Course Description

A One-day Conference

For Teachers, School Administrators, and Related Professionals


Note: This conference was originally scheduled for Dec. 3 and has been changed to Feb. 22

Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Crowne Plaza, Nashua, NH
8:20 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (check-in: 7:45 a.m.)


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To qualify for early discounted tuition of $225, register on or before February 15.
After February 15, the tuition is $250.

.6 CEUs will be awarded for participation in this Conference.


7:45-8:20 a.m.
8:20-8:30 a.m.
8:30-8:50 a.m. 
8:50-10:20 a.m. 
10:30 a.m.-Noon 
Noon-12:45 p.m.
12:55-2:25 p.m.
2:30-4:00 p.m.  

Registration & Coffee
Welcome: Paul Leather, NH DOE Deputy Commissioner
Keynote Speaker: Susan Patrick
5 Breakout Sessions
Featured Speaker: Joe DiMartino
5 Breakout Sessions (repeated)

WELCOME: Paul K. Leather

Deputy Commissioner
N.H. Department of Education


The Future is Now:
A National and Global Perspective on Competency-Based Education

Competency-based education, an educator-led reform, is taking root in K-12 schools and districts across the country. The concept behind competency-based education is simple: students’ mastery of learning targets is the best measure of learning, not the number of hours spent in a classroom. By redesigning the education system around actual student learning, we will effectively prepare each student for college and a career in an increasingly global and competitive economy.

In this presentation, Susan Patrick will highlight global and national trends in K-12 competency-based education. She will describe the design principles of competency-based education, explore new school models that meet students where they are and share a global perspective on how leaders and practitioners are pushing the frontiers of the next generation of teaching and learning. She will also underscore the implications of the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, and opportunities for competency-based education and personalized learning within the law.

Susan Patrick is president and chief executive officer of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), a nonprofit providing policy advocacy, publishing research, developing quality standards and driving the transformation to personalized, competency-based, blended and online learning forward. She is the former director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education and wrote the National Educational Technology Plan in 2005 for Congress. She served as legislative liaison for Governor Hull in Arizona, ran a distance learning campus as a site director for Old Dominion University’s TELETECHNET program and served as legislative staff on Capitol Hill. She was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship in 2016. In 2014, she was named a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow. In 2011, she was named to the International Advisory Board for the European Union program for lifelong learning. Patrick holds a master’s degree from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree from Colorado College.


Effective Secondary School Redesign

In this interactive talk, Joe DiMartino will tell the story of 13 middle and high schools in New England called the i3 New England Network and 30 schools in Springdale, Arkansas that are redesigning their schools to be competency-based, student-centered environments. DiMartino will describe the core elements of effective high school redesign: the Ecosystem of Student-Driven Learning: Student Agency; Culture of Inquiry; Power of a Network; Shared Leadership; and Student-Driven Learning. 

Joe DiMartino is founder and president of the Center for Secondary School Redesign (CSSR), which builds on work started at Brown University. CSSR provides groundbreaking technical assistance to numerous districts and schools that are seeking to personalize learning for adolescents. CSSR is also the primary TA provider for the Springdale, Arkansas Race to the Top-District competition to increase personalized learning district wide and the New England Network for Personalization and Performance Assessment (NENPP). NENPP includes 13 high schools in four New England states and was awarded an i3 grant to assist schools to move toward performance assessment. Both of these projects include a move away from seat time to competency for earning course credit. 

In addition to numerous published articles, Joe has co-authored two books: Personalizing the High School Experience for Each Student and the Facilitator’s Guide for High Schools at Work: Creating Student Centered Learning. He also co-edited Personalized Learning: Preparing High School Students to Create their Futures and The Personalized High School: Making Learning Count for Adolescents. Joe holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University, a master’s degree in special education and counseling from Rhode Island College, and has completed all the coursework for a doctorate in culturally responsive education from Brown University. 

