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  • December 06, 2021 10:44 AM | Ashley (Administrator)

    Red Rover, Red Rover

    Is this pandemic year over?

    By: Lindsay Zilly 

    I grew up in the 90’s and a playground favorite pastime of my friends and I was, believe it or not, playing Red Rover. To play, you’d divide into two teams and stand opposite each other with some running distance separating you. Then, you’d link arms or hold hands in a line facing your opponent and chant, Red Rover, Red Rover, send Lindsay right over! If your name happened to be called, you’d leave your team and run as fast as you could at the line of opposing players and attempt to run through their clasped hands. The goal was to break through the brick wall of children and bring someone back to your team with you. Conversely it was the opposing team's goal to hold strong and not let go of each other's hands and keep you from severing the connection. If I’m being honest, it wasn’t the safest playground activity for us to be playing. However, it was exciting…and a little terrifying!

    via GIPHY

    I’m not sure why, but the memory of playing Red Rover popped into my head on my drive to work today. This week has been particularly stressful and I was reflecting on how lucky I am to have people in my life selflessly picking me up when I need it most. We are having work done on our house and if you’ve ever been fortunate enough to get some projects done on your house, you know it rarely ever goes according to plan. This means I have had to be chaos coordinator for a family of 7 on the fly this week. Fortunately, I have the best friends and neighbors who are making it all possible. I know how lucky I am but it is also more than luck; it’s something I refer to as relational currency. Other people might say it’s Karma or manifesting good energy but for me it can be summed up by the old adage: what goes around comes around. 

    I love it when I can find a way to help out a friend. Whether it’s doing their grocery shopping for them (thank you InstaCart), sending them an adult beverage on a particularly lackluster day (hello Binny’s to go!) or taking care of dinner for them (I’m looking at you Door Dash), helping a friend in need is my love language. And today, technology has made it so much easier for us to share the load and help each other out in our greatest times of need. By doing these small random acts of kindness, we are building relational currency with our people. Then, when we are in need, help comes without a second thought. 

    via GIPHY


    How does this all connect?

    I think for many teachers right now it feels like we are playing a giant game of Red Rover. We are standing shoulder to shoulder with our teaching besties facing down next month's calendar of events, to do’s and assessments. We are not sure what’s about to come our way, but if we are lucky, we have someone there to hold our hand and ground us when the next obstacle heads our way. 

    This year has left a lot of teachers feeling burned out or broken. Sure, it’s in our nature to keep moving forward because if we don’t, it’s the kids who end up suffering. But while it’s important for us to move forward, it’s equally as important for us to look at who is staying the course with us. Who is right there by our side to hold our hand when something big is headed our way or to help us up after we’ve been knocked down on our backs. 

    It’s the teachers in the trenches that are my reason for going to work every day. My Red Rover teammates who are staring down the second half of a school year and whispering to each other, winter break is coming. I’m incredibly lucky and grateful to have many whom I can call when I need support and I hope you are too.

    So, here’s to all the educators out there feeling like they are stuck in an endless game of Red Rover. Know that we stand with you, shoulder to shoulder, as you navigate a truly unique school year. We are here to take your hand and lend you our strength when you feel like you can’t stand on your own two feet alone any more. 


    Call To Action

    Invest in each other and do the same for a fellow teacher in the trenches. Establish that relational currency so you know it’s there for when you need it. Whether it is for the teacher next door or across the interwebs; stand together knowing that we’ve got your back!


  • December 02, 2021 1:52 PM | Ashley (Administrator)

    IDEA Partners make it possible for IDEA to achieve its mission. 

    And in case you didn’t know -- Our mission is to inspire, connect and provide the educational community with opportunities that transform teaching and learning through technology. 

    That is why we are thrilled to welcome our newest Bronze Partner, Newsela

    Newsela takes authentic, real-world content from trusted sources and makes it instruction ready for K-12 classrooms. Each text is published at five reading levels, so content is accessible to every learner. Today, over 2.5 million teachers and 37 million students have registered with Newsela for content that’s personalized to student interests, accessible to everyone, aligned to instructional standards, and attached to activities and reporting that hold teachers accountable for instruction and students accountable for their work. With over 10,000 texts in Newsela’s platform and 10 new texts published every day across 20+ genres, Newsela enables educators to go deep on any subject they choose.

