Learner FIRST


Virtual Summit

Event Has Concluded - Virtual Access Still Available

Event has Concluded - Recorded Access is Still Available

On Demand

Registrants will be sent a Vimeo Collection link and password.


$1,500/Full School Access

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“What Does Learning Look Like Moving Forward?”


Does this question sound familiar to you and your school district? The current COVID-19 crisis has put teachers, teachers assistants, administrators and school boards in an unprecedented position to figure out how to best support learning during times of uncertainty over the past 14 months. The answer to the question posed is pretty straight forward: “we have no idea!” We “have no idea” because it’s impossible to know the future as things are changing globally on a daily basis, even as some schools have been able to return to a slight sense of normalcy.


Schools have done a tremendous job adjusting to the circumstances of virtual learning in a short amount of time, but really were not given the proper training and time to ensure the impact on learning they are aiming for with today’s learners. However, when schools open back up in Fall (whether in person or virtually), resources need to be available to help support our schools in all scenarios of what learning looks like moving forward. 


With in-person professional learning opportunities continuing to be cancelled across the globe, our team at FIRST Educational Resources has committed to making professional learning a viable and affordable option to ALL schools and stakeholders. We know the number one problem with in-person events is cost and accessibility, so we have created an event that addresses that problem!


Join colleagues and schools from around the world at the Learner FIRST Virtual Summit. This Virtual Summit has been designed to give educators access to resources, thought-leaders, educators and solutions to the problems that exist both in virtual learning as well as when schools are back to operating as close to pre-COVID-19 as possible.

Keynote Presenters

Cale Birk

"Building the Ark Before the Rain” - COVID Recovery Planning for Observable Impact"

For many of us in our schools today, we are still knee-deep in virtual learning, synchronous learning, hybrid learning, or some variation in between! So the very idea of committing the last few bits of our available bandwidth to planning for the uncertainties of the fall seems crazy, illogical and impossible all at once. Yet as schools begin to see a brightening light at the end of the tunnel of the COVID pandemic, leaders, teachers and learners are being confronted by one thing that IS certain: there will be gaps in student learning when students come back to our schools after summer break. And while we may not be sure what the gaps are or how large they might be, when that first bell rings in the fall, we know we will quickly need to determine where our students are at and the most promising practices to get them back on track, all while trying to keep them on a pathway to move forward. But how can we begin to create a plan that meets the needs of our learners AND our busy teachers before that first day? In other words, “How can we build the ark before the rain?”

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Thomas Murray

"Personal & Authentic: Designing Learning Experiences that Impact a Lifetime"

Recent work in the learning sciences has helped paint a detailed picture of what it is kids need to thrive. Grounded in relationships, and built upon a culture for learning, personal and authentic experiences respect the hidden stories within each child and are learner-centered by design. These experiences are filled with moments of awe, and the learning is inherently relevant and contextualized. Appropriate levels of flexibility in pace and path are granted so that agency can develop, while authentic feedback ensures fidelity in the learning process. To support the personal and authentic experience, spaces and tools are leveraged in evidence-based, meaningful ways. The work is hard, but our kids are worth it! 

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Greg Wolcott

"Coke Cans, Curb Cuts, & COVID"

As the school year ends, educators and parents across the globe have seen the effects COVID has had on the mental health and well-being of their children. Nearly half of parents have noticed a new or worsening mental health condition in their teen since the pandemic started; 3 in 4 say COVID has affected teens’ social interactions. Educators report similar concerns and are worried about the potential long-term impact this crisis will have on their students and what they can do to help their students when instruction resumes in the fall.
In this inspiring keynote, Greg Wolcott, author of the best-selling book Significant  72: Unleashing the Power of Relationships in Today’s Schools and Director of the Learner FIRST Center for Social Emotional Learning and Academic Excellences describes ways educators can enhance student social connections and provide students the emotional support they so greatly need.

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Rick Wormeli

"What We Can Do When We Are Brave Together"

Ambrose Redmoon once declared, "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgment that something else is more important than that fear." In education, what do we judge as more important than our fear of rejection, being embarrassed, making mistakes or the confusion that may come? When we are brave together, we find the freedom, language and spirit to confront complacency and ineffective practice, and, even better, to do something about them. Join us for a candid address that affirms and provokes listeners with compelling questions about contemporary practices and specific action steps to consider if having enough courage were not a factor. Liberating, affirming and pushing all of us closer to the kind of teacher we always wanted to be, we reveal the practices and policies that cultivate teaching courage best. Radical to some, validating to others and steeped in modern pedagogy, we explore the specific, bold actions we can take today that lead to real student success. Leave timidity at the door and join us for an extraordinary presentation.

