Innovation & multiple measures

Innovation and Multiple Measures go hand in hand. What are you doing in your school that’s really cool? How are you measuring success?

monday, november 18
Tuesday, november 19
monday, november 18

Title: A School’s Journey to Literacy: Ensuring No Students Fall Through the Cracks

School/Organization: Community Roots Academy 

Time: 9:05-9:50am

Presenter(s): Jeremy Cavallaro; Lyndsey Rahman; Tzippy Rav-Noy

Description: Over the past two years, Community Roots Academy has implemented a new approach to improving literacy. Now, fewer students are slipping through the cracks. Mr. Cavallaro and Mrs. Rahman will discuss their approach to literacy, curriculum, PD, and assessment. Ms. Rav-Noy will demonstrate what a sequenced approach to phonics looks like and how it is essential for developing successful and independent readers. Together, they will showcase the successful instructional framework implemented at Community Roots Academy today.  


Jeremy Cavallaro is the Co-Founder of Community Roots Academy, an independent, public charter school and has served as Executive Director of Education since its opening in 2011. Previously, he was a school leader in private and public schools in New York City and Southern California.


Lyndsey Rahman
 is the Reading Specialist at Community Roots Academy. She graduated from the University of Surrey, England, with a degree in History and Multi- Subject Elementary Education, and has taught in London, Dubai and the US.


Tzippy Rav-Noy is Co-Founder of Capit Learning, a PreK-12 educational company that provides a supplemental, digital literacy curriculum with demonstrated efficacy. She has taught and held administrative positions in pre-schools and elementary schools in Michigan, Los Angeles, New York, Australia, and Israel.

Title: Dignified Environments are for Everyone: Two Charter Schools’ Contrasting Color Strategies 

School/Organization: Smith & Architects

Time: 9:55-10:40am

Presenter(s): Chad Smith 

Description: Color plays a vital role in our response to our surroundings. We understand the effect of color in the built environment and use it to empower our schools’ occupants. We bring the same standard of care and attention to detail developing color palettes for our charter schools as for bespoke apartments. Our approach to color elevates the everyday experience of the students and their teachers to provide a new sense of dignity and purpose. Our presentation will show how two very different Charter Schools for whom we were gut renovating spaces participated in our color inquiries, with great results.


Chad Smith founded Smith & Architects to develop architecture that builds community. Smith & Architects has completed a wide range of educational, residential and fitness/wellness projects. The firm is known for their innovative approach to adaptive reuse, shared amenities and a holistic use of color.

Title: Innovation Trends in Educational Assessment

School/Organization: NWEA

Time: 10:45-11:35am

Presenter(s): Michael Nesterak 

Description: As education evolves, assessments must keep pace. Traditional test designs like multiple choice may not meet the assessment needs of today’s students. Emerging technologies have made a large impact on instruction by allowing more individualization in teaching and learning, and assessments will also be affected by these same technologies. This presentation will discuss and demonstrate some of the innovative approaches that NWEA is exploring to help address evolving assessment trends.  These include new test designs to potentially enhance equity for all students and emerging technologies, such as augmented reality and virtual reality, that allow for the measurement of standards and constructs that cannot be measured on traditional tests.


Mike Nesterak currently serves as the Senior Director of NWEA’s Innovation Center. He has a 33 year history in the educational assessment industry serving in roles including product management, product development, and research.

Title: The Innovative Educator: Realistic Strategies for Reshaping the Classroom

School/Organization: Windsor Charter Academy

Presenter(s): Irene Nissen 

Time: 11:35am-12:20pm

Description: Pedagogy and standards have shifted in the last decade and it can feel overwhelming to reshape lesson plans and incorporate new technology while still meeting the rigorous demands of curriculum standards. This session will explore how today’s students are different from previous generations, outline expectations for learning in the 21st century classroom and discuss various methods for incorporating innovative teaching strategies. Attendees can expect to walk away with a portfolio of strategies for updating their lesson plans to meet today’s ever changing standards, as well as a new understanding of what it means to be an innovative educator.