    Newsela's mission is meaningful classroom learning for every student. We're an edtech company that brings together digital content with integrated assessments and insights. The result is more engaged readers—and engaged readers are better learners.

    Newsela provides content that is:

    • AUTHENTIC: From the real world, about real and relatable people and topics
    • ACCESSIBLE: Differentiated at 5 levels, representative of every learner
    • ACTIVE: Never stale, always up-to-date with what’s happening in the world
    • ACCOUNTABLE: Ensures educators and students are taking responsibility for learning
    • ALIGNED: Aligned to key standards, frameworks, and commonly used curriculum

    Newsela’s offerings include Newsela ELA, Newsela Science, Newsela Social Studies, Newsela SEL, and more.

    Check out more about Newsela here



  • December 02, 2021 1:44 PM | Ashley (Administrator)

    IDEA Partners make it possible for IDEA to achieve its mission. 

    And in case you didn’t know -- Our mission is to inspire, connect and provide the educational community with opportunities that transform teaching and learning through technology. 

    That is why we are thrilled to welcome our newest Bronze Partner, Renaissance

    Renaissance is a global leader in assessment, reading, math, early literacy, and data-driven solutions for pre-K–12 schools and districts. Renaissance is committed to providing teacher-facilitated instructional delivery with resources to help students build a strong foundation for success. The mission of this organization is to accelerate learning for all children and adults of all ability levels and ethnic and social backgrounds, worldwide.




    As a global leader in assessment, reading, and math solutions for pre-K–12 schools and districts, Renaissance is committed to providing educators with insights and resources to accelerate growth and help all students build a strong foundation for success. Renaissance solutions reach more than 40 percent of US schools and more than half a million students in other regions across the world. The Renaissance portfolio includes Star Assessments, for reliable, accurate insights into K–12 student learning; myIGDIs, for accurate assessment of early learning; myON, to increase students’ access to high-quality reading materials; Accelerated Reader, to support independent reading practice; Freckle, for teacher-led differentiated instruction; Schoolzilla, to give educators actionable insights into trends in student attendance and achievement; Lalilo, to develop critical foundational skills; and Nearpod, for teacher-facilitated instructional delivery. 

    Check out more about Renaissance here

  • December 01, 2021 2:38 PM | Ashley (Administrator)

    Walking the Talk: The Power of Dialogue

    by Jennifer Waldvogel

    Ever experience one of those ‘aha’ moments that leaves you wondering how you survived without this POV? Like the first time you sipped a great cup of coffee or sat in the good seats at a sporting event, once you’ve experienced the breakthrough, there’s no going back to ordinary life. 

    As a teacher, that ‘aha’ moment was when I let go of conversation control, and dove into dialogue.

    The Gift of Vulnerability

    Twenty-seven students gathered in a large circle on my classroom floor, cool tile grounding the conversation we were about to have. Twenty-seven faces stared back at their English teacher. 

    “Today, we’re going to practice feeling vulnerable.” 

    Instantly, I could feel my students' nervousness. Vulnerable is an uncomfortable word, especially when you’re seventeen years old, surrounded by peers. But my students were also curious, and I was banking on that. 

    “We’ve been talking about the human condition. About the feelings and experiences we share as human beings. And today, we focus on vulnerability.” 

    I reached behind me for a clear Ziplock bag full of tiny strips of paper. “This bag is full of personal questions.” I paused, smiling at them, “Not deep, dark, secret kind of questions.” A few laughed, but they were hardly sold on the idea: they needed to see what this was all about. “These questions are just about you, about what you think and what you like. We’re each going to draw a question from the bag, read it aloud, and answer. You can pass once, but we’ll come back to you. I’m here with you, part of the group, and I’ll go first.”

    That day in class, we focused on one person at a time. In our circle, we could see everyone and our conversation was a single thread. We discovered one another’s interests, friendships, and habits. We became closer as a classroom community. But we couldn’t have this conversation on the first day of class. And we couldn’t have it all without first building trust. 

