We are grateful to Projects Abroad for sponsoring the Institute Breakout Sessions.

 Experiential Ed (EE) in Action | Model Programs & Practices Breakout Sessions

We are grateful to Projects Abroad for sponsoring the Institute Breakout Sessions.

Experiential Ed (EE) in Action - Thurs, January 24th

The majority of Day 3 of the Institute is spent doing what we do best, participating in experiential education. These experiences are meant to put us in the environment that our students are experiencing and take lessons home to our own schools.

Our conveners at Riverdale Country School have put together an incredible array of experiences for attendees to get off the beaten track in New York City.

Please note that many of the EE in Action experiences require walking outside in New York in the winter (average temp 32 F). Please select your top 3 options within the registration form, however, if you have concerns about your ability to participate in experiences with a great deal of walking, please comment in the space provided so that we can ensure to place you within an experience that can accommodate your needs.

Title of Experience Description Riverdale Facilitator Items to Prepare in Advance
Adaptations to Changing Ecosystems How do plants and animals manage the various physiological and biochemical stresses related to climate change and urbanization? Participants will experience field studies and engage in hands-on laboratory investigations that seek to answer fundamental questions about the universal challenges faced by wild populations on a rapidly changing Earth. Specifically, this workshop will focus on the details of designing, implementing and publicly presenting key scientific research on cellular and genetic mechanisms essential for evolutionary adaptation in changing ecosystems. Rachel Cox, Ph.D., Marshall Nicoloff, and Students from the Summer Science program Please wear closed-toe shoes and bring a layer or two. We will be doing real lab work, so proper lab attire is required (we will supply you with goggles and lab coats). If you’d like to take notes, feel free to bring a notebook and pen/pencil.
Applications of Computer Science: Design Thinking to Mindfulness Computer Science is more than just coding. Rather, computer science is solving problems using technology. This involves design thinking, building effective and efficient algorithms, and creating code. In the first part of the session, participants will explore the fundamentals of coding through robotics. Using Sphero, a Bluetooth programmable robotic ball with sensors and LEDs, participants will learn how design thinking principles and algorithmic thinking can produce "solutions" through code.

In the second part of our session, participants will use current virtual reality hardware through the lens of education. We will discuss best practices on how virtual reality can be used in the classroom. We will also examine the virtual reality medium as a tool for empathy, mindfulness, and the role VR plays in modern society.

Andrew Abate plus students Bring yourself and your enthusiasm!
Archival Research Project at the United Nations Participants will explore the United Nations with a morning tour and an afternoon session in the UN Archives. We will engage in different activities designed to familiarize students with the opportunities for hands-on archival resources and prepare them to develop their own research questions. While the UN offers a particularly unique research opportunity, the practices and tools we will discuss can easily be transferred to your own local archives! Laura Honsberger, PhD Please Bring:

-Valid Government Issued ID from Member State or Observer State (original, not copy) w/ English characters (could be passport, DL or National Identity card)
-Warm Clothing (for a walk from Grand Central to UN and for briefly walking around UN campus)
-Money for coffee shop @ UN or UN gift store and book shop (They have some interesting educational resources.)

