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Over the course of multiple virtual events this summer and fall, conference-goers will learn about the latest trends and research in modernizing education, lessons learned in designing new learning models, developments in policy and practice, and cutting-edge innovations that are transforming K-12 education to meet the needs of our rapidly changing world.

We’ve designed an entirely new Symposium experience to combine the most engaging aspects of our in-person event with the opportunities embedded in a virtual gathering. Leading up to the main Symposium, we’ve planned a series of webinars designed to prime you for the larger virtual convening. This series includes a special selection of research webinars, generously sponsored by The Leon Lowenstein Foundation. The virtual Symposium will run October 26-28, 2020 and will include three days of learning and interaction with the field’s most forward-thinking leaders.
An additional webinar series and our National Policy Forum will follow the Symposium later in the fall. Stay tuned for those details.

Symposium at a Glance

The 2020 Virtual Symposium is offered free of charge to the field of education transformation, policymakers, researchers and media. Use the links above for Zoom links to individual sessions, and use the link on the right to download the conference program book as a handy reference for navigating sessions.

Please Note: All times are in the Eastern Time Zone.



Aurora Institute Virtual Symposium Program Book


Monday, October 26, 2020

  • 11:00 am – 11:50 am: Keynote Plenary – Future of Education: Leapfrogging in a Time of Crisis
  • 12:00 pm – 12:50 pm: Plenary – Systems Change: Bright Spots in Driving Collective Change
  • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Breakout Sessions
  • 2:15 pm – 3:30 pm: Book Clubs: Meet the Experts with Authors
    • Deeper Competency-Based Learning: Making Equitable, Student-Centered, Sustainable Shifts 
    • Making It: What Today’s Kids Need for Tomorrow’s World
    • Putting Students First: A Game Plan for Personalizing Learning
    • The NEW Team Habits: A Guide to New School Rules
    • Scheduling for Competency-Based Education
    • The Power of Student Agency: Looking Beyond Grit to Close the Opportunity Gap



Tuesday, October 27, 2020

  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Plenary – Lifting Up Best Practices for Quality and Equity—Even During COVID-19
  • 12:15 pm – 1:15 pm: Bright Spots from Personalized, Competency-Based Districts and Schools Across the USA
    • Riverside Unified School District – Gratitude and Fortitude: Listening to Lead
    • South Bronx Community Charter – SBC2 – Accelerated Attainment through Competency-Based Education
    • Dallas Independent School District – Designing Peak Moments that Build Trust 
    • Virtual Learning Academy Charter School – Relationships, Relationships, Relationships
    • Northern Cass School District 97 – Building Community When You Have No Community
    • Nashville Big Picture High School – Accelerating Educational Evolution by Prioritizing People, Passions, and Purpose
  • 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm: Breakout Sessions



Wednesday, October 28, 2020

  • 11:00 am – 11:30 am: Student Panel Plenary: Students are Catalysts for Change: Youth Perspectives on Education
  • 11:45 am – 12:45 pm: Breakout Sessions
  • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Breakout Sessions
  • 2:15 pm – 3:00 pm: Closing Plenary – Top 10 Trends for the Future of K-12 Education: A Path Forward & Equitable Futures