    In the next few weeks of our World Literature class, we got to the good stuff, sharing thoughts about the big picture questions with no answers: What is truth? What is fair? What is beauty? I realized how much more exciting it was to watch my students in open dialogue than a carefully facilitated discussion. In that moment, I became a believer: in the battle between Dialogue and Discussion, dialogue is definitely the way to go.  

    Why should we engage our students and colleagues in close, connective conversations? Conversations like the one we had on the classroom floor are the avenue to dialogue, and dialogue is the ultimate goal for truly transformative communication.

    The Case for Dialogue

    Educators are strong discussion leaders. We know how to create engaging questions, connect students’ comments to one another, and keep a discussion rolling. But, do we offer our students enough chances to dialogue? As a high school literature teacher, all too often the talk in my class was a discussion with pre-determined questions and revelations to uncover. Our discussions had a goal, and in the name of text understanding, that was valuable, but if I wanted the learning to transform my students’ view of themselves and the world, what I really wanted was dialogue.                                    

    *Image courtesy of Sustained Dialogue Institute


    Dialogue is open-ended. Dialogue seeks understanding without conclusion. Dialogue is a space to learn about those engaged in the dialogue, not just the text or idea behind the speakers. 

    Unlike debate, [dialogue] doesn't involve arguing for a point of view, defending a set of assumptions, or critiquing the positions of others. Unlike negotiation or consensus-building, it's not a method of reaching agreement or arriving at decisions. And unlike discussion, it can only emerge when participants trust and respect each other, suspend their judgments, and listen deeply to all points of view. (Scott London, 2021)


    Setting the Stage for Dialogue

    Good dialogue requires a layer of trust among participants. We can help our students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings by starting with activities to help them clarify their values. As they learn about themselves, invite them to share small revelations with their peers: first in partners, then small groups. 

    In our World Literature class, we started the semester with an Ideology Survey,  began each class period with a Self-Awareness Journal Prompt, and just before our dialogue about aspects of the human condition, we engaged in the Johari Window. Practicing reflection was building the foundation we needed for the dialogue on the horizon. No matter how young our students are, they have the ability to uncover what is important to them, and practice sharing their opinions with peers, especially when we guide them through that journey. These reflective practices set the stage for the empathy and openness we need to engage in dialogue. 


    During the Dialogue

    That dreaded silence: watching students squirm under the weight of a conversation dead stop can be hard, but we can help them work their way through this without taking the lead. One technique that fuels dialogue is reflexive noticing. Anna Pauliina Rainio & Riikka Hofmann (2021) describe reflexive noticing as speech actions that avoid immediate closure, sustaining a puzzle, reflecting on it and connecting it to a need to change, in this way creating ‘a sense of the possible’” . We can help our students practice reflexive noticing during dialogue by first modeling this in our facilitated, whole-class discussions. When we repeat students’ comments that offer openness to a new idea, we bring attention to the value of open mindedness. Even the tiniest comment of wonderment or curiosity by a student can spark a connection among their peers and a feeling of “being seen”. After modeling in a whole group, allow students to practice reflective noticing in small groups. Start with sentence stems to help them find their words, encouraging students to slow down and really think about what their peers are saying. Listening and connecting are the goals, not arriving at a conclusion. 

    During a dialogue, interject when students need a reminder that every issue has multiple sides and every classroom includes multiple perspectives. A single individual can hold multiple perspectives. As facilitators, we can switch our role from discussion leader to dialogue supporter, giving students the reins for talk that focuses on making connections and arriving at a greater understanding of one another.


    The Takeaway

    Dialogue isn’t just for our students. Dialogue is for ourselves. Whether our role is in the classroom, in the school, or at the district level, dialogue has the power to break down barriers and bring people together. In the divisiveness of today, I can’t think of anything better than conversation meant simply for understanding.


    References

    Anna Pauliina Rainio & Riikka Hofmann (2021) Teacher professional dialogues during a school intervention: From stabilization to possibility discourse through reflexive noticing, Journal of the Learning Sciences, DOI: 10.1080/10508406.2021.1936532

    Illinois Literary in Action (2016).  Collaborative conversation suggestions & sentence stems. ISBE speaking & listening kit. 

    Johari window model. https://www.communicationtheory.org/the-johari-window-model/Retrieved November 2021.