What (not) to bring: The following items are strictly prohibited on the UN tour
any liquid, including water
-cans and bottles
-food or beverages
-backpacks and bags larger than 14"" (35 cm) wide x 13"" (33 cm) high x 4"" (10 cm) deep
-aerosol containers
-non-aerosol spray (prescriptions for medical needs are permitted) any pointed object other than pens and pencils (i.e., knives, knitting needles, letter openers, etc.)
-electric stun guns, martial arts weapons or devices guns, replica guns, ammunition, and fireworks
-knives of any size
-mace and pepper spray
-razors and box cutters
-baseball caps and sunglasses cannot be worn during the tour
Black Brooklyn, Slum Clearance, and Gentrification In this workshop, participants will learn about the history of Weeksville and Bedford Stuveysant, Urban Planning and current gentrification in Brooklyn. Participants will visit the Weeksville Heritage Center and other sites in Brooklyn to think about the history of the African American Experience in New York. They will also consider Afro-Centric approaches to teaching American History. Elizabeth Pillsbury, Phyllis Dugan Participants should dress warming and be prepared to walk in the cold for a significant distance! Bring a notebook, pen, water bottle, and camera. And of course, bring an open mind!
Body and Soul: Exploring Afro-Latino Music and Dance We will explore the roots and history of the African diaspora in Latin American through its music and dance. Participants will get to experience the rhythmic and story-telling aspects of African-rooted music and dancing. We will also explore and discuss body movement as a form of self-expression, liberation, and the struggle for freedom. Jannely Almonte Ortiz and Milena Almira Wear comfortable clothes, you will be barefoot during the dancing.
Bring a notebook and writing utensil.
Criminal Arraignments and the Innocence Project Each spring, as a part of their Integrated Liberal Studies Social Justice Unit, Riverdale seniors witness arraignments at a New York Criminal Court and engage in a conversation about their observations with a public defender following the proceedings. Participants in this experience will do the same. They will observe an hour of criminal arraignments and then debrief the experience with Kent Kildahl, Riverdale ILS teacher, and Jane Pucher, a Riverdale alum, former public defender and current attorney with the Innocence Project in New York. Dwight Vidale, Kent Kildahl, Jane (Tally) Pucher Participants should bring a notebook and pen/pencil. No electronics can be used in the courtroom.

Note: You must not bring any weapons or any illegal drugs of any kind. You will go through metal detectors, etc. and we don’t want this experience to be too experiential!
Ebbs and Flows of Life: An Introduction to the Micro-Histories of the Brooklyn Waterfront This workshop includes a walking tour of the Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO along with a visit to Waterfront, an interactive exhibit developed by the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS). Participants will gain a deeper understanding of place and look at their surroundings from new perspectives, connecting past, present, and future possibilities. Participants will debrief their experience over pizza at the historic Grimaldi's! Miriam Piña and Antoinette Quarshie Participants will need to dress warmly in comfortable walking shoes. This trip will take place rain or shine. Additional layers may be necessary, it’s windy on the bridge and temperatures will feel cooler on the bridge.
Escape the Classroom: Escape the Room Games for team-building lessons This workshop examines the use of escape games and similar puzzles to develop a variety of skills, including team-building, empathy, as well as a critical self-reflection of one's strengths and weaknesses. Riverdale has partnered with Vitality Teaming (producer of several Escape Rooms) to bring a variety of experiences into both character and academic curriculum. Participants will experience one of these puzzle-boxes, C.A.S.E., to see how it can be used with students and how students build their own. Michael Sclafani Other than a pen/notebook, participants should bring a willingness to put themselves out of their comfort zone and be willing to work with new people and get things wrong.
Exploring Landforms, Topography, and Erosion through Augmented Reality and Maker Activities Participants will explore topography, landforms, and erosion at the Riverdale Lower School’s innovative new learning spaces. Participants will use an Augmented Reality Sandbox, build a 3D model of a landform based on a 2D topographical map, view global sites where erosion is an issue via virtual reality, identify real examples of erosion happening around the campus through the lens of the design thinking process, and build a prototype of a possible solution for a specific erosion problem. Richard Brehl, John Mueser,
Laurie Bartels, Patrick Murray
Bring yourself and preferred notetaking method equipment. We will be outside for a short period of time, so dress appropriately! No long hikes, but wear comfortable shoes to walk onto the hillside and playground.
Learning with Leather and Lasers Using the five-stage design thinking model, participants will create a leather card holder on our Epilog Laser Engraver. Participants will be introduced to the basics of Adobe Illustrator and hand stitching and will be led by Riverdale art teacher, Jason Ruff, while engaging with students in his "Design Lab" course. Jason Ruff (plus 1-3 students) Bring yourself and your enthusiasm!
Metropolitan Art Experience Led by Latin and Greek Scholar of Literature and History and Riverdale Teacher of History and Archeology, this workshop asks participants to imagine themselves as 8th graders in an Ancient Civilizations course. The group will head to the Greco-Roman, Near Eastern, and Egyptian galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to learn how to decode material culture. Participants will then debrief the experience in the lovely Metropolitan Cafeteria. Following the workshop, there will be time to explore other galleries independently. Jessica Shapiro-Weill, Melissa Marturano - Participants should bring pencils to fill out the handouts for the experience...pens are not allowed.

