, Tomis Parker and Nancy Tilton
  • Hair-Tugs, Laughs, and Tears: Embracing Big Feelings., Angela Sillars, Rosie Frost, Antonia Chihuahua
  • Becoming Self-Directed: Developing Your Personal Health Story Into a Narrative., Carol Nash
  • Learn Local & Build Your Community Network: Best of Buffalo Urban Immersion, Megan Mills Hoffman
  • Sustainable High School Change, Carolyn Albracht, Elisabeth Reinkordt, Ana M. Rivero
  • Ready, Set, Teach: Preparing to Teach in an Alternative or Democratic School, Dr. Loren Thomas

Group D: Friday, 10:30am

  • Free School & Authentic Alternative Learning Settings Research Methods & Challenges, Kirk Cunningham 
  • Is There Critical Mass to Create a College AERO Caucus?, David Marshak
  • Staying Conscious as a Homeschooling Parent, Connie Allen, M.A.
  • Reading from A School Must Have a Heart, With Book Signing to Follow, Chris Mercogliano
  • Open Shop at Parts and Crafts & the Center for Semi-Conducted Learning, Kelly Taylor, Will Macfarlane, Katie Gradowski, Bryce Taylor, Kieran Mead-Ward, Zach Hirschtritt
  • Decentering Child-Centered and Learner-Centered Education, Richard C. Pipan

Group E: Friday, 1:30pm

  • AERO School Starter Workshop, Jerry Mintz and Chris Mercogliano
  • An Introduction to SelfDesign, David Marshak
  • The Limbic Loop:  Listening Partnerships and Parent/Teacher Resource Groups, Brenda Ilowit
  • Holistic education and the brain: Using neuroscience to empower your practice., Abigail L. Larrison, PhD, EdD
  • The Oak Meadow Scale of Student Autonomy, Ben Mitchell
  • Setting Personal Boundaries that Empower Young People, Connie Allen, M.A.  

Group F: Friday, 3:30pm

  • Teaching social sciences and environmental education in a consent-based educational setting, Marc-Alexandre Prud’homme
  • Better Together: How to Build a Collaborative Local Community of Alternative Educators, Teri Sperry
  • Teens Explain How School is Optional, Current members of North Star and Princeton Learning Cooperative
  • A Study of Unschooled Adults, Gina Riley & Peter Gray
  • Giving Kids All That We Know Now!, Dara Van Laanen

Group G: Saturday, 9:30am

  • High School Dropout to Harvard: My Life with Dyslexia, John D Rodrigues
  • Exploring Democratic Early Education In Refugee Populations (aka “New Americans”), Meredith Bartolo
  • Freedom To Educate and Education Equality. Practical Approaches., Amir Notea
  • Experiencing Awareness Through the Body, Margo W. MacLeod
  • Creating A Network Learning HubZahra Lightway
  • Prescription for a Healthy School, Peter Berg

Group H: Saturday, 1:45pm

  • Community, Ambiguity, Emotionality, and the Other Intangibles: Resources to Bring Music-Making into Your Learning Community, Jill Hogan
  • Challenging Educational Advancement Protocol-Beat the Mathematics Gatekeeper, Jessica London Jacobs
  • Liberated Learners: Making self-directed learning possible for all children and teens, Kenneth Danford, Catherine Gobron, Joel Hammon, Alison Snieckus
  • Montessori Math Materials for Children ages 2 – 5+, Katharina Finkmann
  • Join the AERO Alternative Educators of Color Caucus, Kyja Wilburn
  • Bringing Democratic Education to More Communities, Nikhil Goyal

Group I: Saturday, 3:30pm

  • Reframing education as “initiation:” Schools and communities as places for rites of passage., David G. Blumenkrantz, Ph.D., Ed.M. – Brian Evarts, MSS
  • Education Uncensored: Child-led Learning Techniques in the Classroom, Laurie Block Spigel
  • From Blackboards to Drawing Boards – Enlivening the abstract through engineering design and prototyping., Aditya KumaraKrishnan, Arun KumaraKrishnan, Richard Glover, Akinsheye Dorsett 
  • Curriculum in Context: Violence Prevention for All, Dr. Crystallee Crain
  • Robert’s Rules of Order…How to Teach Democratic Decision Making to Children from Kindergarten to the 5th Grade, Ted Weisgal
  • Cartography 101, Kathyann Natkie & Monica Cochran

Group J: Sunday, 10:30am

  • School as Community; Community as School, Chris Mercogliano
  • How do each of us learn best?, Carlo Ricci
  • Invitation to Innovation: Inquiry Exploration in a Nutshell, Lavonne Hunter
  • Embracing Uncertainty, Creating Conversation, Supporting Development, Gwen Lowenheim
  • Don’t Praise Me: What you can say instead, Jennifer McDonald 

Important Information

Emergency & General Contact Info

Jerry Mintz, (516) 978-7812

Wireless Internet Access

Please have your guests select the LIUNET wireless internet account from the wireless connection list. Open your internet browser which should redirect you to the LIU wireless login page.  Please enter the username (aeroconf) and password (aeroconf) and from the dropdown menu, select “guest” (student is the default).  Please select “I agree” to the terms for wireless usage agreement. If you have any question you may call Information Technology at (516) 299-2281 or email at

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