2019 Winter Institute Pre and Post Workshops

Breakout Sessions | Pre-Workshop | Post-WorkshopWhova App Agenda


Tuesday, January 22 - Pre-Institute Workshops & Activities

  • Purpose Learning Intensive for Experiential Educators. Facilitators: Ross Wehner, Vicki Weeks and Siri Fiske, 8:00-2:30 p.m. Cost: $175 
Workshop Description: In this interactive workshop, we will explore why purpose is not optional for either students or teachers in today’s fast-changing world — it’s a critical life skill. Simply defined, purpose happens when we connect to something or someone outside of ourselves meaningfully enough to take action. It’s about having dreams and goals. In our view, purpose is the driving force behind the revolution in learning happening at many K-12 schools today. As experiential educators, we are uniquely positioned to lead the purpose learning revolution in our schools. During this workshop, we will explore the question: How can K-12 schools help students explore, discover and articulate a sense of purpose at an earlier age? We will begin in the morning by exploring our own purpose as educators because, in the words of purpose expert Richard Leider, “you can’t give away what you don’t own.” In the afternoon, we will work in small groups with the goal of returning home with tangible work products in order to implement purpose learning back at our schools. We will be looking at purpose curriculum for global, experiential and service learning programs; advisory programs; and as an integrated part of core learning across the K-12 curriculum. This event is designed for global ed and service learning directors, school leaders, social and emotional learning directors and teachers leading purpose learning efforts at their schools.
During this workshop we will:
*Explore and clarify our unique, individual purpose using temperament exercises, storyboarding and storytelling activities;
*Understand the theory and science behind purpose, including why purpose correlates with improved learning engagement, health, sleep, stress management, relationships, etc.
*Explore a K-12 toolkit of activities and purpose curriculum, which form part of an upcoming book on purpose learning by summit facilitators Ross Wehner and Vicki Weeks. This toolkit contains curated best practices from leading purpose learning organizations;
*Create an action plan for bringing purpose learning back to school. 

Facilitator Bios:
Ross Wehner
After college, I spent a decade working as a journalist in Latin America during the 1990s. It was the time of cholera, hyperinflation, terrorism, and human rights abuses. My outlook on the world began to darken until I had a moment of clarity: I needed to stop reporting on problems, and instead start looking for solutions. I had this idea to start a school that would build next-generation world leaders. That thought led me to graduate school and afterwards to work as a classroom teacher and wilderness educator for NOLS before I started World Leadership School in 2007. Our mission is to partner with K-12 schools to transform learning and create next-generation leaders. As Founder, my role is to lead our innovation and change initiatives with K-12 schools and work closely with school leaders. I spend about half my time on TeachUNITED, WLS’ non-profit arm that does the same work but with underserved rural schools around the world. TeachUNITED allows us to work at a deeper level with our rural school partners and create stronger school-to-school partnerships through WLS. I live in Boulder, Colorado with my wife, Renee and our two children Francesca and Sebastian. At present I am working with Vicki Weeks on a book project exploring the question: “How can K-12 schools help students explore, discover and articulate a sense of purpose at an earlier age?"

Vicki Weeks
I have spent my entire career in global and experiential education. After many years at Lakeside School, where I designed and ran a comprehensive and progressive global education program, I started Global Weeks, which partners with schools and other organizations to incorporate meaningful experiential education into their curriculum. Now based in Seattle, Washington, I have lived and worked in many different countries, and I am passionate about transformative travel and innovative educational practices for students and educators. My study of in international education at Harvard, my connections in the independent school world, and my tenure as chair of the board of the Independent Schools Experiential Education Network (ISEEN), all led to my work with Ross and World Leadership School to explore purpose formation for youth.

Siri Fiske
As founder of Mysa School, an innovative group of micro schools in the Washington DC area, I am passionate about education reform and creating learning environments that focus on the learner. I am a strong advocate for experiential learning, and I have traveled the world with groups of students experiencing with them first hand the lives of others. I have taught science and math. I have designed, launched, and nourished many programs in public schools, including arts and music programs that currently reach thousands of students in the Los Angeles area. Before moving to Washington, DC to start Mysa School, I helped design and launch a K-12 school in South Korea. I hold a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, a MA in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a MAT (masters in teaching with a focus on technology) from the University of Southern California. Here are some articles I have recently published on student agency, purpose and other topics in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes.

