AERO Conference 2016 WORKSHOPS:

We Are NOT Robots! A Respectful Paradigm for LearningDon Berg

The dominant paradigm of learning as content delivery has been thoroughly critiqued and discredited, but an equally compelling alternative paradigm based in both the behavioral and cognitive sciences has not arisen. Workshop presenter Don Berg, an education psychologist and author, will share with you a new synthesis of the current science on learning and motivation that can better guide both educational policy and practice. Let’s discuss whether or not it is sufficiently compelling to become a new paradigm.

Don Berg is an education psychology researcher, alternative education practitioner, leader, and author. The peer-reviewed journals Other Education and The Journal Of The Experimental Analysis Of Behavior have published his research. He has over 20 years of experience leading children in self-directed educational settings. In order to build the nurturing capacity of all K-12 schools he founded Schools of Conscience. He serves as an officer on the boards of several educational and political organizations. The Joyful Llama Ranch in West Linn, Oregon, USA, is his home.


A Year in the Life of a Forest Kindergarten – Lindie Keaton

Come hear about the adventures and misadventures of the first year of a Forest Kindergarten. Share your own ideas and get new ideas from others about how children benefit from spending time with nature and how adults can help increase children's opportunities to be outside.

Lindie Keaton has taught Kindergarten for 10 years in Yellow Springs, Ohio at Antioch School, the oldest democratic school in the U.S. This year, in an expansion of the outdoor connection integral to the school, Lindie added a Forest Kindergarten program. Lindie is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School and an avid camper, hiker, and lover of nature.


Working with our student’s families: What every Holistic Educator needs to know – Josette Luvmour, PhD

All children come with parents—all parents are part of their child’s education. The future of teacher training for Holistic Educators must include preparation about how to work with parents. We will discuss the importance of collaboration with our students’ families that is mutually respectful. Our students are continually adapting to the relationships and communications among primary caregivers. When educators, parents, and students are on the same page, a synergy emerges that allows for an explosion of learning. These key relationships have a large effect on children’s educational experiences. Moreover, parent and child grow together. With knowledge attention to attuned relationships with the child’s family, Holistic Educators can create educational environments that match our student’s needs Academic excellence results. We will at look rejuvenating experiences in teacher/family interactions because this partnership is the crucible of our student’s well-being and happiness.

Co-founder of Summa Institute and co-creator of Natural Learning Relationships, Josette Luvmour, PhD is a developmentalist, consultant, educator who specializes in human development and teacher training. She is Director of Family Development, Professional Development, and the Research Core at Summa Institute and faculty at SDGI. Her writing has been published widely.


Hacking the Future: Creating a Learner Centered Education – Samantha Matalone Cook

Join Samantha Cook, Founder and ED of Curiosity Hacked, learning about creating/supporting a more learner-centered educational environment through mentorship, hands-on making, and hacking to integrate skill building into new or existing schools. Dive into how a hackerspace became a catalyst for self-determining and self-directed learning through a variety of programs designed to meet different needs. See concrete examples of how hard and soft skills, low tech and high tech projects, and leveraging local and global community can create an environment of possibility. Participants will be gaining new skills, work with a variety of materials, and discuss relevant ideas and examples to enhance their own visions as well as those of their students. Time will be given for personal and site specific ideas.

Samantha has an MAt in Education, specializing in Museum and Non-Profit based learning. She has two decades of experience in educational programming, outreach, and the arts and is a dedicated teacher and learner. In addition to writing and blogging about feminism, parenting, art technology, education reform, and homeschooling for major publications such as GeekMom, Samantha has started many grassroots groups and is an active member, speaker, and advocate of the hacker/maker and homeschooling communities. In addition to founding and acting as ED for Curiosity Hacked, she is currently leading educator workshops and writing a book on creating learner-centered environments. Curiosity Hacked is a non profit organization, founded and headquartered in Oakland, dedicated to learner centered STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education and skill building for kids and families.


This Body of Knowledge – Barbarah Nicoll

In this workshop we will explore our self knowledge through body mapping, responding to guided activities to discover and map on our own body outline what we know of ourselves and what is important to us. Participants will be guided through an interactive and artistic experience that will include somatic awareness, working with the wisdom of the 4 directions (which includes life phases, seasons and inclinations) body mapping and group poetry writing. These activities are suited for youth (14 to 19), and of course adults of all ages. These activities invite participants to employ their “soft will”, a way of looking inward with courage to see oneself, in contrast to the “hard will” that is often engaged when one is given a task to fulfill, often with an overt or hidden requirement to please an authority figure. This holistic and artistic engagement includes improvisation, somatic awareness (coming to know our own bodies as a source of knowledge), expressive arts, biography questions, journaling and group poetry.

In her 35 years of designing opportunities and invitations for youth to join in creating community together, Barbarah always leaned into the arts for foundational and connecting activities. She began her career as a youth worker, continued to study expressive arts and improvisation for the classroom, became a Waldorf high school teacher, and then a principal, innovating and designing programs and social action projects along the way. Among other things she has a Master of Integrated Arts.She is passionate about youth and learning.


Teaching in Mind: How Your Beliefs, Values, and Metaphors Affect Teaching – Judith Yero

Participants will reflect on, identify, and compare their personal beliefs about teaching, learning, and the purpose of education; the values that drive their behavior; and the metaphors that influence their perceptions and behaviors in the classroom. ​

Judith Lloyd Yero is a retired public school teacher and administrator, and author of Teaching in Mind: How Teacher Thinking Shapes Education. During a 9,000 mile trip around the United States last fall, she has researched various models of learner-centered education with a goal of identifying best practices to incorporate into a flexible model.


