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News and Opinion Oct 31, 2019

Turnaround Presents at 2019 iNACOL Aurora Institute Symposium

Turnaround for Children Founder and Senior Science Advisor, Pamela Cantor M.D. with Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Director of Whole Child Development, Dr. Brooke Stafford-Brizard, at the 2019 iNACOL Symposium

For the second year in a row, Turnaround for Children was invited to participate in the iNACOL (since renamed Aurora Institute) Symposium held at the Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, California from October 28-31. 

Turnaround participated in seven distinct sessions that were attended by experts, practitioners, educators, policymakers and researchers interested in transforming education, in addition to partnering with iNACOL to help design a strand dedicated to whole-child learning and development.

Day One: Pre-Conference Workshop, Opening Keynote and a New Name 

Prior to the Symposium’s opening, Turnaround hosted a pre-conference workshop led by Turnaround Vice Presidents of Partner Impact, Michael Lamb and Amy NicholsonDuring the workshop, participants were grounded in the science of learning and development through an introduction to brain science, the science of trauma and adverse childhood experiences, and Turnaround’s Building Blocks for Learning framework for comprehensive student development. 

Following the pre-conference workshops, Dr. Brooke Stafford-Brizard, Director of Whole Child Development at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, kicked-off the symposium with a captivating keynote on the importance of supporting student mental health. During her keynote, she highlighted Turnaround’s Building Blocks for Learning framework, which she authored while working at Turnaround in 2016, and explained how each block represents the critical skills and mindsets all students need for success in school and in life. Stafford-Brizard’s keynote was followed by a Q and A discussion with Turnaround Founder and Senior Science Advisor, Pamela Cantor M.D., where they discussed the importance of combining social-emotional skills with academic rigor, the power of positive relationships, and the types of environments needed to support mental health in schools.  



Day TwoUnderstanding the Importance of Personalization and Equity in Achieving Student Excellence   

The following day, Turnaround particpated in four sessions that brought together Turnaround partners and friends from DC Public Schools (DCPS)Raikes Foundation, Digital PromiseLearning Policy InstituteNewsela and EducationCounsel. 

The day began with a hands-on workshop led by Michael Lamb and Amy Nicholson with special guests, Melissa KimDeputy Chancellor of DCPSand Maisha Riddlesprigger, Principal of Ketcham Elementary School. The workshop provided real-world examples of systems and practices educators can use to build classrooms that achieve equity by personalizing learning for each child’s individual developmental needs. 

That afternoon, Dr. Cantor gave a presentation on “Powering Children’s Potential.” During her talk, Dr. Cantor bridged the gap between research and practice and explained how schools can support and personalize learning for the whole childShe also explained some of the falsehoods that America’s education system was built on, including the idea that potential is knowable in advance. “Today, we know that we can’t see a child’s potential without a context that is able to reveal it, said Dr. Cantor. 

Dr. Cantor presents to a room full of experts, practitioners, educators, policymakers and researchers at the iNACOL Symposium

The day culminated with two discussions. First, a panel moderated by Dr. Cantor with guest speakers Vic Vuchic of Digital Promise, Dan CoganDrew of Newsela and Dr. Gisele C. Shorter of Raikes Foundation. During the discussion, the panelists shared how technology can be used to translate emerging research into school designs and practices that ensure authentic equity for all children. 

Dr. Cantor moderates an interactive discussion with Dan Cogan-Drew of Newsela, Dr. Gisele C. Shorter of Raikes Foundation and Vic Vuchic of Digital Promise.

Over in room San JacintoTurnaround’s Amy Nicholson joined a panel of experts from the Science of Learning and Development (SoLD) Alliance which included Jennifer DePaoli of the Learning Policy Institute, and Joaquin Tamayo of EducationCounsel. This session offered strategies educators could use to design learning environments that allow all children to thrive, and offered new knowledge, practices and policy ideas that could be implemented in their districts, schools, and classrooms.  

Amy Nicholson with Joaquin Tamayo from EducationCounsel at the SoLD interactive discussion

Day ThreeDeep Dive into The Building Blocks for Learning    

On day three, Turnaround hosted a discussion on the Building Blocks for Learning. Moderated by Turnaround’s Michael Lamb and featuring Melissa Kim of DCPS, Dr. Brandi Kenner of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Cindy Johanson of Edutopia, the expert panelists walked the room of educators through the Building Blocks for Learning and explained how teaching critical skills and mindset in an integrated process strengthens brain connections. 

Melissa Kim of DCPS, Cindy Johanson of Edutopia, Dr. Brandi Kenner of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Michael Lamb of Turnaround discuss Turnaround’s Building Blocks for Learning