Inspired Ideas
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Inspired Ideas

SXSW EDU: Your Vote = Your Learning. Vote Today!

Each year, SXSW EDU gives educators a voice in selecting the sessions that will be held at their annual conference. Who knows more about what you want to learn and discover than you do? Below is an overview of our submissions for you to explore. When you are ready to vote, simply click the link below your favorite submission. We want you to be able to hear from these incredible speakers, so vote and share with your friends!

Empowering Students to Become Agents of Change

During this compelling panel discussion, Diane Wolk-Rogers, Aislinn Cunningham, Dr. Jaime Aquino, and John Mark Slagle will discuss the power of students’ voices. Educators are in a unique position to empower young people to recognize their strength and become agents of change in their classroom, school, community, and beyond. In this session, attendees will hear from educators and leaders who have studied and practiced the art of student empowerment. Panelists will explore how student-centered learning can help students become change makers. You can vote to see this panel at SXSW EDU 2020 at the link below or read more about the session experts in the bio section of this blog.

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Implicit Bias in the Classroom: Refraining Our Assumptions

Under the inspirational guidance of Bill de la Cruz and Roberto Rivera, this campfire session speaks to Pre-K12 educators and administrators about the implicit and explicit biases they hold. In this session, presenters will lead a collaborative, workshop-based discussion designed for PreK-12 educators who wish to further equity and inclusivity starting with their own relationships with students, peers, and families. Discussion will provide attendees with the knowledge and skills required to reflect on and deconstruct explicit biases while creating an affirming school culture.You can vote to see this campfire session at SXSW EDU 2020 at the link below or read more about the session experts in the bio section of this blog.

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Research-Based SEL Practices for Any Classroom

Under the guidance of experts Dr. Milena Batanova from Harvard’s Making Caring Common and Dr. Anne Snyder, Learning Scientist at McGraw-Hill, this hands-on session guides Pre-K-12 educators and administrators through translating SEL research into actionable teaching strategies. During this interactive session, presenters will review key SEL strategies and offer attendees time to practice them. You can vote to see this hands-on session at SXSW 2020 at the link below or read more about the session experts in the bio section of this blog.

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Digital Learning for All with #Techquity

In this session, Dr. Lanette Trowery and educator Kristine Napper will discuss ways that tech can be used to drive educational equity, or #Techquity. Digital learning has the potential to contribute to educational equity. Equitable use of technology takes careful implementation, a focus on the instructional purpose, and with a full understanding of the variety of factors that impact a student’s relationship with school, technology, and learning. You can vote to see this session at SXSW EDU 2020 at the link below or read more about the session experts in the bio section of this blog.

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Teachers Rock. Learning Science Proves It!

Dr. Anne Snyder, Learning Scientist at McGraw-Hill, will take only twenty minutes in this Future20 session to speak to Pre-K12 educators and administrators about learning science-based recommendations for improving classroom practice. In this session, Dr. Snyder will discuss (and celebrate) the everyday practices that teachers already engage in, the learning science research behind why they work, and ways to enhance these practices even further. You can vote to see this Future20 session at SXSW EDU 2020 at the link below or read more about the session experts in the bio section of this blog.

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What Research Can Tell Us About Equity in Math

As district leaders continue to prioritize educational equity initiatives, practitioners are tasked with driving those initiatives by translating equity research to actionable strategies. In math, the need for equitable instruction couldn’t be more urgent: math skills are critical for college and career, but all too many students encounter barriers to success. During this panel, PreK-12 experts (Dr. H. Richard Milner IV, Denise Walston, and Jeff Shih) will review what research tells us about making math accessible, engaging, and rigorous for all learners. You can vote to see this panel at SXSW EDU 2020 at the link below or read more about the session experts in the bio section of this blog.

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Speaker Biographies

Diane Wolk-Rogers

Diane Wolk-Rogers is a National Board certified Social Studies teacher. She began teaching because she was passionate about supporting too-often neglected young people facing challenges and vulnerabilities. Early in her career, she received awards for her work providing special education support to students with learning and emotional disabilities. In 2001 she joined Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where she teaches AP World History. She also gained attention as a TED speaker for her support of the March for our Lives movement led by her students at MSD after the shooting that occurred there on February 14, 2018. She was recently recognized by the W.K. Kellog foundation as a global leader and is a member of their Solidarity Council for Racial Equity. To bring a year of healing and learning to her students Diane received advanced training and certification from The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, a program for healing population-wide psychological trauma.

Aislinn Cunningham

Approaching a decade in education, Aislinn Cunningham has been an English Language Arts teacher, instructional coach, and district curriculum leader. In 2016 Aislinn joined StudySync, a content development company that creates and publishes award-winning educational curriculum for schools in English Language Arts, ELL, social studies and science. In 2018, Aislinn became StudySync’s Manager of Professional Learning to develop training and resources for StudySync teachers.

