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December 2018 event features diverse experts in leading learning

Learning Forward is thrilled to announce that former first lady Mrs. Laura Bush will headline Learning Forward’s Annual Conference in Dallas in December 2018. The conference gathers the world’s foremost authorities on professional learning to create a learning experience focused on building educators’ capacity to serve every student. The conference offers an inspirational slate of speakers along with a carefully designed five days of intensive exploration, networking, and reflection.

Mrs. Bush, a former teacher and librarian at public schools in Dallas, Houston, and Austin, will lead off the general session on Monday, Dec. 3 with remarks. Much admired for her commitment to literacy in the U.S. and around the world, Mrs. Bush’s accomplishments also encompass women’s health issues and the concerns of women in Afghanistan. Her belief in education and reading as pathways to success mirrors Learning Forward’s dedication to educators’ universal access to continuous and effective professional learning throughout their careers. President and Mrs. Bush continue their commitment to educational improvement through the Education Reform Initiative at The George W. Bush Institute within the George W. Bush Presidential Center. The Bush Institute’s Education Reform Initiative uses data and research to showcase the need for both strong accountability and effective school principals. The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries also provides grants to schools to ensure their libraries have the books their students need.

“It’s such an honor to welcome Mrs. Laura Bush to our conference this year,” said Stephanie Hirsh, executive director of Learning Forward. “I can’t imagine a more appropriate leader to help us celebrate learning, especially when we have this special opportunity to bring educators from around the world to our shared hometown of Dallas,” said Hirsh.

In addition to Mrs. Bush, conference attendees will hear keynoters Janice K. Jackson, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Glenn Singleton, founder and president of Pacific Educational Group, and best-selling author Margaret Wheatley. Jackson is a lifelong educator immersed in Chicago Public Schools for her entire career. Under her leadership, the district has achieved a record-high 77.3% graduation rate. Singleton, author of Courageous Conversations about Race, has dedicated more than 30 years to developing racially conscious leaders in various sectors. In her books, Wheatley writes about using power and influence to serve in troubling times, helping experienced leaders develop skills to stay present, discerning, and compassionate.

Conference participants experience learning through keynote speeches, thought leader lectures, intensive day-long pre-conference sessions, and a vast selection of more than 300 breakout sessions. Learning Forward also offers PechaKucha-like FastForward sessions, role-alike gatherings, and receptions and meals for networking. Critical topics this year include improving instruction, social-emotional learning, culturally responsive pedagogy, applying data-driven decision making, implementing high-quality instructional materials, understanding professional development redesign, developing leadership capacity, learning facilitation skills, supporting new teachers and principals, and implementing effective school improvement.

This year’s conference will also offer an opportunity to celebrate Hirsh, who will be retiring from the organization in 2019 after 31 years as an employee, 12 years in her current leadership role.

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Learning Forward offers a registration discount until Oct. 31.