Irene Nissen has worked in the field of libraries and education for over a decade and is currently serving her sixth year in the role of Technology and Innovation Director for a growing K-12 charter school. Irene also operates a STEAM education implementation consulting service.

Irene holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University along with a teaching certificate for business education.

Title: S.T.E.A.M. Programming in a Rural Educational Setting

School/Organization: School of Dreams Academy

Time: 2:35-3:35pm

Presenter(s): Mike Ogas

Description: School of Dreams Academy (SODA)is one of the few, if not the ONLY, multifaceted charter schools in New Mexico. With a S.T.E.A.M. educational model that just keeps getting better and better, SODA offers outstanding programs in the Arts, Robotics, Dance, Guitar, Agriculture, Literature, and Science. In this presentation SODA officials will present how a successful S.T.E.A.M. Model has come about in semi-rural New Mexico. Participants will have a chance to listen to and speak with students and staff from one of the premier charter schools in New Mexico.


Mr. Ogas is the Superintendent and co-founder of School of Dreams Academy, a NM State Authorized Public Charter located in Los Lunas, NM serving grades Pre-K through 12th. Mr. Ogas brings 40 years of educational experience to School of Dreams.

Title: Create a Strategic Plan

School/organization: The Learning Collective 

Time: 3:40-4:40pm

Presenter(s): Adam Aberman 

Description: Interested in strategic planning but don't know where to start?! In a highly interactive workshop, you and your team (preferably at least two people from your school) will produce 1-2 SMART goals, with detailed action steps, specific to your school and its mission statement. Adam Aberman has facilitated strategic planning sessions with charter schools, charter authorizers and state boards of education across the country with great success and impact. See principal video testimonials at


Adam Aberman is the CEO and Founder of The Learning Collective. Over the past 15 years, he has assessed over 200 current, and 100 proposed, charter schools nationally. Adam received a B.A. from Vassar College and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

tuesday, november 19

Title: Measuring the Model: Authentic Ways to Measure Student Outcomes

School/Organization: Colorado Charter School Institute

Time: 9:35-10:20am

Presenter(s): Ryan Marks

Description: The session will focus on how to translate anecdotal stories articulated by charter school leaders into appropriate and rigorous measures that can be shared with authorizers and the school community. Multiple case studies will highlight ways that schools can work with their authorizer to articulate and measure what makes their school distinctive. From a rural Montessori school and a suburban Waldorf school to an urban alternative school for pregnant teens, this panel will engage the audience to share and develop novel ways to measure and communicate school outcomes. Participants will walk away with recommendations and guidelines for how to measure their model beyond traditional accountability measures. 


Ryan Marks is the Director of Evaluation and Assessment at the Colorado Charter School Institute (CSI). Ryan has a B.S in Biological Sciences and a M.A in Research Methods and Statistics and holds his professional teaching license with endorsements in secondary science education, gifted education, special education, and linguistically diverse education.

Innovator's Mindsets: How to Unleash Creative Potential in your Faculty

School/Organization: High Tech High Graduate School of Education 

Time: 10:25-11:10am

Presenter(s): Kelly Wilson

Description: In our increasingly complex and global society, creativity is needed to solve the world's most challenging problems in new and innovative ways. While many schools have shifted their focus to deeper learning outcomes for students, such as creative problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration, many have failed to address the shifts in mindsets needed by adults in order to do this work. In this workshop, we will use tools to explore mindsets that hinder openness to discovery and mindsets that unleash creative potential. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the adult culture in their own settings, and how to lead for innovation.