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Myron Dueck

"Ch-ch-ch-Changes & CONSTRAINT - The Upside of Uncertainty and Restrictions"

This past year could be called the 'you can't do that year', and we’re all growing weary of it. Who didn't reach their wits end longing to do things the way ‘we’ve always done them’? Here too we might take a page from a rocker - Mick Jagger. Apparently, the small stages of the Rolling Stones’ early days are to thank for his unique dancing style. Perhaps Jagger epitomizes the adage, ‘creativity loves constraint’. Anyone working with students during COVID knows, endless restrictions caused us to reach for a little more creativity.
As we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel,  let’s be mindful that changes and constraints can be forces for good. In this optimistic keynote, Myron will argue that instruction and assessments that include inquiry, differentiation, exploration and problem solving may continue to help us adapt in a crunch - whatever that might look like.

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LaVonna Roth

"Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.®"

No student fits into a standard, one-size-fits-all box of core content. This engaging and unforgettable experience will leave you motivated to uncover, foster, and amplify the unique gifts and talents that our students possess. Transformational schools serve the whole child, honoring each child’s obvious and undiscovered talents.  Thus, we focus on Self, Heart (passion), how to Inspire and Navigate to create the Exceptional people our students are meant to be.  You will leave with an action plan to S.H.I.N.E and an unwavering resolve to watch every child succeed in learning and life! This SHINEtastic culture shift will produce exceptional results, as you embrace, develop, and celebrate game-changing adult and student learners.  When we clearly understand and honor the undeniable impact of unique gifts, we prepare our students today for their journeys of tomorrow.

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Dominique Smith

"Building Equity: Practices to Empower All Learners"

Imagine a school with a diverse student body where every student feels safe and valued, and all students—regardless of race, culture, home language, sexual orientation, gender identity, academic history, and individual challenges—have the opportunity to succeed with challenging classes, projects, and activities. In this school, teachers notice and meet students’ individual instructional needs and foster a harmonious and supportive environment—and students feel empowered to learn, to grow, and to pursue their dreams. In this session we focus on the School Equity Taxonomy, a model to clarify the structural and interpersonal components of an equitable and excellent schooling experience, and the School Equity 
Audit, a survey-based tool to help leaders uncover equity-related issues and organize their efforts to better address:

  • Social-emotional engagement

  • Opportunity to learn.

  • Instructional excellence.

  • Engaged, inspired, and successful learners.

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Rae Hughart

"Isolation vs. Integration: Authentic SEL in the Classroom"

As schools build more SEL components into the classroom, it’s easy to fall into the trap of creating isolated activities versus integrating it into the overall classroom environment.  Join us for a dialogue on how to integrate authentic SEL components into your classroom and school environment - allowing us to be a little better today than we were yesterday and a little better tomorrow than we were today.   We will provide examples from various school leader positions as well as create opportunities for sharing! Now let's get out there and Teach Better.

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Bonus Pre-Recorded Keynote with Rufus Lott, III

We walk the walk, but can we talk the talk?

How we talk to kids determines the type of impact we have with them. Join Rufus Lott III to learn how using Affective Language when working with students is pivotal to keeping the relationship with them at the center of every interaction especially when correcting and addressing problem behavior.

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Breakout Presenters

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Stefanie Arzonetti Hite

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Michael Atkins


Cale Birk

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Rachel Carillo-Fairchild


Richard Cash

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Rebecca Coda


Shelly Daun


Peter DeWitt


Jenni Donohoo

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Myron Dueck

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Dennis Griffin Jr.

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Victoria Hansen

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Rae Hughart

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Amanda Ironside


Rick Jetter


Jethro Jones

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Jeffrey Klein


Garth Larson


Danica Lewis


Amy Lubben

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Michael McDowell

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Byron McClure

Katie McKnight

Katie McKnight

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Jay McTighe

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Kathy Myles


Ken O'Connor


Becky Peppler


LaVonna Roth

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Heidi Salm

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Dominique Smith

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Todd Stanley

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Matt Townsley

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Kara Vandas


Lisa Van Gemert


Greg Wolcott

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Rick Wormeli

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Julie Wright

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Erik Youngman