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Aurora Institute

Press Release

Aurora Institute Hosts “A New Dawn for Every Learner,” Its First Virtual Symposium


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Held October 26-28, 2020, the Aurora Institute Symposium will convene thousands of education innovators for three days of learning, networking, inspiration, and challenges and solutions. Keynotes and sessions will immerse participants in topics ranging from COVID-19 and online and blended learning to global best practices and bright spots of innovation to educational equity, social-emotional learning, and trends driving K-12 education.

The Aurora Institute (@Aurora_Inst) has hosted a symposium for 15 years, drawing up to 3,000 educators, administrators, system leaders, policymakers, researchers, advocates, students, and community leaders. COVID-19, and the resulting public health emergency, made it inadvisable to hold the in-person convening this year. The pandemic’s ramifications for the future of teaching and learning, however, presented a compelling backdrop to hosting the event virtually. The opening keynote, “Future of Education: Leapfrogging in a Time of Crisis,” starts at 11 AM Eastern today and will feature:

  • Susan Patrick, Aurora Institute
  • Rebecca Winthrop, The Brookings Institution
  • Tony Jackson, Asia Society
  • Katherine Casey, imaginEDU

Keynote Plenary II starts at noon and will feature

  • Oscar Santos, Center for Collaborative Education
  • Stacy Caldwell, Mastery Transcript Consortium
  • Rachael Stephens, National Governors Association

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, Javier Guzman of Big Picture Learning, along with David Ruff of Great Schools Partnership will keynote, followed by a series of short talks highlighting best practices and innovative learning models at:

  • Riverside Unified School District
  • South Bronx Community Charter High School
  • Dallas Independent School District
  • Virtual Learning Academy Charter School
  • Northern Cass School District
  • Nashville Big Picture High School

The most widely anticipated feature of the annual event is the student panel, in which young learners share what it’s like to experience new, innovative, student-centered learning models. The student panel will open Day 3 of the Symposium, and a closing keynote, “Top Trends for the Future of K-12 Education: A Path Forward & Equitable Futures,” will feature:

  • Nicholas C. Donohue, President & CEO, Nellie Mae Education Foundation
  • Susan Patrick, President & CEO, Aurora Institute
  • Virgel Hammonds, Chief Learning Officer, KnowledgeWorks
  • Felicia Cumings Smith, Senior Director, US Regions, National Geographic

Opening day and each of the following days of the Symposium will feature a set of concurrent breakout sessions, interspersed with quick learning bytes from educators, students, and system leaders. Monday will also feature book talks with 14 authors.

The virtual Symposium is offered free of charge this year. You are welcome to join by registering here: https://aurora-institute.org/symposium2020/aurora-institute-virtual-symposium-registration/

About Aurora Institute

Aurora’s mission is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all. Aurora is shaping the future of teaching and learning for more than 14 million students through its work in policy advocacy, research, and field-building/convening. We work on systems change in K-12 education, identify root causes, promote best practices, examine policy barriers, and make recommendations for change.

Media Inquiries

To schedule an interview with Aurora Institute staff or to request data and research, please contact DeQuendre Bertrand.

Office: (703) 752-6216

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