(offered in morning and repeated in afternoon)

Liberating Learning through Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO)

Learn how Winnacunnet High School (WHS) is liberating learning through the implementation of Extended Learning Opportunities. ELOs are learning experiences that break free of the traditional school structure and allow students to participate in personalized experiences that are authentic demonstrations of learning through school and community contexts. The session will describe WHS’s ELO program structure and implementation in order to provide rigorous, valid and authentic components of an individualized and group ELO experience. Tools for structure and implementation of an ELO program include: four rigorous components of any ELO experience; competency development; and assessment rubrics. Participants will also hear about specific examples of classroom-based group and individualized ELOs. 

Presenter: Donna Couture, M.Ed., program coordinator, Extended Learning, Winnacunnet High School, Hampton, NH

Competency-based Education:
How and Why from a Leadership Perspective

Schools across the country are shifting their emphasis from an organization of convenience for adults to one that places students at the center of their own learning. Competency-based education is one critical element of this shift. This workshop will place competency-based education in this larger context. As a new practice for many educators, implementation carries with it two perennial viruses that have doomed so many good ideas in education: failure to implement with fidelity and the revolving door of local educational leadership. Participants will be exposed to illustrations and lessons from two New Hampshire school districts. This workshop will also help participants grasp the critical elements of implementation for success and sustainability from a leadership perspective.

Presenters: Brian Blake, Ed.D., superintendent, Sanborn Regional School District, Kingston, NH;
John J. Freeman, Ph.D., superintendent, Pittsfield School District, Pittsfield, NH

Competency and Personalized Learning:
Key Elements of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

What needs to happen in a school and the classroom to support a transition to personalized, student-centered learning? Redesigning a school district as a competency-based, personalized learning environment requires that a district look at all facets of curriculum, instruction and assessment. These are the areas we recommend a district identify as essential for supporting a shift toward student-centered learning and competency-based performance assessment. Using experiences at Sanborn Regional School District, Ellen Hume-Howard and Michael Turmelle will lead the discussion about implementing competency and personalized learning in practice. 

Presenters: Ellen Hume Howard, M.Ed., C.A.G.S., Director of Curriculum, Sanborn Regional School District;
Michael J. Turmelle, M.A., Assistant Principal/Curriculum Director, Sanborn Regional School District

Competency Based Learning:
Overview & Action Steps (K-12)

In this session you will understand the history and purpose of the Carnegie Unit and New Hampshire’s journey toward competencies. You will leave with pedagogical knowledge of competencies. Strategies for creating urgency for change and methods to include all stakeholders in the process of moving toward competency-based instruction and learning will be shared. The workshop will include time to create a basic plan and timeline for implementation in your classroom, school or district. Come prepared with materials, such as your district’s competency documents. This workshop is for teachers, administrators and superintendents involved in their school/district curriculum and assessment planning. Suggested reading: Off the Clock: Moving Education from Time to Competency by Rose Colby and Fred Bramante.

Presenter: Nan Parsons, M.Ed., C.A.G.S, associate director of school leadership, Upper Valley Educators Institute, Lebanon, NH

21st Century Skills and Dispositions: 
Levers to Success for Our Students

What skills and dispositions are employers most looking for in their employees? What would you be looking for? The answers to these questions typically raise the eyebrows of educators. If communication, collaboration, creativity and self-direction are what our college and career-ready young adults need to be successful in today’s workforce and world, then why is there so little focus on these work study practices in our schools? This workshop will explore 21st century skills, or work study practices, as an integral part of not only a competency-based model, but more importantly, a learning environment that provides a significant lever for greater student success. With a historical context, data related to recent research studies and current work being done in New Hampshire, participants will understand how work study practices have been introduced, instructed and assessed within a classroom setting. Concrete examples of professional development plans for schools to integrate these important competencies will be shared. When and where teachers focus on the instruction and self-assessment of these important non-curricular cognitive competencies, the result is a learning environment that increases students’ ownership in their learning. 

Presenter: Jonathan VanderEls, Ed.S., executive director of the New Hampshire Learning Initiative (NHLI)


Thank you for your interest. This course is not open for enrollment at the present time.

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