    Scott London (2021) The power of dialogue: Creating common meaning and purpose. Scott.London. https://scott.london/articles/ondialogue.html 


    About the Author: 

    Jennifer Waldvogel is an NBCT who spent over a decade teaching ELA in Yorkville Y115 before shifting into the role of Teacher on Special Assignment for Technology Integration. This is Jen’s 5th year as a TOSA, working alongside students, teachers, school & district leaders to guide blended programming, design professional development, and coach personalized instruction. Jen loves hiking, foodie adventures, Key West, and music you can dance to. Writing is her favorite hobby. Jen is also a published author who blogs about life and career at jenniferwaldvogel.com. You can find her on Facebook (JenniferWaldvogelAuthor) and Instagram (@Jennifer_Waldvogel_Author).


  • November 29, 2021 2:40 PM | Ashley (Administrator)

    IDEA Partners make it possible for IDEA to achieve its mission.

    And in case you didn’t know -- Our mission is to inspire, connect and provide the educational community with opportunities that transform teaching and learning through technology.

    That is why we are thrilled to welcome our newest Silver Partner, Rival5 Technologies!

    Rival5 Technologies Corporation "Rival5" is a Mokena, Illinois, based company that specializes in Managed Cloud Communications solutions. Since founding in 2011, Rival5 has partnered with a variety of businesses, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, and other entities to change the way they communicate.

    Rival5’s turnkey approach relieves the stress that comes with managing complex telecommunication solutions -- allowing organizations to focus on what they do best.

    Rival5 provides telecom and phone services to a variety of education-oriented bodies, including higher education, K-12, and parochial institutions. Rival5 offers desktop phones, web portal access, and mobile apps to allow teachers, administrators, and other staff to stay in touch with their students, parents, staff, and community.

    Check out more about Rival5 Technologies here.


  • November 17, 2021 3:36 PM | Ashley (Administrator)

    IDEA Partners make it possible for IDEA to achieve its mission. 

    And in case you didn’t know -- Our mission is to inspire, connect and provide the educational community with opportunities that transform teaching and learning through technology. 

    That is why we are thrilled to welcome our newest Silver Partner, WeVideo

    WeVideo is the essential creative app that drives deeper learning and student engagement. With WeVideo, teachers can create engaging content while helping students deepen their own knowledge through the creative process.

    WeVideo gives teachers practical, fun, and effective teaching tools. Teachers can create multimedia content tailored to their lessons, assess student learning within the app, and foster connections in any learning setting.

    Easy to deploy and completely cloud-based, WeVideo helps districts of all sizes meet their goals. Compatible with your existing tech, WeVideo drives deeper learning and engagement across grade levels and subjects.



    WeVideo is on a mission to empower students to discover their voice and make an impact in the world. By using multimedia in the classroom, students develop collaboration, critical thinking, creative and problem-solving skills.

    Learn more about WeVideo here.

  • November 17, 2021 1:55 PM | Ashley (Administrator)

    IDEA Partners make it possible for IDEA to achieve its mission.

    And in case you didn’t know -- Our mission is to inspire, connect and provide the educational community with opportunities that transform teaching and learning through technology.

    That is why we are thrilled to welcome our newest Bronze Partner, SMART Technologies!

    SMART hardware and software solutions are purpose-built for creating inspiring classroom experiences. Between high-quality interactive displays and software that helps instructors create engaging lessons, SMART products are easy to deploy, support, and are engineered for the simplicity that educators want.



    SMART's mission is to provide simple, intuitive and connected solutions to help customers inspire greatness in themselves, and the students, colleagues and teams they interact with. SMART solutions improve student engagement, performance and learning experiences through interactive displays for education, and easy-to-use education software that saves teachers time.

    Check out more about SMART Technologies here.

  • November 17, 2021 1:52 PM | Ashley (Administrator)

    IDEA Partners make it possible for IDEA to achieve its mission.

    And in case you didn’t know -- Our mission is to inspire, connect and provide the educational community with opportunities that transform teaching and learning through technology.

    That is why we are thrilled to welcome our newest Bronze Partner, EVERFI!