Holistic Pedagogy as a Foundation of DemocracyPeter Berg

Holistic pedagogy can provide the foundation for a democratic, just, and sustainable world. In this workshop we will explore the underpinnings of holistic pedagogy and how they are necessary for a truly democratic society.

Peter Berg, the founder of Youth Transformations and Education Transformation, is a board certified holistic health and mental health coach, a teacher, educational administrator, community organizer, educational consultant, school developer an advocate for alternative and integrated education. Peter coordinates the AERO Representatives and was instrumental in organizing the first AEROx Regional Event. He has written extensively on alternative, holistic, integrated educational theory and techniques and has founded and co-founded non-profit community and environmental-based organizations. Peter received his Doctorate in which he explores the ties between school leadership and progressive and holistic education from Walden University and his Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies and Education from Antioch University. Peter maintains partnerships and affiliations with organizations who promote sustainability, social and environmental justice, human rights and holistic health. Often this work entails bringing these organizations together to form partnerships and exchange ideas.


College Admissions for Non-Traditional Students: Three Inevitable Questions – Lori Dunlap

We are at the leading edge of a major shift in our educational system right now. More and more of us are realizing that the traditional educational model is not the best fit for our children, and are choosing alternatives that will better help our children develop to their full intellectual, creative and social potential. When our children decide to apply to college, however, it can be difficult to demonstrate their non-traditional academic and intellectual accomplishments in the absence of formal transcripts, standard course descriptions, and grades. This session will help parents and students who are considering applying to college:

  1. Learn the three key questions admissions officers ask about non-traditional students,
  2. Develop a plan to address these questions before applying for admission, and
  3. Understand the common mistakes non-traditional students often make when applying to college (and how to avoid them!)

We will also discuss the key elements to consider when selecting a college or university, along with alternative higher education options that some students may want to consider. By the end of this session you will have a clear understanding of what college admissions officers are looking for when considering non-traditional applicants, key considerations for college planning, and a list of resources to support you along the way.

"My business cards proclaim me to be a researcher, writer and education adviser. But when you get right down to it, I’m much more – I’m a homeschooling mother of two boys, a passionate advocate for alternative education, and an idealist. I believe that for every human being there is an ideal living and learning environment that best supports their unique combination of strengths, interests and personality. I’m also a big believer in choice. I believe that we, as individuals, are the only ones who can really choose what’s best for us. Our most transformational decisions happen by recognizing and knowing our deepest, most honest selves. We move towards fulfilling our greatest potential when we are brave enough to tune out the opinions of others and tune into the inner voice that says “Oh, yeah, this is IT!”


Forging a Different Kind of College – Michelle Jones

In this workshop, we will have a conversation about creating a different kind of college based on three core values: human, on purpose, and adventure. In both small groups and large groups we will generate ideas for what such a college would look like. If participants are interested, we can also discuss a step-by-step process for starting an alternative college in their home city.

Michelle Jones, Ph.D. is a former traditional model college professor who is starting her own college, the Wayfinding Academy. Her 15 years teaching leadership and organizational behavior courses at colleges and universities across the country has prepared her well to forge a different kind of college and rethink what higher education can be with this new endeavor. She is also drawing on her experience organizing events and communities with TEDxMtHood and the World Domination Summit and founding non-profit organizations such as SuperThank.



The Serious(ly fun) Business of Learning Through Song-Games – Abigail Larrison, PhD, EdD, and Fleurette Sweeney, PhD

The session engages educators in a reflective process of experiencing a song-game while being provided insights into the neural and cognitive factors they evoke. Fleurette, a long time music educator with 50 years of experience will share folk song-games that are especially appropriate for an adult to play with a small group of children. Abigail, a neuroscientist and educator, will provide brain research demonstrating the principles behind the effectiveness of this type of play as it relates to embodied cognition, the formation of neural networks, and the development of attention and emotional systems. The songs shared during the session will be made available to all participants.

Fleurette Sweeney, Ph.D. (University of British Columbia 2002), has been teaching folk song-games to teachers, parents and children for more than 50 years. The title of her doctoral dissertation says it all: From Sound to Symbol:The Whole Song As Curriculum; The Whole Child As Pedagogue; Observation As Methodology.

Abigail Larrison, Ph.D. (Rutgers, 2000), Ed.D. (UCSD, 2013) received her doctorate in neuroscience studying the mechanisms of attentional processes in the brain. She moved into education to advance an approach that would help develop attention networks in the brain without the use of harmful drugs. Her work in education examines the connections to be drawn between effective holistic pedagogy and brain development.


Rites of Passage in Our Time – Ba Luvmour

Rites of Passage (ROP) have historically been very prominent in cultures. In our times, many people feel there are only vestiges left that are more of a celebration rather than a true passage. This loss is a catastrophe for humanity. When carefully and correctly executed, ROP can be a response to the lack of meaning and purpose that pervades the post-modern world. Learners in this course will discover how the structure of Rites of Passage provides opportunity for a face to face meeting with the unknown. This responds to the question of how we, as individuals, can experientially know ourselves as open-ended and whole. Done well, ROP create opportunity to touch the very depths of human possibility including the emergence of greater self-knowledge. We’ll share stories, brainstorm both together and individually and allow plenty of time for Q&A.

