Visit https://cesfallforum2016.sched.org/help for a guide to using this online schedule! 
Tweeters: use #FallForum16. Thanks! 

Sign up or log in to bookmark your favorites and sync them to your phone or calendar.

Featured Session [clear filter]
Thursday, December 1


Let’s Talk: Theodore Sizer and the Founding of the Coalition of Essential Schools


Please join us at “Let’s Talk:” Theodore Sizer and the Founding of the Coalition of Essential Schools exhibit, December 1, 2016, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, at the John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI.

“Let’s Talk,” an exhibit at Brown University’s John Hay Library, highlights archival material from the collected papers of Theodore Sizer and the Coalition of Essential Schools from the creation of CES and its early years. The exhibit displays, for the first time, materials from these special archival collections and provides a glimpse of the work that sparked national conversations about the American classroom and led to the founding of the Coalition in 1984. We invite you to this interactive exhibit featuring some of the original documents that shaped a critical chapter in the history of public education in the United States.

- If you have items from your own personal collection that you would like other attendees to see, please bring them. We will have table space available for you to share your own memories of the Coalition of Essential Schools. If you want to bring something to share, please let us know on the RSVP form 
- This event is located at the John Hay Library at Brown University, which is a mile from the Omni Providence Hotel.Transportation options include taxi, Uber, or walking
- Portions of the exhibit will be on display to the public at the John Hay Library following the Fall Forum 2016, and an online version of the exhibit will also be available

We would like to thank Brown University students Catriona Schwartz, Amelia Golcheski, Sienna Giraldi and Emily Sloan for their work creating this exhibition. We would also like to thank the John Hay Library and their staff including Christopher Geissler and Sarah Dylla, and the director of the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities, Susan Smulyan. Special thanks to Kathy Hardie, Paula Evans, and Molly Schen for their guidance.

Questions? Please email us at fallforum@essentialschools.org or call 401-426-9638.


Thursday December 1, 2016 3:00pm - 5:00pm
John Hay Library, Brown University 20 Prospect Street, Providence, RI


Visit Providence’s Fabulous Youth Development Organizations!

On the afternoon of Thursday, December 1, we invite intrepid Fall Forum guests to visit a few of Providence’s youth development organizations. Providence is known nationally for being home to forward-thinking community-based organizations that are partnering with our city’s young people as they pursue their passions. Please note: we are also talking with Community MusicWorks about a rehearsal open house. As soon as we have that information, we will share it.

This is an open house event; feel free to drop by to look around, talk with students and staff, and learn more about some of the amazing ways young people are using their voices in our city. All organizations are in the city of Providence, and will welcome visitors between 3:00 and 5:00 pm on Thursday, December 1 unless otherwise noted.

Please note that you’re responsible for your own transportation (we suggest walking, Uber, or cab).

Many thanks to these organizations for their open doors and hospitality!

College Visions
131 Washington Street, Suite 205
College Visions empowers low-income and first-generation college-bound students to realize the promise of higher education by providing advising and resources to promote college enrollment, persistence, and graduation. College Visions advances equal access to educational opportunities in historically under-served communities. The College Access Program provides high school juniors and seniors with one-on-one advising, college knowledge workshops, college campus visits, family engagement, financial aid support, and more. College Visions also provides students who are enrolled in college ongoing support with advising and coaching, connections to campus support, financial aid renewal support, and more. College Visions is expanding its work through the CV Lab, which support educators and other adults to help first-generation students find college matches and success.

Girls Rock! Rhode Island
769 Westminster Street
Girls Rock! Rhode Island (GRRI) uses music creation and critical thinking to foster empowerment, collaborative relationships, and healthy identities in girls and women. Girls Rock! RI offers lessons, classes, afterschool programming, leadership training, instrument loan and rental, in-school and summer programming. GRRI’s intensive summer camps supports girls at all stages of musical ability to form working bands within a week. By championing the power of the youth voice, Girls Rock directly addresses the strengths of young women, while simultaneously speaking to their qualities as the leaders of tomorrow. Girls Rock favors action over words, envisioning a world in which gender and identity are assets, not limitations; where girls and women can actively name and claim their own strengths, expertise, and purpose in pursuing goals of their own accord; where girls feel encouraged, supported, and valued more for what they do than for how they look.

