Featured Speakers and Sessions | Fall Forum 2011, A Conversation among Friends | November 10-12 | Providence, RI

Nov 10 - 12, 2011 Providence, Rhode Island The Met School,

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In addition to the workshops created for educators and students by educators and students that are the heart and soul, Fall Forum 2011, A Conversation among Friends offers featured speakers and sessions. Read on for this year's highlights!

Opening Session | Friday, November 11 | 9:00am-11:00am

Fall Forum 2011, A Conversation among Friends, will open with welcoming remarks from local education leaders, a keynote presentation from Dennis Littky, founder and co-director of Big Picture Learning and The Met Center, comments on the Coalition of Essential Schools' future direction from CES Executive Board President George Wood, an overview of Friday afternoon's UnConference experience from EdCamp founder Dan Callahan, and a musical performance from students from St. Paul, Minnesota's High School for Recording Arts.


Session Block One | Friday, November 11 | 1:45pm-3:30pm

Spit Heat to Cool the Planet: Music for the Movement | Student/artists and staff members from High School for Recording Arts

This engaging, interactive workshop, facilitated by students/artists from High School for Recording Arts (HSRA), will provide a model for how to integrate music with Environmental Science and Engineering. HSRA students will use their Mobile Studio to engage participants in composing and recording their own lyrics, which will be mixed and mastered into a song for the movement. This session is aimed at but not limited to middle and high school youth; adults are also welcome to participate.


Session Block Two | Friday, November 11 | 4:00pm-5:45pm

Sizer Fellows Panel Discussion | Forum for Education and Democracy

The Forum for Education and Democracy has named the first cohort of the Sizer Fellows, a project commemorating the work of the late Theodore Sizer and his wife, Nancy. The 2011 Sizer Fellows are Ayla Gavins of the Mission Hill School in Boston, Tony Monfiletto of ACE Leadership High School in Albuquerque, and Hector Calderon of El Puente Academy and Andrea Zayas of La Cima Elementary, both in New York City. These four Fellows reflect the diversity and dynamism of today’s educational landscape. They represent the leadership of traditional public, district Pilot, and charter schools. They have each distinguished their schools through hard work, thoughtful practice, and a commitment to embody the ideals of the Sizers—that our schools become places where all young people learn to use their minds well in order to become fully participating and engaged members of our democracy. At Fall Forum 2011, the Forum for Education and Democracy is hosting a panel discussion with the Sizer Fellows focused on a topic to be announced soon.


Ron Wolk in Conversation with Dennis Littky

This conversation features Ron Wolk, author of Wasting Minds: Why Our Education System Is Failing and What to Do about It, in conversation with Big Picture Learning founder and co-director Dennis Littky. During his career, Ron Wolk has kept one foot in journalism and the other in education. He spent 10 years as assistant to President Milton S. Eisenhower at Johns Hopkins University and 10 years at Brown University as vice president of external affairs. He was a staff member on the Carnegie Commission on the Future of Higher Education and later on the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence. As president of Editorial Projects in Education, Wolk is the founder and former editor of Education Week, Teacher Magazine, and Quality Counts. After more than two decades of work in the school reform trenches, Ron retired in 1997 and moved to Rhode Island, where he has remained active in trying to improve public education. He is chairman of Big Picture Learning, an organization devoted to creating small, innovative schools. Dennis Littky is the co-founder and co-director of Big Picture Learning and the Met Center in Providence. He is nationally known for his extensive work in secondary education in urban, suburban, and rural settings, spanning over 40 years. As an educator, Dennis has a reputation for working up against the edge of convention and out of the box, turning tradition on its head and delivering concrete results.

Please note: The Fall Forum Unconference will also be running through Sesion Blocks 1 and 2 on Friday afternoon; please visit the Fall Forum UnConference page for more information about this unique event.


Session Block 3 | Saturday, November 12 | 8:00am-9:45am


The Best Educational Ideas in the World: Adventures on the Frontiers of Learning | Gary S. Stager, Ph.D., The Constructivist Consortium

This unique presentation takes you on an exciting expedition through several of the world's best educational ideas. Each stop on the tour shares inspiration from learning contexts built upon young people’s remarkable capacity for intensity. These ideas provide a foundation for meeting the needs of each child, technology integration, increased teacher quality or the fuel for sustaining innovation. While viewed in isolation, these ideas might inspire incremental solutions to specific problems. Combined, they represent educational transformation.

Just Listen: Students Talk About Learning | Barbara Cervone and Kathleen Cushman, What Kids Can Do

What motivates students to do their best? What about school matters most to them? For ten years, WKCD has listened and talked with high school students nationwide about their learning, their schools, their hopes and dreams. We hear a stunning disconnect between what they say and what’s called for by policymakers far removed from schools. Common core standards, teacher pay linked to students’ test performance, a longer school day—policymakers frame discussions on such themes. But students—regardless of income, race, or language—have their own list: teachers who care, learning opportunities where they can stretch themselves, chances to set their own goals, curriculum that allows choice, timely feedback and coaching, contexts in which to practice becoming adult. And they recognize the critical role that teachers play. In this multimedia “conversation among friends,” WKCD will share those student voices and ask, again: What motivates students to do their best?

Session Block 4 | Saturday, November 12 | 10:15am-12:00pm

"Now I am alone..." Understanding Hamlet through his Soliloquies | Tony Estrella, The Gamm/Alias Stage

This active workshop will lead students to an understanding of the role of Hamlet by analyzing, unpacking and staging his soliloquies.  Students will engage in the same process of investigating character as professional actors and will be led and coached by Gamm Theatre Artistic Director, Tony Estrella.  Mr. Estrella will be playing the role of Hamlet at The Gamm during the time of the workshop and discounted tickets will be made available to Fall Forum participants. This session is aimed at but not limited to middle and high school youth; adults are also welcome to participate.

On Work, Play, and Learning: A Public Conversation with Deborah Meier and Alfie Kohn 

Deborah Meier and Alfie Kohn invite you to participate in their ongoing conversation on work, play, and learning.  Come prepared to deepen your understanding of and engage in discussion about the ways young people and adults sustain meaningful learning throughout their lives with these two extraordinary thinkers. CES co-founder and current board member Deborah Meier is a renowned educator, innovator, and writer. Meier is currently a senior scholar at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education, a board member and director of New Ventures at Mission Hill School, and a convenor of the Forum for Education and Democracy. Alfie Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting. The author of twelve books and scores of articles, he lectures at education conferences and universities as well as to parent groups and corporations. Kohn's criticisms of competition and rewards have been widely discussed and debated, and he has been described in Time magazine as "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores."

Closing Session | Saturday, November 12 | 1:45pm-2:45pm

Fall Forum 2011, A Conversation among Friends will conclude with an interactive session led by staff and students from Boston Arts Academy (BAA) that will focus on the experience of teaching and learning at a school that was founded and developed using the CES Common Principles as its foundation and inspiration. Students from BAA will share their experience as artists and students and share inspiration for incorporating the Common Principles into your school. BAA founder and co-principal and CES Executive Board Member Linda Nathan will be on hand to frame and interpret the closing session experience.

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Fall Forum 2011: A Conversation among Friends | November 10-12 | Providence, Rhode Island

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The Coalition of Essential Schools invites individuals, organizations, and schools to become members of CES. Benefits include Fall Forum fee discounts, exclusive access to CES publications, and connections to the nation's most enduring and vibrant progressive education organization. Join CES to learn what works best for schools for the long haul. Visit for more.

Find out more and register for Fall Forum 2011, November 10-12, Providence, Rhode Island here:


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