Ba Luvmour, a pioneer in the field of holistic human development with his wife Josette, for more than 30 years, is the Headmaster of Summa Academy ( ). His life as mentor in the field of Self-Knowledge includes many retreats dedicated to inquiry, meditation, group dialogue, and insight into spiritual philosophy, human development, and the evolution of consciousness. An author of five books, he nevertheless prefers engaging people directly. Personal contact and relationship bring forth trust, the essential foundation for all learning. Ba has facilitated scores of Rites of Passage. His work has inspired the Raven Rite of Passage, a program of Boys to Men in Southern Oregon. His unpublished manuscript, Metamorphoses, describes how to organize Rites of Passage with developmental sensitivity.


How To Leverage Dual Enrollment and Distance Learning Opportunities for the Independent Learner – Ben Mitchell

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan describes dual enrollments as “good dropout-prevention programs." One James Irvine Foundation study suggests that dually enrolled students had better academic outcomes – more likely to graduate high school, more likely to transition to college, less likely to need basic skills courses in college, more likely to persist to graduation, even accumulating more college credits — than comparison students. This workshop examines the potential benefits and pitfalls of the explosion of distance learning opportunities for underrepresented populations. More and more a world of choices is available to students regardless of background. How do we support underrepresented communities in discerning within and benefiting from the growing field of choices?

Ben Mitchell, Director for Admissions at Oak Meadow, has taught at Landmark College, The Union Institute and Smith College — teaching everything from 3rd grade to graduate school, using strategies to support diverse learning styles. In 2009, Mitchell founded Student Mentoring Services, an online mentorship program of cloud based technology to support executive functions. At Landmark College, Mitchell helped found the Language Intensive Curriculum, employing assistive technology to support significant language-based deficits. Mitchell has presented all over the world.


How an Understanding of the Evolution of Consciousness Helps Us Make Sense of Our “Crazy” World and What This Tells Us About The Future of Education – David Marshak

One of the most profound new insights we have about our species describes the evolution of consciousness in our human history. This insight explains that just as there is a stage model in the becoming of children and teens, there is a stage model in the evolution of human consciousness. Our time is unique in recorded history because for the first time, humans centered in radically different stages of consciousness are interacting with each other in daily life, via the Internet and air travel. Conflict is thus inevitable, yet the conflict also sets the stage for further evolution of consciousness on the planet. In this workshop David will describe the stages in the evolution of consciousness and relate this insight to the challenges we face in our societies in evolving from industrial school structures/cultures stuck in the early 20th century to learning communities that offer personalization, relationship, caring, and the selfdesign of learning. The workshop will include both presentation and conversation.

David Marshak is the president of the SelfDesign Graduate Institute and the author of the new book, Evolutionary Parenting.


Creative Mavericks: Beacons of Authentic Learning – Sue Haynes

A renaissance of interest in creative learning is finding a foothold in education dialogue thanks to folks like Sir Ken Robinson (TED talk, "Do Schools Kill Creativity?" The Element), and Daniel H. Pink (A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future). I have added my voice on the topic in my book, Creative Mavericks: Beacons of Authentic Learning. My workshop, based on my book, will cover research about highly creative thinkers, my experiences working with highly creative learners, excerpts from highly creative learners who struggled with schooling and later triumphed in their creativity, and excerpts from teachers who support creative learning in all of their students. Coming from a background in holistic literacy and special education (before it became behaviorist-based), I have worked with many struggling students, the majority of whom have been misdiagnosed as learning disabled and/or AD(H)D, who are, in fact, amazing creative, intuitive learners. Their need for creative initiative, expression, and authenticity butts up against their standardized education. My work has been about supporting their phenomenal, self-determined, creative orientation. I plan to bring forth material from Creative Mavericks as a jumping-off point for discussing how to recognize and facilitate creative learning, why highly creative learners are at-risk in our traditional schooling system, how, in their struggle to be true to their internal learning agendas, these learners act as harbingers of what is dying in the culture: the passion for learning and creative expression sourced from our authentic core (they are our "cultural canaries"). From educator Parker Palmer: “I think, at heart, that we are seeking to find life-giving forces and sources in the midst of an enterprise which is too often death- dealing: education. Education is not just about getting information or getting a job. Education is about healing and wholeness. It is about empowerment and liberation, transcendence, about renewing the vitality of life.”

Over the past thirty years Sue has taught in a variety of classrooms, including adult ed, a high school, elementary schools, College of the Atlantic, and tutoring in her home. With masters degrees in Special Education (Wheelock College) and Literacy (University of Maine), she has particularly valued her experiences with at-risk learners (often with the labels of AD(H)D and/or LD) and has developed empowering approaches for working with them. She has explored these experiences in chapters in several education publications (including Education Revolution) and in her book. Two years ago Sue moved across the country from Bar Harbor, Maine to Portland, Oregon. As she reseeds her life in the Pacific Northwest, she is in the process of developing a private tutoring/consulting practice in N Portland (St. Johns Neighborhood). Sue is also giving presentations on her book, Creative Mavericks: Beacons of Authentic Learning and is looking forward to networking with progressive Portland educators.