  • Moving Beyond GPA: Using the Mastery Transcript to Drive Equity and Engagement. Facilitators: Mike Flanagan and ISEEN Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC) site directors, 9:00-11:00 a.m. Cost: $75
Workshop Description: The Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC) is a group of high schools that has come together to transform education by developing a new model of crediting and transcript generation.
The Idea: All students should have an opportunity for engaging school experiences that provide deep learning.
The Tool: The MTC is building a digital transcript that will help unlock and showcase the transformational work that so many schools have already undertaken and will pave the way for many more who are beginning that journey.
The Network: The power of the MTC is our network of schools. By expanding the Consortium to an ever-wider group of public and private schools, we will help grow the movement, foster a meaningful conversation with higher-ed institutions, and ensure that together we create pragmatic solutions.
Goals for the Workshop:
*Practice explaining the concept and theory of change, supporting development and implementation of the Mastery Transcript. 
*Explore different paths that schools might use to begin a shift toward using the Mastery Transcript. 
*Work in small groups to review and give feedback to the MTC on the current prototype versions of the Mastery Transcript. 
*Explore how your school’s current competency architecture could be presented in the Mastery Transcript format.
Facilitator Bio: As Chief Product Officer for the Mastery Transcript Consortium, Mike Flanagan leads the efforts to design the Mastery Transcript and develop its underlying software platform. Mike is an experienced education technology executive, having most recently worked at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), where he served as CEO of its School and Student Services business, developing a software platform that was used by over 2,000 schools to process financial aid applications from over 150,000 families each year. Early in his career, he taught high school English and coached cross country and track at ‘Iolani School in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

  • CITYterm: NYC Neighborhood Study. Facilitators: Cotter Donnell, Director of CITYterm and CITYterm faculty, 9:30-2:30 p.m. Cost: $175
Workshop Description: CITYterm is an experiential semester program for high school juniors and seniors that uses New York City as its classroom, laboratory, and primary text. This workshop is designed to introduce educators to a selection of skills and activities featured in CITYterm’s transformative place-based curriculum: reading urban spaces, writing in place, and creating portraits. Participants will work in teams to explore a New York neighborhood firsthand and collaborate to come to a deeper understanding of the urban experience. Through this workshop, educators will get to take part in a variety of hands-on learning activities, participate in CITYterm’s growth-based feedback model, and reflect on how to incorporate these useful tools in their home schools and field work. The workshop will include exploring the city on foot, so participants should wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather. A lunch in the city will be included.
Facilitator Bio: This workshop will be facilitated by CITYterm faculty. The CITYterm team is an eclectic mix of collaborative educators from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Each faculty member joined CITYterm because they are inspired by experience-based learning, living in a tight-knit community, and New York City. CITYterm affords each faculty member the opportunity to teach in a creative, transformative environment and to learn alongside students.

Big Onion
  • Multi-Ethnic Eating & Walking Tour by Big Onion Walking Tours, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Cost $30-$45 per person depending on group size. 
Activity Description: A guided tour of the Jewish East Side, Chinatown, and Little Italy exploring the historic and gastronomic delights of these diverse immigrant neighborhoods. History stops can include: America’s first urban playground,
historic Orchard & Hester Streets, the Bowery and sites associated with Abraham Cahan, Dr. Sun Yat Sen, Steve Brodie and others. While exploring the multi-faceted ethnic history of New York we will munch on (among other items) Jewish Pickles,
Dominican plantains, Malaysian beef jerky, bialys, cannoli, and fresh mozzarella from local shops and markets.
Note: Participants must get to tour start point from the InterContinental Hotel on their own (25-min subway ride away) and return to the hotel on their own. Partners are welcome to join! 

