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This is Not Your Mother's Conference

Updated: May 18, 2023

The 2022 Summer Institute for Authentic Learning and Leadership was a huge success with over 425 participants, “surprise and delight”, a local band, and inspiring professional practices on display all over Upper Arlington High School. Attend this year’s “unconference” on July 19-20, 2023, where you will experience the same magic other educators found. Educators who attended last summer said they were thankful for:


  1. seeing teachers find practical focus of how to bring joy back

  2. people who believe in the power of imagination

  3. the opportunity to make a difference

Summer Institute 2022

Even with educators experiencing two of the most exhausting school years ever, educators representing 33 school districts from throughout Ohio, Illinois, Virginia, Florida, and Colorado chose to spend two days exploring how to "make learning irresistible" for students–and educators!

Together, our Steering Committee representatives from Bexley City Schools, Columbus City Schools, Community Shelter Board, Dublin City Schools, Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, Grandview Heights City Schools, Olentangy Local Schools, Upper Arlington City Schools, and Westerville City Schools created an experience that produced feedback like this:

“I can’t thank you enough for the last two days. I can’t remember the last time I left a PD feeling as jazzed as I did yesterday. I truly think what we learned and experienced will change our district, staff, and students.” – Teacher

“It was the perfect two days and my favorite professional development experience in years!!! You all hit a home run, and I am so thankful our staff took advantage.” – Superintendent

“A week later, we’re still talking about the Summer Institute. We loved learning from educators like Tony Wagner and Buddy Berry. And it was great to present with Emmy Beeson (Partnerships for Authentic Learning and Leadership) on how to move from vision to reality during a building project.” – Presenter

The Summer Institute is now an annual “unconference” bringing teachers and administrators together for systemic growth in authentic learning and authentic leadership. This grassroots initiative is the vision of several Central Ohio school districts who share the research-supported perspective that authentic learning for students supports increased numbers of civically engaged youth, re-energizes teachers, promotes significant school improvement/reform, and addresses critical local and global issues/needs.


Through authentic instructional strategies such as service-learning, project-based learning, and STEM, students use their academic skills and knowledge, as well as their own gifts and passions, to address real-world problems. To make authentic learning in the classroom possible, authentic leadership has to pave the way. Our focus will continue to emphasize the tools needed for authentic leadership that creates a shared vision, builds capacity, and restructures systems to align to the vision.

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