Jamming: The Art of Co-Creating Beloved Learning Communities – Shilpa Jain

Participants would get to experience a little taste of a Jam — the practices and principles for co-creating beloved learning communities. There would time to also explore how the key principles of Jamming can be applied to many different kinds of learning communities, particularly for increasing self-awareness, building bridges across historic divides, and coming out with visions and actions of the world we want to see everywhere we go.

Shilpa Jain is currently rooting herself in Oakland/Berkeley, CA, where she serves as the Executive Director of YES!. Prior to taking on this role, Shilpa spent two years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator of Other Worlds and ten years as a learning activist with Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, based in Udaipur, India, where she served as coordinator of the Swapathgami (Walkouts-Walkons) Network. Shilpa has researched and written numerous books and articles, and facilitated workshops and gatherings on topics including globalization, creative expressions, ecology, democratic living, innovative learning and unlearning. Her publications include A Poet’s Challenge to Schooling, Reclaiming the Gift Culture, Other Worlds of Power, Paths of Unlearning, Unfolding Learning Societies volumes one, two and three, and several issues of Vimukt Shiksha (“Liberating Learning”) and the Swapathgami newsletter “Making Our Paths of Living and Learning”. She is also co-author of “Connect. Inspire. Collaborate”, a highly sought-after facilitation manual. Shilpa has facilitated dozens of transformative leadership gatherings in India, Jordan, Senegal, Lebanon, Egypt, Thailand, Canada, Peru, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Turkey, and the US, working with hundreds of young leaders from over 80 countries. She was founding coordinator of the Global Youth Leadership Collaborative, a network of 15 Jam facilitators from 14 countries that has collectively produced dozens of international gatherings for young changemakers, and distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to small-scale grassroots social change innovations worldwide. Many years ago, Shilpa made the decision to leave the trappings of academia, Washington, DC, and the path of “professionalism” that had been laid before her to live and work in greater alignment with her soul’s calling. Today, she sees her work as contributing to the deep healing of internal, interpersonal and systemic breakdown. Shilpa is committed to using very simple human technologies – like listening, speaking from the heart, slowing down, breathing, and connecting to nature – to support authentic relationships, a deeper sense of self, an essential shift in consciousness, and aligned living practices. She is passionate about dance and music, organic and natural farming, upcycling and zero waste living, asking appreciative questions and being in community. All of her work seeks to uncover ways for people to free themselves from dominating, soul-crushing institutions and to live in greater alignment with their hearts and deepest values, their local communities, and with nature.


Workshop: Robert’s Rules of Order…How to Teach Democratic Decision Making to Children from Kindergarten to the 5th Grade – Ted Weisgal

Robert’s is used and misused civic groups all over the world. People are thrown into the fray without any training. No wonder it’s hated and people are “Bowling Alone” (Robert Putnam). People in power like it this way. There is an alternative. Participate in the process and see how easy and fun the basics can be. Take what you learn back to your school; meld it into your curriculum where you’ll see democracy and learning flourish. Discipline within the process will be addressed; we bet you’ll even discover a happier campus.

Ted has taught Robert’s for 34 years, initially for the lifelong learning program which he co-founded in Houston, Leisure Learning Unlimited. He’s taught it to children as young as 2nd grade and authored A Guide to Teaching Robert’s Rules of Order to Children from Kindergarten to the 5th Grade that will be published this year. One 4th grade class voted unanimously for him to teach them for five days including an essay exam at the end. He served as the Parliamentarian for the National Board of the radio network, Pacifica, for 1½ years.


Supporting the Unconventional Learner in the College Admission Process – Michelle Simpson-Siegel/Brigid Lawler

Between 1999 and 2007 the homeschool population grew from 850 thousand to 1.5 million. Homeschoolers, unschoolers, dual-enrollments and multiple-enrollments — these are some of the most interesting college applicants in the field today. Whether you are trying to support a non-traditional student in the college search or trying to make create a homeschool transcript, this workshop will provide specific tools to unearth the talent. For almost forty years, Oak Meadow has supported homeschool families in the college search process. Since 1946, Marlboro College has recruited some of the most interesting students in the annual pool. Come learn how these two progressive, alternative programs tease out the potential of this unconventional and growing community.


Michelle Simpson-Siegel, Executive Director of Oak Meadow received her undergraduate degree in Education and English from the University of Rhode Island and a degree in Environmental Education from Antioch University New England. Before coming to Oak Meadow, Michelle taught English at Northfield Mount Hermon, was a Learning Specialist in the Massachusetts public schools, and worked as a Program Director for The Massachusetts Audubon Society. Michelle lives in Dummerston, Vermont with her family. Her interests include slow food, travel, parenting, yoga, and the literary arts.

Brigid Lawler, Dean of Admissions at Marlboro College, Brigid’s has a track record of creating strong admissions teams, building both freshman and transfer admissions programs within public, private and independent school settings. Before joining the staff at Marlboro College, Brigid held leadership positions at Dowling College, Oldfields School and the University of Baltimore. Brigid has been tasked with rebuilding Marlboro’s admissions office and looks forward to spreading the word about Marlboro’s unique student centered programs and the value of a liberal arts education.


Supporting Learning through Invitations and Questions – Dee Kimbrell

Many parents want to move from teacher to learning facilitator, but keep finding they are following the "teacher" model they grew up with. Aren't parents and teachers supposed to have all the answers? What about having the Questions? Question asking skills are not taught in traditional education, but are the tool you need to support your 3 to 12 year old child's natural questioning phase. In this interactive workshop you will polish your question asking skills that will open the doors of possibility.