  • Welcome & Orientation for all First Timers to ISEEN. Facilitated by ISEEN staff, 3:30-4:30 p.m. No charge. 

Workshop Description: This time is designed for all first timers to ISEEN to come get to know each other, the ISEEN staff, and board of directors. It provides a helpful orientation to the Institute, some common language around experiential education, and advice on how to get the most out of your ISEEN experience.

Friday, January 25 - Post-Institute Workshops & Activities

  • This is Not a Drill: Critical Incident Response Preparedness. Facilitators: Simon Hart and Mark Vermeal, 2:00–5:00 p.m. Cost: $100
Workshop Description: How do we create and test effective critical incident response plans for our administration? Participants in this workshop will review effective critical incident response preparedness using case-studies from past occurrences in the wilderness and international settings. In turn, participants will focus on how to run effective critical incident scenarios at their home institutions, allowing them to return home with a clear plan for developing and testing systems for responding to critical incidents in the field.
Facilitator Bios:
Mark Vermeal is a nationally recognized expert in the field of risk management and safety with 20 years of experience as a senior-level administrator in educational non-profits. As the former Vice President of Safety for Outward Bound USA, Mark drove the safety management systems for Outward Bound’s $44 M national network of 11 regional schools serving over 42,000 students and 145,000 participant days, annually. Mark has implemented strategies that have enhanced a culture and climate of safety at two of the nation’s largest outdoor organizations: OBUSA and the Student Conservation Association. As the Director of the Wilderness Skills Program at the White Mountain School, Mark developed a ground up, nationally recognized outdoor education program that integrated experiential education and wilderness skills instruction with a rigorous academic program. When working as a Wilderness EMT, Mark managed emergent situations, and with a Master’s degree in education, he has been a wilderness medicine instructor and a classroom teacher in anatomy and physiology. He is a certified American Mountain Guides Association Rock Instructor and Single Pitch Instructor Provider with rock, ice, and alpine guiding experience, both abroad and domestically. Currently, he serves on the Outward Bound International Risk Management Committee, Outward Bound Canada Board Risk Oversight Committee, the American Alpine Club Education and Standards Committee Task Force, and the Steering Committee for the Wilderness Risk Management Conference where he has also been a presenter since 2007.
Nurtured by epic sailing adventures on the pristine waters of Lake Superior, Simon Hart grew up a small town boy with an itch for discovery and exploration. After attending high schools in Mexico and Taiwan, Simon pursued studies in anthropology and development, garnering scholarships and grants to explore human-nature relationships and community-based strategies for conservation and development in Africa and Latin America. Simon is an alumnus of SIT and has worked with Concordia Language Villages, The Center for Global Education and Carleton College to develop international experiential programming, professional training, and innovative curriculum over the past 10 years. At Dragons, he has acted in different roles, from instructing courses in Guatemala to serving as Executive Program Director in Boulder. Most recently, Simon is focused on providing professional development and support to institutions pursuing global studies initiatives. Simon is an avid cyclist, bass player, and farmer, whose personal mission is to “get people out there” to discover a deeper notion of self in relation to other. Simon speaks Spanish, Portuguese and French, is WFR certified, and has worked with Dragons since 2006.

  • Outdoor Group Skating at Bryant Park, 3:00-4:30 p.m. Cost: Approximately $20 per person (cost includes all rentals, entry fees for expedited entry and taxes). 
Activity Description: Join fellow ISEENers to get some fresh air post-conference at the incredible Bryant Park outdoor skating rink. All you need is some warm winter gear to enjoy this urban rink!
Note: Shoes and bags must be stored in lockers for a small fee. Participants will walk to Bryant Park as a group from the InterContinental Hotel (10-min walk/0.5 miles). Partners are welcome to join! 

  • ISEEN Happy Hour/Post Skating Drinks. Location TBD, 5:00-6:30 p.m. Cost: Drinks on your own.
Activity Description: Skaters and non-skaters are welcome to share a drink together to celebrate the end of a great week! We’ll have a small area reserved but food and drinks are paid on your own. Partners are welcome to join!