- Participants should pack lightly as try to avoid bringing heavy bags with them as there will not be much time to check coats and bags and the like.

- Participants should bring a book or something similar to lean on to fill out the handouts.
NYC Contemporary Art Led by multi-media artist and Riverdale art teacher and experienced student teacher this excursion will engage participants in conversations with art professionals while viewing an exhibition of contemporary art. Participants will explore the works on display and consider what an engaging art-based field trip may look and feel like. Angela Costanzo Paris,
Natalia Mercedes Rodriguez
Hello NYC Contemporary Art participants! We are looking forward to meeting you and having a shared art experience at Apex Art. While our walks will be short, please make sure you’re dressed to be outside. Layers are useful since we’ll be in and out of buildings. Please also bring a notebook (or sketchbook), a pencil, and any other writing and drawing materials you enjoy using. We will meet in the lobby of the Intercontinental Hotel at 9:00 am, and you can expect to arrive back to your hotel by 2:30 pm. While we’ll dismiss from the Chinatown/Tribeca area by 1:45/2pm, we will be offering an additional and optional second gallery visit to the Drawing Center at that time for an extra $5.00 per person. Thank you, and see you on the 24th! Artfully yours, Angela & Natalia
Theater as a Means of Connection with Verbatim Performance Lab The Verbatim Performance Lab (VPL) works to disrupts assumptions, biases, and intolerances across a spectrum of political, cultural, and social experiences. Participants will learn how the Lab investigates and performs words and gestures collected from found media artifacts and interview-based data.
They will then take part in a documentary theatre workshop at NYU Steinhardt, practicing listening and performance techniques. This opportunity is for those who want to challenge themselves with a new framework for student engagement and for those interested in embodied learning. No acting experience is required.
Emily Schorr Lesnick Participants should wear comfortable clothing with layers, as they will walk a few blocks from the subway to Pless Hall and then will spend most time indoors. They should bring a notebook/tablet, water bottle/coffee mug.
Participants should be thinking about the ways they use or might use interviews in their work.

Model Programs & Practice “Show & Tell” Session - Wed, Jan 23rd

On Day 2, we hold the popular and very energetic Model Programs & Practices “Show & Tell” Session. We have a slate of 20 great programs that are showcasing their amazing work this year. Attendees will have the opportunity to visit with up to four of these great schools and organizations over the course of the four 20-minute rounds. Take a look at who’s presenting this year and make your plans on where to go! This session will take place in the afternoon at Riverdale Country School.


Presenter Name(s)

School/ Organization

Table Topic Title

Topic Description

Topic is Relevant to



Alethea Tyner Paradis

Peace Works Travel (ESP)

Digital Storytelling as Ethical Service Learning in the Field (ESP)

This session will delve into how Peace Works connects travelers' desire to "do something meaningful" abroad to the mastery of citizen journalism skills for good. We focus on how the "Five Freedoms of the First Amendment" is a platform of privilege and teaches students through our socially-conscious travel program how to bear witness, interview, capture, edit and distribute ethical reports from our destination communities. We will explore ways we can empower students to use their digital media competencies for social good and explore how ethical documentary engagement harnesses students' natural talents to advocate effectively for positive change.

Global Ed, Service Learning/Cmty Engagement, 
Student Leadership, Admin/Ed, Leadership, Classroom Teachers



Annie Peuquet

Envoys (ESP)

Sustainable Development Goals in Context: Student Leadership in Panama (ESP)

This session will introduce a global education program in Panama that ran in May 2018, complemented with a credit-bearing class on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Students formed small project groups each focusing on one SDG and explored the efficacy of the goal's implementation in Panama over a two-week program. Students met with experts, were immersed within the United Nations, and completed in-depth field research. This session will cover best practices, information on intentional program design, as well as how the program was designed for student leadership.