    EVERFI helps teachers, schools, and districts bring real-world skills to students. We offer supplemental lessons for grades K-12 in Financial Education, Social-Emotional Learning, College/Career Readiness, STEM, Early Learning, and Health & Wellness. All of our courses are offered to the K12 network at no cost through different partnerships. EVERFI offers support through our local implementation team, from one on one trainings to district level PD's we are here to help support our teachers.

    Doing Education Differently…

    To us, digital learning isn’t just about realizing your potential—it’s about maximizing it. With our scalable learning solutions, we’re empowering organizations everywhere to instill knowledge around critical topics in the classroom, in the office and in the community. Together, we’re connecting education to the real world and opening new doors of opportunity for all.

    Check out more about EVERFI here.

  • November 11, 2021 10:03 AM | Ashley (Administrator)

    We’ve talked about our IDEAcon Thought Leaders who are focused on STEAM and DEI

    Now it is time for our thought leaders in SEL and digital literacy to shine! Although these themes are highlighted on Day 1 and 2, respectively, you’ll see these themes throughout the conference. 

    Click here to see the full session schedule. 


    Social Emotional Learning: Teaching is a Work of Heart!

    We know teaching is a work of heart! That is why teacher wellness is an important initiative at IDEA. Our thought leaders on this topic will help give you practical ways to implement SEL into your classroom. 

    Here are our thought leaders who will be presenting on SEL: 

    Evan Whitehead

    Evan was a thought leader for us this summer at ideaU. We are so excited to have him back for IDEAcon 2022! He will be presenting two sessions on Day 3 of IDEAcon. 

    Here is a sneak peek of the titles: 

    • Mental Health, Mindset, and Mindfulness and the Three Bs "Balance, Boundaries, and Breaks"

    • Prioritizing your Mental Health and Well Being: It's ok to be SELfish in order to be SELFless for others you serve"

    Evan also weaves in themes of DEI in his presentation as well, as he is a leader in education equity. Who else is excited for his sessions?!

    Courtney Orzel

    Dr. Courtney Orzel is the Associate Director for Professional Development for the Illinois Association of School Administrators. 

    She is giving three sessions on Day 1 of IDEAcon, and we can’t decide which one we are more excited for! 

    Check them out:

    • Are you REALLY INCLUSIVE in your School District? 

    • All Women are Leaders: Embracing Women in Leadership 

    • Re-Finding Your WHY

    Dr. Orzel has been honored with recognition from the AASA as a finalist for the national Women in Leadership Award in February of 2019 and has led the IASA SuperWomen initiative in support of women in leadership. She was named IASA’s South Cook Superintendent of Distinction in 2020 and has led hundreds of workshops, keynotes, administrators' academies and podcasts.

    Learn more about Courtney here


    Alberto and Mario Herraez Velazuez (The eTwinz) 

    Alberto and Mario are speaking on Day 1 and 2 of IDEAcon - with three sessions each day. They will be focused on SEL AND Digital Literacy! 

    Known as the eTwinz, Alberto and Mario are award-winning educators and international speakers originally from Spain that moved to Utah several years ago to teach 5th and 6th grade in a Spanish Immersion School. The eTwinz have presented in many conferences and events around the world sharing their expertise to help teachers transform their practice. The eTwinz were included in the "Top ten North America education influencers" by T4 Education and in the "30 K-12 IT Influencers to follow in 2021” by the EdTech Magazine. 

    Here is a sneak peek of their sessions:

    • The Power of Technology to Enhance Social and Emotional Learning

    • Fostering Self-Regulation Skills and Personalized Learning in Your Classroom

    • Every emotion matters: First steps to apply a SEL Program in your school

    • No more walls in your classroom: The Power of Global Collaboration

    • Learning by doing: Podcasting in your classroom

    • Junior movie directors: Filmmaking activities to enhance learning


    Learn more about the eTwinz on their website here, and check out the blog they did for IDEA all about podcasting here.

    Ali Hearn

    Ali is a national speaker, trainer, and coach. She loves igniting and shifting minds, while helping create ah-ha’s and ha-ha’s that lead to change and improved outcomes.

    Ali will be joining us on Day 1 of IDEAcon. She is hosting two breakout sessions and also a recorded session for those joining us virtually. 

