First General Session — Monday, January 30
Presenter: Shanna Peeples, 2015 National (and Texas) Teacher of the Year and Secondary ELA Curriculum Specialist, Amarillo ISD
As National Teacher of the Year, Shanna Peeples traveled more than 200,000 miles and spoke in 27 states and five countries, delivering more than 300 speeches on public education and her experiences. Her efforts both as a teacher and instructional coach in Amarillo ISD and as an ambassador for public schools have won her recognition from across the nation. Most recently, the Texas School Public Relations Association named her its 2016 Key Communicator. In her keynote presentation, “Innovation: It’s About Time,” Peeples will discuss Harvard professor Tony Wagner’s philosophy that the world doesn’t care what we know anymore because the world – and our students – can get anything from Google. He believes that we no longer have a knowledge economy; we have an innovation economy. And the world cares about what we can DO with what we know. Wagner says an innovator is someone who is a creative problem solver, and if there’s anything we need more of in education, it’s creative problem solvers because problems are what we have plenty of in education.
Second General Session — Tuesday, January 31
Presenter: Mike Morath, Texas Commissioner of Education
As Texas commissioner of education, Mike Morath heads the Texas Education Agency (TEA), which oversees pre-kindergarten through high school education for 5.3 million students enrolled in both traditional public schools and charter schools. He previously served on the Dallas Independent School District board of trustees. Morath is a proud graduate of Garland High School in the Garland Independent School District. Thanks to a great public school education, he earned his BBA, summa cum laude, from George Washington University in two-and-a-half years. In his presentation, the commissioner will discuss TEA's priorities for the new year.
Third General Session — Wednesday, February 1Lauren Resnick
Presenters: Lauren B. Resnick and Christian Schunn, University of Pittsburgh
TASA created a new vision for public education in Texas in 2008. So, where were we then and where are we now with respect to one of the most powerful tools of intellectual development? Intelligence has been and is still often treated as a fixed attribute that limits many students’ ability to learn. We continue to argue that schools can and should create intelligence. Today, however, we know more about how to go about that process. A body of research has now confirmed that participating in certain forms of discussion-based instruction can lead to gains in performance, not only in the subject taught, but also in other, distant domains. This means that schools can actually “grow the mind.” In this keynote presentation, "TASA's Vision for Learning: The Power of Talk to Increase Evidence-Based Learning," Lauren B. Resnick and Christian Schunn will look at a few powerful examples of dialogic teaching and learning, and discuss some of the policy implications for educational leaders.
Lauren B. Resnick, one of the thought leaders who worked with the Public Education Visioning Institute as it was drafting the TASA MISSION: School Transformation visioning document, Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas, published in 2008, is a Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science and also of Learning Sciences and Education Policy at the University of Pittsburgh. She is an internationally known scholar in the cognitive science of learning and instruction. Dr. Resnick is also the founder and co-director of the Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, which bridges the domains of research and practice by conveying to educators the best of current knowledge about learning processes, principles of instruction, and the design of school systems.
Christian Schunn is a senior scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center, a professor of Psychology, Learning Sciences and Policy, and Intelligent Systems, and the co-director of the Institute for Learning. He is also a fellow of AAAS and the American Psychological Association, and the past executive chair of the International Society for Design & Development in Education.