Global Ed, Student Leadership



Christiane Connors & Steven Lee

Edmund Burke School

Creating a Center for Social Justice Pedagogy

Through the support of an E.E. Ford grant, Burke is creating a Center for Social Justice Pedagogy that will support faculty and staff in developing and delivering a classroom curriculum that is fully integrated with our schools' signature Civic Engagement, Equity and Inclusion, and Leadership programs. Specifically, we want our students to become aware of injustice in their communities, understand its root causes, and feel responsible for dismantling structural inequities to create a more just and equitable world. We will share the steps we're taking to work with faculty, staff, parents, alum and most importantly, students, to ensure that we are graduating young people with a sense of social responsibility and personal agency to engage in effective allyship and ethical leadership.

Service Learning/Cmty Engagement, Student Leadership



Cris Harris

Hawken School

Integrating Academics into International Travel

Hawken has been experimenting with different methods to integrate academics into international travel with courses in India, Myanmar, Chile, and Vietnam. This session will expore what ways such courses can be supported by relevant pre and post-trip work to help kids make meaning from their experiences. Come for sharing of methods and programs where we can learn to maximize the impact of such travel.

Global Education



David Kojan

The College Preparatory School

Social Transformations - Oakland: A Year-Long Applied Learning Program

Social Transformations - Oakland (STOak) is a year-long applied learning program in which students take a deep dive into the history and contemporary life of our wider Oakland community. The program guides students through the process of identifying an important community need, deeply studying its roots, learning how to effectively address that issue, and carrying out a meaningful project through a summer internship with effective non-profit organizations to make a difference in Oakland. Come learn about the intention, structure, curriculum, and experience of this program.

Service Learning/Cmty Engagement, Student Leadership, Admin/Leadership and Classroom Teachers



Dr. Michelle N. Edwards

Live It Learn It

Using the City as a Classroom for Title I schools in Washington, DC

Live It Learn It partners with Arts, Cultural, Humanities, and Science institutions in Washington, DC to ensure that experiential learning opportunities occur for almost 2,500 elementary school students in DC's most underrepresented and underresourced schools. Join to discuss how we're able to achieve this model and about our work.

Sustainability, Classroom Teachers



Eric Rounds

Santa Fe Preparatory School

Best Practices in Online Form Submissions: Permission Forms, Liability forms through Rightsignature

Obtaining permission or emergency information forms from parents can be an extremely challenging part of running experiential education programming. This tool allows this process to be done online by the parents and you receive a PDF copy via email.

Outdoor Ed, Global Ed, Service Learning/Cmty Engagement, Admin/Ed Leadership



Ivan Johnson

Oakwood School

Phenomena-Based Learning: Utilizing Curiosity to Inspire Meaningful Student Growth

One of the most crucial parts of a meaningful education is teaching students to value and nurture intrinsic motivation. The most impactful and authentic learning and growth occur when students find purpose in their work and feel excited and engaged. This presentation will explore how teachers can utilize phenomena-based learning to create meaningful and relevant courses.

Admin/Ed Leadership, Classroom Teachers



Jeremy Goldstein

Episcopal High School

The Washington Program: Place-Based Learning and Engagement in the Greater Washington D.C. Area

With 21 dedicated days each year and a robust Senior Externship Program in May, the EHS Washington Program seeks to provide multiple opportunities for students and faculty to engage with the greater Washington area through curricular and other offerings. In a 4-year student career, the Washington Program provides over 100 experiential learning moments that seek to deepen learning and support mastery of important skillsets.

Outdoor Ed, Global Ed, Sustainability, Service Learning/Cmty Engagement, Student Leadership, Admin/Ed Leadership, Classroom Teachers



Kevin Cook

St. Michaels University School

Assessment of Experiential Education & Learning

We all have a 'gut' feel that tells us that the work we do is very valuable in the lives of the students in our care. But how do we know? I am currently conducting research to look at three specific areas: 1) How do we assess our programs? 2) How do we determine which programs have the greatest impact on student learning? 3) How do we measure the impact & transformation in our students? This presentation offers the research I have done so far and would then be open to discuss the next steps in formalizing assessment within the ISEEN community and potentially beyond.

Outdoor Ed, Global Ed, Sustainability, Service Learning/Cmty Engagement, Student Leadership, Admin/Ed Leadership, Classroom Teachers



Marcus O'Neill

World Challenge (ESP)

Embracing the Challenge: Opening the Door to Greater Possibility Through Student-Led Overseas Expedition Programs

For the past 31 years, World Challenge has been providing powerful life-changing opportunities to young people through the provision of overseas expeditions with experiential education at their core. A large part of this work is empowering students to take full ownership of key decision-making throughout their trip. This presentation will introduce our model and discuss how it leads to personal and leadership development.