Dr. Jaime Aquino

Dr. Aquino was assigned by the New York State Commissioner of Education to serve as the Distinguished Educator to the Rochester City School District. He served as deputy superintendent of instruction for Los Angeles Unified School District, where he was responsible for overseeing the local district superintendents, teaching and learning, special education, early childhood, adult education, and parent and community engagement. Aquino also served as the Chief Academic Officer in Denver. In New York City, Dr. Aquino served in many capacities. In addition to being a teacher, he was also a mathematics and science staff developer, a mathematics coordinator, a director of bilingual education programs, a curriculum writer, Deputy Executive Director for the Division of Instructional Support and Local Instructional Superintendent. Dr. Aquino also served as the Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for the Hartford Public Schools.

John Mark Slagle

John works in school districts across the nation partnering to develop teacher capacity and student engagement. His work, at all grade levels, includes advising the development of instructional resources and the shaping highly interactive professional learning opportunities. John holds an MA in Teaching and Learning/Curriculum and Instruction from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. He participated in the Comer School Redevelopment Project at Yale University.

Bill de la Cruz

Bill de la Cruz is an inspiring leader who has been guiding individuals and groups through the process of personal transformation as a mediator and workshop leader for 30 years. His programs and workshops support individuals, groups and organizations to build self-awareness, enhance relationships and support to foster positive, sustainable personal and organizational growth. These steps lead to a more diverse, equitable and inclusive culture. Bill has been working in educational transformation since 1997 as a parent, former school board President and former administrator in Denver Public Schools directing diversity inclusion and equity work. Bill is a national speaker and workshop leader who has an MBA in negotiations and conflict resolution and uses organizational change theory as a model to facilitate corporate change.

Roberto Rivera

Roberto Rivera is an award-winning artist, educator, and change agent who specializes in social emotional learning and youth empowerment. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he created his own major entitled “Social Change, Youth Culture and the Arts”. He carries a master’s in Youth Development with a focus on Social Justice, Urban Education, and Hip-hop, and is currently pursuing his Doctoral Certificate at UIC. His previous company, “The Good Life”, trains educators, youth workers and parents in connecting youth empowerment to community development. Rivera is the Chief Empowerment Officer at 7 Mindsets.

Dr. Anne Snyder

A senior learning scientist within the Learning Research and Strategy group at McGraw-Hill, Dr. Anne Snyder is dedicated to promoting the application of learning science research to effective classroom practice. In addition to serving as an elementary school teacher and adjunct professor for preservice educators. Dr. Snyder has conducted educational research in both literacy and game-based learning. She holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Dr. Milena Batanova

Milena Batanova leads the Instructional Strategies to Promote Empathy project at Making Caring Common. She works with teachers and schools to facilitate and evaluate the implementation of low burden strategies to promote attitudes and behaviors related to empathy and caring. Milena received her PhD in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Texas at Austin, where she conducted empirical studies on adolescent empathy and aggression/victimization. She also worked on tobacco prevention and evaluation projects contracted by the state.

Dr. Lanette Trowery

Dr. Trowery began her work in public education as an elementary teacher. Over the course of her teaching career, she taught grades from 4th– 8thin all subjects before focusing on middle school mathematics. After 14 years in the classroom, Dr. Trowery moved from teaching children to teaching teachers, working as a site-based classroom coach and a district wide math learning consultant. After earning her PhD, Dr. Trowery continued her work in education by becoming a professor in teacher education at Lehigh and Vanderbilt University, focused on understanding the impact of culturally relevant pedagogies on teaching practices in mathematics in urban settings. She is currently the Senior Director of Learning Research and Strategy and looks for ways to enhance our products and offerings through applying theory to practice.

Kristine Napper

Kristine Napper is a middle school teacher of English Language Learners in Beaverton, Oregon. She uses her own experience of living with a physical disability to inform her work, uniquely suiting her to work with dual-identified students. She’s driven by a desire to promote student equity, as well as a love of laughing with kids every day. Kristine coined and actively promotes the term “techquity”, which explores the intersection of education technology and equitable outcomes.

Denise Walston

Denise is the Director of Mathematics for the Council of the Great City Schools where she provides member districts support for improving student achievement and for implementing the Common Core State Mathematics Standards. She is also currently the 1st Vice-President of the National Council for Mathematics Supervision and is on the Board of the Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition.

Jeff Shih

Jeff Shih is a Professor of Mathematics Education and Associate Chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is also currently a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Dr. H. Richard Milner IV

Dr. H. Richard Milner IV (also known as Rich) is Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Education and Professor of Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.



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McGraw Hill

McGraw Hill


Helping educators and students find their path to what’s possible. No matter where the starting point may be.