New Urban Arts
705 Westminster Street
New Urban Arts (NUA) is a community arts studio for high school students and emerging artists. NUA offers free, year-round out-of-school programs that promote sustained mentoring relationships between urban high school students and trained artist mentors who together engage in youth leadership, risk taking, collaboration, and self-directed learning. NUA is grounded in the belief that in order to fulfill the promise of our democracy, all young people, no matter their place in society, should have the opportunity to become more creative and independent thinkers. NUA’s programs encourage students to develop positive relationships with adult mentors and peers, acquire standards-based skills and knowledge in the arts, begin to develop their unique artistic voice, and graduate from high school on a path towards post-secondary success. NUA’s programs are offered free of charge and provide afterschool snacks, free bus passes, tutoring, and homework help. NUA also offers summer programs, workshops and institutes, publications, public events, and more.

Providence Student Union
741 Westminster Street
3:00-4:00 pm only, please
The Providence Student Union (PSU) develops youth leaders, staff, and adult allies to build student power. PSU builds student power within and across schools so young people can reshape their own education from the ground up. Students in PSU win education changes by participating in a student union structure that encourages them to take on leadership roles. Providence Student Union currently has chapters at six Providence high schools and is growing every day. From citywide actions on transportation to specific campaigns in a single school to pressing city officials to try high-stakes testing for themselves, PSU is fueled by the creative organizing tactics of the city’s youth. PSU’s young people have worked tirelessly to ensure that all Providence students can have an equitable and powerful education. Most recently, students won ethnic studies courses in local high schools, ensuring that students’ diverse cultures have a place in the city’s history curriculum.

Thursday December 1, 2016 3:00pm - 5:00pm


Screening of "Most Likely to Succeed" and panel discussion
The film Most Likely To Succeed inspires its audiences with a sense of purpose and possibility, and is bringing school communities together in re-imagining what our students and teachers are capable of doing. 

Following a screening of Most Likely to Succeed, which will be introduced by Nancy Faust Sizer (educator, author, CES board member), film producer Ted Dintersmith will chat with guests Linda Nathan (Executive Director, Center for Artistry and Scholarship and CES board member) Ken Wagner (Commissioner, Rhode Island Department of Education), and Christopher Maher (Superintendent, Providence Public Schools) about the conditions for school change in Rhode Island and beyond.

Fall Forum attendees and members of the public are welcome to attend this screening at no charge. In order to make sure you have a seat, please take a moment to register for the MLTS screening: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/screening-of-most-likely-to-succeed-and-panel-discussion-tickets-29383288206.

Thursday December 1, 2016 7:00pm - 9:30pm
Providence Career and Technical Academy 41 Fricker St, Providence, RI 02903
Friday, December 2


Gather with everyone at Fall Forum for a few words of welcome.

avatar for Dennis Littky

Dennis Littky

The Met/Big Picture Learning
Dennis Littky is the co-founder and co-director of The Met School, co-founder of Big Picture Learning and founder and President of College Unbound. He is nationally known and celebrated for his extensive work in secondary education in urban, suburban, and rural settings, spanning... Read More →

Friday December 2, 2016 8:15am - 8:30am
Narragansett Ballroom


CES Past and Future: A Legacy of Deeper Learning
In this interactive panel, we will examine the emergence of the Deeper Learning movement and its roots in Coalition of Essential Schools principles and practices. Educators from High Tech High, the High School for Recording Arts, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Internationals Network for Public Schools will share their current work and reflect on its development as an outgrowth of progressive practice in general and the Coalition more directly. The panel will be moderated by Sam Seidel, author of Hip-Hop Genius

avatar for Marc Chun

Marc Chun

Program Officer, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Marc Chun is not a professional playwright by any stretch of the imagination, but had his plays produced in tiny theaters in LA and NY. Of one of his plays, the New York Times wrote that he "... conducts this chamber symphony with impressive élan" (forcing him to look up the word... Read More →
avatar for Laura McBain

Laura McBain

Director of External Relations, HTH GSE
Laura is the master of ceremonies for DL2017. Email, tweet or text her with any questions or wonderings for your time at DL2017!  Laura is the Director of External Relations and the Director of Education Leadership Academy. Laura was a founding teacher of High Tech Middle and was... Read More →
avatar for Rob Riordan