Outdoor Ed, Student Leadership



Mary O'Connor

Rustic Pathways (ESP)

Partnering with Educators to Develop Successfully, Curriculum Integrated International Service Learning Programs

Rustic Pathways collaborates with schools and educators to customize impactful service-learning programs in 21 countries. This session will present success stories and effective ways to integrate curriculum in experiential programming, as well as effective tactics for partnering with international communities on development projects.

Global Education, Classroom Teachers



Mathew May

4Points Expeditions (ESP)

Risk Management, First Aid Training and Travel

Often overlooked and underestimated, creating a viable risk management plan and providing adequate, appropriate first aid training for your staff (and students) is essential for any successful experiential program. 4Points is a leader in emergency medical training specifically for schools. In this session, we'll discuss best practices in risk management.

Outdoor Ed, Global Ed, Sustainability, Student Leadership



Matthew Cook

Central American Service Expeditions (ESP)

Preparing Students for the Social and Economic Transformations from Climate Change

Students participating in CASE trips abroad explore the impacts of climate change, economic change, and our connection to people across the planet. By seeing the impacts of climate change in other parts of the world, students gain a new perspective of the changes in their own community, and they learn how people around the globe can work together to ensure a bright future for everyone. Join us to learn how international solidarity can inspire hope and optimism in the face of the transformations from our new climate reality.

Global Ed, Sustainability, Student Leadership



Mike Budd

Chill Expeditions (ESP)

Maximizing Educational Outcomes with Expedition Mentality

Expedition Mentality is our travel philosophy that creates the most positive and meaningful group dynamic. By fostering student engagement and ownership of the experience, the Expedition Mentality maximizes the outcome of the trip. Even on the most meticulously planned expedition, even amongst the best of friends, classes, and families, unexpected things happen. Approach those situations with a positive and productive attitude and everyone's travel experience will be enhanced. This session will define the Expedition Mentality mindset and present how we integrate it into our model to help instill shared ownership of the group dynamic.

Outdoor Ed, Global Ed, Service Learning/Cmty Engagement, Student Leadership



Nolan LaVoie

Woodberry Forest School

Environmental History: Using Local History, Contract Grading and Extended Trips To Dig Deeper Into Historical Events

Environmental History provides an amazing sandbox for wrestling with different lenses of looking at historical events. This course utilizes Shenandoah National Park as well as school, local and state history to help students develop empathy, as well as historical analysis and research skills. The class culminates in 6-day backpacking and fly fishing through SNP where we walk in the footsteps of the relocated people of the park. This session will also mention my use of a contract grading system that helps students work towards mastery within a traditional grading paradigm.

Outdoor Ed, Classroom Teachers



Norman Kim-Senior

Episcopal High School

Bilingual Opportunities in a Language Classroom

By incorporating student choice and partnering with students to fill vocabulary gaps for new topics. This session will explore how teachers can invite new partners from their community or give students more freedom to choose a topic for an investigation into the language classroom. This approach allows the classroom discussion to expand far beyond the teacher's imagination or the limits of the planned curriculum and can bring new perspectives to the classroom that fuel deep learning.

Outdoor Ed, Global Ed, Service Learning/Cmty Engagement, Classroom Teachers



Sara Mierke & Perry Dubow

African Leadership Academy

Cultivating Inclusion: Critical Reading, Discussion & Community

Three times a year, students and teachers at African Leadership Academy (ALA) set aside their regular schedules to spend time deeply reading and intensely discussing seminal texts such as Plato's "Allegory of the Cave," Nelson Mandela's statement from the dock at the Rivonia Trial, Dr. King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," and many more. As a part of this community endeavor, small groups not only critically analyze and unpack these powerful texts but also grapple with the concepts that they raise - from race relations to political philosophies, to definitions of justice. At ALA, these "Seminal Readings" are a key opportunity for students to step out of their comfort zones and away from their own echo chambers, allowing them to learn from the perspectives of their peers while practicing key skills such as active listening, empathy, and emotional regulation.

