Learning Summit 2023 (Sold Out)

Learning Summit 2023: Designing for Agency (Sold Out) is a four-day, three-night in-person retreat from June 26-29, 2023 at Episcopal High School, in Alexandria, VA, USA. The Summit is designed for school-based teams, with learning pathways for classroom educators and school leaders.

Designing for Agency

How do we empower students and adults with the relevant skills needed to learn and thrive, now and into the future? From AI developments to global crises, what prepares learners and educators to respond to a rapidly changing world is agency. We know from research that students and adults learn deeply when learning experiences are designed to foster agency. How do we ensure agency is at the heart of our work? The GOA Learning Summit offers both classroom educators and school leaders the chance to address recent developments in AI, to learn key research and practice related to agency, and most of all -- to apply, plan, and design for taking action in schools.

Schedule of Events

Throughout the Learning Summit, there will be a variety of learning experiences. Each participant will have a coach and will spend some time with a small group of colleagues in advisory. Participants will also have a menu of workshops to choose from. None of these sessions are required: you may also use the time to meet with your coach, collaborate with colleagues, or move forward on your personal project.

While the Summit is a place where you can expect to get work done, you’ll also have ample opportunity to unwind and enjoy all that the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area has to offer. Throughout the day, you’ll have access to the fitness center, pools, and tennis courts at Episcopal High School. GOA will host a happy hour and dinner each evening, as well as optional evening activities, including a night at the monuments in Washington, D.C.

Tentative Agenda

Monday, June 26, 2023

3pm: Check-In Opens
5pm-7:30pm: Opening reception and dinner

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

7:30-8:30am: Breakfast
8:30-10am: Whole Group Learning Experience
10-10:30am: Break
10:30-12pm: Breakout Sessions
12pm-1pm: Lunch
1pm-4pm: Breakout Sessions and Independent Work Time with coaching
3:30-5pm: Break
5pm-7pm: Social Hour and Dinner
7pm-9pm: Game Night (optional)

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

7:30-8:30am: Breakfast
8:30-10am: Speaker Session
10-10:30am: Break
10:30-12pm: Breakout Sessions
12pm-1pm: Lunch
1pm-4pm: Breakout Sessions and Independent Work Time with coaching
3:30-5pm: Break
5pm-7pm: Social Hour and Dinner
7pm-9pm: Night at the Washington, D.C. monuments (optional)

Thursday, June 29, 2023

7:30-8:30am: Breakfast
8:30-10am: Whole Group Learning Experience
10am-12pm: Presentations of Learning and Summit Closing
12pm: Lunch and Departure

Dr. Kenny Graves

Dr. Kenny Graves will lead a hands-on, interactive collective learning experience that guides attendees to interrogate how we make sense of agency in the age of AI. Attendees will walk away with concrete takeaways they can put into action immediately.

Dr. Kenny Graves (he/him) currently serves as the Upper School (grades 9-12) Director of Studies and Assistant Principal for Academic Life at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx, NY, where he also teaches courses in media and technology ethics. Prior to his current role, Dr. Graves worked as an educational technologist at Fieldston and has also worked in public schools as an award-winning English teacher and instructional coach.


Workshops are explorations into topics important to the design of student and educator learning experiences. Whether you are a teacher or school leader, there is something here for you. Each workshop is interactive and intentionally designed to be relevant and practical.

Teaching and Learning Track

Belonging Moves that Matter: Laying the Groundwork for Student Agency

Experiencing a sense of belonging is a necessary condition for allowing student agency to flourish. When a learning environment affirms who students are and prioritizes their psychological safety, students are more engaged, motivated, and invested in their learning. In this session, we’ll explore the connection between belonging and student agency and how we can cultivate communities where all students feel valued, respected, and heard. We’ll explore strategies aligned to GOA’s Cultivate Belonging Educator Competency rubric and invite you to co-design with us, sharing what’s working in your practice and planning for next steps.

Competency-Based Learning in the Age of AI: What Skills Matter?

Competency-Based Learning is a student-centered approach that aims to mirror how people learn, work, and succeed in the world. Now that generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly altering how we operate in contemporary society, how do we prepare our students for the world beyond the classroom? What skills are essential to empower students to thrive in this new landscape? How might a competency-based approach prepare our students for what’s to come? Join us for this hands-on session in which we’ll work through a design framework for articulating what skills matter in the Age of AI.

Redesigning Assessments with AI and Agency in Mind

Prerequisite: Bring an existing assessment you use that you want to redesign. As educators we spend a lot of time thinking about assessment – how do we (and students) know that they’re learning? The rise of generative AI seems to pose a threat to our ability to accurately assess student learning. How might we recognize Artificial Intelligence as an opportunity rather than a threat when it comes to assessment design? How might AI support students in developing skills higher up on Bloom’s Taxonomy? How might we build capacity within our students to self-assess using AI? In this hands-on session, you’ll get the opportunity to “break” an existing assessment you use and redesign it to leverage AI to foster student agency.

