I was lucky enough to attend the Progressive Education Network (PEN) conference in Boston during the first week of October with Assistant Teachers Gabi Flam, Clay Hazelwood, and our Storytelling Specialist Angela Lloyd. PEN's annual conference takes place every other year.  Six years ago, Neal Chaired the PEN Planning Committee for the LA Conference where the theme was PLAY. This year's theme was: "Amplify students’ voice, agency, conscience, and intellect to create a more equitable, just, and sustainable world."

On the first day of the conference, local progressive schools opened their doors to visiting educators from across the country.  The CCS staff visited the The Atrium School, an independent PK-8 progressive school. We marveled at the many similarities between Atrium and CCS, and we enjoyed being surrounded by like-minded educators and students. It was so fulfilling to wander through classrooms and see students actively involved in their learning - just like home! And then the school librarian led us on a hike in the nearby Mt Auburn Cemetery, a 170-acre historic cemetery that they visit often with their classes.

The following days of the conference were filled with attending workshops on a variety of topics including “Student Voice in Assessments,” “Art and Inquiry,” and “Beyond Stereotypes.” These workshops of 15-20 educators were led by progressive leaders. It was enriching to share ideas from CCS and learn about other progressive practices. Key note addresses were given by both Jonathan Kozol and Deborah Meier who were inspirational and motivating.  (Learn more about Jonathan Kozol and Deborah Meier by clicking on their names.)

During our (very limited) downtime, Gabi, who went to school in Boston, took us to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and for a delicious dinner (cannolis!) in Little Italy. We left the conference feeling connected to the larger progressive education community as well as having learned some practical ideas to integrate into our classrooms.

We look forward to attending the next PEN conference in Minneapolis in 2019!