Kelly Wilson is the Dean for the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. She helped develop and open East Palo Alto High School as a founding faculty member, as well as the second HTH high school, HTH international, as the founding director. Kelly holds a B.S. in Biology from UC San Diego, an M.A. in Education from Stanford University and is currently a doctoral student in the Ed. D. in Organizational Change and Leadership program at USC

Title: A Path to Transformed Schools--Educate the Whole Child

School/Organization: Educate the Whole Child

Time: 11:05am-12:05pm

Presenter(s): Christopher Nye 

Description: When Einstein asserted that you can’t solve a problem using the same kind of thinking that created it, he could have been talking about public school education in America today. To a large extent, education reform solutions like increased testing and standardized curriculum rely on an antiquated notion of how children learn. We don’t need more of the same; we need a bold paradigm shift. In this presentation, we will cultivate the capacity to imagine the future and consider what skills students will need to confront it. We will then explore what the whole child paradigm looks like, how it works, and resources to learn more. This is followed by examples of whole child learning in action—a school garden, various types of place-based or project-based efforts, and what I call “the secret sauce” that insures that this type of learning has lasting impact. Q and A as time permits. 


Christopher Nye is on the leadership team for Educate the Whole Child, a nationwide effort to change the paradigm for public education from one of accountability to one focused on the individual child. He is also vice president of the Myrin Institute and chair of the nonprofit environmental magazine Orion.

Title: The Innovation Diploma: A new way to credential students

School/Organization: Design Tech High School

Time: 12:05-12:50pm

Presenter(s): Ken Montgomery; Nicole Cerra

Description: Participants will learn about new ways to rigorously assess students in the skills, mindsets, and responsibilities needed for them to be innovators. Participants will also learn about how Design Tech High School supports this work, as well as how they leveraged their partnership with Oracle to develop innovative students.


Ken Montgomery is the co-founder and Executive Director of Design Tech High School, which is located on the Oracle corporate campus in Redwood Shores, CA.  Ken completed his PhD in administration and policy analysis at Stanford University.  


Nicole Cerra began her career in education mentoring at-risk teens in Seattle as a member of the AmeriCorps program and then went on to tutor high school students while earning a Masters in Education at the University of California in San Diego. Nicole is co-founder of Design Tech High School, where she has also served as Director of Learning for five years.

Title: LOVE your School Brand. Marketing. Website.

School/Organization: Frogtummy

Time: 2:00-2:15pm

Presenter(s): Janice McReaken

Description: Frogtummy is a website development company specializing in custom website solutions for charter schools. Our websites are powered by our proprietary Content Management System, built for charter schools—it is the easiest and most beautiful in the industry.


Our suite of products includes visual brand identity, website design and development, Content Management System (CMS), website accessibility (ADA), photo shoots, video shoots, campaigns + promotions, eCommerce, online carpool, emergency notifications, enrollment and registration, teacher websites, student absence notification and more.


Janice McReaken has a passion for innovation and trailblazing. She brings the worlds of technology and design together so that beautiful, effective design powered by robust technology is approachable for everyone. She is an avid mountain biker and hiker – and designs anything she can get her hands on!

Title: Fostering Creativity–Start the Spark!

School/Organization: Windsor Charter Academy Schools

Time: 2:20-4:00pm

Presenter(s): Rebecca Teeples

Description: Successful nations are fueled by creative minds that develop innovative solutions to some of the most complex problems. With globalization and rapid changes due to technology and competition, educators are challenged to prepare students to be innovative in a dynamic world. This 120-minute workshop addresses what creativity is, why it is important and how teachers can utilize nine behaviors that will “start the spark” of creativity. Participants will complete an assessment that outlines their individual strengths and areas of improvement in nine creativity fostering behaviors. Utilizing this individualized data, participants will engage in hands-on activities that support these nine creativity fostering behaviors. 


Rebecca Teeples, recognized as one of “40 Superwomen of Northern Colorado.” serves as the Windsor Charter Academy Executive Director over administration of the elementary, middle, and early college high schools. Rebecca is currently completing her doctorate in Organizational Leadership with a K-12 Emphasis.

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