Dee Kimbrell works as an Educational Play Specialist, Workshop Facilitator and Visual Artist. As a Processology ™ Practitioner, she is extensively trained in the learning process and cutting edge techniques to facilitate creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. Dee's dynamic style communicates her passion for a new way to experience education. Based on recent brain research, Dee facilitates interactive and collaborative experiences for teachers that are fun and inspiring. As a visual artist, Dee specializes in recycled materials and leads groups to create something beautiful while learning about ways to connect with and care for their community.


Education projects based on human values – Lucie Marcotte, M.Sc

"Education for a world of peace" is an example of education based on human values which provides a simple approach to define and realize learning projects that can contribute to human and spiritual evolution and contribution to a world of peace, the Golden Age of humanity. This workshop offers an opportunity for participants to experience short projects based on human values, share feedback and ideas with their team and the group, create projects based on human values, and hear-see some examples from a communication workshop created with the projects based on human values approach to contribute to more peaceful and benevolent communications in verbal, non verbal, written, silence forms and listening to our inner wisdom, examples with projects based on human values for health and inner peace, etc., and the possibility to access a bank of projects based on human values.

Lucie Marcotte, M.Sc.,- teacher, trainer, author, editor. I have founded Editions Terre Nouvelle (New Earth Publishing) and L'Ecole de la Paix (The school of Peace). For many years, I have been carrying the vision of a world of Peace, a New Earth, the Golden Age of humanity. I have been looking for ways to be at peace and to contribute to the greater good. I looked at different perspectives such as education, communications, holistic health approaches and confidence in our health harmonizing potential, arts, personal and spiritual development, blossoming of our soul qualities, development of our human-divine potential, Self recognition and realization, etc. Education projects based on human values are examples inspired by this reflection. My education background is mainly in sciences, communication, health, and personal and spiritual development. So far, my education experience has been with people in university, college, high school, community organizations, business and public environments, and with children. I am the author of many books and new web training programs with education projects based on human values.


The Art of Parenting Self-Directed Learners – Scott Noelle

Education is the process by which a person acquires the knowledge, values, and skills that are conducive to a satisfying and meaningful life. By this definition, education is significantly hindered by conventional schooling. Alternative schools (including "home schools") that allow students to direct their own education clear the way for the education process to unfold naturally through curiosity, play, social engagement, and the drive for self-empowerment. But self-directed education (SDE) is a whole-life process — not limited to school and other "educational" activities. Thus parents can greatly enhance their children's education by aligning their parenting practices with SDE principles. In this session, facilitated by parenting coach Scott Noelle (, parents will learn how to achieve this alignment, and "teachers" (SDE facilitators) will learn how to coach the parents of the self-directed learners they support.


Acts of Sedition: Recuperating play in a world shaped by "the man" – Alan Fortescue

Come to this workshop to be silly, have fun and to re-ignite your inner capacity for wonder and play. Through hands on play activities that challenge participants to cast off the weight of their day and the pressure of their lives, we will identify just how much our contemporary culture precludes a truly creative spirit and how this impacts our society writ large. We will end by defining how we as parents, teachers and educational leaders can and should seek to incorporate play into our lives (and the lives of our children and students) as a means of fostering curiosity and joy that can counter the frequent negativity of the modern world.

Alan Fortescue holds a PhD in Education and Leadership from the University of Virginia, and he earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in literature. Alan has extensive experience in teaching and leadership in higher and experiential education. He was the director of education for Earthwatch Institute from 2005-10, and has been a consulting editor for the Journal of Environmental Education since 2007. Alan has served as a consultant for UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), where he was also a cofounder and steering committee member for the North American Alliance for Sustainable Development and Education. He has consulted for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, Discovery Channel Education, and WGBH Public Television. Alan enjoys exploring new ways to empower and inspire students to gain awareness of themselves, others, and the world around them. In addition to his accomplishments as an educational professional, he is an award-winning painter and skilled mountaineer.


Holistic Education: A Seven Domains Approach – What is Holistic Education? – West Willmore

This question sits at the foundation of our goal as an educational institution. To begin to answer it, we must define the term Holism. Holism is the understanding that life is an interaction of wholes, rather than a collection of individual parts. These whole systems interact in synergy- what affects one system will not only affect the other integrated systems but will also affect the whole. Holistic principles can be found in health care, psychology, anthropology, ecology, economics, and other disciplines. Holistic Education follows this same premise, subscribing to the philosophy that the learning experience is a comprehensive integration not only of traditional academic subjects, but of the many facets that comprise a human being. The reductionist view that humans are simply a mind/body construct- a machine with parts that can be modified in isolation- does not fulfill the learner’s true potential. At Rainbow Community School (RCS), the student is viewed Holistically through Seven Domains: spiritual, mental, social, emotional, creative, natural, and physical. The Seven Domains Model is an all inclusive approach that nurtures the highest growth potential of each child that attends Rainbow Community School. Join West Willmore, RCS Curriculum Director as she shares student and teacher artifacts that show Seven Domains in action as well as Seven Domains strategies, systems and structures that may be adapted for use in your organization.