Rob Riordan

President Emeritus, High Tech High Graduate School of Education
Rob Riordan, Ed.D., is a co-founder of High Tech High and President Emeritus of the HTH Graduate School of Education. A teacher, trainer, and program developer for over 50 years, he has worked with teams to develop 14 new schools (11 at High Tech High) spanning the K-12 years.  As... Read More →
avatar for Tony Simmons

Tony Simmons

Executive Director, High School for Recording Arts | St. Paul, MN
Tony Simmons is the Executive Director of High School for Recording Arts (HSRA), an independent public charter school, and Vice President of Studio 4 Enterprises, an educational services and management company. While working with numerous national recording artists and record companies... Read More →
avatar for Claire Sylvan

Claire Sylvan

Senior Strategic Advisor, Internationals Network for Public Schools
I am passionate, and have been for more than 45 years, about equitable deeper learning, and have focused in particular on equity for multi-lingual/English language learners and educating and integrating immigrants so that they can pursue their dreams and become full participants... Read More →

Friday December 2, 2016 8:45am - 10:15am
Narragansett Ballroom


Amplifying Teacher Voice in the Conversation about Race: A Conversation with José Luis Vilson
José will share remarks before jumping into a lively conversation with the group that hits on the 10th Common Principle, Democracy and equity. Let's talk about honoring diversity and building on the strength of communities, deliberately and explicitly challenging all forms of inequity, specifically in regards to race.

José's work truly embodies the legacy and new generation of the ten Common Principles and uses social media to extend their reach. Participants will be encouraged to live tweet throughout the session using #educolor.

avatar for Nancy Gutierrez

Nancy Gutierrez

Vice President, District Leadership Support, NYC Leadership Academy
Nancy is a national leadership development strategist at the NYC Leadership Academy and a graduate of the inaugural cohort of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) program. Prior to joining NYCLA, Nancy served as the executive director... Read More →

avatar for José Luis Vilson

José Luis Vilson

Founder, EduColor
José Luis Vilson is a math educator for a middle school in the Inwood / Washington Heights neighborhood of New York, NY. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in mathematics education from the City College of... Read More →

Friday December 2, 2016 10:30am - 12:00pm
Narragansett Ballroom


In the beginning, there was...: A Founders Panel

The founding years of CES were heady and optimistic times, referred to by some as the Golden Years of the nation's focus on high schools. The Founder's Panel brings together an eclectic and accomplished group of CES "early days" stalwarts who worked with and distinguished Ted Sizer's "big ideas." Sure to be a rousing chat, with plenty of time for audience interaction, our panelists will include: Deborah Meier, Dennis Littky, Paula Evans, Bob McCarthy, and Nancy Sizer. The moderator will be another CES veteran, Larry Myatt, offering attendees both a history lesson and implications for the future.


Paula Evans

Founder and Former Head of School, Community Charter School of Cambridge
avatar for Dennis Littky

Dennis Littky

The Met/Big Picture Learning
Dennis Littky is the co-founder and co-director of The Met School, co-founder of Big Picture Learning and founder and President of College Unbound. He is nationally known and celebrated for his extensive work in secondary education in urban, suburban, and rural settings, spanning... Read More →

Deborah Meier

Longtime CES Member, Coalition of Essential Schools

Larry Myatt

President, Education Resources Consortium
avatar for Nancy Faust Sizer

Nancy Faust Sizer

Member, CES Board
Nancy Faust Sizer taught high school history for 25 years. She then served as a co-teacher and coach at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Nancy co-authored of The Students Are Watching: Schools and the Moral Contract with Ted Sizer, and she wrote Crossing the Stage: Redesigning... Read More →

Friday December 2, 2016 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Narragansett Ballroom


Equitable Assessment: National and State Perspectives
Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond—President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University, and member of the Coalition of Essential Schools Executive Board—will share remarks on the political, policy, and school practice issues facing progressive educators at this historical moment. Following Dr. Darling-Hammond's remarks, a panel will address the implications of ESSA for progress toward more productive teaching, curriculum, and assessment, looking at the issue from national and state perspectives, with remarks and questions from the audience.  