    Learn more about Ali here


    Tell Your Story: Digital Literacy 

    Day 2 is dedicated to digital literacy and telling YOUR story! We are so excited to have a couple of amazing thought leaders diving deep into this topic. 

    Katherine Cho

    Kat Cho, a bestselling author of young adult fiction, is the IDEAcon keynote speaker for Day 2!

    Her session has a DEI undertone, with her keynote topic being on “Diversity in KidLit.” She will also host a Q&A session where you can ask her all your burning questions! 

    Kat is the co-host of the Write or Die Podcast, a podcast that interviews authors about the struggles of getting published and maintaining an author career with a focus on spotlighting as many diverse creators as possible. Kat and her books have been featured in Entertainment Weekly, NBC, Refinery 29, and Seventeen.

    Kerry Magro

    Hailing from New Jersey, Dr. Kerry Magro is an award-winning autistic professional speaker, best-selling author and autism consultant to the HBO series Mrs. Fletcher that aired in Fall 2019. 

    Kerry is presenting on Day 2 of IDEAcon, with a session titled, “Defining Special Needs: From Nonspeaking to Doctor in Education.” Kerry is an inspiring voice, and you won’t want to miss his session.

    Kerry has spoken at over 1,000 events, including two TEDxTalks and a 'Talks at Google' presentation. He is CEO & President of KFM Making A Difference, a nonprofit organization that hosts inclusion events and has provided 10 scholarships for students with autism for college and counting since 2011. Kerry’s best-selling books Defining Autism From The Heart, and Autism and Falling in Love have reached Amazon Best-Seller Lists for Special Needs Parenting.

    Learn more about Kerry here



    Marcus Belin

    Dr. Belin gave an amazing, awe-inspiring keynote on the last day of ideaU this summer. Attendees were so impressed with his enthusiasm and passion for education. So, we had to bring him back for IDEAcon!

    Dr. Belin is presenting two sessions on Day 2 of IDEAcon. His focus is all about relationship building -- he could honestly fit into each day’s theme. You’ll gain SEL and DEI knowledge at his sessions.

     You’ll walk away inspired - we promise! 


    We can’t stop obsessing over this lineup. So many amazing speakers with so much knowledge to share. 

    Will we see you at IDEAcon? 

    View the full schedule here, and click here to register for IDEAcon today! 

  • November 11, 2021 9:48 AM | Ashley (Administrator)

    At IDEA, we have three big initiatives: Computer Science, Equity, and Teacher Wellness

    And you will see these themes throughout IDEAcon in February. In fact, new for 2022 are daily themes

    Here is what you can expect each day: 

    • Day 1 (Monday, Feb. 14, 2022) is all about teaching with heart and social emotional learning. 

    • Day 2 (Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022) will focus on YOUR story through digital literacy.

    • Day 3 (Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022) is all about STEAM - learn more about our STEAM Thought Leaders here.

    • Day 4 (Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022) is dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)


    Although DEI has its own day, you will see this theme woven into the entire event. So, no matter which day you attend, you will be able to attend impactful sessions on DEI. 

    It is our thought leaders who are really going to make this theme come to life, and we are honored to have some incredible thought leaders making huge strides in equity in education. 

    Without further ado, here are the IDEAcon Thought Leaders presenting on DEI: 

    Paul Gorski 

    Paul Gorski is one of two keynote speakers on Day 4 of IDEAcon. 

    The founder of Equity Literacy and EdChange, Paul has spent the past 24 years in various educational capacities, always working with educators and educational leaders committed to strengthening their equity and justice impacts. He has written or co-written several books, including Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap and Case Studies on Diversity and Social Justice Education (with Seema Pothini).

    Can’t catch Paul on Thursday? He is also giving a session on Wednesday (Day 3) of IDEAcon. 

    Sheldon Eakins 

    Sheldon is also giving a keynote on Day 4 of IDEAcon! Host of the Leading Equity Podcast, he will be recording a podcast each day of the conference and has multiple sessions throughout IDEAcon. 