Fostering Student-Led Learning: Facilitation and Design Skills for Agency-Rich Classrooms

Students learn deeply when learning experiences are intentionally designed and facilitated for students to develop ownership over their learning. Core elements of this intentional design and facilitation are establishing purpose, prioritizing the learning process, and inviting learning stories. Guided by GOA’s Foster Student-Led Learning Educator Competency Rubric, this workshop explores those core elements. What intentional moves can we make (or are we making!) to provide voice and choice? How do we create pathways for self-directed learning? What protocols scaffold and invite engagement? Join us in developing and sharing practical strategies and facilitation moves that empower students to lead their own learning in meaningful ways.

Leadership Track

Prioritizing Psychological Safety to Build Collaborative Adult Communities

Schools communities that have a strong ethic of collaboration among adults all have one thing in common: psychological safety. According to Amy Edmondson, “Psychological safety is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.” This session will consider how to foster psychological safety through meeting design, developing collaborative adult communities that center trust, care, and high expectations.

Educator Competencies: A Framework for Shifting Teacher Practice

Clarity is an essential condition for agency. When individuals know and understand what they’re working towards, they’re then empowered to take steps towards those goals. At GOA, we’ve witnessed the incredible impact having a set of educator competencies have had in building teacher capacity, supporting teacher self-efficacy, and ultimately improving student learning outcomes. In this session you’ll gain an understanding of what educator competencies are and how they can be used to drive teacher growth. You’ll walk away with a framework for developing a set of educator competencies to be used within your own school community.

AI and the Future of Schools: Leading Communities through Change

We know that generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the landscape of student learning in a myriad of ways. What might it look like to use AI to rethink some of the systems and processes for the adults at our schools, from admissions to communications to college counseling? How might we use AI to streamline administrative tasks, like data analysis and learning reports? How might you lead your faculty to use AI to make their work more sustainable and impactful? How do we begin to wrap our heads around the ethical implications of using AI? Join us for a fireside chat with Dr. Kenny Graves in which we consider the possible use cases for AI within a school ecosystem.

Polarity Mapping: A Both/And Approach to Making Decisions

As leaders, we are responsible for making decisions in the face of ambiguity. However, not all of the decisions that we make are finite solutions to finite problems. Some of the problems we have to address are actually polarities to be managed, a set of complementary and interdependent forces that have to be balanced. In this workshop, we’ll explore how polarity mapping can be used as a framework for identifying polarities and articulating strategies to manage them. In using polarity mapping to create clarity from chaos, you’ll learn how to empower members of school communities to act and iterate.

Design Track

Visual Design: Removing Barriers to Student Engagement

Prerequisite: Bring a unit or lesson that contains multiple learning resources to actively redesign–this might be an online module, a series of digital handouts and presentations for face-to-face facilitation, or a combination of both “offline” digital resources and online material. In order to allow for agency to flourish, we have to pay particular attention to how our learning environments are operating as invitational spaces. One approach that educators should consider is leaning into visual design as a way to make classroom materials and resources more learner-centered. In this session, participants will build a common language and foundational understanding of visual design techniques and the role they play in creating learning environments that foster student engagement. Participants will take small actions to improve visual information and communications and apply foundational visual design principles to their chosen unit or lesson for revision.

Inclusive Design: Creating Learning Environments for Belonging

Prerequisite: Bring a unit or lesson that contains multiple learning resources to actively redesign–this might be an online module, a series of digital handouts and presentations for face-to-face facilitation, or a combination of both “offline” digital resources and online material. Knowing that belonging is an essential condition for agency, how might we design more inclusive learning environments? By designing with accessibility in mind from the start, teachers can create a better learning experience for all students that allows them to feel seen and heard. In this workshop, participants will learn how to identify potential accessibility barriers in common resource and media types. Participants will build a common language and foundational understanding of accessibility techniques and apply accessibility principles to a chosen unit or lesson for revision. In taking concrete actions to make resources more inclusive of all learners, participants will be able to foster a greater sense of belonging in their classrooms and set the stage for agency to flourish.

Centering Learners through User Journey Mapping

A critical component of designing for agency is creating opportunities for students to have a voice when it comes to their learning. In this session, participants will gain a foundational understanding of user experience (UX) research methodologies, with a deeper exploration of journey mapping, its purpose, and its discrete phases. Participants will leave the session with a concrete action plan to implement journey mapping in their own context to solicit learner feedback.

  • I real­ly think GOA is a mod­el — not just for dis­tance learn­ing, but the pos­si­bil­i­ties of how we might rethink school in mov­ing forward. Aaron Alcodray The American School in Japan
  • GOA is a leader in its field. Superb staff, inten­tion­al plan­ning, well-thought out and exe­cut­ed. GOA is a role mod­el for education. Clyfe Beckwith Phillips Academy Andover
  • Our cohort of teach­ers found their GOA coach­ing expe­ri­ence trans­for­ma­tive — they rethought their teach­ing in pro­found ways and then were giv­en exem­plars and tools to real­ize their new vision. Most excit­ing were the ways that our fac­ul­ty bond­ed with their colleagues. Stephanie Lipkowitz Albuquerque Academy

The Learning Summit 2023 is currently sold out. We appreciate your interest and hope you can join us at our next event.

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