Panelists include:

  • Ann Cook, Director, New York Performance Standards Consortium
  • Nicholas Donohue, President and CEO, Nellie Mae Education Foundation
  • David Ruff, Executive Director, Great Schools Partnership and CES Executive Board member
  • Ken Wagner, Commissioner, Rhode Island Department of Education
  • George Wood, Superintendent, Federal Hocking Schools and Chair, CES Executive Board

avatar for Linda Darling-Hammond

Linda Darling-Hammond

President and CEO, Learning Policy Institute
Linda Darling-Hammond is the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University where she founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and served as the faculty sponsor of the Stanford Teacher Education Program, which she helped to redesign... Read More →

avatar for David Ruff

David Ruff

Executive Director, Great Schools Partnership
avatar for Ken Wagner

Ken Wagner

Commissioner, Rhode Island Department of Education
Commissioner Ken Wagner began his education career when he was elected to his local school committee at age 18. He has since then worked as a school psychologist, an assistant principal, and a middle-school principal, and in 2009 he joined the New York State Department of Education... Read More →

George Wood

Superintendent, Federal Hocking Local Schools

Friday December 2, 2016 3:30pm - 5:15pm
Narragansett Ballroom


At the Copier: Stories of School and the Coalition of Essential Schools
We know that working in a school is often inspiring, sometimes outrageous, occasionally hilarious and frequently humbling. And there are some stories educators only share with one another, the candid moment of that was deeply moving or that you know no one will really believe is true. We’ve all been told by someone in our family that we should write these down. Here is your chance to share. 

Join us for an evening of stories from real educators about the behind-the-scenes truth of the life of an educator and the daily miracle of making a school. This is the space for personal stories that aren’t going to be told on a panel or in a monograph, and for important memories of work with the Coalition of Essential Schools, Ted Sizer, and one another.

How it will work:

Storytellers will have 5 minutes to tell their story. It must be true. To sign up for a slot in advance, email us now with your name and a general idea of what you want to share.  Remember a story that your colleague told you?  Urge them to tell it.  Have a creative idea of how you want to share this?  Get in touch. If space allows, we’ll also allow attendees to sign up to tell a story on the spot.

Think about your story in advance. Practice it. Use your authentic voice. Lean on a note card if you want. Tell the story as a pair. Get in touch with us if you have questions or creative ideas.  Practice your story and then cut it a little more – almost every story goes longer when it is told live. You’ll run out of toner at 5 minutes.

Here’s some advice from the good people at The Moth: https://themoth.org/share-your-story/storytelling-tips-tricks

Cash bar!

Friday December 2, 2016 8:00pm - 10:00pm
South County
Saturday, December 3


Gathering: Voices from Our Schools
At the start of Fall Forum's second day, Emily Garlock, Benadette Manning, and Dave Lehman--all representing different stages of their lives as teachers and learners--will share their stories. 

avatar for Emily Garlock

Emily Garlock

Student, Steller Secondary School
Emily Garlock is a senior at Steller Secondary School in Anchorage, Alaska. Emily loves to read, write, do puzzles, participate in sports, and travel. She hopes to have a job that takes her around the world.  Emily came to the CES Fall Forum in 2014 in San Francisco and was inspired... Read More →
avatar for Dave Lehman

Dave Lehman

Educational Consultant, NSRF
Dave Lehman is the former principal and teacher at the Lehman Alternative Community School, a public middle and high school, part of the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) in Ithaca, New York. The school was re-named after him and his wife Judy – the school Secretary – by the... Read More →

Benadette Manning

Math teacher, Fenway High School
Benadette Manning is a math teacher at Fenway High School in Boston. She says, “I feel very blessed to teach at an amazing school however never satisfied until every child has what they need to succeed. Teaching is my third career and my most exciting one! ”

Saturday December 3, 2016 8:15am - 9:00am
Narragansett Ballroom


CES Equity/Race Panel – What are our equity stories? What are we learning?

Originally intended to be a space for educators to reflect on and explore the role of race in their work, this session has been edited in order to respond to our recent political events and current reality as they relate to race in our communities, schools and classrooms.  

After a short input, we will hear from a panel who will reflect on their experiences as educations – in the skin they are in – and consider what work they have in front of them. If time allows, we will ask the audience to engage in their own reflective work.  