    Here is a sneak peek at the titles for his sessions:

    • Framing Brave Conversations About Race and Ethnicity 

    • Out of Sight, Out of Mind: How Implicit Bias Impacts the Way We Serve Our Students

    • I am no longer an Ally and here’s why… 

    With over 11 years in education, Dr. Eakins has served as a teacher, principal, and Director of Special Education. He has a passion for helping educators accomplish equitable practices in their schools. He has earned a B.S. degree in Social Science Education, an M.S. degree in Educational Leadership, and a Ph.D. in K-12 Education.

    We are so excited to welcome him to IDEAcon! Be sure to catch at least one of his sessions and click here to check out his podcast. 

    Principal Baruti Kafele

    Principal Kafele is giving the keynote on Day 1 of IDEAcon. His presentation is titled, It's Not Enough to "DO EQUITY."...You Must "BE EQUITY!"

    Principal Baruti Kafele, a highly regarded urban educator in New Jersey for more than 20 years, has distinguished himself as a master teacher and a transformational school leader. As a middle and high school principal, Principal Kafele led the transformation of four New Jersey urban schools, including "The Mighty" Newark Tech—which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to national recognition.

    You can check out Principal Kafele’s book, The Equity & Social Justice Education 50 here.

    Carol R. Collins Ayanlaja 

    Carole Rene’ Collins Ayanlaja, Ph. D. is an educational leader, teacher and researcher.  She serves as an equity partner to schools and organizations seeking to improve leadership and staff capacity to foster a climate of inclusion, anti-racism, and intercultural respect for better outcomes. 

    We are so excited to have her lead breakout sessions on Day 2, 3, and 4 of IDEAcon!

    After teaching in Chicago Public Schools, serving as a principal and superintendent, Carol joined the College of Education, Department of Educational Leadership, Eastern Illinois University.  As tenure-track Assistant Professor, she teaches graduate students in the Masters of Educational Leadership program and prepares pre-service Principals and Superintendents for leadership roles in the state of Illinois 

    Join Carol’s breakout sessions to become a leader in equity and education! 

    Sarah Said

    Sarah has been an incredible supporter and resource for IDEA. She presented at ideaU this summer and is not only presenting at IDEAcon, but is serving on the IDEAcon Committee. 

    Sarah is hosting two sessions on Day 2 of IDEAcon. Here are her topics:

    • Kicks and Kimonos: Leading As My Authentic Self To Cultivate Student Voice

    • JEDIs And Stumps: Social Justice Learning and Student Voice in An Elementary School Setting

    We are honored to have Sarah join us once again! Don’t miss her inspiring sessions. 

    Nyree Clark

    Nyree also joined us at ideaU and has been an incredible thought leader throughout this year. We are welcoming her back on Day 3 of IDEAcon for two sessions! 

    She is travelling all the way from California to be with us in February. Nyree is a Curriculum Program Specialist in EdTech PreK-6 for the Colton Joint Unified School District. Her journey in education began in 1998 and has been referred to as her “Dream Job” thereafter. She has been a Reading Recovery Teacher, Gifted and Talented Education Certified Teacher,  and Reading Specialist Teacher on Assignment.

    She is a member of Equity In Action CA, which is a group of educators researching and implementing ways to diversify Technology Conferences and Professional Learning settings. Learn more about Nyree here.

    Sawsan Jaber

    Sawsan will be presenting on Day 3 and 4 of IDEAcon, and has been instrumental in shaping DEI Day at IDEAcon. 

    Dr. Jaber is a Palestinian American global educator of 20+ years. She has held a variety of leadership positions both in the U.S. and abroad.  She is a high school English teacher at East Leyden High School in Franklin Park. She founded Education Unfiltered Consulting and works with schools both nationally and abroad. Sawsan focuses on curriculum mapping, strategic planning, custom tailoring a social justice curriculum for schools, and anti-bias training. She completed her Ph.D. with a focus on inclusion and belonging of students from marginalized communities. Dr. Jaber is a Board Director of Our Voice Alliance (OVA) charged with amplifying the voices of teachers of color to create more equity for students of color.  

    And that is just the beginning of Dr. Jaber’s impressive accomplishments. You won’t want to miss her sessions! 



    What do you think of this powerful DEI expert lineup?! 

    View the full schedule here, and click here to register for IDEAcon today! 

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