Global Ed, Student Leadership, Classroom Teachers



Students: Miroslav Bergam, Ketaki Tavan, Ethan Malzberg, all Pingry Class of 2019, accompanied by Jeff Jewett and Shelley Hartz

The Pingry School

Exploring Successes from a Student-Designed Global Curriculum in Peru

Students from a club were the driving force for the creation, itinerary

design, and curriculum design of one of Pingry's for-credit global field

study programs. The program visited three different NGOs operating in Peru

as case studies to elucidate questions of program sustainability, economic

models, and community representation. Hear directly from the students about

the process and what they learned from the experience.

Global Ed, Service Learning/Community Engagement, Student Leadership



Phyllis Dugan

Riverdale Country School

Breaking the 4th Wall: Using Technology Integration to Transform ExEd

Breaking the 4th wall means going beyond the confines of a given space. In this session, we will look at specific digital tools that can help amplify student voices, create meaningful interactive experiences, and figure out how to digitally organize our visions.

Outdoor Ed, Global Ed, Service Learning/Cmty Engagement. Student Leadership, Classroom Teacher


Breakout Sessions - Wed, January 23rd

On Day 2 of the Institute, we will spend the day at Riverdale Country School learning from their administrators and educators about experiential education at their school. During a portion of the day, we will break out into topic-specific sessions. The following includes details about the sessions. Some are fairly self-explanatory and do not have descriptions as they will be focused on a facilitated, open discussion about experiential education within that topic. Come prepared to share successes and challenges about your work in the breakout session topic.

1) Admin Panel Panelists from Riverdale Country School:
  • Milton Sipp, Assistant Head of Middle School
  • Kelley Nicholson-Flynn, Head of Upper School
  • James Duvall, Head of Lower School
  • Jenna King, Director of Admissions
  • Kevin Bailey, Academic Dean

Description:This group will discuss how Riverdale works toward diversity, equity and inclusion in experiential education. Riverdale administrators will speak to the successes and challenges in developing grade wide experiences, Middle School Project Week, gender inclusive housing policies, financial aid, admissions and hiring practices, and more.

2) Outdoor Education
Facilitator: Marshall Nicoloff, Director of Outdoor Education, Riverdale Country School

3) Global Education
Facilitator: Miriam Pina, Director of Global Studies, Riverdale Country School; Susan Polise, Former Director of Global Studies, Riverdale Country School

4) Community Engagement/Service Learning
Facilitators: Chime Doma, Assistant Director of Service Learning, Riverdale Country School; Rachel Klein, Director of Service Learning, Riverdale Country School

5) Student Leadership
Facilitators: Courtney Prieur, Director of Experiential Education, Selwyn House; Blair Parker, Assistant Head of Upper School, Riverdale Country School

6) Integrated Experiential Education (Ex Ed in the Classroom)
Facilitators: Elizabeth Pillsbury, Middle, and Upper School History and Director of Experiential Education, Riverdale Country School; Ricky Lapidus, Dean of Faculty, Riverdale Country School
Panelists: Shawn Fields, Middle, and Upper School Languages; Nicole Sin-Quee, Middle and Upper School Math; Nancy Kirby, Middle School English

DescriptionIn this session, you will spend time with our classroom teachers who have taken part in the ISEEN Summer Institute in Santa Fe. Faculty on this panel will offer examples of things that work, as well as the challenges with reaching outside of their own classroom to engage others within their department and division. We will also explore how Riverdale has worked to craft grade-wide experiences into the curriculum. Subjects include: Math, English, History, and Language.

7) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Workshop
Facilitators: Dwight Vidale, Director of Community Engagement, Riverdale Country School; Emily Schorr-Lesnick, Social Emotional Learning Coordinator, University Prep, Seattle

Description: Dive deeper into diversity, equity, and inclusion as it relates to experiential education. This guided workshop will give you the opportunity to delve further into the topic of DEI and think deeply how experiential ed practitioners can effectively and ethically integrate elements of social justice into their work. By having a smaller group to reflect and discuss, you'll have the opportunity to think about how to integrate a social justice lens into your experiential education practice.

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