West Willmore has been teaching in alternative educational settings for over 10 years- from environmental education centers, nature's classroom and for the last 8 years- at Rainbow Community School (RCS). She is currently the Curriculum Director at RCS and is working with local educators to design a progressive and holistic high school in Asheville, North Carolina. She holds a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from the University of the South, a M.Ed from Montana State University, a graduate certificate in Environmental Education from the Teton Science Schools and a NC school administrators license through Appalachian State University.


Hands On Learning – Derek Peterson

The Other Side of the Report Card Academic success is often measured by a report card. We receive a grade that is determined by a scoring rubric and we are placed on a curve and averaged. But who is really average? What about the skills that are not measured on a report card? Let’s take a look at the Other Side of the Report Card and answer questions on how we can strengthen each student’s individual developmental ecology. By providing a common language for schools, families and community members to begin and continue discussions about our shared responsibility for educating and preparing our children and youth for life now and in the future we can ensure success for all. You will learn: The fundamentals of Integrative Youth Development – how can we ensure success for all youth? How to measure the support students have from all sectors of their communities Why looking at average statistics is ineffective and why we need to look at the whole child and the support they have.

Derek is the founder of Integrative Youth Development (IYD.) IYD teaches a measurable, meaningful, and memorable method to youth, family members, teachers, administrators, youth program professionals, faith leaders that essentially guarantees the health and well-being of all children and youth. Derek is a youth-serving professional who easily shifts from leading student retreats one day, to working alongside local, state, and national elected officials to shape and form policy the next. Derek's community engagement work in the Federal Government's No Child Left Behind Legislation has been highlighted by the Harvard Education Review. He has been recognized as the "Prevention Professional of the Year" and for his "Distinguished Service to Schools" in Alaska. He has delivered over 2000 presentations on youth development around the world. His work has engaged and supported individuals, families, schools, and communities for over 30 years. Today, Derek is an International Child/Youth Advocate who does IYD work for numerous communities and school districts throughout the USA and the world, including contractual work with the National School Board Association, the Education Commission of the States, Arizona School Board Association, the Yukon-Koyukuk School District, the International Institute for Children's' Rights and Development, the Canadian Ministry of Child and Family Development, Strategies (Calif), the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, to name a few. He guides efforts to merge young development research with the attitudes, cultures and values found within local communities.


Using the School's Implicit Curriculum to Social Emotional Learning for a Healthy School Climate – Linda Inlay, Goldie Curry

Neuroscience research reveals that the social emotional skills of self-awareness, self-regulation, and resiliency are more important than IQ in student achievement. A systems approach, using the school's implicit curriculum, is a powerful way to increase student achievement, lessen bullying, and support student engagement and wellbeing as it cohesively aligns mission, structures, processes, and modeling. The Ho`āla Educational Philosophy, developed in 1972 in Hawaii and implemented at Hoala School in Hawaii and River School, a charter middle school in Napa, have nurtured responsible, respectful, and academically successful students for 30 years, winning awards for this approach. In addition to learning about how social emotional learning supports academic achievement and about Ho`āla’s systems approach, participants will take away strategies to use with students, teachers, administrators, and parents.


Linda Inlay began her career as an educator at Our Lady of Sorrows School in Wahiawa, Hawaii, where she worked for fifteen years. There she collaborated with the founders of the Ho`āla Educational Philosophy, a combination of Adlerian principles and Carl Roger’s self-actualization theory. Ho`āla in Hawaiian means, “awakening of the self.” This program emphasized the core values of responsibility, respect, resourcefulness, and responsiveness to be modeled by the adults in order to foster these same values in the students. Later Linda left Hawaii for California, entering the public school system and serving for eighteen years as the principal of River School in Napa County, where she introduced the Ho`āla educational philosophy. She taught parenting classes to bring home and school culture together, and during her tenure, River School received two California Distinguished School Awards, the Promising Practices Award and National School of Character Award from the Character Education Partnership, and the California School Board Association’s Golden Bell Award. In 2012 River School also became a New Tech Network School where project-based learning is infused with technology as an engaging and effective methodology for teaching and learning. Linda has presented at numerous conferences: National Middle School Association, Character Education Partnership, California League of Middle Schools, National Charter Schools, California Charter Schools Association, North Coast Educational Summit, and the Character Education Partnership Forums. . She has authored four articles published in ASCD’s Educational Leadership, and, most recently, in the January 2016 issue of the Middle School Journal. Linda holds a Masters in Educational Foundations from the University of Hawaii. Her thesis, Ho`āla School "The Transformation of Character Through the Implicit Curriculum," continues to be used a training guide for teachers at two schools.


Collaborative Communication: Essential Tools for Democratic, Life-Enriching Education – Sura Hart

Collaborative Communication is skillful, dynamic, and dialogic. Practicing Collaborative Communication leads to co-creative innovation and win-win solutions to problems and conflicts. In this workshop participants learn the core principles of Collaborative Communication and experience how it can enrich our inner life, our interpersonal relationships and our learning communities.