15-20 minutes: Opening 

  • Introduce key language (“The Skin We Are In”, race, racism, racist, etc.) asking audience to engage through think-pair-shares 
  • Introduce Panel

35-40 minutes: Interactive Panel on Race

  • Into: Historically, how has race influenced, informed or impacted your experience as a learner and an educator – in the skin you are in? 
  • Through: In the skin you are in, how do you think the current context of race is impacting and influencing our schools, educators, students and families?
  • Beyond: What is our responsibility – as a coalition of educators – to respond to our current racial context and prepare for the racial future we want?

15 Minutes: Closing

  • Introduces Conceptual Framework for Transformation 
  • Thank Panel 
  • Challenge audience to take what they heard into and beyond the day in front of them.


avatar for Dr. Gregory Peters

Dr. Gregory Peters

Dr., San Francisco Coalition of Essential Small Schools (SF-CESS)
Dr. Gregory Peters is a school reform leader with a longstanding history working within both local and national efforts. As principal of San Francisco's Leadership High School, Gregory and his teachers effectively created a National Demonstration and Mentor School that made progress... Read More →

Saturday December 3, 2016 9:15am - 10:45am
Narragansett Ballroom


CES Reflections: Impact, Influence, and What's Next
The burning questions for so many of us are: how do we view CES's impact and influence, and what's next for the ideas and the energy that have emerged from the Coalition's work? Come to listen, or share your experience, think about what you want to do individually and collaboratively, and discuss the ways that you envision coming together in the months and years to come. Ayla Gavins and Linda Nathan will lead this conversation.

Linda Nathan, EdD is a CES Executive Board member and is the first Executive Director of the Center for Artistry and Scholarship (CAS). She oversees key programs, including the Creative Learning Schools Project and the Perrone-Sizer Institute for Creative Leadership. Linda's prior work includes serving as Faculty Director of the Creative Educational Leadership Institute at the Boston University School of Education, Special Advisor to Superintendent of Boston Public Schools, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Arts in Education and Founding Headmaster of the Boston Arts Academy, Boston’s first public high school for the visual and performing arts. She was also the Co-Director of Fenway High School, one of the first pilot schools in the Boston Public Schools.  Dr. Nathan founded two nonprofit organizations: El Pueblo Nuevo that focused on arts and youth development; and the Center for Collaborative Education that works on issues of school reform.



Ayla Gavins

Principal, Mission Hill School
Ayla Gavins is the principal of the Mission Hill School, a K-8 public school in Boston’s Mission Hill district. She was one of the staff members selected for Mission Hill School and became its principal in 2006. Originally from a small town near the Pittsburgh area, Ayla began her... Read More →

Linda Nathan

Executive Director, Center for Artistry and Scholarship Education

Saturday December 3, 2016 1:45pm - 3:30pm
Narragansett Ballroom


And...We're Done
Join us at the Fall Forum closing session for parting words from educator, author, and CES Executive Board member Nancy Faust Sizer. Special appearances by Dennis Littky and the Extraordinary Rendition Band!

Nancy Faust Sizer taught high school history for 25 years. She then served as a co-teacher and coach at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Nancy co-authored The Students Are Watching: Schools and the Moral Contract with Ted Sizer, and she wrote Crossing the Stage: Redesigning Senior Year. Also with Ted, Nancy was also the acting co-principal at the Parker Charter Essential School in Devens, MA. She is currently teaching a course on school reform at the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement. 

avatar for Dennis Littky

Dennis Littky

The Met/Big Picture Learning
Dennis Littky is the co-founder and co-director of The Met School, co-founder of Big Picture Learning and founder and President of College Unbound. He is nationally known and celebrated for his extensive work in secondary education in urban, suburban, and rural settings, spanning... Read More →
avatar for Nancy Faust Sizer

Nancy Faust Sizer

Member, CES Board
Nancy Faust Sizer taught high school history for 25 years. She then served as a co-teacher and coach at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Nancy co-authored of The Students Are Watching: Schools and the Moral Contract with Ted Sizer, and she wrote Crossing the Stage: Redesigning... Read More →

Saturday December 3, 2016 4:45pm - 5:15pm
Narragansett Ballroom


Join us immediately after the Fall Forum closing session to celebrate friends, fantastic work, and the future of the principle-driven, student-centered education. Enjoy hors d'oeuvres at the Omni Providence Hotel's Centro restaurant. Cash bar. 

Saturday December 3, 2016 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Centro Restaurant