Sura Hart has devoted 35 years to creating and supporting holistic learning processes and communities—in homeschool programs, in after-school programs and in public and private schools.. Her primary fieldwork was classroom teaching in California public and private schools, culminating at Oak Grove School (Ojai, CA) founded by philosopher, J. Krishnamurti. In all the learning communities, Sura observes that the greatest asset and contributor to success is respectful relationships supported by honest, compassionate and collaborative communication. Her guiding question: How do we create the conditions for everyone in the learning community to know that they belong, they matter, and their perspectives and talents are valued? And what skills and processes best support learning, mutual care and understanding, and collaboration? In 1998 Sura began her study and practice of Nonviolent Communication with Marshall Rosenberg, founder of Nonviolent Communication She was soon certified as aninternational trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication and appointed by Marshall Rosenberg to direct NVC school projects. This practice continues to inspire and inform her work with learning communities. In 2000, Sura co-founded, with Victoria Kindle Hodson, The No-Fault Zone (R) to further support compassionate and collaborative relationships in schools, families.and other learning communities. Sura and Victoria co-created The No-Fault Zone Game, a hands-on communication and conflict resolution tool used in schools and homes around the world. They also co-authored three books that have been translated into several languages: The Compassionate Classroom; The No-Fault Classroom; Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids. Sura also co-founded Teach for Life! NVC Educators Institute, which puts on a 5-day summer institute for educators intent on learning and practicing skills and processes that support compassionate, collaborative learning communities. Sura makes her home in Seattle near her family, and continues her work consulting with schools, coaching parents and teachers and traveling the world to speak at conferences and facilitate workshops. Her most recent trips were to China where her books have been translated into both simplified and traditional Chinese.


Mother Nature Rocks!  – Connie Giffin

This workshop reveals the wisdom, spirit, and unconditional love in action that is Mother Nature. Experiential and suitable for all ages and interests, this workshop will share in brief, the vital process to reconnecting with the 54 natural senses with which all humans arrived upon earth. The natural senses which were ripped from you by uninformed parents, society and the educational system leaving you inadequately prepared to function with only 5 of your rightful senses. The proven process to reconnection through education is the key to solving all human created destruction upon the earth and of our progeny. At the conclusion you will hold the key to transforming yourself and learners into ethical earth caregivers.

Connie Giffin has been nurtured by nature over a long, tumultous earth journey, Her US industrial age model primary and secondary schooling contrast with her holistic higher education, placing her in a unique position to share from personal experience and her globe trotting research project, Our Children: Our Future, conducted in 2012-13 and continuing. An ecopsychology PhD candidate, she mentors learners globally and offers a website classroom. She is an artist, author, biophilic architectural designer of built environments, and retreat facilitator. Giffin lives in nature with her Ecuadoran family on a mountainside organic farm in Vilcabamba.


Take a Byte of Academic Rigor Online – Jaya Bhavnani

The demands placed on young elite athletes and performing artists often make it difficult for them to follow a traditional high school program. Through its Access Agenda, the Dwight School has been searching for ways to be more inclusive and offer students the flexibility needed to pursue their passions and training while earning a high school diploma. Join us to review the benefits to students taking the blended learning experience that combines online learning with collaborative inquiry and all the benefits of being part of a vibrant school community. One of the challenges many charter schools encounter is how to handle the large number of students interested in programs that may have limited availability. Finding ways to be selective and inclusive at the same time can be more art than science. Participants will be able to identify potential students for the program or specific courses; look at potential funding mechanisms. They will also get to view sample course interactions with a global community. Strong content, 21st century skills, and rigorous academic program can be yours to share!

Ms. Jaya Bhavnani is currently the IB Coordinator and oversees Dwight’s online learning, working closely with Pamoja Education. She has a long history of teaching mathematics and science to Upper School students. She came to Dwight in 2010 with extensive experience in international education reflected in her positive attitude and multilingual skills. Ms. Bhavnani has been actively involved with the International Baccalaureate as a Face-to-Face and Online Workshop Leader, Site Evaluator, Consultant, DP Examiner, and MYP Moderator. She has served as a frequent guest contributor for professional development and curriculum alignment and review. She graduated college with a Bachelor of Science in Education and Physics and a Masters of Science in Mathematics. A passionate educator, Jaya firmly believes that as a teacher, there is a lot to learn!


School Re-Imagined – Evonne Rogers

Children enter the world curiously hard-wired for creativity and imagination. After a few short years of school, something drastically changes for them. Why? There is an unmistakable and deliberate attempt to control the learning of young people who find themselves sitting in our schools. The industrial model of schooling has taken its toll and victims without remorse. It programs curious young minds to become helpless, dependent, and compliant. It is manipulation and malpractice, but few seem to notice or care. After years of observing and participating in some of these questionable practices herself, Evonne decided it was time to tell the truth about schools. With a credible and strong voice, Evonne tackles the “sacred school rituals” that are rarely questioned and widely accepted as normal. Sharing what she describes as the ten “UN” commandments, she transparently leads us through firmly-held and faulty assumptions about schooling practices. She offers common sense solutions that challenge us to re-imagine how we do school in this country. Evonne wittingly acknowledges that any attempt to rattle the status quo in the schooling system may cause an Armageddon of sorts. However, with strong conviction, passion, and a call to action, she encourages us to hear and listen to the voices of our children who are crying out for the freedom to learn.

Evonne has served as an educator in three states, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and California. She has been a classroom teacher, a Comer School Development Program facilitator, a school administrator, a county level program coordinator for English Learners and Small School Districts, a county level Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and ended her schooling career as a district Assistant Superintendent. Her experiences in schools has led her to speak and write, with passion, about what she has observed over the years. Her desire is that schools become true partners in facilitating the unique and individualized education every young person deserves.


Holding Tension and Embracing Paradox: Founding an independent educational alternative in the 21st century – Paul Freedman & Amber Kara

So you want to start an alternative school or non-school?  Such an exhilarating prospect in theory.  But how do our passion and pedagogical ideals meet with the boots on the ground?  Amber Kara, Founding Executive Director of Summa Institute and Summa Academy, Portland, OR and Paul Freedman, Founding Head of Salmonberry School, Eastsound, WA, share stories of their joys and sorrows in their school founding journeys.  Participants will be guided to connect with their deepest educational beliefs and explore the process of moving from vision through sustainable practice.  We will share stories, brainstorm both together and individually and allow plenty of time for Q&A.

Paul Freedman MA Goddard College.  Paul has taught elementary grades for 23 years. He is the Founding Head of Salmonberry School in Eastsound, WA.  His writing has been widely published.  He served as Contributing Editor for Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice.  His recent TEDx Talk is entitled: “Deep Education: Re-visioning Teaching and Learning for Today.”

My work at Summa brings me ever closer to the change I want to see in myself and in the world around me. I do many things at Summa as both Executive Director of Summa Institute, and Head of School at Summa Academy. I have daily contact with students and many opportunities for meaningful communication with parents and educators. I teach art, in which I see greatness shining through creativity. I mentor the Emerald students, helping them navigate relationships, which foster their (and my) Emotional Intelligence. I also run the business (Summa Institute), managing the Board of Directors, budgets, enrollment, and marketing. At Summa the practice of cultivating well-being extends to all its constituents. Though there are daily challenges, many surprises, and a busy task list, Summa is a constant joy.


Writing Together Builds Strong RelationshipsVera Goodman

Families who celebrate writing together are guaranteed to raise children who are strong writers and who love to write.  This hands-on workshop teaches enjoyable ways to foster writing excellence for all family members from 2 to 92.  You will never look at writing in the same way again.

Vera Goodman, B.Ed, M.A. is a teacher, consultant and author of two books, Simply Read! Helping Others Learn to Read and Simply Write! Personal and Family Writing.  Her energy, enthusiasm and unusual insights into reading and writing have captivated audiences internationally. The ability to translate academic research into simple, common-sense practice is Vera’s special gift.


ALC Workshops

ALCs as next step in evolution of Free Schools. / What's the difference between Democratic and ALC-  Arthur Brock

The first ALC was built from the ashes of a dying Free School, and many of our tools and processes were developed specifically to address common challenges which Free Schools face. So far, Free Schools have had good experiences with using these tools which has even led some to switch over to become ALCs. In this session we’ll explore some of the differences in approach between Free Schools and ALCs and how different student directed learning settings can benefit from using agile tools.


Culture Hacking 101 // Intentional Culture CreationDrew Hornbein

Much of our education comes not from the content of lessons but from the culture and environment we are in. Creating a healthy and positive culture should be a top priority. What if it didn’t have to be a terrible challenge? What if it your community could start right away? You can achieve this by making community norms explicit and the process through which they are changed participatory, iterative, and clear. Join Drew Hornbein to explore the ALC tools and practices that help people realize their agency to identify, shift, upgrade, and impact their community’s culture. Learn about the Community Mastery Board and Change­up Meetings that introduce community agreements through a participatory and iterative process.


Creating Financially Self­Sufficient Schools through Youth EntrepreneurshipEric Bear

Imagine if our schools didn’t rely on tuition, grants, and (mostly non­existent) government funding! Financial self­sufficiency is a vital component to the overall stability of any learning community, and a challenging one in communities whose wealth lies not in their federal currency. There are schools in the world that integrate businesses into their operation to generate the money they need to operate, and Join us to share, generate, and collect resources for creating financially self­sufficient schools with the students!


Integrating Parental Participation with Student Directed Learning ­- Tomis Parker

Historically, schools and learning communities based on a self­directed education model have struggled to determine the role parents should play in the day­to­day operations. This workshop will examine the partnership approach that various Agile Learning Centers have taken to engage parents in a way that taps into the vast resources they can provide and encourages collaboration while continuing to hold a clear space for students to direct their own educational agenda.


Teacher to Facilitator Discussion – Mandy Harpstrite

Join Mandy Harpstrite, first-year facilitator at ALC Oahu, in a discussion for people who have taught in a traditional classroom setting and have interest in the journey from being a teacher to becoming a facilitator. This will be a forum to have a deep and meaningful conversation around what it means to be a facilitator versus being a teacher, experiences that may occur in decompressing and unschooling yourself, finding a niche in facilitation and sharing about what it means to hold space for yourself and the self­directed learners you may be facilitating with.



What is a TeacherHack? – Michelle Blanchet

We all have ideas on how we could improve teaching and learning. Every teacher I’ve ever talked to has at least one issue they’d like to work on or one project idea they’d like to develop for their students. TeacherHack is a one day program that turns professional development days into hands-on, productive opportunities for teachers to carry out their ideas while learning about the process of innovation. These one day workshops are designed to give you the support and resources needed to materialize small-scale projects so that by the end of the day you leave with something in your hands.

TeacherHack blends hackathon principles with our very own innovation canvas (as designed with JustInnovate a social organization from the prestigious Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland). It’s meant to promote collaboration, problem solving, entrepreneurial thinking, and strengthen growth mindsets. By the end of the workshop, teachers will have developed a rough draft of their solution or project and will have experienced an effective format to bring problem-solving to students and/or staff. .



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